Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Conditions of a Heart by Bethany Mangle

  • Conditions of a Heart
  • by Bethany Mangle
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Release date: February 20, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781665937634

Brynn Kwan is a lot of things–prom queen, head of the yearbook committee, high school senior. But she also has a secret–she also is chronically ill with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and POTS, conditions she inherited from her father. When Brynn ends up getting involved in a fight with the wealthiest student at her school, she finds herself banned from all senior activities–the same activities that give Brynn a sense of normalcy. With a lot of extra time on her hands, Brynn is left to deal with the ex-boyfriend she ghosted, her healthy sister who doesn’t seem to understand, and the body she inhabits. 

This title features a strong protagonist with inherited health conditions that make her everyday life challenging. We see the impacts of her and her father’s health on the rest of the family. Brynn has the same hopes and dreams that any high school senior has and we follow her journey to not only accept herself and her body, but to allow others to accept her and her body. This is a coming-of-age story that is relatable for all teens while highlighting the challenges that come with having an invisible disability and chronic pain. The story is well-paced and the main character is well-fleshed out. 

Teens who enjoy realistic fiction and coming-of-age stories will enjoy this one.  Some comparable titles include Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett and Where You See Yourself by Claire Forrest.

— Megan Nigh


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

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2025) Featured Review: This Terrible True Thing by Jenny Laden

Danielle is living in 1990’s Philadelphia, going to private school, and hoping to be accepted at the Rhode Island School of Design’s art program. But, this is the age of AIDS/HIV and Danielle’s father is gay at a time when very little is known about the disease or mentioned aloud. Her father falls victim to AIDS in a heart-wrenching manner and this propels Danielle to action and to speak out.

Gail Shalon had an age-appropriate voice which was perfect in voicing the pain Danielle felt when her father died. This is the author’s debut novel and takes parts from her own life.  In the print version are many drawings, poems, and journal entries, but the audio version stands on its own without these. In fact, the audio version won the Audie Award for YA 2024. The characters are multi-layered.

This audiobook can be enjoyed by fans of John Green, Jennifer Niven, and Bill Konigsberg. This historical fiction title depicts a time when so little was known about AIDS/HIV and being gay was a hidden topic.  

-Ellen Spring

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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2025) Feature Review: Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

When she was younger, Valentina Tran’s favorite holiday was her namesake, Valentine’s Day. But then her father tells her to stop making cards and a classmate named Jae trashes the one she gave him. Now that she’s older and has learned that her father lied to her about mother’s supposed death, she no longer believes in love; in fact, she thinks her family is romantically cursed. Complicating matters is the ghostly presence of St. Valentine, offering to spare her heartbreak if she gives up her heart to him. But then she meets a pair of lion dancers at a Tết (Lunar New Year) celebration – one of whom is Jae – and decides to try to learn the dance herself. She falls in love with it, and also begins dating her dancing partner and Jae’s cousin, a cute boy named Leslie who won’t define what they have together. Val has to grapple with her relationship with her father, the mother she believed abandoned her, her undefined relationship with Leslie, and her growing feelings for Jae before St. Valentine comes for her answer.

The art and storytelling weave together to tell a beautiful story, one of Val’s personal growth as well as a love story. Humorous touches keep the story engaging, as well as the vibrant art. Lion dancing especially shines, the movements seeming to leap off the page as well as show how different Asian cultures have different depictions of the lion and ways of dancing.

Graphic novel and romance enthusiasts will both enjoy this book. For readers who enjoy a sweet romance with a touch of magic, try Crumbs by Danie Stirling. Belle of the Ball by Mari Costa is another title featuring a gentle romance complicated by a love triangle and differing expectations. Fans of author David Yoon’s YA romances should also enjoy this book.

