Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Narrated by Rong Fu
PRH Canada Young Readers
Publication Date: September 20, 2021
ISBN: 9780735269972

Humans in Huaxia are constantly under attack from Hunduns, giant bug-like aliens. Humanity has created two-pilot robot war machines known as Chrysalises in order to protect themselves.  Boys dream of the chance to pilot a Chrysalis in order to find fame and honor. Girls, on the other hand, are either married off or serve as concubine co-pilots for Chrysalises. Concubine-pilots rarely survive a Hundun battle. Zetian joins Chrysalis training to avenge her older sister who was murdered by a Chrysalis pilot. She shocks the world by not only surviving her first battle, but taking full control of the Chrysalis on her own, an impossible task without the qi energy of both a male and female pilot. Zetian is then paired with the strongest pilot in the fleet: former prisoner Li Shimin. If Zetian wants to dismantle the Chrysalis system and stop the sacrifice of innocent girls, she will have to work with her new partner alongside help from her secret love interest, Yizhi, all while fooling eagle-eyed government officials and battling aliens.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Winter

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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.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Misewa Saga by David A. Robertson

The Misewa Saga Cover Art

The Misewa Saga by David A. Robertson
Penguin Random House Canada/Puffin Books
The Barren Grounds (vol. 1)
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
ISBN: 978-0735266100

The Great Bear (vol. 2)
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
ISBN: 978-0735266131

Indigenous foster kids Morgan and Eli have been separated from their families and placed with a white foster couple in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both children feel alone and different from everyone around them at their new home and school, but Morgan and Eli have a secret. They can cross into another world — the land of Askí, where across the Barren Grounds they’ve befriended the talking animal villagers of Misewa. All Eli has to do is draw a picture, staple it to the wall of the attic, and he and Morgan can step into a fantasy land. During their first adventure in Askí, the two meet and befriend a fisher named Ochek, the sole remaining hunter of his starving village. Together, they embark on a weeks-long voyage to discover what has happened to the summer birds that are meant to keep the land alive. As they travel, Morgan begins to learn how to live on the land as her people do, and Eli flourishes with opportunities to share his knowledge. Many dangers await, and even if Morgan and Eli do return home, they must figure out how to explain their long absence. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, September 27 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 Lying Woods by Ashley Elston
Disney-Hyperion / Hachette
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
ISBN: 978-1368014786 

Owen Foster lives a life of luxury and indulgence at his boarding school – until that all comes crashing down in this slow burn mystery. When he finds out that his father has been stealing his clients money and has now vanished, Owen must leave his privileged life behind to move back to his small town where he grew up and live amongst those that his father stole from.

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