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.
Amari and the Night Brothers. By B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062975164).
Amari’s brother Quinton has disappeared, and her only hope of finding him is to follow in his footsteps and become a Junior Agent with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.
Amber and Clay. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick Press, $22.99 (9781536201222).
In ancient Greece, two unlikely friends Rhaskos and Melisto find their lives intertwined in a search for freedom and purpose. As a ghost bound to Rhaskos, Melisto must help free him before she can find her own rest in the Halls of Hades.
Off the Record by Camryn Garrett Penguin Random House / Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: May 18, 2021 ISBN: 978-1984829993
Josie Wright is seventeen years old, Black, fat, a future Spelman College legacy student (fingers crossed), and a brilliant writer already getting some exposure. When she wins the chance to write a feature article for an important magazine on a young up-and-coming actor, Marius Canet, Josie is determined to make the most of her time on his film’s cross-country press tour, even if it means ignoring her growing feelings for Marius. Just when Josie thinks she’s got her work/life balance under control, a young actress on the tour discloses the horrible truth about a powerful director and asks Josie to break the story of his on-set abuse.
It was pretty much inevitable that I would become a Hamilton addict. As both an American history nerd and a musical theatre geek, I found Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant musical exploring the story of Alexander Hamilton and the founding of the United States irresistible from the moment I first listened to the opening number. However, my love of Hamilton comes not only from Miranda’s incredibly well-crafted soundtrack and book but also from his clear interest in highlighting perspectives often left out of the historical record, including the voices and experiences of women.
Obviously, I am not the first to notice this; articles like Michael Schulman’s “The Women of Hamilton“ and Constance Gibbs’ “How the Hero of Hamilton the Musical is a Woman” explore the powerful ways that Miranda’s writing and the performances of Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Jasmine Cephas Jones illuminate the often unacknowledged perspectives, experiences, and contributions of women in our history. Singing along to songs like “The Schuyler Sisters,” “Satisfied,” and “Burn,” I can’t help but feel the urge to read some great historical fiction that places women and their stories in the spotlight.