Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Sky’s End by Marc J. Gregson

  • Sky’s End
  • by Marc J. Gregson
  • Publisher: Peachtree Teen
  • Release date: January 2, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781682635766

Conrad’s family once ruled their floating island, before his uncle murdered his father. Now destitute and eager to reunite with his sister who is a ward of their uncle, he trains to be a hunter. The deadliest of the Trades, hunters defend the islands from gargantuans. Conrad and his fellow trainees must compete in the gauntlet, a competition to see who can kill the most gargantuans. It is a battle filled with treachery, mutiny, and hidden alliances.

Conrad’s ragtag crew is fun to cheer for both in the gauntlet and their character growth. The battles come quickly with plenty of action for fans of adventure stories. The political upheaval provides a growing sense of unease while the game continues to unfold. 

The breakneck speed of this book will appeal to teens who like science fiction with a lot of action and little downtime. Fans of political drama will find plenty in Sky’s End. Similar titles are Sevenfold Hunters by Rose Egal and Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.

-Cathy DeCampli

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Gwen and Art are Not in Love by Lex Croucher

  • Gwen and Art are Not in Love
  • by Lex Croucher
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Release date: November 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250847218

The marriage Gwen and Arthur’s parents have arranged will finally cement the alliance between their families, except for two problems. One: they hate each other. Two: they’re both gay. Things go from weird to worse when Arthur discovers a sinister plot against Camelot that puts all of their lives in danger. Their only chance for survival is to work together–if they can only stop arguing long enough.

This book is the perfect blend of funny and heartfelt. The story may take place in the Arthurian era, but the charming banter and the tender exploration of coming out to your family–and an entire kingdom–makes it relevant for teens today.
Gwen and Art Are Not in Love is the book for teens who want multiple kinds of queer relationships in one sitting, plus a wholesome friendship. Give this book to readers of So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens and These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling.

– Yona Yurwit

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: I Loved You in Another Life by David Arnold

  • I Loved You In Another Life
  • by David Arnold
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: 10/10, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593524787

Evan Taft is planning a gap year in Alaska but is second guessing the decision after his mother’s cancer diagnosis. As those plans fade, he hears a mysterious singer’s voice. Shosh Bell, a theater star with shattered dreams and a dead sister, hears the same song. In different time periods and across continents, a song and celestial bird connects these strangers again and again. 

Arnold has crafted a novel that is incredibly vulnerable, poignant, and familiar. He not only captures the feelings of Evan and Shosh, but peripheral characters are fully developed. Everyone is entirely real with just the right amount of quirk and weird. 

This book is perfect for teen readers who love a quirky story and good romance, but want something different and deeper. I Loved You In Another Life is cinematic and melancholy with a touch of magical realism   Give this book to readers who enjoyed David Levithan‘s Every Day and are fans of authors like Nina LaCour and Jeff Zentne

– Alicia Kalan

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez

  • What the River Knows
  • by Isabel Ibañez
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Release date: 10/31, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250803375

Inez, an Argentinian society young woman, heads to Egypt to find out what happened to her missing (presumed dead) parents, who were on an archeological dig. Her uncle, now her guardian, is a secretive man who appears to be selling Egyptian artifacts–in other words a tomb robber–assisted by an English military deserter who goes by the moniker, “Whit.” When Inez dares to defy societal convention and her uncle by boarding a ship to Egypt to conduct her own search for her parents, she encounters scoundrels, thieves, and murderers who are willing to do anything to get their hands on Cleopatra’s wealth and are happy to sacrifice Inez and all she holds dear to acquire it.

This compelling enemies to lovers trope takes place against a very evocative 1880’s Egyptian backdrop. Chocolate éclairs consumed on linen couches in a hotel lobby next to fez-topped effendi, while tomb-robbing is discussed in clipped British tones is enough of a draw for adventure fans. When you add revolvers, secret doors, and missing/dead parents along with a touch of real, old magic, there is the basis of a solid story. 

This historical fantasy setting, with a little magic, and a lot of slow-burn romance will set historical fiction fans’ hearts aflutter.  This is a high-school themed version of The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan with more romance and less teaching of mythology.  For historical romance fans hand this to fans of Erin Beaty’s Traitor’s Kiss series, Mary Pearson’s Dance of Thieves series, or Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series. Fans who like the down and dirty reality of being on a trip without all the benefits of civilization, but with magical abilities informing the storyline, will also like Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger series.

-Michael Fleming

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Shut Up, This is Serious by Carolina Ixta

  • Shut Up, This is Serious
  • by Carolina Ixta
  • Publisher: Quill Tree Books
  • Release date: January 9, 2024
  • ISBN: 9780063287860

Belén is trying to break cycles. It’s her senior year of high school which she may not pass, she’s navigating the loss of her father, and her best friend is pregnant. All she wants is normal. Her family to talk to each other. A boyfriend. She’s struggling with depression and isolates herself from her mother and sister, starts skipping classes, escapes into books, and seeks attention and casual sex from a boy who doesn’t feel anything for her. 