Leanna C.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: This Day Changes Everything by Edward Underhill

Abby Akerman, a clarinet player from small town Missouri, eagerly anticipates her high school band’s performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, where she plans to confess her love for her best friend Kat. Simultaneously, Leo Brewer, a trans boy from North Carolina, is on a similar trip. His fears of being outed to his conservative Southern family over live television overshadow any excitement about the parade or sightseeing. The universe intervenes when Abby and Leo meet on the wrong subway train, leading to them getting lost and Leo accidentally losing Abby’s carefully prepared gift of her favorite romance novel for Kat. The two, though slow to warm, embark on a whirlwind mission to find souvenirs from locations mentioned in the lost book gift. As they journey from Chinatown to Grand Central Station to the Empire State Building, they realize that this day might hold the potential to change everything for them both. 

Underhill beautifully portrays the confusion and wonder of coming of age as a queer teenager amid the enchanting winter atmosphere of New York City. Embracing familiar romance tropes with charm, this novel has it all from marching bands, grumpy/sunshine, and a 24-hour romance. Through alternating narratives that are separate and distinct, Abby and Leo undergo profound growth, both individually and in their relationships. 

This will appeal to teens who love a grumpy/sunshine trope and a slow burn romance.  Hand to teens who want more marching band content like in Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher. This title also has a similar whirlwind vibe to Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson.

-Alicia Kalan

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

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham

  • Lunar New Year Love Story
  • by Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham
  • First Second 
  • Publication Date: January 9, 2024
  • ISBN-13: 9781626728103

Valentina Trần has always loved Valentine’s Day, making homemade valentines for all of her friends and classmates. But when she moves to high school, her romantic view of true love is shattered when her grandmother tells her the family is cursed in love, and that Val’s own mother is not dead, as she has always believed, but in fact abandoned her family when Val was a baby. But Val isn’t quite ready to give up on true love. Hoping to avoid her family’s curse, Val makes a deal with St. Valentine—if she can’t find true love in the next year, she’ll turn her heart over to him. 

Yang pushes the rom-com trope of true love as he explores love in a variety of relationships, from friends to family. He even develops the love of one’s culture through characters that come from a diverse mix of Asian backgrounds, each bringing a unique, rich heritage to the shared celebration of the Lunar New Year. Pham supports this with expressive illustrations that show a wide range of emotions. Mostly monochromatic panels with pops of color are full of details, and highlight the drama and humor of the story.

Fans of Yang’s previous works will not be disappointed in this latest offering. Readers who enjoy sweet romantic comedies with a touch of angst, like Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy or Super Fake Love Song will find plenty to adore in this charming romance. Those who appreciate a good love triangle will enjoy Val’s struggle to choose between two lion dancers. Recommend this to fans of lighthearted comics with colorful, expressive illustrations like Pumpkinheads or Crumbs.

-Heather Christensen

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: February 13, 2024
Release Date: October 3, 2023

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.

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

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: What Happens After Midnight by K.L. Walther

  • What Happens After Midnight
  • by K.L. Walther
  • Narrated by Tina Wolstencroft
  • Tantor Media, Inc. | Tantor Audio
  • Publication Date: June 27, 2023
  • ISBN: 9798350836394

Lily Hopper is happy to let her senior year of high school end in a boring whimper. However, Lily’s plans change when she gets a mysterious note recruiting her to help plan the school’s senior prank. Lily is excited until she learns the prank’s mastermind is her ex-boyfriend, Taggart. Lily broke up with Tag over a year ago, but never got over him. As Lily and Tag work together, secrets and old hurts resurface while romantic feelings return. 

What Happens After Midnight is a fun rom-com of high school hijinks. The story is equal parts romance and thoughtful exploration of the emotions that surround leaving the familiarity of high school and progressing to the unknown of college. The parallel storylines of the senior year prank and the remembrance of Lily and Tag’s relationship allow the book to straddle the genres of romance and realistic fiction to widen its teen appeal. The book’s fast-paced story of mishaps during the night while they try to pull off the “perfect prank” will appeal to reluctant readers. 

Wolstencroft narration perfectly brings to life the fun overnight escapade of the prank while beautifully expressing Lily’s feelings of loss and confusion. The narrator takes the listener on an emotional roller coaster ride of Lily’s uncertainty of the future, exhilaration of the adventure, and the possibility of romance. Fans of Lynn Painter’s Better Than the Movies and Rachel Lynn Solomon‘s Today, Tonight, Tomorrow will enjoy this page-turner of a rom-com.

