Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert Publisher: Flatiron Books Imprint: Release date: June 28, 2022 ISBN: 9781250826367
Magic, mystery and witchcraft combine explosively in this dark fantasy. Ivy’s summer vacation plans go awry when she’s involved in a car accident with a stranger who appears naked in the middle of the road. From there, things get creepy and weird quickly. As Ivy struggles to make sense of secrets she didn’t know her mother had, she is drawn into a world of witchcraft and sinister supernatural powers. Gripping and fast paced, this is an enticing blend of mystery, magic and terror.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that 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.
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Between Perfect and Real. By Ray Stoeve. Read by MW Cartozian Wilson. Recorded Books, LLC/Recorded Books, Inc., $70 (9781705028339).
Dean is a trans guy struggling with coming out to his friends and family. Exploring the internet and joining community groups allows him to more clearly define himself while acting as Romeo in a play helps his self discovery. Wilson’s voice is well matched and he skillfully narrates this emotional story.
Black Girl, Call Home. By Jasmine Mans. Read by Jasmine Mans. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Penguin Audio, $22.80 (9780593346884).
Mans calls herself and other Black girls home in this love letter and essential companion to girls and women on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing. Mans narrates this powerful and painful collection with many poems read and produced in unique ways.
Tales From the Hinterland by Melissa Albert; narrated by Rebecca Soler Macmillian Audio Release date: January 12, 2021 ISBN: 9781250791023
A collection of short, creepy fairy tales set in the horror filled world of the Hinterland. These tales made their first appearance in Albert’s Hazel Wood books, but here they are fully captured in gory detail. The stories involve revengeful daughters, women coveting death and deadly magical toys. All the stories blur the line between good and evil with blood, magic and monsters on every page.
Lost in the Never Woodsby Aiden Thomas; narrated by Avi Roque Macmillan Audio Release date: March 22, 2021 ISBN: 9781250779557
Wendy Darling can’t escape her past, even though she remembers nothing about it. She and her brothers disappeared into the woods five years ago, and Wendy was the only one who came out. Now, children are disappearing again, and Wendy almost ran over a strange boy with her truck. He says that Wendy is the only person who can help him save the missing children, and Wendy wants to help, but doing so will mean stirring up old secrets, secrets her mind has kept hidden.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert Macmillan / Flatiron Books Publication Date: January 30, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-250-14790-5
After years of living as transients to escape their bad luck, Alice and her mother Ella think they can finally settle down and have a normal life in New York. But people claiming to be “Hinterland”, characters from Alice’s grandmother’s collection of dark fairy tales, kidnap Ella. Alice and her classmate Finch travel to The Hazel Wood, her grandmother Althea’s estate, to rescue Ella and discover the truth about The Hazel Wood, The Hinterland and Alice herself.
American Panda by Gloria Chao Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster Publication Date: February 6, 2018 ISBN: 978-1481499101
Pushed into early graduation, Mei Lu is an uncertain freshman at MIT. Her unyielding Taiwanese immigrant parents’ plans for her are clear: medical school followed by marriage to a fellow Taiwanese doctor. Unfortunately, Mei is a germaphobe whose passion is dance, and she does the unthinkable by falling for an unacceptable Japanese boy.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, narrated by Rebecca Soler Audio Published by Macmillan Audio Publication Date: January 30, 2018 ISBN: 978-1427293534
Alice Crewe and her mother Ella have moved all her life, and Alice has never been sure what exactly her mother is searching for–or running from. All she knows is that no matter what happens, her mother won’t let them return to the Hazel Wood, Alice’s grandmother’s vast estate. Alice has never met her grandmother, the infamous recluse Althea Proserpine, whose one book of fairy tales, Tales from the Hinterland, is an out-of-print cult classic–a classic Alice has never read, having her copy stolen. All she has is the table of contents, which includes “Alice Three Times,” a story she is certain she has a connection to. When Ella disappears, Alice’s classmate Ellery Finch, an Althea Prosperpine fanboy, teams up with Alice to find her, his ability to retell the stories from Althea’s book crucial to their search. Alice soon realizes that the Hinterland is real–and it’s after her.