Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Summer Quarterly Round-Up

  • Divine Rivals
  • By Rebecca Ross
  • Publication Date: 2023.
  • Length: 357 p.
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books, $18.99
  • ISBN: 9781250857439
  • Reading Level: Gr. 10 – 12.

As the war between the gods creeps closer to the city, Iris and Roman fiercely compete to become the new newspaper columnist for the prestigious Oath Gazette. Their lives become further entwined and complicated thanks to the magical letters they unknowingly write to each other.

  • Friends Like These
  • By Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Length: 377 p.
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press, $18.99 
  • ISBN: (9780593309674)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9 – 12

Power couple Jessica and Jake’s relationship is irreparably damaged when Jake’s former girlfriend live streams their sexual encounter at a party.  Jake wakes up disoriented, Jessica leaves the party devastated, and Tegan–the ex–is missing and presumed dead.

  • Give Me a Sign
  • By Anna Sortino
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 303 p.
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99 
  • ISBN: (9780593533796)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7 – 10.

Lilah is hard of hearing and uses hearing aids, but she feels like she doesn’t fit in with the hearing world. She learns to embrace her Deaf identity while working as a junior counselor at a summer camp for the deaf and blind, while also making friends and starting a summer romance.


  • Gloria Buenrostro Is Not My Girlfriend
  • By Brandon Hoàng
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 293 p.
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9780374388577)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 8 – 12

Gary Võ’s revelation that he has an “in” with the untouchable Gloria Buenrostro has the potential of lifting him and his best friend, Preston, out of social obscurity–if he is willing to betray Gloria’s trust in the relationship the two of them have built.

  • Going Bicoastal
  • By Dahlia Adler
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 325 p.
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books, $20.00 
  • ISBN: (9781250871640)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9 – 12.

Jewish, bisexual Natalya has to choose between trying something new and scary or making the familiar new again in this light-hearted rom-com, which tells two parallel romance storylines: one where Natalya spends her summer in LA with her estranged mother and one where she stays in NYC with her dad.

  • I Kick and I Fly
  • By Ruchira Gupta
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 336 p.
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press, $18.99 
  • ISBN: (9781338825091)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7 – 12

Heera is a girl, told since she was little, that she is destined for a life of prostitution. She is invited into a hostel for endangered girls and is given the chance to learn kung fu and, in the process, learn about how strong she really is.

  • If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come
  • By Jen St. Jude
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 397 p.
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury YA, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9781547611362)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 10 – 12

Avery is ready to end her life when she receives a call that an asteroid is imminent and  will end the world for everyone. With a handful of days left, she must decide how and with whom to spend the remaining time.

  • Into the Light
  • By Mark Oshiro
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 442 p.
  • Publisher: Tor Teen, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9781250812254)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9 – 12.

Manny, exiled from his adoptive family and their religious organization, roams about trying to survive. When he sees the report of a dead body near the organization’s camp, he is determined to discover if the body belongs to his sister in hopes he is not too late.

  • Invisible Son
  • By Kim Johnson
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 404 p.
  • Publication Date: Random House, $18.99 
  • ISBN: (9780593482100)
  • Reading Grade: Gr. 9 – 12

Andres Jackson just spent two months incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.  A restorative justice program allows him to return to his family home in Northeast Portland but his  plans for returning to school and establishing his innocence are interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • Izzy at the End of the World
  • By K. A. Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 330 p.
  • Publication Date: Clarion Books, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9780358467779)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 5 – 9

Izzy Wilder is a fourteen-year-old autistic girl who recently lost her mom. Now living with her grandparents, Izzy witnesses a bright light that causes everyone she knows to vanish. With only her beloved dog left of her family, Izzy must try to survive.

  • Nigeria Jones
  • By Ibi Zoboi
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 369 p.
  • Publisher: Balzar + Bray, $17.99 
  • ISBN: (9780062888846)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7 – 12

Growing up in a Black Nationalist compound, Nigeria Jones has accepted her father’s philosophies without question. His decision to begin a relationship with a younger woman in the absence of Nigeria’s mother as well as his restrictions prohibiting her from attending the private school her mother wanted her to attend are causing Nigeria not just to question him, but to rebel.

  • Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling
  • By Elise Bryant
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 392 p.
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray, $18.99 
  • ISBN: (9780063212992)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 8 – 11

A New Year’s Eve gig that Delilah can’t get out of and a little peer pressure forcing Reggie to attend a party where Delilah’s band is performing is the beginning of a relationship that neither of them can seem to escape.

  • The Dos and Donuts of Love
  • By Adiba Jaigirdar
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 321 p
  • Publisher: Feiwel and Friends, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9781250842114)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 8 – 12.

