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.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that have been 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.
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All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team. By Christina Soontornvat. Read by Quincy Surasmith & Christina Soontornvat. 2020. Brilliance Audio, $35.99 (9781713547792).
An honest and frank account of the 2018 Thai cave rescue told in a thrilling and fast-paced manner, perfect for younger and older teen readers alike. Quincy Surasmith is a capable narrator and will keep readers engaged with this tense and true story.
As Good as Dead: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. By Holly Jackson. Read by Bailey Carr, Kristen DiMercurio, Robert Fass, Lauren Fortgang, Johnny Heller, Barrett Leddy, Shezi Sardar, Vassilea Terzaki and Megan Tusing. Listening Library, $75.00 (9780593416761).
A shocking turnaround in the finale to the trilogy as the true crime podcast turns on the investigator herself. Once again brought to a spectacular audio experience using a full cast in audiobook form, this wrap up to the story will keep readers breathless to the end.
They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman; narrated by Jesse Vilinsky, Phoebe Strole, and Kristen Sieh Listening Library Release Date: July 27, 2021 ISBN: 9780593398012
Track star sisters Ellie and Stella don’t have much in common besides their love of running. Stella is focused on winning back the scholarship she lost last year after an incident with another runner. Ellie is popular and tired of always living in her big sister’s shadow. When a new girl named Mila joins their track team, the sisters start to compete for her attention. Then Mila goes missing and both girls become suspects, threatening their relationship and future dreams.
YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction is awarded each year, chosen from a field of 5 finalists (2021: Candace Fleming’s The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh). This year’s finalists covered a wide range: the space race, a primer on democracy, the memoir of a genocide survivor, and a biography of a complex figure in the narrative of the United States. And then there is Christina Soontornvat’s All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team which takes readers on a harrowing journey underground and into the hearts of the boys, their families, and the international rescue team working to bring them out safely.
Recounting the details of the 2018 event where a team of soccer players and their coach go exploring and find themselves trapped by unseasonable flooding in the cave system of Tham Luang, Soontornvat draws upon her Thai heritage and an immense wealth of empathy and curiosity to tell this gripping and emotional story. In this interview, we talk survival and sports and much more.
THE HUB: This book is so compelling! I, of course, had heard the story of these boys and their coach who had been trapped in this cave. I knew the outcome, and still I was completely captivated. I was nervous. I felt the urgency of the rescue. I was terrified at times! All the while, I knew that the outcome was a good one, was a miraculous one in many ways. How did you do that? What magic were you working to create such intensity and urgency in a story where the outcome was already known?
SOONTORNVAT: Thank you! That was something I worried about a lot when I was writing – that people who knew how it ended might not want to read it. But really when I was interviewing people who were involved in the rescue, they were still so emotional about what happened. They were there in the flesh when the boys came out alive, and they still kind of got goosebumps and still pinched themselves, saying, we can’t believe this actually worked! It was still very raw for them. So I was just trying to capture that emotion that I felt when I was speaking with them, even though it was 2 months after the rescue took place.
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Lux: The New Girl by Ashley Woodfolk Workshop / Penguin Publication Date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 978-0593096017
When Lux is kicked out of yet another school for fighting, she has one more chance to fit in and make things work at a local high school. At Harlem’s Augusta Savage School of Arts, she meets a group of students known as the Flyy Girls. Being a good friend and leaving her old life behind is hard, even with the best of intentions.
This book is less than 150 pages and is smaller in size than a regular hardcover YA novel, with straightforward text and short chapters that include diary entries and lots of dialogue. The simple but real plot is not overly complicated and readers will end up caring about and relating to Lux’s success, stress over social media, family dynamics, and everyday obstacles.