Ixta’s writing is lyrical and poetic, giving Belen such a strong and authentic voice that many teens will relate to. This book explores many important themes such as antiblack racism, colorism, sex/virginity and the ebbs and flows of female friendship. 

While Belén is frustrating at times and in no way perfect, readers will be drawn to her journey of self discovery and acceptance, especially those familiar with existing in a body that they didn’t ask for and what that invites from others.  Offer this to teens who enjoyed I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez or Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado. 

-Alicia Kalan

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

2024 Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominees

YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee presents fiction titles published for young adults in the past 16 months that are recommended reading for ages 12 to 18. Click on the title of each book to be taken to the blog post featuring a review, or browse all blog posts here. You can see previous lists on the YALSA website and on the Teen Book Finder app.

Blogging Team

Coordinator, Jodi Kruse; Stephanie Burdic, Kirsta Hutley, Marie LeJeune, Kaitlin Malixi, Melissa Palmer, Allison Riggs, Maryjean Riou, Gia Ruiz, Zoe Smolen, Emily Williams, Matthew Layne, Katie Patterson

Top Ten

  • Becoming a Queen
  • By Dan Clay
  • April 25, 2023
  • Length: 407 p.
  • Roaring Brook Press, $19.99 
  • 9781250843098
  • Grade Level: 8 – 12
  • Mark Davis wore a pretty dress and his boyfriend broke up with him. Now Mark is on his road to a new romance and self-acceptance when tragedy strikes, and he must figure out who he wants to be in order to move on.
  • Dear Medusa
  • By Olivia Cole
  • March 14, 2023
  • Length: 377 p. L
  • Labyrinth Road, $18.99 
  • 9780593485736
  • Grades: 9 – 12
  • After being sexually abused by a popular teacher at her school Alicia feels cut off from the world around her, until one day, she gets a note from another survivor.
  • Divine Rivals
  • By Rebecca Ross
  • April 4, 2023
  • Length: 357 p.
  • Wednesday Books, $18.99 
  • 9781250857439
  • Grades 10 – 12
  • As the war between the gods creeps closer to the city, Iris and Roman fiercely compete to become the new newspaper columnist for the prestigious Oath Gazette. Their lives become further entwined and complicated thanks to the magical letters they unknowingly write to each other.
  • For Lamb
  • By Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • January 10, 2023
  • Length: 304 p.
  • Holiday House, $18.99 
  • 9780823450152
  • Gr. 9-12
  • Lamb’s forbidden friendship with a white girl in 1940s Mississippi has devastating consequences for her and her family.
  • I Kick and I Fly
  • By Ruchira Gupta
  • April 18, 2023
  • Length: 336 p.
  • Scholastic Press, $18.99 
  • 9781338825091
  • Grades: 7 – 12
  • Heera is a girl, told since she was little, that she is destined for a life of prostitution. She is invited into a hostel for endangered girls and is given the chance to learn kung fu and, in the process, learn about how strong she really is.
  • Plan A
  • By Deb Caletti
  • October 3, 2023
  • Length: 404 p.
  • Labyrinth Road, $18.99 
  • 9780593485552
  • Grades: 10 – 12.
  • Ivy and her boyfriend Lorenzo embark on a cross-country road trip from Texas to Oregon so Ivy can legally choose to end an unintended pregnancy.  Along the journey, Ivy finds support through many surprisingly encouraging encounters in this story with a sweetly developed romance, healing, and hope.
  • Promise Boys
  • By Nick Brooks
  • January 31, 2023
  • Length: 294 p.
  • Henry Holt and Co., $19.99 
  • 9781250866974
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • J.B., Ramón, and Trey are students at the prestigious and strict Urban Promise Prep School when their principal is murdered and the three become the prime suspects. 
  • Saints of the Household
  • By Ari Tison
  • March 28, 2023
  • Length: 312 p.
  • Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99 
  • 9780374389499
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • Max and Jay are brothers who have relied on each for everything including protecting their mother from an abusive father. After a violent altercation with a classmate, they begin a journey of healing through an exploration of their Bribri American identity as well as looking outward to others for help.
  • Their Vicious Games
  • By Joelle Wellington
  • July 25, 2023
  • Length: 407 p.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99 
  • 9781665922425
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • Adina struggles after losing her admission to Yale and her potential gleaming future. When the elite Remingtons invite her to participate in the Finish, she has an opportunity to gain it all back and then some. Yet, the price of the competition might be more than she bargained for.
  • Warrior Girl Unearthed
  • By Angeline Boulley
  • May 2, 2023
  • Length: 396 p.
  • Henry Holt and Company, $19.99 
  • 9781250766588
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • Perry Firekeeper-Birch finds herself embroiled in a plot to steal the remains of her tribal ancestors before they are turned over to a university museum or sold to private collectors.

