Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Twelfth Grade Night by Booth, Strohm, and Green

  • Twelfth Night
  • by Holly Horton Booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Jamie Green
  • Publisher: Disney Hyperion
  • Publication Date: October 11, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781368064651

Twelfth Grade Night is a graphic retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, set as a modern fantasy. Vi is starting high school at Arden High after attending private school for years with her twin brother. Arden High is located in the fairy realm where there are both magical creatures and mortals who attend. Vi feels lost without her twin brother at her side, but she quickly makes friends. She develops a crush on Orsino, a cute poet she befriends. Orisino wants Vi to ask Olivia, the most popular girl in school, to the big Twelfth Grade Night dance.

Twelfth Grade Night is a humorous take on a classic Shakespeare story. The art captures the fairy high school perfectly, with beautiful, sparkling color and characters. There is plenty of diversity and LGBTQ+ representation in this story. Vi missing her brother protrays authentic feelings siblings have when they grow apart.

Twelfth Grade Night will appeal to readers who enjoy graphic novels set within a fantasy world, such as Other Ever Afters and The Montague Twins.  Librarians should recommend this graphic novel to readers who are fans of fantasy authors such as Holly Black or Melissa Marr. Hand this to readers who are looking for positive LGBTQ+ characters, or even fans of modern Shakespeare movie adaptations such as Ten Things I Hate About You. Twelfth Grade Night is the first book in the Arden High series, with King Cheer expected later this year.

-Jacqueline Bush

Other Nominated Titles

(September 27, 2022)
October 15, 2022
(November 29, 2022)
(October 11, 2022)

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 (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 18 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell; Narrated by Kelly Pruner
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
ISBN: 978-1094078885

Ava was raped as a nine year old girl, and it left scars inside and out.  Now all her connections with people start with the “scar on her face” story.  She comes across a frozen body of a brutalized teen, whose ghost becomes a fixture in Ava’s life as she struggles with what to do about her body.

The audiobook format is really effective for the stream of consciousness style of this book. With the narrator we are inside Ava’s head and able to experience her world from her point of view.
Similar in suspense to books like I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson, those who like dark stories of resilience and suspense with LGBTQ characters will like All the Things We Do in the Dark.

  –Cathy Outten

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 18 Edition

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 12 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

This is our last post of the year, so please excuse the length, we wanted to fit them all in!

cover art

XL by Scott Brown
Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
ISBN: 978-1524766245
The morning of his sixteenth birthday, four foot and eleven inches tall Will wishes for two things: a girlfriend and to be taller. After he chickens out of telling his good friend Monica how he really feels, he sees his best friend/step brother kissing her. However, one of his wishes does come true: he starts growing and doesn’t stop. As Will’s life begins to change, he soon realizes that your character matters more than your height.
The concept of the story was unique and told in an interesting way. The plot moves quickly. All of the characters are well-developed and well-rounded. The relationship drama, risk-taking and a little bit of humor make this an engaging read for reluctant readers.
Readers of Rainbow Rowell and John Green will enjoy this fun quick read. It will also appeal to those who enjoyed the slight magical realism of The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds.
–Elizabeth Nebeker

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 12 Edition

#ALAMW19 Recap: Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 Top Ten

During the Teen Feedback Session at ALA Midwinter, teens from Seattle and Oregon shared their opinions about the books on the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 list. With their input, the BFYA 2019 Blogging team determined the BFYA 2019 Top Ten:

Continue reading #ALAMW19 Recap: Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 Top Ten

#ALAAC18 Recap: #BFYA2019 Teen Feedback Session

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.)

Continue reading #ALAAC18 Recap: #BFYA2019 Teen Feedback Session

#BFYA2019 Nominees Roundup, March 23 edition

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/ Hachette
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
ISBN: 9780316310277

Violently taken from her human home, Jude has struggled to navigate the dark world of the Fae. Jaded from years of being viewed as inferior for being human, she publicly challenges the wicked Prince Cardan and his friends, unleashing the prince’s wrath upon her and her sisters. After finding a taste for bloodshed, Jude seeks to be an equal in the twisted and unyielding Courts of Faerie through deception and dangerous alliances. In doing so, she discovers that rebellion in the world of Faerie is much closer than she had thought.

Continue reading #BFYA2019 Nominees Roundup, March 23 edition

Booklist: YA Alternate History

June is history month, and while there’s a ton of great historical fiction for teens out there, it’s also a perfect time to start asking “What if?”

