Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of The Red Palace by June Hur

The Red Palace by June Hur
Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
ISBN: 9781250800558

In 1758 Joseon (Korea), 18-year-old Hyeon worked hard to become a palace nurse, one of the very few positions an illegitimate daughter can hold, with the hopes of doing a good job and earning her father’s approval, but her hopes are dashed when her mentor is accused of murdering four girls and Hyeon chooses to risk her life and position to help clear her mentor’s name.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
ISBN: 9780063060234

Yamilet Flores is doing the best she can. She’s working part-time to be able to afford the tuition at her new fancy private school and she’s trying to keep her brother on the straight and narrow. But it’s hard when you’re the new girl, with a supposedly difficult to pronounce name who also happens to be Mexican and queer but just wants to blend in. Add in a really nice, cute, and smart, openly queer girl named Bo and it becomes even harder.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
ISBN: 9781536204957

Twelve year old Sai is assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker. No one knows that she has been harboring a secret; her father is a conman. When they set out on a journey to chart the southern seas, she has no idea that the ship may actually be heading to the fabled Sunderlands, a land thought to be guarded by dragons. As Sai struggles to conceal her identity aboard the ship, she discovers that she is not the only one with a secret. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of One True Loves by Elise Bryant

One True Loves by Elise Bryant
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
ISBN: 9780062982865

Lenore (fans will remember her from Bryant’s Happily Ever Afters) is on a European cruise with her siblings and parents the summer after high school. She’s NYU bound in the fall – as long as she can pick a major by the end of the cruise. Also, her brother’s acting weird, and there’s an annoying guy hanging around. As Lenore struggles to make a plan for her future, she realizes maybe she doesn’t need to struggle alone. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
Wednesday Books
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
ISBN: 9781250783349

Millie Price is dead set on becoming a Broadway star, but her introverted dad is reluctant to let her leave home to attend a special musical theater school. When Millie discovers her dad’s LiveJournal from 2003, she decides that a deep dive into this history will help her find out who her birth mother is, in hopes that her newly found mom will support her dreams. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9781250755544

Anastasia Romanov is the sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia’s royal family at the hands of the Bolshevik Red Army. Anastasia knows she must get to safety before the Red Army realizes she is not among the dead and tracks her down to finish the job. Anastasia enlists the reluctant help of a teen Bolshevik villager named Evgenia and, in spite of their differences, the two form an uneasy alliance as the Red Army closes in.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: March 2, 2022
ISBN: 9780593202340

Salahudin (Sal) and Noor are two Pakistani American teens trying to make the best of it before graduating and escaping Juniper, the California desert town where they have few prospects. Noor has had to apply for college in secret, since her abusive uncle expects her to stay and help run the liquor store as payment for him taking her in. Sal has recently lost his loving mother, Misbah, and he’s struggling to keep his family’s motel afloat while his alcoholic father descends into grief. Sal and Noor used to rely on each other, but since The Fight, things are awkward between them. Yet just as they start to reconnect and trust each other again, maybe even fall in love, Sal’s desperate attempts to make money to save his family’s motel endangers them both.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee
Clarion Books/HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
ISBN: 9780358469988

A broken teacup causes Miuko’s life to turn upside down when her journey to buy a new set of cups leads to a mysterious demon encounter that curses Miuko to slowly become a demon herself. Miuko’s condition is quickly discovered by her fellow villagers and she is forced to flee. In her quest to seek out the entity – god, spirit or demon – that might be capable of ridding her of the demon slowly taking over her body, she is joined by a host of new friends, many of whom are creatures inspired by Japanese mythology. Miuko revels in leaving behind the restrictions of life in her father’s inn and begins to question just how badly she really wants to remedy her current situation.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram

Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication Date: March 22, 2022
ISBN: 9780593325261

Hunter is a member of the internationally beloved boy band Kiss and Tell, on their first North American tour. He’s also the only queer member of the band, and going through his first breakup. A messy, public breakup, after his ex posts their texts online. As if that’s not enough, he’s contending with The Label creating and controlling his image of the perfect queer teen role model, and a budding romance with another musician on the tour. Homophobia is present in the text, though never condoned.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown

All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown
Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
ISBN: 9780063054974

Andrew and Jamie, both with secrets of their own, lost everyone they cared about after a deadly pathogen killed off much of the population, but they find each other when they need it most and begin a dangerous trek together to search for civilization.

All That’s Left in the World is told from the point of view of Andrew, an expert at telling hilarious sarcastic jokes, and Jamie, a hopeful and kind person who loves Hallmark movies. Andrew is looking for help after he gets his leg stuck in a bear trap when he comes across Jamie’s cabin, and the rest is history.

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