Nominees

  • Always the Almost. By Edward Underhill. 2023. 307 p. Wednesday Books, $18.99  (9781250835208). Gr. 9 – 12. Miles makes a New Year’s resolution to win back his ex-boyfriend and defeat his piano rival. When he meets Eric, a kind and thoughtful new kid, and starts practicing with a new piano teacher, Miles begins to learn more about himself and what he really wants.
  • Ander and Santi Were Here. By Jonny Garza Villa. 2023. 355  p. Wednesday Books, $18.99 (9781250843999). Gr. 9 – 12. Nonbinary teen, Ander, is preparing to leave for college but is spending one last year working at their family’s taqueria and painting murals in San Antonio. When they meet the new waiter Santi, everything changes.
  • As You Walk On By. By Julian Winters. 2023. 328 p. Viking, $18.99  (9780593206508). Gr. 9 – 12. Seventeen year-old Theo finds himself hiding in a bedroom during a party following his promposal that goes horribly wrong. As, one by one, Theo’s fellow classmates pop into that bedroom seeking refuge of their own, an unlikely group forms that changes the status quo.
  • *Becoming a Queen. By Dan Clay. 2023. 407 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250843098). Gr. 8 – 12. Mark Davis wore a pretty dress and his boyfriend broke up with him. Now Mark is on his road to a new romance and self-acceptance when tragedy strikes, and he must figure out who he wants to be in order to move on.
  • Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything. By Justine Pucella Winans. 2023. 362 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780358721642). Gr. 9 – 12. Bianca Torre enjoys bird and people from their bedroom window. When they witness the murder of their neighbor, they start a bizarre journey to solve the murder, despite having a long list of fears. Through the process, they also find themselves and valuable relationships. 
  • Bittersweet in the Hollow. By Kate Pearsall. 2023. 373 p. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99  (9780593531020). Gr. 9 – 12. One year after Linden James returns from the woods with no memory of what happened on Summer Solstice, another girl is found murdered in the same woods.  Linden and her sisters use their family’s controversial magic to discover what lurks in the woods before it can strike again.
  • The Buried and the Bound. By Rochelle Hassan. 2023. 375 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250822208). Gr. 9 – 12. When the barrier between her hometown and the adjacent fairyland in the woods starts thinning, Aziza must team up with a cursed high school student and a mysterious necromancer to save the city they call home.  
  • The Chalice of the Gods. By Rick Riordan. 2023. 268 p. Disney-Hyperion, $19.99 (9781368098175). Gr. 5 – Up. Percy Jackson returns with the need to acquire three godly letters of recommendation in order to get into the same college as his girlfriend. 
  • Chaos Theory. By Nic Stone. 2023. 278 p. Crown Books for Young Readers, $18.99  (9780593307700). Gr. 8 – 12. Genius high school senior, Shelbi, meets politician’s son, Andy, on one of his worst days, and reaches out to help. Their unlikely friendship becomes more, but they both have complicated pasts that might end up keeping them apart.
  • City of Nightmares. By Rebecca Schaeffer. 2023. 374 p. Clarion, $18.99  (9780358647300). Gr. 9 – 12. No one dreams in Newham, where pills and treated water keep sleeping people safe from transforming into literal Nightmares. After surviving a ferry bombing, self-described coward Ness works with the other survivor, Cy, a Nightmare, to investigate why they are still being targeted, leading them to uncover a dark conspiracy.
  • Cruel Illusions. By Margie Fuston. 2022. 503 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $21.99  (9781665902106). Gr. 9 – 12. Following her mother’s murder by a vampire, Ava leaves her brother and new foster family to join a mysterious magic troupe that performs impossible illusions. Recognizing her hidden powers, they invite her to compete in a dangerous game to become a magician and join them as vampire hunters.
  • *Dear Medusa. By Olivia Cole. 2023. 377 p. Labyrinth Road, $18.99  (9780593485736). Gr. 9 – 12. After being sexually abused by a popular teacher at her school Alicia feels cut off from the world around her, until one day, she gets a note from another survivor. 
  • Delicious Monsters. By Liselle Sambury. 2023. 504 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $21.99  (9781665903493). Gr. 9 – 12. Two young women’s experiences with a haunted manor in northern Ontario intersect as Brittney researches Daisy’s hotly debated disappearance.
  • *Divine Rivals. By Rebecca Ross. 2023. 357 p. Wednesday Books, $18.99  (9781250857439). Gr. 10 – 12. As the war between the gods creeps closer to the city, Iris and Roman fiercely compete to become the new newspaper columnist for the prestigious Oath Gazette. Their lives become further entwined and complicated thanks to the magical letters they unknowingly write to each other.
