Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Under This Red Rock by Mindy McGinnis

  • Under This Red Rock
  • by Mindy McGinnis
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Release date: March 19, 2024
  • ISBN: 9780063230415

Neely knows the voices she hears are hallucinations, but she’s afraid to burden her family by telling them about her schizophrenia, especially in the aftermath of her brother’s suicide. She finds comfort and stability in the local cavern attraction and is even lucky enough to get a job there as a guide. However, her stability upends after she tries drugs at a party and her coworker and crush, Mila, is found brutally murdered in the caverns. Neely can’t shake the fear that she was the one who did it. 

Under this Red Rock isn’t just a mind-bending psychological thriller. It’s also an open-ended invitation for the reader to reflect on their biases about mental illness, as well as a reminder that it’s okay to ask for help. Hypnotic and harrowing, this book will stay with you long after you put it down.

This book is for teens who like twisty mysteries that remain grounded in realism. Give it to fans of Courtney Summers and Kathleen Glasgow, but note that the story contains depictions of drug use and violent imagery, including a graphic description of a suicide.

-Yona Yurwit

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/BFYA25TeenFB

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown

All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown
Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
ISBN: 9780063054974

Andrew and Jamie, both with secrets of their own, lost everyone they cared about after a deadly pathogen killed off much of the population, but they find each other when they need it most and begin a dangerous trek together to search for civilization.

All That’s Left in the World is told from the point of view of Andrew, an expert at telling hilarious sarcastic jokes, and Jamie, a hopeful and kind person who loves Hallmark movies. Andrew is looking for help after he gets his leg stuck in a bear trap when he comes across Jamie’s cabin, and the rest is history.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of The Project by Courtney Summers

The Project by Courtney Summers; narrated by Emily Shaffer and Therese Plummer
Publisher: Macmillian Audio
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 9781250760630

After Lo’s parents died in a car accident her big sister Bea joined the secretive religious group The Unity Project looking for a renewed sense of hope. The sisters used to be very close, but haven’t seen each other in years. Lo is convinced The Unity Project is a cult and responsible for why the sisters have been kept apart. She begins investigating The Project and plans to expose the group and finally see her sister. But as Lo digs deeper into the Project and it’s charismatic leader Lev, she uncovers dark secrets and shameful actions from both her family and The Project, that threaten to unravel her delicate sense of truth and justice.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of The Project by Courtney Summers

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

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) 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.


The Awakening of Malcolm X. By Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. $17.99 (9780374313296). 

While serving a sentence in Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little is introduced to the teachings of Islam and begins to correspond with Elijah Mohammad. As he struggles to process his anger and his past, he begins to solidify his beliefs and become the man known as Malcolm X. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

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

cover art

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

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Cover Art

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593353806

Nora O’Malley is a seventeen-year-old trying to have a normal life in a small town with her older sister, a private detective. Nobody knows that she spent her childhood helping her mother con wealthy men all over the country and is in hiding from the worst of them all – the dangerous man her mother attempted to con and wound up marrying. When an awkward morning at the bank with her ex-boyfriend Wes and current girlfriend Iris is interrupted by a bank heist going terribly wrong, Nora will have to use her skills from her past life to get herself and others out alive.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, May 12 Edition

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

Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062561626

After finding her boyfriend cheating on her during a party in the woods, Ashley takes off in anger and ends up lost, with a serious injury to her foot, and with only her wits and some survival skills to help her make it out alive.

Creepy woods with dangerous animals? Check.

Kick-butt heroine who tells it like it is? Check.

Chopped off body parts? Check.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, May 12 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, April 29 Edition

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

Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series, Book 2) by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Euan Morton
Macmillan Audio
Release date: 09-24-19
ISBN: 978-1250146076

A year after he’s saved the world, Simon is struggling to find his place in life.  So his boyfriend Baz and friend Penny decide to take him on a road trip in the U.S. Penny is also worried about their friend Agatha who is now in California avoiding magic.  In an epic trip across the country, they find friends and foes, and rescue Agatha from a terrible fate.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, April 29 Edition

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

Image result for light it up kekla magoon"

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