Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
ISBN: 9781250767080

Ning is wracked with guilt after accidentally brewing the poison tea that kills her mother. The same tea now threatens to take her sister, Shu. She obsessively searches for a cure, but to no avail. Her mother was skilled in the art of magical tea making, but she died before Ning could master the gift. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of I Am the Ghost in Your House by Maria Romasco Moore

I Am the Ghost in Your House by Maria Romasco Moore
Delacorte
Publication Date: April 19, 2022
ISBN: 9780593177211

Seventeen-year-old Pie (short for Pieta) is invisible, and the only other person who can see her is her equally transparent mother. The upside? They can stay in the most luxurious homes, enjoy the fanciest food and clothes and take everything they want. The downside? They can never stay in one place too long, as being discovered almost always leads to freakouts about ghosts and exorcisms. Unlike her mother, who views invisibility as necessary camouflage, Pie longs to be seen–especially by Tess, the girl she fell in love with while “haunting” her house.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
ISBN: 9780593309032

Years of foster care have severely damaged Black, bisexual teen Bitter’s ability to trust anyone, but she has come to feel safe at Eucalyptus, a home for vulnerable teen artists. There, she is able to pursue her art and, occasionally, bring it temporarily to life by bringing it into contact with her blood. When Bitter starts to engage with teens from Assata, a social justice group, her fury at the wealthy white people in control of their town, Lucille, results in the creation of a monster that calls itself Vengeance. Horrified at what she has created, Bitter is forced to work through her anxieties in order to find a way to stop a bloodbath.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
St. Martin’s Publishing
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
ISBN: 9781250244451

At the beginning of her freshman year, Chloe Green and her moms move from California to small town Alabama. Although it is not her scene, Chloe enrolls at Willowgrove Christian Academy which has excellent academics. There she is able to find her people through the drama club plus an academic rival in golden girl, Shara Wheeler – who disappears on senior prom night. Chloe and two unlikely allies, Smith, Shara’s boyfriend, and Rory, Shara’s neighbor, embark on a mission to find her before graduation. They must succeed, otherwise Chloe’s near certain valedictory triumph will ring hollow. Includes an author note at the beginning with content warnings of religious trauma and homophobia.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Loveless by Alice Oseman

Loveless by Alice Oseman
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
ISBN: 9781338751932

White, British, romcom-loving teen Georgia has always been told that she would eventually find someone she would be attracted to, but Georgia is tired of waiting. For her first year at university, she is determined to find someone that she likes in that way. But after a few revelations, it starts to become clear to Georgia that attraction doesn’t work the same way for her as it seems to for everyone else. Good thing she has some amazing friends to help her figure things out.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Winter

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Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.

Ace of Spades. By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250800817). 

Ambitious queen bee Chiamaka and loner scholarship kid Devon are the only Black students at school. That’s all they have in common until an online bully going by the name “Aces” starts spilling all their secrets. Chiamaka and Devon will have to join forces to bring Aces down—or lose everything.

Bad Witch Burning. By Jessica Lewis. Penguin Random House/Delacorte Press, $17.99 (9780593177389). 

Katrell’s ability to converse with the dead has been earning her enough money to help her mom pay bills and buy food. When she makes a startling discovery about her abilities around the same time she receives a dire warning to stop using her magic, Katrell is faced with an impossible decision.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt. By Heather Smith. 2020. Penguin Random House Canada/Penguin Teen, $17.99 (9780735267466). 

After watching a performance of Irish step dancers, Barry Squires decides he was meant for tap shoes. The trick will be convincing everyone around him to give him a chance.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of On the Hook by Francisco X. Stork

On the Hook by Francisco X. Stork
Scholastic Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338692150

The last few years haven’t been easy for Hector and his family. His father’s untimely death resulted in the loss of their home and subsequent move to the projects, and sent his brother Fili into a battle with depression and alcohol abuse. But things seem to be looking up–Hector’s become a star player on the school’s chess team and just recently won a prestigious essay contest. Even Fili seems to be doing better. Then, Joey, the younger brother of a local gang member, targets Hector, intimidating him and threatening to kill him. Terrified, but too afraid to tell anyone, Hector’s life begins spiraling downhill again, culminating in a tragic encounter that lands Hector in a reformatory school along with his nemesis, Joey. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry Cover Art

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
HarperCollins / HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063024793

Quinn, a wealthy Black high school senior at a predominantly white private school in Austin, TX, keeps deeply personal lists in her journal, like “If I Could Kiss Anyone,” and “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud.” When a mixup with Carter, one of the few other Black students in school, results in Quinn’s journal being held by anonymous blackmailers who threaten to post her most humiliating lists on social media unless she completes her “To Do Before I Graduate” list (including confessing her love to her best friend, admitting she didn’t get into the Ivy League school her parents think she did, and finally visiting her grandma with dementia), Carter offers to help Quinn complete the items on her list and find the blackmailers.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

You'll Be the Death of Me Cover Art

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593175866 

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal drifted apart after “The Best Day Ever” in middle school when they all snuck out of a boring field trip to explore downtown Boston. When the ex-friends find themselves alone in the high school parking lot one morning, it seems like too good a sign to ignore. They skip school again–and immediately stumble into secrets, scandal, and mystery. They spot Brian “Boney” Mahoney downtown, also missing class, and follow him to his own murder. In one fell swoop, The Best Day Ever 2.0 turns very, very bad indeed. Now the cops have questions, classmates’ wild speculations are going viral online, and the trio’s own secrets from each other threaten their delicate new alliance. Who killed Boney–and who’s trying to frame Ivy, Cal, and Mateo for murder?

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Mirror Season Cover Art

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore
Macmillan / Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250624123

Latinx teen Graciela attends a party and is sexually assaulted along with a white boy she’s never met before. The boy has been drugged, so Ciela drops him off at the hospital before heading home, vowing to herself that she’ll forget everything that happened that night. Unfortunately, it turns out that forgetting the incident will prove to be difficult as Ciela discovers she has lost her talent for identifying which type of pan dolce the customers at her tia’s pasteleria want before they even know – the talent that earned her the nickname “La Bruja de los Pasteles.” She’s also noticing that objects around her are turning into mirrors, neighborhood trees are disappearing and the annual Santa Ana winds are conspicuously missing this year. To make matters worse, the boy Ciela took to the hospital is her school’s newest student and helping him might be the only way Ciela can start to get her life back.

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