  • A Door in the Dark. By Scott Reintgen. 2023. 361 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99  (9781665918688). Gr. 10 – 12. Working class wizard Ren Monroe does her best at Balmerick University to prove her magic prowess so she can be recruited by a major house. When a portal spell malfunctions, she is transported with five other students to dangerous wilderness days from home.
  • The Do-Over. By Lynn Painter. 2022. 291 p. Simon & Schuster, $19.99  (781534478862). Gr. 9 – 12. Emilie Hornby gets stuck in a time loop where she is forced to relive the most dreadful Valentine’s Day over and over again, but she soon discovers that running into her grumpy and cute Chemistry partner may not be the worst thing to ever happen.
  • The Dos and Donuts of Love. By Adiba Jaigirdar. 2023. 321 p. Feiwel and Friends, $19.99  (9781250842114). Gr. 8 – 12. Shireen Malik is determined to win the Junior Irish Baking Show to save her parents’ struggling donut shop, but finds herself partnered with her ex-girlfriend.  Navigating friendships, romantic entanglements, and the competition is enough to challenge any baker.
  • The Fall of Whit Rivera. By Crystal Maldonado. 2023. 342 p. Holiday House, $19.99  (9780823452361). Gr. 9 – 12. Whit Rivera has recently been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and is learning to navigate her new life. Together with her two best friends and her middle school ex-boyfriend, Whit plans the Fall Fest of her dreams and might just find love along the way.
  • *For Lamb. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. 2023. p. Holiday House, $18.99  (9780823450152). Gr. Lamb’s forbidden friendship with a white girl in 1940s Mississippi has devastating consequences for her and her family.
  • Forever Is Now. By Mariama Lockington. 2023. 398 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99  (9780374388881). Gr. 9 – 12. A painful breakup coupled with witnessing police brutality toward another young Black woman triggers Sadie’s agoraphobia and anxiety, effectively ending her summer plans. Sadie works toward a fuller life with the help of her family, friend, and a new neighbor on his own mental health journey.
  • Forget Me Not. By Alyson Derrick. 2023. 308 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665902373). Gr. 9 – 12. After an accident leaves Stevie with a case of amnesia, she no longer remembers her tender romance with Nora nor their plans to flee their conservative home town. Slowly, Stevie must struggle to remember her own full identity and who really matters in her life.
  • Give Me a Sign. By Anna Sortino. 2023. 303 p. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99  (9780593533796). Gr. 7 – 10. Lilah is hard of hearing and uses hearing aids, but she feels like she doesn’t fit in with the hearing world. She learns to embrace her Deaf identity while working as a junior counselor at a summer camp for the deaf and blind, while also making friends and starting a summer romance. 
  • Gloria Buenrostro Is Not My Girlfriend. By Brandon Hoàng. 2023. 293 p. Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.99  (9780374388577). Gr. 8 – 12. Gary Võ’s revelation that he has an “in” with the untouchable Gloria Buenrostro has the potential of lifting him and his best friend, Preston, out of social obscurity–if he is willing to betray Gloria’s trust in the relationship the two of them have built.
  • Going Bicoastal. By Dahlia Adler. 2023. 325 p. Wednesday Books, $20.00  (9781250871640). Gr. 9 – 12. Jewish, bisexual Natalya has to choose between trying something new and scary or making the familiar new again in this light-hearted rom-com, which tells two parallel romance storylines: one where Natalya spends her summer in LA with her estranged mother and one where she stays in NYC with her dad.
  • Gone Wolf. By Amber McBride. 2023. 348 p. Feiwel & Friends, $17.99  (9781250850492). Gr. 4 – 7. Imogen is a “blue” and wants to be free to make her own choices. However, her role is to be “spare parts” for Lark, a white boy.
  • Gorgeous Gruesome Faces. By Linda Cheng. 2023. 311 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250864994). Gr. 9 – 12. After a scandal that ended her popstar career, Sunny finds herself face-to-face with her demons when she enters a K-Pop competition alongside her former bandmate. When contestants start getting injured, Sunny becomes worried that her former bandmate is responsible.
  • Heartbreak Boys. By Simon James Green. 2022. 376 p. Clarion Books, $18.99  (9780358617259). Gr.8 – 12. Jack and Nate used to be best friends, but have not spoken in years. When they find out on prom night that their boyfriends have secretly been seeing each other, they take off on a summer road trip to prove that they are living their best lives and start to remember along the way why they were friends and why now maybe they could be more.
