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.
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?
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Chicken Girl by Heather Smith
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Social media has a way of ruining images of people and causing unnecessary chaos. Smith’s novel uses real life issues to help the reader explore themes of gender transitions, sexuality, and family caregivers. Poppy, the protagonist, learns that it is hard to remain optimist in life given some of life’s harsh circumstances. She also learns that life is bigger than self.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith Penguin Teen/Penguin Random House Publication Date: September 5, 2017 ISBN: 978-0143198659
Fourteen-year-old Bun O’Keefe lives in isolation with her neglectful hoarder mother in rural Newfoundland, Canada, until one day her mother tells her to get out, and so she does. Bun leaves their overstuffed, suffocating house and hitchhikes to St. John’s, the nearest city. Once there, she is lucky to run into Busker Boy, a young man who recognizes her vulnerable naivete and offers to take her in to his “temporary accomodations”, a rented room in a house he shares with a loveable ragtag group of young people, from drag queen Cher to Chef to Big Eyes, a former Catholic schoolgirl rebelling against her strict upbringing. Surrounded by a semblance of family for the first time in her life, Bun slowly adjusts to the feeling of being loved and cared for; but with every step she takes forward towards acceptance into her new makeshift family, the ugliness of life threatens to pull her a step backwards. Weighty issues such as sexual abuse, parental neglect, racism, homophobia, and suicide feature in this story but never overwhelm it, as the warmth of the characters and the love they share for one another ultimately lifts them up each time despair threatens to overwhelm them in turn.