–Rebecca Baldwin

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: August 29, 2023
Release Date: June 6, 2023

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.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: The Brothers Hawthorne by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • The Brothers Hawthorne
  • by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Narrated by Jay Ben Markson
  • Hachette Audio | Little, Brown Young Readers
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2023
  • ISBN:9781668623817

Grayson Hawthorne takes care of his family. Always. When his half-sisters (who know nothing about him) need help, he’s there. Thankfully, Xander and Nash show-up, too, just when Grayson needs them most. Jameson Hawthorne loves to win. When his absent father presents him with the challenge to win back his father’s inherited family residence, he is determined to win, as usual. Avery (the girl who inherited the boys’ grandfather’s fortune in The Inheritance Games) becomes his his accomplice. Tobias Hawthorne prepared his grandsons to solve every puzzle, to protect family at all cost, and – above all else – to win. In the face of new challenges, Grayson and Jameson are prepared to do just that. Except, this time, the Hawthorne brothers aren’t together to do so.   

The mystery of the Hawthorne family seems to never end. New readers will fall in love with Grayson and Jameson and be drawn into the current challenges. Curiosity may lead to reading the previous titles, but isn’t necessary. Jay Ben Markson’s narration keeps readers on the edge of their seats, rooting for Grayson and Jameson as each works to solve the clues to their own challenge, likely to change each of their lives.  


Perfect for readers who read other books in the series or enjoyed One of Us is Lying, Truly Devious, or Firekeeper’s Daughter. Also a good choice for teens who’ve seen and enjoyed the mystery of Knives Out and Glass Onion

-Lysha Thompson

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: October 18, 2022
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Release Date: October 11, 2022
Release Date: June 6, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: May 2, 2023

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.

#ICYMI: 8 Books You Might Have Missed

It’s almost the end of 2023 and time to submit your last carts for the year!  If you find yourself with extra funds, here are some titles from the last two years that you might have missed. Some are from debut authors that snuck under the radar, while others are old favorites with new projects.

    • There’s No Way I’d Die First
    • By Lisa Springer
    • Delacorte Press: 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593643174

    This debut is for the horror-obsessed teen and pulls out all the tropes in what ends up being a campy, gory romp. If the tropes aren’t enough of a tell, each chapter starts with a quote from a horror movie and gives a hint to upcoming events. This is an homage to all the greats, with references to Stephen King, Scream, a killer clown with superhuman strength that rivals Michael Myers, and a heavy dose of teen drama. It also tries to tie in some political and social commentary and a hint of romance. Does this require suspension of belief? Yes. That’s the point. Hand to your older teens or your horror movie buffs.

    • Holly Horror
    • by Michelle Jabé Corpora
    • Penguin Workshop, 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593386217

    A scary take on our patchwork-clad, bonnet-wearing gal, Holly Hobbie. After her parents split, Evie’s mom moves the family back to her hometown and into the Horror House, so named because Holly vanished from it decades before. As Evie pokes around in the attic and discovers more of Holly’s story, weird things start to happen to her. The book ends on a cliff-hanger and readers will eagerly await book two. For younger teens that are more into supernatural mysteries, rather than slasher stories.

    • 16 & Pregnant
    • by LaLa Thomas
    • MTV Books, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781665917278

    If you are a millennial, you probably remember when this show first aired back in 2009. The show followed teens that found themselves pregnant and documented how their lives were impacted, eventually leading to the spin-off series, Teen Mom. Two teens find themselves dealing with a surprise pregnancy that derails their life plans. All options are discussed and the book does not shy away from health challenges that can accompany a pregnancy. This is an empowering story about friendship and parenthood. This is a great option for those looking for relatable stories about teen pregnancy, as well as viewers of the MTV show. This would also be a great option for parents and teens to read and discuss together.

