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.

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?

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 29 Edition

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

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Book Cover
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Hachette / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1368052405

Shocked and confused, Avery Kylie Grambs is pulled from class and whisked away to the reading of billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s will-a man whom she’s never met-and inherits his fortune. Abruptly moving into his mansion filled with secret passageways and disinherited family members, Avery tries to solve the puzzle of why she is Tobias’ heir rather than his four brilliant, handsome teen grandsons and their families. 

The Inheritance Games is built on short, dialogue-driven chapters and the promise of puzzles, passageways, and mysteries to uncover in every page turn. Avery is clever, likeable, and well-developed as she navigates the treacherous waters of her newfound fame and fortune after a lifetime of financial struggle. Equally likeable (albeit each in their own ways) are the competitive Hawthorne grandsons, who set aside their discontent at disinheritance to work with (and sometimes against) Avery to try and solve the riddle of her inheritance. While there are many characters to follow throughout, each is distinct and developed enough that they are not difficult to track. In true Barnes fashion, clues are interwoven throughout the story and, if the reader is clever enough, they might be able to take a guess at the final big reveal, which both solves the question of Avery’s inheritance and sets up neatly for an upcoming sequel reluctant readers can look forward to devouring.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 29 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 16 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1368052405

When broke teen Avery Grambs suddenly inherits billions from a complete stranger, she’s shocked–and immediately thrust into the world of the incredibly wealthy Hawthorne family.  Now Avery has one year to win her new fortune, and one year to contend with furious disinherited heirs (including four hot, angsty grandsons) and a mansion full of games, codes, puzzles, and deadly secrets.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, October 16 Edition

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, July 23 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.

The Lovely and the LostThe Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Freeform / Disney
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
ISBN: 978-1484776209

Kira and her adoptive family train search-and-rescue dogs. Called to a national park to investigate a child’s disappearance, Kira experiences flashbacks to her own traumatic childhood and rescue. When three generations of family secrets threaten to derail the search, Kira must depend on both her human and canine friends to save herself and her family.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, July 23 Edition

9 Books to Read If You Miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Though the show aired one to two years before most of today’s high school seniors were born, Buffy the Vampire Slayer still has a cult following amongst fans of all ages. I have even heard a child in the children’s section of the local library singing songs from the musical as they browsed books. If you’re like me, a crazy fangirl of the show, you miss it immensely. It had humor, heart, and the characters became like family. It has such a huge following that it, thankfully, has continued in graphic novel form. Fans continue to write fanfiction, attend cons to meet the actors, and in general, keep the Slayer alive. Another way to do this is by reading novels that could easily be set in the same world, or that Buffy (and Giles!) would definitely approve of.


Continue reading 9 Books to Read If You Miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer

What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

Have you had a chance to take our readers’ survey? We’d love your feedback! 

She wakes up inside a duffle bag in the middle of Times Square. Her body is covered in tattoos and she doesn’t remember who she is or how she got there, but she has amazing fighting skills that hint at special forces training. This is Jane Doe from the television show Blindspot. Jane is spending all of her free time trying to remember her past, but if she wanted a book break, this is what I’d recommend to her.blindspot

thenaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Cassie is recruited by the FBI to work in a special group of teens with exceptional abilities. The recruits will have to work together to survive and catch the killer before they are killed.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. The girl wakes up in a cabin to hear her captors discussing her execution. She doesn’t know who she is, why she’s there, or how to escape, but she knows that if she wants to live, she must get out now.

Mind Games by Kiersten White. Fia has perfect intuition. She always, always knows how to react. Fia is going to need to use all of her powers to rescue her sister, Annie, who is being held captive so that Fia will do her captors’ bidding. Annie is blind, but has visions of the future. Can Fia manage to overcome her captors and rescue her sister?

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. Meg has a new name, a new look, and a new address. Her family is in witness protection, and she’s tired of constantly hiding and running. She can’t figure out why they are in hiding and she doesn’t want to follow the rules she’s been given. Meg will need to use all of her ingenuity to ensure her survival – and that of her family as well.

killer of enemiesKiller of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Lozen is a monster hunter, and the privileged Ones she serves keep her family hostage to guarantee Lozen’s compliance. But as Lozen’s power grows, she wonders if she is fated for something more. Does she have the courage and cunning to rescue her family?