Shireen Malik is determined to win the Junior Irish Baking Show to save her parents’ struggling donut shop, but finds herself partnered with her ex-girlfriend.  Navigating friendships, romantic entanglements, and the competition is enough to challenge any baker.

  • The Minus-One Club
  • By Kekla Magoon
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 360 p.
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9781250806208)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9 – 12

After fifteen year-old Kermit loses his older sister in a car accident, he finds a message signed “-1” in his locker, inviting him into an unlikely group of fellow students dealing with grief.

  • The Queens of New York
    • By E.L. Shen
    • Publication Date: 2023
    • Length: 326 p.
    • Publisher: Quill Tree Books, $19.99 
    • ISBN: (9780063237957)
    • Reading Level: Gr. 8 – 11

Summer has just begun when three best friends, Everett, Jia and Ariel head separate ways for a summer of discovery, romance, and most importantly, friendship. That summer will also test their relationship and create opportunities for personal growth.

  • This Delicious Death
  • By Kayla Cottingham
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 290 p.
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire, $11.99 
  • ISBN: (9781728236445)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9 – 12

A new pathogen requires individuals to eat synthetic human meat to not turn into monsters. All is going well until people start disappearing at a music festival. As users of the synthetic meat, Zoey, Celeste and their friends are determined to solve the mystery before more people get hurt.

  • What Happened to Rachel Riley?
  • By Claire Swinarski
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 343 p.
  • Publication Date: Quill Tree Books, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9780063213098)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 5 – 8.

When Anna starts eighth grade at a new school, she is immediately drawn to the mystery surrounding Rachel Riley, a former popular student who the entire eighth grade class has shunned. Anna decides to use her fact-finding skills to create a podcast dedicated to figuring out what happened to Rachel Riley.

  • Where You See Yourself
  • By Claire Forrest
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 306 p.
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press, $19.99 
  • ISBN: (9781338813838)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 10 – 12

Effie, a high school senior with cerebral palsy, grapples with advocating for herself, deciding which college to attend, and revealing her feelings to the guy she has had a secret crush on for years.

  • Wings in the Wild
  • By Margarita Engle
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Length: 211 p.
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $18.99 
  • ISBN: (9781665926362)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7 – 10

A hurricane displaces Soleida and her family, leading to her parents’ imprisonment for making illegal art and forcing Soleida to flee Cuba alone on foot. Dariel travels with his Cuban grandfather to Costa Rica to help those in need. Soleida and Dariel fall in love and fight the climate crisis.

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

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: The Minus-One Club by Kekla Magoon

  • The Minus-One Club
  • by Kekla Magoon
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Release date: January 24, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250806208

When fifteen year-old Kermit returns to school after losing his older sister in a car accident, he finds a message signed “-1” in his locker, inviting him into a group of fellow students dealing with grief. The unlikely mix of students crosses cliques and grades and includes Kermit’s long-time crush, Matt. The club is always there for each other but has one rule: you don’t talk about what happened to your loved one.

This title shows a realistic and nuanced approach to grieving. Strong characters strengthen the impact of the intricate exploration of the intersectionality of religion, personal identity, and loss. Kermit’s struggle is universal.

A life-affirming read for teens experiencing hardship, The Minus-One Club will appeal to readers looking for authentic characterization and relatable realistic fiction. Comparable titles include Chaos Theory by Nic Stone for the similar subject matter about depression and loss, Golden Boys by Phil Stamper for the exploration of identity, and What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum for unlikely friendships and dealing with grief.

-Emily Williams

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/BFYA24TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Promise Boys by Nick Brooks

  • Promise Boys
  • by Nick Brooks
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • ISBN: 9781250866974

J.B., Ramón, and Trey are students at the prestigious Urban Promise Prep School, where they “promise” to follow the school’s strict disciplinary and academic codes, to set them on the path for college and save them from the streets. When their principal is murdered at school, the three become the prime suspects. The trio must join together to find out what really happened and prove their innocence.

Told in alternating viewpoints from the boys, their families, friends, teachers, and school donors, this fast-paced murder mystery unfolds into a compulsively readable story. Excellent characterization, tight pacing, and a memorable plot make this an easy sell.

Teen readers interested in real-life stories, thrillers, and relatable characters will most appreciate this title. Comparable titles include One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, Light It Up by Kekla Magoon, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

-Emily Williams

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

Celebrate and Understand with YA: Juneteenth

As summer begins for libraries everywhere, it marks a time to celebrate and understand Juneteenth. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were first informed of their freedom as a result of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Now a national day of observance , it is a perfect time to celebrate and understand Juneteenth with YA titles featuring black voices. Check out some of the Hub’s title selections that spotlight family, identity, and history which are cornerstones of Juneteenth celebrations as noted in this New York Times article.