  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute. By Talia Hibbert. 2023. 319 p. Joy Revolution, $19.99  (9780593482339). Gr. 9 – 12. Celine and Brad used to be best friends, until Brad ditched Celine for the in-crowd. Now, they’re academic rivals. When they both sign up for a survival course in the woods, with a scholarship as the grand prize, their competition brings up long-buried resentments, but also the possibility of reconciliation. 
  • How To Succeed in Witchcraft. By Aislinn Brophy. 2022. 406 p. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99  (9780593354520). Gr. 9 – 12. Shay Johnson is one of the top witches at her school To win the coveted Brockton Scholarship, ensuring her admittance to the college of her dreams, Shay must step outside her comfort zone to do the school musical with a teacher who has questionable motives.
  • *I Kick and I Fly. By Ruchira Gupta. 2023. 336 p. Scholastic Press, $18.99  (9781338825091). Gr. 7 – 12. Heera is a girl, told since she was little, that she is destined for a life of prostitution. She is invited into a hostel for endangered girls and is given the chance to learn kung fu and, in the process, learn about how strong she really is.
  • If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come. By Jen St. Jude. 2023. 397 p. Bloomsbury YA, $19.99  (9781547611362). Gr. 10 – 12. Avery is ready to end her life when she receives a call that an asteroid is imminent and  will end the world for everyone. With a handful of days left, she must decide how and with whom to spend the remaining time. 
  • Invisible Son. By Kim Johnson. 2023. 404 p. Random House, $18.99  (9780593482100). Gr. 9 – 12. Andres Jackson just spent two months incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.  A restorative justice program allows him to return to his family home in Northeast Portland but his  plans for returning to school and establishing his innocence are interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Izzy at the End of the World. By K. A. Reynolds. 2023. 330 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780358467779). Gr. 5 – 9. Izzy Wilder is a fourteen-year-old autistic girl who recently lost her mom. Now living with her grandparents, Izzy witnesses a bright light that causes everyone she knows to vanish. With only her beloved dog left of her family, Izzy must try to survive.
  • The Lake House. By Sarah Beth Durst. 2023. 354 p. HarperTeen, $19.99  (9780063214071). Gr. 9 – 12. Three girls arrive at a remote island summer camp to find the lodge burned to the ground and no others around. Even without cell service, they figure rescue will come soon, until they find a dead body in the woods and realize they’re not as alone as they thought.
  • Mascot. By Charles Waters and Traci Sorrell. 2023. 248 p. Charlesbridge, $13.57  (9781623543808). Gr. 5 – 8. Seven middle school English-Honors students must debate the pros and cons of keeping their future high school’s Indigenous mascot.
  • Miles Morales Suspended. By Jason Reynolds. 2023. 303 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665918466). Gr. 7 – 12. Miles Morales, Spider-Man, is stuck serving an undeserved In School Suspension along with his crush Alica Carson and a nefarious library aid.  Miles’s Spidey senses go on full alert when he hears an unnatural sound that results in an epic adventure to save history from being destroyed.
  • The Minus-One Club. By Kekla Magoon. 2023. 360 p. Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), $19.99  (9781250806208). Gr. 9 – 12. After fifteen year-old Kermit loses his older sister in a car accident, he finds a message signed “-1” in his locker, inviting him into an unlikely group of fellow students dealing with grief.
  • Nigeria Jones. By Ibi Zoboi. 2023. 369 p. Balzar + Bray, $17.99  (9780062888846). Gr. 7 – 12. Growing up in a Black Nationalist compound, Nigeria Jones has accepted her father’s philosophies without question. His decision to begin a relationship with a younger woman in the absence of Nigeria’s mother as well as his restrictions prohibiting her from attending the private school her mother wanted her to attend are causing Nigeria not just to question him, but to rebel.
  • *Plan A. By Deb Caletti. 2023. 404 p. Labyrinth Road, $18.99  ( 9780593485552). Gr. 10 – 12. Ivy and her boyfriend Lorenzo embark on a cross-country road trip from Texas to Oregon so Ivy can legally choose to end an unintended pregnancy.  Along the journey, Ivy finds support through many surprisingly encouraging encounters in this story with a sweetly developed romance, healing, and hope.
  • *Promise Boys. By Nick Brooks. 2023. 294 p. Henry Holt and Co., $19.99  (9781250866974). Gr. 9 – 12. J.B., Ramón, and Trey are students at the prestigious and strict Urban Promise Prep School when their principal is murdered and the three become the prime suspects. 