    • Hotel Magnifique
    • by Emily J. Taylor
    • Razorbill, 2022
    • ISBN: 978059340515

    This 2022 debut is Caraval meets Howl’s Moving Castle and my favorite cover of 2022. This dark fantasy features a magical hotel that moves to a new place every night. Employees of the hotel are magically bound to service and although the hotel is gorgeous and luxurious, it’s a gilded prison. Franco-philes and fans of lush, character-driven fantasy will devour this. Additionally, the stunning cover makes this an easy book to hand-sell.

    • A Million to One
    • by Adiba Jaigirdar
    • Harperteen, 2022
    • ISBN: 978006291632

    Published right before the end of 2022, I think this one snuck past a lot of people. Take a diverse group of teens, put them on the Titanic and add in a heist. Jaigirdar’s previous YA novels have been sapphic romances–here she moves more into action and historical fiction territory. This reads quickly and is a nice option for younger teens that enjoy heists or books about the Titanic. 

    • Something More
    • by Jackie Khalileh
    • Tundra Books, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781774882139

    This romance is about a Palestinian-Canadian teen, newly diagnosed as autistic. She makes a list of all the things she wants to accomplish in high school before she graduates. She quickly learns there is no guidebook for matters of the heart when she finds herself caught between two guys. This is a refreshing take on the classic coming of age story.

    • The Grimoire of Grave Fates
    • by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen, et al.
    • Delacorte Press, 2023
    • ISBN: 9780593427453

    If you have teens looking for a Harry Potter-esque story, hand them this one. It checks all the boxes: a magical boarding school that flies around à la Howl’s Moving Castle or the aforementioned Hotel Magnifique, an evil professor, a murder mystery, and magical beasts. This isn’t really a short story collection, nor is it a traditional novel. Each chapter is by a different YA author and features a different character that propels the plot forward. Some stories are stronger than others–I need a whole book about Diego, please! This collaborative effort has something for everyone and is a great option for younger teens.

    • A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy
    • by Jeff Bishop
    • Putnam, 2022
    • ISBN: 9781984812940

    Don’t be fooled by the cotton candy cover!  This book is a lot of things–technically it’s speculative fiction. You could also consider it a romantic comedy. It should be about a boy having the best time of his life, the summer after his senior year. But ultimately, it’s about a boy that suffers a torn ACL, leaving him stuck on the couch recovering from surgery, while dealing with a really bad breakup with his girlfriend, who happens to be in a coma from a car accident, which makes it pretty weird that Cam can see and talk to her while on his sofa. Tandy is chaotic and will have you laughing and weeping, reminiscent of the John Hughes movies referenced throughout. This was my favorite debut of 2022 and one of my favorites of the year. Hand to your older teens– especially your broken-hearted high school seniors

    -Megan Nigh

    Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

    • Divine Rivals
    • by Rebecca Ross
    • Publisher: Wednesday Books
    • Release date: April 4, 2023
    • ISBN: 9781250857439

    After centuries of slumber, the gods have woken and they are angry, launching the country into a brutal war that forces mortals to choose sides. Iris and Roman are in a fierce competition to become the new newspaper columnist for the prestigious Oath Gazette, both with their own reasons for competing. Iris has struggled to pay the bills ever since her brother joined the war and her mother became consumed by grief and her alcohol addiction. Roman comes from a wealthy family, but wants to carve a life for himself out from under his father’s shadow. While Iris continues to fight for the better paying job and can’t stop worrying about her brother, she finds comfort in writing letters and slipping them into her wardrobe where they vanish – into the hands of Roman, her rival at the paper, who decides to anonymously write her back. 

    Divine Rivals is a historical fantasy romance with a focus on the power of family and love in a time of war. The magical letter writing is romantic and fun. The two main characters, Iris and Roman, are delightful to read about as they face different obstacles from different backgrounds, and the supporting characters are just as powerful and interesting. While some readers may think the pacing starts off slow, the second half takes off at such a rapid pace it’s hard to put down and is utterly captivating as the setting of the story shifts to the war front.
    This is a strong choice for teens who are a fan of rivals-to-romance fantasy titles and don’t mind a cliffhanger. Readers who enjoyed The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski or Lovely War by Julie Berry should give Divine Rivals a try.

    -Allison Riggs

    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/BFYA24TeenFB