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 (#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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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2022 nominees cover art
Due to the large number of nominees, not all titles are shown here. See full list below.

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that 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.

*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.


Between Perfect and Real. By Ray Stoeve. Read by MW Cartozian Wilson. Recorded Books, LLC/Recorded Books, Inc., $70 (9781705028339).

Dean is a trans guy struggling with coming out to his friends and family.  Exploring the internet and joining community groups allows him to more clearly define himself while acting as Romeo in a play helps his self discovery. Wilson’s voice is well matched and he skillfully narrates this emotional story. 

Black Girl, Call Home. By Jasmine Mans. Read by Jasmine Mans. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Penguin Audio, $22.80 (9780593346884).

Mans calls herself and other Black girls home in this love letter and essential companion to girls and women on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing. Mans narrates this powerful and painful collection with many poems read and produced in unique ways.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

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

Due to the large number of nominees, not all titles are shown here. See full list below.

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.


Amari and the Night Brothers. By B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062975164).

Amari’s brother Quinton has disappeared, and her only hope of finding him is to follow in his footsteps and become a Junior Agent with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. 

Amber and Clay. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick Press, $22.99 (9781536201222). 

In ancient Greece, two unlikely friends Rhaskos and Melisto find their lives intertwined in a search for freedom and purpose. As a ghost bound to Rhaskos, Melisto must help free him before she can find her own rest in the Halls of Hades.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott

Cover Art

The Seventh Raven by David Elliott
HMH Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-0358252115

Once upon a time, there were seven brothers. Six of them were named Jack, like their father. They were rowdy, bold, and brash, like their father. But the seventh son was unlike his brothers. He was quiet and thoughtful, and his name was Robyn. Jack and his wife loved their sons, but they wished for a daughter, and when their dream came true, they were happy. But April was sickly and dying, and Jack cursed his sons in anger, turning them into birds. The six brothers were sad and confused and wanted to return to their lives. But Robyn was not like his brothers. As a raven he felt like he was finally free. When April grows up, she learns about her brother’s curse and sets off on an adventure to bring them home. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

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.


*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).

Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough. 

Amari and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. Read by Imani Parks. Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, $64.99 (9780063057968).

Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked Audiobook By Kerri Maniscalco cover art

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco; Narrated by Marisa Calin
Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
ISBN: 9780316428460

Twins Emilia and Vittoria are part of a long line of witches, which they keep secret to avoid persecution. One evening, Vittoria goes missing. When Emilia finds Vittoria’s body, her heart missing, she vows vengeance and will do anything to find her sister’s killer even if it means using dark magic and joining forces with the Wicked, princes of Hell that have their own nefarious agendas. If Emilia doesn’t keep her wits about her, the price of vengeance just might be too high.

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Dispatches from the End of the World: Survival Stories

Though it might be a bit unsettling, there are undoubtedly teens who see all the hurt and disruption in the world today and turn to dystopian futures or post-apocalyptic tales as the remedy. With those readers in mind, here is a list of titles that dive into the dark realities of an uncertain future.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

Cover of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

This 2020 Alex Award winner holds more than a few surprises, and it is a great title to suggest to the reader who has already worked through the more common dystopian titles. Griz is a finely-drawn and fully-complex character who teens will connect with, and the hunt for loyal dog Jess will keep them turning pages until the unexpected and remarkable ending.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

This book. It haunts me. Set in the early 2020s, but written in the early 1990s, it is a prescient and terrifying look at the kind of chaos and social disorder that could descend upon us. Climate change has led to massive water outages, and safety is dependent upon avoiding the mobs bent upon destruction. 15-year-old Lauren is wise beyond her years, but she is an ideal guide through this world and into a possible future.

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#AA2019 Nominees Round Up, October 17 Edition

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold, narrated by Michael Crouch
Audio published by Books on Tape, Listening Library
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
ISBN: 978-0525625698

Noah’s about to start his senior year of high school, and he’s got his whole life figured out; except it isn’t the life that Noah wants anymore. He is a star swimmer, but he doesn’t want to swim in college, so he is faking an injury to get out of swimming this season. Then, one night at a party he tells a near-stranger that his life feels like a sweater that no longer fits. Noah goes home drunk after that same stranger attempts to hypnotize him. Then, Noah’s life changes – his friends now want to go to different colleges, his mom has a scar that he’s never noticed, everything is just slightly off. The only things that haven’t changed are his strange fascinations – a YouTube video, a photograph, and an old man with a goiter. Noah ends up on an emotional, and physical, journey to find out why his fascinations have stayed the same when nothing else has.

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#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, August 31 Edition

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
Viking Books for Young Readers / Penguin
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
ISBN: 978-0451478733 

Readers who enjoy a little intrigue and action with their historical fiction will devour this gripping tale of a 15 year-old spy, set against the backdrop of Austria during WWII.

After her mother’s death, Jewish teen, Sarah, avoids capture by the SS thanks to a British spy named Captain Jeremy Floyd. Captain Floyd obtains a false identity for Sarah and convinces her to join help him infiltrate the home of one of Hitler’s nuclear scientists, Hans Schafer, by befriending Schäfer’s daughter. To do so, Sarah must enroll in a Nazi boarding school, where surviving and fitting in is tougher than Sarah could have imagine.

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