  • The Queens of New York. By E.L. Shen. 2023. 326 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780063237957). Gr. 8 – 11. Summer has just begun when three best friends, Everett, Jia and Ariel head separate ways for a summer of discovery, romance, and most importantly, friendship. That summer will also test their relationship and create opportunities for personal growth.
  • Rain Rising. By Courtne Comrie. 2022. 327 p. Harper, $16.99  (9780063159730). Gr. 5 – 12. Rain is struggling to find out who she is and where she fits in during her eighth grade year of school when her beloved older brother is attacked during a college visit in what appears to be a racially motivated beating. 
  • Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling. By Elise Bryant. 2023. 392 p. Balzer + Bray, $18.99  (9780063212992). Gr. 8 – 11. A New Year’s Eve gig that Delilah can’t get out of and a little peer pressure forcing Reggie to attend a party where Delilah’s band is performing is the beginning of a relationship that neither of them can seem to escape. 
  • Remind Me to Hate You Later. By Lizzy Mason. 2023. 308 p. Bloomsbury YA, $18.99 (9781547609185). Gr. 9 – 12. Reeling from the death of her best friend, Jules, by suicide. Natalie must learn how to move on with her life as she grapples with blaming herself and Jules’s mom, a lifestyle blogger. Told in dual narration between Jules and Natalie.   
  • Rhythm and Muse. By India Hill Brown. 2023. 248 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780063217553). Gr. 8 – 12. Darren is pining for Delia, but is too in his own head to tell her how he feels.  That’s when his best friend sends a song Darren has recorded to Delia as an entry into a contest to find a new intro to her podcast. Now Darren needs to step up and own his music or lose Delia.
  • *Saints of the Household. By Ari Tison. 2023. 312 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99  (9780374389499). Gr. 9 – 12. Max and Jay are brothers who have relied on each for everything including protecting their mother from an abusive father. After a violent altercation with a classmate, they begin a journey of healing through an exploration of their Bribri American identity as well as looking outward to others for help.
  • The Secrets We Keep. By Cassie Gustafson. 2022. 340 p. Simon & Schuster BFYR, $19.99  (9781665906944). Gr.. 9 – 12. Fifteen-year-old Emma’s life is turned upside down when her father is accused of molesting Hannah, her best–and only–friend in this hopeful story of two sexual abuse survivors.
  • The Sharp Edge of Silence. By Cameron Kelly Rosenblum. 2023. 473 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780062932105). Gr. 9 – 12 Quinn, Max, and Charlotte must decide how far they are willing to go to end the tacitly accepted rape culture at their prestigious boarding Lycroft Phelps School.
  • She Is a Haunting. By Trang Thanh Tran. 2023. 341 p. Bloomsbury, $18.99  (9781547610815). Gr. 9 – 12. When Jade Nguyen visits her estranged father in Vietnam, she plans to help him restore his French colonial home, in exchange for the college money he promised. Instead, she finds the house haunted by its past, hungry for visitors, and willing to keep her entire family within its walls forever.
  • A Spark in the Cinders. By Jenny Elder Moke. 2023. 361 p. Disney Hyperion, $18.99  (9781368039918). Gr. 8 – 10. Aralyn finds herself aligned with her former stepsister, Cinderella, on a quest to save the kingdom of Novador from the machinations of the scheming Lady Tremaine who plans to marry off Aralyn’s youngest sister to a rival prince.
  • Spell Bound. By F.T. Lukens. 2023. 323 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99  (9781665916226). Gr. 7 – 12. Rook is a genius who grew up around magic, but isn’t magical. He gets a job working in the office of the famous sorceress Antonia Hex who handles magical emergencies. Rook soon realizes he must break the rules in order to become who he was always meant to be.
  • The Spirit Bares Its Teeth. By Andrew Joseph White. 2023. 381 p. Peachtree Teen, $19.99  (9781682636114). Gr. 10 – 12. Silas, attempting to escape an arranged marriage, is forced to attend a finishing school for “Veil Sickness,” an illness that is claimed to make violet-eyed people go mad. When the ghosts of missing girls speak to him, he struggles to find the truth of their whereabouts and possible deaths. 
  • Star Splitter. By Matthew Kirby. 2023. 305 p. Dutton Books for Young Readers, $18.99  (9780735231665). Gr. 7 – 12. In 2199, space exploration and teleportation are routine and considered safe. However, when 17-year-old Jessica is made to travel via teleportation to be reunited with her parents and assist them with a science expedition, she wakes up confused and alone on a crashed lander.
  • Stateless. By Elizabeth Wein. 2023. 384 p. Little, Brown and Company, $18.99  (9780316591249). Gr. 8 – 12. As the only female pilot in a high stakes aviation race for young people set during pre WW II Europe, Stella North must band together with other young pilots to solve a mystery of why one pilot seemingly purposefully caused the death of another.
