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 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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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Middletown by Sara Moon

Middletown by Sarah Moon | Audiobook cover art

Middletown by Sarah Moon, narrated by Hope Newhouse
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Release date: April 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-1662083341

The story opens with thirteen year old Eli sleeping with her seventeen year old sister, Anna, while waiting for her mom to come home after a night of drinking. This time, their mom is caught drunk driving for the second time and is sentenced to mandatory rehab for at least 90 days. Anna and Eli struggle to find money to pay the bills and feed themselves while attending school and navigating parent-teacher conferences. On top of this, Eli has feelings for one of her best friends, Mina. At the same time, she finds out that Anna was sexually harassed by the coach at her high school and tries to encourage other girls to speak up. When the schools try to get in contact with a guardian and send a social worker to their home, Anna and Eli run away to try and find a place where they belong.

The narrator does a great job of capturing the different female voices within the story. The audiobook captures the pacing and progression of the story in an engaging way.

Similar to Crank by Ellen Hopkins, this story draws attention to the resilience required to overcome addiction and continue to be in relationship with family and friends. For readers who enjoy texts about being resilient, try Parenthesis by Élodie Durand, No Longer Human by Junji Ito, and The Sea in Winter by Christine Day.

– Caitlyn Seale 


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 previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.

Novels in Verse for Poetry Month

national-poetry-monthYou are aware, I’m sure, that April is National Poetry Month. This brainchild of the Academy of American Poets has been celebrated since 1996, and the Academy’s website has a plethora of great ideas ideas of ways to celebrate, but why not celebrate by simply reading more poetry?

What’s that? Poetry is “too hard?” Do not fear iambic pentameter, sestinas, or villanelles! But if you would rather not attempt a sonnet, a haiku, or even a limerick, there is a great way to ease yourself into the world of poems: novels written in verse. The tales are so compelling and the verse so subtle, you won’t even realize you are reading poetry. Quite often, novels in verse tackle very hard subjects. It can be astonishing how authors cover deep, dark topics with just a few, perfectly chosen words.

Here are a few to get you started:

My Book of Life By Angel – Martine Leavitt mybookoflifebyangel
Angel is sixteen when Call gives her “candy” that makes her fly, and asks her to start sleeping with his friends. Soon, Angel is hooked on drugs and is working the streets as a prostitute. When Call brings home an even younger girl, Angel plans to escape this life she’s found herself in, and take young Melli with her. Leavitt’s books have appeared on multiple Best Books for Young Adults lists, and after reading her work, you will understand why.

freakboyFreakboy – Kristin Clark (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Brendan seems to be a guy’s guy. He’s a wrestler, has a lovely girlfriend, and loves video games, but deep inside, he wants long hair and soft skin and a curvy body. Brendan is transexual and he’s trying to figure out who he is. He has never met anyone else who is like him, and he is frightend that he is “not normal”, whatever that means.

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