Enclave by Ann Aguirre. Deuce has lived her whole live underground battling the freaks, but when she is exiled from her people, she must rely on Fade and his memories of the topside world.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Cia is thrilled to be chosen for the elite testing program, where applicants compete for slots in the university program. However, her father warns her that all is not as it seems. Will Cia be able to keep her wits (and her memories) and use them to survive the rigorous test?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Em is trapped in prison. She finds a list, written in her own handwriting, hidden inside the drain in the middle of the room. She doesn’t remember writing this list, but she knows that it is up to her to escape and stop horrible things from happening.

i am the weaponI Am the Weapon by Allan Zadoff (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). The boy was taken from his family and trained as an assassin. Now he goes from mission to mission, always the new kid in school and in the neighborhood, until his mission is complete and he disappears to a new town to start over again. What would happen, though, if the Boy wanted out of this program?

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Cassie is certain she’s being followed, but she has to locate and rescue her brother before the final alien invasion occurs. The first four waves wiped out most of the planet and Cassie is determined to reunite with her brother before it is too late.


— Jenni Frencham, currently reading Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert Continue reading What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

Genre Guide: Paranormal Romances for Teens



Paranormal Romance is a sub-genre of Romance. For a novel to be a Paranormal Romance, a simple thing must occur: love must begin between a human and a supernatural being (whether wholly supernatural or partially, just as long as there are supernatural elements present). However, this can be a broad interpretation. Usually, the protagonist (often the human) in these novels is put in some kind of danger, where they come to realize they can overcome this danger either on their own or with the help of the supernatural love interest.

Authors to Know

Main characters include both humans and supernatural beings. The supernatural being can be wholly supernatural or partly, and include but are not limited by the following “types”: vampire, werewolf, fairy, magician, mermaid, zombie, psychic, ghost, demon hunter, demon, angel, shapeshifter, dragon, and gods or goddesses.  Additionally, the human in Paranormal Romances can have a touch of the paranormal as well.  An example is the teen psychic that can see the ghost. Quite often, when it comes to paranormal romances written for teens, a love triangle is involved.  There could be more than one human, or more than one supernatural being in the triangle. Continue reading Genre Guide: Paranormal Romances for Teens

Genre Guide: Action Novels

Books with lots of action are often a home run with readers, especially those who like a plot-driven story. They can cross a wide-range of genres, from spy fiction to murder mysteries.

Action books are often very heavy on the plot with danger pulling the story forward, leaving readers on the edge of their seat desperate to know what happens next. Elements of risk and surprise are key factors in action stories. The events that trigger the action or danger are typically outside the protagonist’s day to day life. Often, at the end of the story, the hero or heroine is never the same.

* Fast-paced
* Conflict
* Danger
* Risk
* Double-crossings
* Betrayal
* Villains
* Violence
* Survival
* Plot twists
* Underdogs

With action novels, readers quickly turn the pages – often reading these novels in a single setting. In a series, there is often an overall arc that ties all the books together, even though the primary plot of the book is resolved.

Actions books are perfect escapism reads; this type of story rarely happens in real life.

Readers like rooting for the underdogs. Often times these teen characters go against supposedly smarter more savvy adults and yet, they are victorious in their quest. It’s hard not to root for the underdog.

YA Action Adventure

Continue reading Genre Guide: Action Novels

Back to School Books: Be One of the New Kids

Back to SchoolTeens everywhere are starting new adventures at a new place with new people. This is a moment of transition that is filled with so many different feelings. Teens may feel: excited, nervous, confident, free, scared, happy, anxious, or any combination of these. Starting somewhere new something everyone experiences at once point, which why it is forms the basis of the plots in many classic and upcoming stories. Readers embarking on new journeys at the beginning of this school year may be interested in one of these new releases featuring tales of new kids at school.

Continue reading Back to School Books: Be One of the New Kids