  • *Their Vicious Games. By Joelle Wellington. 2023. 407 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665922425). Gr. 9 – 12. Adina struggles after losing her admission to Yale and her potential gleaming future. When the elite Remingtons invite her to participate in the Finish, she has an opportunity to gain it all back and then some. Yet, the price of the competition might be more than she bargained for.
  • This Dark Descent. By Kalyn Josephson. 2023. 387 p. Roaring Brook Press, $20.99  (9781250812360). Gr. 9 – 12. A young woman desperate to save her family, a practitioner of forbidden magic longing for safety, and a crafty nobleman with high ambitions come together to win a deadly enchanted horse race that promises to solve all their problems, if it doesn’t destroy them first.
  • This Delicious Death. By Kayla Cottingham. 2023. 290 p. Sourcebooks Fire, $11.99  (9781728236445). Gr. 9 – 12. A new pathogen requires individuals to eat synthetic human meat to not turn into monsters. All is going well until people start disappearing at a music festival. As users of the synthetic meat, Zoey, Celeste and their friends are determined to solve the mystery before more people get hurt. 
  • This Time It’s Real. By Ann Liang. 2023. 337 p. Scholastic Press, $18.99  (9781338827118). Gr. 9 – 12. When Eliza’s “true” essay about her fake relationship goes viral and she is offered the chance at an internship, she makes a deal with a famous classmate to partake in a mutually beneficial fake romance, but it becomes hard to separate her real feelings and keep up with the lies.
  • Those Pink Mountain Nights. By Jen Ferguson. 2023. 328 p. Heartdrum, $19.99  (9780063086210). Gr. 9 – 12. Berlin is a perfectionist, Cam is a high school dropout, and Jessie is the rich girl. They all work at Pink Mountain Pizza and discover that they just might need each other to find a missing Indigenous girl and prevent the corporate buyout of their favorite pizza place.
  • Unraveller. By Frances Hardinge. 2023. 423 p. Amulet Books, $24.99  (9781419759314). Gr. 6 – 9. In Raddith, a marshy country bordered by the dangerous Wilds, terrible curses are commonplace. Kellen, a young man with the strange power to unravel curses, is hired to unravel a curse that leads him to uncover a conspiracy to create more cursers and use them to target specific people–including him.
  • *Warrior Girl Unearthed. By Angeline Boulley. 2023. 396 p. Henry Holt and Company, $19.99  (9781250766588). Gr. 9 – 12. Perry Firekeeper-Birch finds herself embroiled in a plot to steal the remains of her tribal ancestors before they are turned over to a university museum or sold to private collectors.
  • We Are All So Good at Smiling. By Amber McBride. 2023. 283 p. Feiwel & Friends, $19.99  (9781250780386). Gr. 9 – 12. Whimsy is back in the hospital to treat her ongoing clinical depression. This time proves different and life changing when she meets a boy there named Faerry. Over time she realizes they both share magic, a fear of the forest, and a dark forgotten secret.
  • We Deserve Monuments. By Jas Hammonds. 2022. 375 p. Roaring Brook Publishers, $18.99  (9781250816559). Gr. 9 – 12. Avery is nursing a broken heart when her parents drag her from her Washington, D. C. home to Georgia to care for her crabby grandmother, Mama Letty. New friends, new loves, and the painful mystery of her grandfather’s death at the hands of the sheriff make for an emotional visit.
  • What Happened to Rachel Riley?. By Claire Swinarski. 2023. 343 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780063213098). Gr. 5 – 8. When Anna starts eighth grade at a new school, she is immediately drawn to the mystery surrounding Rachel Riley, a former popular student who the entire eighth grade class has shunned. Anna decides to use her fact-finding skills to create a podcast dedicated to figuring out what happened to Rachel Riley.
  • What Stalks Among Us. By Sarah Hollowell. 2023. 385 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780063251816). Gr. 9 – 12. When Sadie and Logan skip school they find themselves in a corn maze. A corn maze that they’ve entered over and over again stuck in a time loop. Can they work together to escape the maze before they’re consumed by it forever.
  • When the Angels Left the Old Country. By Sacha Lamb. 2022. 400 p. Levine Querido, $19.99  (9781646141760). Gr. 9 – 12. A patient angel and a mischievous demon who have been studying Talmud together for centuries in their little Russian shtetl travel to America to perform a mitzvah, locating a young woman who left for the “golden land” to find her fortune but hasn’t been heard from since. 
  • Where You See Yourself. By Claire Forrest. 2023. 306 p. Scholastic Press, $19.99  (9781338813838). Gr. 10 – 12. Effie, a high school senior with cerebral palsy, grapples with advocating for herself, deciding which college to attend, and revealing her feelings to the guy she has had a secret crush on for years. 

