The Misewa Saga by David A. Robertson Penguin Random House Canada/Puffin Books –The Barren Grounds (vol. 1) Publication Date: September 8, 2020 ISBN: 978-0735266100
–The Great Bear (vol. 2) Publication Date: September 28, 2021 ISBN: 978-0735266131
Indigenous foster kids Morgan and Eli have been separated from their families and placed with a white foster couple in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both children feel alone and different from everyone around them at their new home and school, but Morgan and Eli have a secret. They can cross into another world — the land of Askí, where across the Barren Grounds they’ve befriended the talking animal villagers of Misewa. All Eli has to do is draw a picture, staple it to the wall of the attic, and he and Morgan can step into a fantasy land. During their first adventure in Askí, the two meet and befriend a fisher named Ochek, the sole remaining hunter of his starving village. Together, they embark on a weeks-long voyage to discover what has happened to the summer birds that are meant to keep the land alive. As they travel, Morgan begins to learn how to live on the land as her people do, and Eli flourishes with opportunities to share his knowledge. Many dangers await, and even if Morgan and Eli do return home, they must figure out how to explain their long absence.
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.
The City Beautiful. By Aden Polydoros. Harlequin/Inkyard Press, $19.99 (9781335402509).
Amidst the glitz and glamour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Alter Rosen, a gay, Jewish, Romanian immigrant teen, becomes possessed by the dybbuk of his murdered friend and must avenge the deaths of his friend and a growing number of other local Jewish boys.
Curses. By Lish McBride. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781984815590).
When Merit refuses to marry a prince, she is cursed to live as a beast. Tevin’s family runs cons on rich girls, but when his mom runs afoul of the beast she trades him for her freedom. This fresh, gender-bent Beauty and the Beast retelling examines what “beastly” really is.
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger Levine Querido Publication Date: October 12, 2021 ISBN: 978-1646140923
Nina is a Lipan Apache teen in the very near future. Ever since her great-great-grandmother told an untranslatable Lipan story on her deathbed, Nina has been searching for answers. Oli is a cottonmouth person in the Reflecting World. Ever since his mother sent him away (as all cottonmouth mothers eventually do), Oli has been trying to make a new home for himself. As Nina learns more about the connection between her family and their land, Oli’s best friend falls dangerously ill. Now the cottonmouth boy ventures to Earth to seek the help of a human girl, and together they must turn the tides of change to protect those they love.
Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles Scholastic Press Publication Date: September 21, 2021 ISBN: 978-1338734188
Gio’s life is complicated… not because he is bisexual. Not because of his father’s drinking problem. Gio’s life is complicated because his mother, who he has not seen or heard from in eight years, is back in town. She wants to meet and talk, but Gio is confused. Should he forgive her? Should he tell her that she gave up her chance to be in his life? Adding to Gio’s confusion is the attractive new boy that he meets in school. Are they friends? Or more than friends? There are no simple answers, but Gio is bound and determined to figure things out anyway.
Small Favorsby Erin A. Craig Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press Publication Date: July 27, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593306741
The residents of Amity Falls live small, peaceful lives, toiling away on farms, helping their neighbors, and tending to the town. Ellerie Downing’s life is no different. She helps her father with the beekeeping, cooks and mends for her family, and takes care of her two younger sisters. But something wicked is stirring in the woods surrounding Amity Falls. The monsters of legend that stalked the area have returned and have cut off their peaceful little town from the rest of the world.
As summer turns to fall and supplies start to run low, the residents turn to a tricky and magical creature who promises to give them their heart’s desire in return for a small favor. But when the town folk begin to turn on each other, Ellerie realizes that something even more sinister is at play in Amity Falls and she must race against time to save her town and her family.
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride Macmillan / Feiwel & Friends Publication Date: August 17, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250780362
After Black teen Moth is in a car accident that kills her parents and brother, she has no other options but living with her aunt in Virginia. Unable to dance since the crash, the only solace and peace she seems to be able to find are in the memories of her grandfather and his Hoodoo practice, but then Sani appears and is everything Moth needs most – stoic, solid, comforting. Moth and Sani decide to take a road trip to Sani’s ancestral Navajo homeland, and as Sani gets closer to his own roots, Moth begins to find her wings again.
The Secret Life of Kitty Granger by G.D. Falksen Lerner / Carolrhoda Lab Publication Date: March 2, 2021 ISBN: 978-1541597966
Kitty is an unordinary, autistic, 16-year-old British teenager living in the 1960’s London East End. Kitty is offered the chance to work as a spy for Her Majesty’s government against fascist agents in England, and she soon finds out that the things that made her different (like hyper-awareness of the world around her) could make her a spy. Stumbling into the Cold War spy game, Kitty has gone from being an outsider to being a part of a team trying to protect their nation.
Don’t Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd Bloomsbury YA Publication Date: June 15, 2021 ISBN: 978-1547605026
Sixteen-year-old Emilia Romero has a secret life. By day, she’s a high-achieving Latinx student who takes AP classes, leads the field hockey team, has a popular jock for a boyfriend, and will even be running for student council as vice president to her best friend Penny (who is Black). By night (and on weekends), she’s part of Team Fury, an e-sports team competing in the virtual reality game Guardians League Online, who has just been tapped to participate in a live tournament with a pot of two hundred thousand dollars. No one at school knows her secret, and she’d like to keep it that way. But when Jake Hooper, who is also playing in the tournament on another team, shows up as a new student, Emilia’s two worlds threaten to collide.
Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June HarperCollins / HarperTeen Publication Date: June 1, 2021 ISBN: 978-0063015159
Jay Collier is an out and proud white gay teen in rural Washington. As everyone in school has paired off and are busy experiencing their first relationships, Jay has no one to date. He creates “Jay’s Gay Agenda”: a bucket list of relationship experiences he wants to have. When his family moves to Seattle at the start of his senior year, he is overjoyed at the idea of being surrounded by other queer teens and hopes to start marking things off his list. As Jay jumps into life at his new school and starts making new friends, he discovers that the balancing act between balancing his time and energy between his new and old friends is hard; throw in dating and crossing off agenda experiences and suddenly life is really complicated.
Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi Penguin Random House / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Publication Date: May 18, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593109427
Parvin Mohammadi can’t wait to start high school after a magical summer at the beach with her first-ever boyfriend — but when he dumps her on the first day of high school in front of her friends for being “too loud,” Parvin hatches a scheme to become the perfect rom-com girl so hunky sophomore Matty Fumero will ask her to homecoming. Parvin will do whatever it takes to suppress her loud, hairy, flashy, prank-obsessed self and live her high school dream, even if the boy she’s growing closer to in her Farsi classes seems to like those things about her.