What if the American Revolution never happened?

What if the Axis Powers won World War II?

Alternate history books are a great way to explore these questions, and alternate history for teens is becoming increasingly popular. Here are a few books to get you started.


These stories can blend speculative elements with historical facts, which is perfect for prompting discussion about what is truth and what is fiction in the novels discussed. They can also prompt readers to explore more nonfiction about the time period.  Continue reading Booklist: YA Alternate History

Booklist: So You Want to Read a Holly Black Book

Holly Black is one of the most versatile authors writing today. With more than thirty books to her name and more in the pipeline, it’s no exaggeration to say that Holly Black has something for everyone. But with so many books to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to start.

No worries though, if you’re looking to start reading Holly Black but aren’t sure where to start this post has you covered.

If You Want to Read a Standalone Novel:



  • The Coldest Girl in Cold Town (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults): When Tana wakes up after a Sundown Party it takes her a few moments to realize she survived a massacre and might have been bitten by a vampire. With time running out and no good choices, Tana will have to embrace the monsters in Coldtown if she wants to avoid becoming one.
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Hazel used to think she could become a knight who rode alongside the fairies and hunted the monsters that lurked in Fairfold woods. That is until the coffin in the woods is broken and the horned prince, who has been there for as long as anyone can remember, disappears.
  • See Below For: Doll Bones and Flight of Angels

Continue reading Booklist: So You Want to Read a Holly Black Book

YA Literary Trope: The Buried Memories

Welcome back readers! We are wrapping up our on-going discussion of literary tropes: common recurring themes found in YA literature.  So far we have examined The Old Clunker I Drive, The I Already Know you Introduction, The I Have to Take Care of my Parent(s), The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy), the A-Hole Friends, the Awesome Outfit, The Repressed Protagonist , and The Goofball Best Friend.  All good things come to an end.  But before we say goodbye to these weekly tropes, let us not forget: The Buried Memories. BEWARE, SPOILERS AHEAD!

YA Literary Tropes The Buried Memories YALSA the hub

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  Cady has always spent her summers on the private island off the coast near Cape Cod with her wealthy family plus a “special” family friend.  But something happened two summers ago– and Cady cannot remember.  According to her mother, Cady has been told the truth of what happened that night over and over, and everytime she forgets again.   So, she returns to the island to try to dig up her memories.  No matter how many times I re-read this fantastic tale, I cannot help the shock I feel when Cady remembers the truth.

Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.  Hazel and Ben grew up in Fairfold; a small town like many others.  Except for the Fairies, they live there too.  Oh, and there is a boy encapsulated in time asleep in a glass coffin in the woods.  Usually the humans and the others live in symbiosis in Fairfold.  But there are attacks. There are unexplained disappearances.  When the siblings were younger, Hazel toted a antique sword and pretended to be a Knight while Ben played his flute and “enchanted” the monsters.  But something happened, and now Hazel is just an average girl and Ben never plays music anymore.  Hazel navigates her way through the murkiness of fairy rules and memories taken from her, and what she learns is shocking. Continue reading YA Literary Trope: The Buried Memories

Books for Fans of Urban Fantasy Anime

Urban fantasy is set in magically injected alternate universes where limousines carry lycanthropes around or suburbs conceal super-powered mages. Think Harry Potter, not The Lord of the Rings. These titles range from action adventure, to comedy, slice of life and romance. Today we will travel to alternate universes populated by warring magic users, corporate ladder climbing demons, and undersea middle school students.

Urban Fantasy Anime poster


Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

Urban Fantasy Anime Fate stay night

The Holy Grail War is a deadly competition. The winning mage has the chance to make a wish and change the world. Some masters will do anything to win this prize. Shirō Emiya has stumbled into this terrifying tournament, and he doesn’t know how to use his powers. Will he be able to survive the coming battles? Who do you trust when at the end of the tournament, you may be may be facing your closest ally?

Each master calls on a Legendary Hero to help them fight in the tournament. Most of the action takes place at night, and the darker color palate of the series leads to some jaw dropping animation of magical duels.

Note:  “Unlimited Blade Works” is based off a single storyline from the visual novel Fate Stay/Night the same name (a kind of interactive animated game, like an animated “choose your own adventure” book). There have been numerous video game, manga and light novel adaptations and spinoffs of this series, but the anime “Fate/Zero” is a prequel.  

Love this series? You will also love… Continue reading Books for Fans of Urban Fantasy Anime