Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson Sourcebooks Fire/ Sourcebooks Publication Date: February 2, 2021 ISBN: 978-1492694342
After a life-saving liver transplant, Andre Cobb gains the ability to time travel. He finds himself tethered to a young man named Michael who he meets in the year 1969, and the two quickly fall into a deep romantic relationship. Back in 2021, the family of Andre’s liver donor shares the news that they too are time-travellers, and they task their son Blake with teaching Andre about his new skill. The two share an obvious attraction, but Andre must first figure out what he wants out of life before he can choose which partner to love.
The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard Iron Circus Comics Publication Date: February 23, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-945820-68-7
This graphic collection of five stories explores that scary time just after midnight, when desperation drives each main character to reach out and accept the supernatural. Each story is told from a different point in life – as the youngest child just wanting a friend of her own to play with, a queer teen wanting to be fully accepted by her parents, a teen girl wanting to protect the monster that had one time treated her family well, a college student trying to make ends meet while also passing final exams, and a single woman living a lonely retirement by the edge of a bog. They all turn toward the supernatural, but does it save them?
Alone by Megan E. Freeman Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Publication Date: January 12, 2021 ISBN: 978-1534467583
Taking advantage of her divorced parents, Maddie convinces her mom she is staying with her dad and vice versa in order to pull off a sleepover at her grandparents’ empty apartment. In the morning, she awakes to find she is alone. The entire town, including her family, have been evacuated and stripped of all forms of communication. Maddie has no other option but to fend for herself, living off what the town left behind. With only George the Rottweiler for companionship, Maddie survives a fire, flood, tornado, and several harsh winters in her quest to stay alive and one day see her family again.
Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney, Illustrated by Robyn Smith DC Comics Publication Date: February 23, 2021 ISBN: 978-1401296407
Nubia has Amazonian strength, but after using her strength to stop a robbery, she is the one who ends up in handcuffs. Even a superhero is not immune to racist police brutality, and sadly, this is not the first time something like that has happened to her. When her best friend is repeatedly harassed by a white boy who will not take no for an answer and a protest turns deadly, Nubia must decide whether she is going to potentially reveal her secret identity to protect the ones that she loves.
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.
Becoming Muhammad Ali. By James Patterson and Kwame Alexander.Art by Dawud Anyabwile. 2020. Little, Brown/JIMMY Patterson. $16.99 (9780316498166).
James Patterson and Kwame Alexander tackle the life of Cassius Clay before he became Muhammad Ali in this novel that mixes prose and verse.
Chlorine Sky. By Mahogany L. Browne. Penguin Random House/Crown. $17.99 (9780593176399).
In this novel in verse, Mahogany Browne explores what it’s like to lose a best friend but find yourself.
The Truth Project by Dante Medema Quill Tree Books / Harper Collins Publication Date: October 30, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062954404
High school senior Cordelia has her senior writing project all planned: she’ll take a DNA test just like her sister did, and write about identity and her family history. She also manages to get paired with her childhood crush, Kodiak, on the project. But when her genealogy results come in, Cordelia learns her father is not who she thought — which sends her spiraling as her plan for her senior year completely changes.
This free verse novel has a lot of white space on the page and reads quickly. Poems are short and spaced out. Additional storytelling comes in the form of text messages and emails, adding some variety while keeping things fast-paced. The writing is clear, and the plot is straightforward. The search for identity is a familiar theme with strong emotional appeal to teens, and many teens will relate to Delia’s sense of being out-of-place even among the people who know her best.
Every Single Lie by Rachel Vincent Bloomsbury Publication Date: January 12, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5476-0523-1
Sixteen-year-old Beckett Bergen’s life completely changes the moment she discovers a dead baby in a duffel bag stashed in the girl’s locker room at school. After an anonymous Twitter account reveals that Beckett made the discovery, she is targeted with violent threats and rumors that she’s the #BabyKiller. Hunting for the truth only uncovers more secrets but none so shattering as discovering what really happened.
Teen Killers Club, by Lily Sparks Crooked Lane / Penguin Random House Publication Date: November 10, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-64385-229-4
Signal Deere was once an ordinary girl, a misfit goth with concerns like where to sit at lunch and when she’d get her first kiss. That all changed the day she was convicted of the gruesome murder of her best friend. She is just getting used to life in prison when she gets an offer that seems too good to be true: if she joins a top-secret program based out of an abandoned summer camp, she won’t have to serve another day of her sentence. For once, she should fit right in — the camp is full of “Class A” killers like her, the most dangerous type of criminal. There’s just one problem: she was framed. She has no idea who actually killed her friend. And, in Teen Killers Club, being innocent makes her prey.
Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson, Kwame Alexander, and Dawud Anyabwile (illustrator) Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company Publication Date: October 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-0399547966
Cassius Clay Jr. was always the greatest—even if everyone didn’t know it yet. Before the world knew him as Muhammad Ali, Cassius hung out with friends, loved his family, and struggled with school, all against the backdrop of 1950s Louisville, Kentucky. In this fictionalized biography, writers James Patterson and Kwame Alexander show the reader Cassius’ life with a mix of prose and poetry.
The book is engaging and full of heart, with fully realized characters and a well-paced plot. The cover draws you in, and Dawud Anyabwile’s art throughout adds to the book’s appeal. The mix of prose and poetry adds interest. Students will be able to see themselves in Cassius and his best friend, Lucky.
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 field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.
This is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes HarperTeen / Harper Collins Publication Date: November 17, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062422446
Daffodil doesn’t have a typical plan for the summer before her Freshman year of college. Instead of hanging out with friends or traveling, she agrees to house-sit all alone in a creepy mansion. As the summer progresses, things in the house get progressively stranger and more sinister, and Daffodil can’t ignore that there is something evil about the house. Will she be able to discover the house’s secret before it’s too late?
This is Not a Ghost Story is a quick-paced read that delves into the action of the story quickly with short chapters that keep the story moving. Told from a first-person, stream-of-consciousness point of view, teens will appreciate that the voice actually sounds like a teenager. The mystery of the story is compelling and will keep teens guessing until the twist ending.