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Mascot by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell

  • Mascot
  • by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge
  • Release date: Sept 5, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781623543808

As part of their 8th grade Honors English class, students are asked to consider whether their mascot, an “Indian Brave”, is appropriate and whether it should be changed.  Their assignment: write a research paper and be prepared to debate the topic as partners in class.

Told from the perspectives of the students in the class, their teacher, and community stakeholders, this provides a nuanced discussion of a timely and controversial topic written by #ownvoices authors. Engaging writing with ample white space allows the plot to flow well.  Student voices and perspectives are distinct and realistic, but the language used makes it accessible to teens on the younger end of the age range.
Students who are athletes or are passionate fans, as well as those readers who want to better understand diverse perspectives will connect with this books. Hand this title to young social justice advocates who liked Miles Morales: Suspended by Jason Reynolds or those who want to think deeply about identity and liked Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie.

-Melissa Palmer

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: February 21, 2023
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Release Date: September 12, 2023

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA24TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Stateless by Elizabeth Wein

  • Stateless
  • by Elizabeth Wein
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Release date: March 14, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780316591249

What starts out as an air race between young pilots to promote peace across Europe quickly turns into a murder mystery when one plane seemingly purposefully attacks another.  As the only female pilot in the race, Stella North feels unsure of her place amidst the intrigue and competition, yet she cannot help but be drawn into a search for the truth.

This book had gripping suspense and richly researched historical details.  The dramatic irony comes as the reader realizes that many of these current allies in the novel will soon be pitted against each other as WWII looms ahead. A burgeoning romance between Stella and an arch-rival adds yet another layer as she battles for her right to be taken seriously as a pilot while trying to determine whether he is a ruthless killer.


This book will be well liked by fans of suspenseful historical fiction who enjoyed Wein’s previous work as well as fans of Ruta Sepetys and Monica Hesse.  Readers who loved the high stakes racing scenes of Kalyn Josephson’s This Dark Descent will also find plenty to appreciate in this title.

-Marie LeJeune

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: May 2, 2023

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA24TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: For Lamb by Lesa Cline-Ransome

  • For Lamb
  • by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • Publisher: Holiday House
  • Release date: January 10, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780823450152

Lamb Clark doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about all the things she cannot change in Jackson, Mississippi. Her mom, Marion, does, though.  All her life, Lamb has heard her mother demanding strength of Lamb and her older brother, Simeon.  Hardship and keeping out of the way of white folks is just a way of life, and keeping one’s head down when white mobs go on a lynching rampage is a matter of life and death for the Clarks. That’s why Lamb’s forbidden friendship with Dr. Tremper’s daughter, Marny, is dangerous. Lamb and Marny share a love of reading, a parent who is not in the picture, and older brothers who try to parent the girls. Their difference is that while Lamb’s brother, Simeon, could be accused of and lynched for taking liberties with a white woman, Marny’s brother, George, can assault Lamb and then bring a mob calling for “justice” when Simeon retaliates. 

Cline-Ransome uses multiple perspectives–each with a unique voice–to bring readers into the violence of 1940s Mississippi. Like Emmett Till’s mother who insisted on an open casket, Cline-Ransome lays bare the brutal ugliness of a time period of history in which citizens of our country were treated with savage indifference and gross injustice. The plot is compelling. Lamb’s fears of what others will think of her, her aggravation with a mother who doesn’t seem to understand her, and the longing for a relationship with her father are universally recognizable, making the terror with which she lives daily all the more palpable. The conclusion is breathtakingly painful, and yet Cline-Ransome manages to end the story on a note of hope.


This is a book for teens who connect with characters empathetically. It will be especially appreciated by those who want to understand how historical traumas inform current events. Readers who connected with Liselle Sambury’s Delicious Monsters, Angeline Boulley’s Warrior Girl Unearthed, or Ruchira Gupta’s I Kick and I Fly will also find this an unforgettable story.

-Jodi Kruse

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: September 26, 2023

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Invisible Son by Kim Johnson

  • Invisible Son
  • by Kim Johnson
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Release date: June 27, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593482100

Seventeen-year-old Andres Jackson just spent two months incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.  A restorative justice program is allowing him to return to his family home in Northeast Portland–and the neighborhood friends who were actually the guilty parties.  However, Andres’ plans for returning to school and establishing his innocence are interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Andres now must juggle pandemic losses, family struggles, and the realization that perhaps the truth behind who framed him for stealing is much more complicated than he previously thought.  

This title is a suspenseful and dramatic mystery that slowly builds towards an action packed climax.  The story weaves together important aspects of the historical treatment of Blacks in Portland, contemporary social justice themes, a complicated romance storyline, and a slow burning suspenseful mystery plot.  Readers will connect with Andres’ struggle to learn the truth.

Teen readers drawn to storylines about social justice advocacy and emotion-filled dramas will be drawn to this text. Fans of Nic Stone’s Dear Martin and Dear Justyce, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose, and Jason Reynolds’ and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys will enjoy this important story of racial injustice and its intersection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

-Marie LeJeune

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA24TeenFB