One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite Inkyard Press / Harlequin Publication Date: January 5, 2021 ISBN: 978-1335145802
Happi is still mourning the loss of her sister, Kezi, who died in police custody after attending a protest. Kezi, who was Black, was “one of the good ones” — a bright student, activist, and educational YouTuber with a dedicated following. Reluctantly, Happi agrees to join her older sister Genny, Kezi’s former girlfriend, and a friend on the graduation road trip Kezi never got to take, using the route Kezi planned on Route 66 based on her passionate research of the Negro Motorist Green Book, the book that helped Black drivers navigate trips through the Jim Crow South.
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds; Narrated by A.J. Beckles, Preston Butler III HarperAudio Publication Date: September 22, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062748409
Jamal is still reeling from his parents’ deaths two years ago, and it is affecting all of his relationships. It has been causing friction with his girlfriend Autumn, but more importantly, it has broken his relationship with his best friend and comedic partner, Quincy. Jamal even blames Quincy for his parents’ death, something that Quincy is unaware of. During a party on the beach, Jamal witnesses Quincy save a drowning girl’s life, only to lose his own. When a mysterious man offers Quincy’s mother a chance to bring him back through experimental technology, Jamal takes this as a second chance for him to heal his relationship with Quincy before it’s too late.
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster Publication Date: August 11, 2020 ISBN: 978-1534448636
Three years ago, ICE deported Sia’s mother to Mexico, and now she’s presumed dead after attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert. Ever hopeful, Sia retreats to the desert, lighting candles to guide her mother’s return. Eventually Sia’s mom does appear, flying an alien spacecraft and claiming that extraterrestrials are hunting her. Together with her best friend Rose and would-be boyfriend Noah, Sia tries to find the truth in her mother’s fantastical claims.
This is a fast-paced genre mash-up with elements of mystery, fantasy, and Mexican folklore. Short chapters keep the story moving, along with discussions of compelling issues such as deportation, racism, sexual assault, and grief. The alien subplot, however, adds a dose of levity and intrigue. The main characters are a diverse lot with engaging backstories that highlight Sia’s Latinx heritage, Noah’s mysterious family life, and Rose’s tense relationship with her fanatically religious father. Over the course of the story, Sia learns a lot about the people in her life, and that everyone faces challenges or carries scars that aren’t always visible to others.
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.
This Is My America by Kim Johnson Random House Books for Young Readers Publication Date: July 28, 2020 ISBN: 978-0593118764
Tracy’s falsely accused father has been on death row for seven years. Her small Texas town always did find it easier to blame the new Black man in town for the double murder of a white couple, but now things get even worse when her brother is accused of killing a white classmate. With Jamal on the run and the clock ticking on her father’s life, Tracy has just 267 days to uncover the racist secrets of the past — and the present — and prove her family’s innocence.