Title Spotlight: Family

Brittney Morris’ The Cost of Knowing is a powerful story of two brothers, Alex and Isaiah, and their experiences as young Black men in America. The story highlights the power of the past, the ability of the future to overwhelm, the strength of familial bonds across generations, and the joy that is possible.

The saga of the Logan family is one that spans across generations of readers. The family’s story by Mildred D. Taylor began with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in 1976 and concluded with All the Days Past, All the Days to Come in 2021. Following Cassie Logan and her family, the saga is compelling and showcases how time, history, and the promise of the future can shape a family’s story that leaves an impact on the world.

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite follows the story of sisters Happi and Genny as they grapple with the death of their sister Kezi under suspicious circumstances after attending a social justice rally. As Happi and Genny go on a road trip using the original Green Book as their guide they rediscover the importance of family and sisterhood with a story interwoven with flashbacks and alternating perspectives.

Continue reading Celebrate and Understand with YA: Juneteenth

An Interview with Margaret A. Edwards Award Recipient Kekla Magoon

The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.

The 2021 recipient is Kekla Magoon for X: A Novel co-written by Ilyasah Shabazz and published by Candlewick Press; How it Went Down published by Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; The Rock and the River and Fire in the Streets both published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Kekla Magoon will be honored at YALSA’s 2021 YA Services Symposium, which is to take place November 3-5, 2021 in Reno, NV, where she will be presented with a citation and cash prize of $2,000.

Kekla Magoon

THE HUB: The Edwards award is unique in that it highlights not just the author (YOU!) but also a specific body of work from that author. What do you think made these titles stand out to the selection committee?

MAGOON: The connection, in my mind, is that all these titles focus on civil rights and social justice, either in a historical or contemporary context. These books were also often the first of their kind, or the first to tackle a particular narrative or topic, such as featuring Black Panther Party history in The Rock and the River, or addressing the frequent, tragic, often-controversial shootings of Black people in How it Went Down. Though there have since been other books on these topics, the committee seemed to recognize that these books arrived early in the conversation and continue to inspire discussion and dialogue among readers.

THE HUB: If an author’s books are like beloved children, which of your “shy” children do you wish would get more attention?

Continue reading An Interview with Margaret A. Edwards Award Recipient Kekla Magoon

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

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.


*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).

Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough. 

Amari and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. Read by Imani Parks. Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, $64.99 (9780063057968).

Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

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When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris; Narrated by Preston Butler III
Quill Tree Books
Publication date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 9780063064317

Looking like they do, with brown skin, Jay, his friends and neighbors live knowing they are already one step behind.  Living in their neighborhood presents its own challenges where drug deals, violence, and both police interference AND ignorance are day to day problems. But now Jay’s sister Nic has disappeared and going missing in their neighborhood isn’t enough to warrant police investigation.  Not wanting to worry his grandmother, Jay strikes out on his own to find her leading him into danger and into finding an unlikely friend.  

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

The Hub Reading Challenge – How to Get Started

There are several ways to approach the 2021 Reading Challenge here at The Hub, though there’s no easy way to five in a row! One way to get started is to look at the 2021 ALA YMA winners and honorees, many of which can fill more than one spot on the Bingo board.

2021 Hub Reading Challenge Bingo

Let’s begin with those top corners. The Odyssey Award is given each year to excellent audiobooks produced for children or young adults. The 2021 winner was Kent State by Deborah Wiles, which is also a full-cast audiobook, so it would work for either corner. Another award-winning title with a full cast audiobook is Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, a 2021 Printz honor book.

Continue reading The Hub Reading Challenge – How to Get Started

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 11 Edition

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

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Light It Up by Kekla Magoon; Narrated by Landon Woodson, Karen Chilton, Cherise Booth, Eevin Hartsough, Christopher Carley, Peter Jay Fernandez, T.Ryder Smith, Julian Thomas, Kevin R. Free, and Korey Jackson
Recorded Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
ISBN: 978-1250128898
Shae Tatum hurries home from school one night. She has her earphones on, tuning out the world around her. Shae is tall and looks much older than her thirteen years. A case of mistaken identity leads to tragedy.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 11 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 6 Edition

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Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
ISBN: 978-1250128898

The community of Underhill reacts after an unarmed thirteen-year-old girl is shot and killed by a police officer while walking home. Tensions mount even more upon the arrival of White supremacist demonstrators. The citizens of Underhill prepare  for possible havoc as they protest and await the announcement of the officer’s verdict.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 6 Edition