Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

Love Radio

Love Radio

by Ebony LaDelle

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Release date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 9781665908153

Prince is a romantic at heart, but he has not got time for love unless it’s helping the callers on his radio show, Love Radio. Dani is focused on her plan to receive a scholarship to study in New York and become a famous author. She doesn’t have time for love. Then Dani and Prince meet. Prince has had a crush on Dani since middle school and wants to prove he’s worth her time. He gets Dani to promise him three dates, and if after that she’s not in love with him he’ll leave her alone. Dani agrees, and as the dates go on she finds herself falling for the sweet, sincere romantic. But a trauma in Dani’s past just might get in the way of these two finding true love.

The combination of a sweet “first love” story, healing from trauma and finding who you are make this a compelling and engrossing read. Reluctant readers will fall for both Dani and Prince because they’re written so realistically. All their flaws and strengths work to create two characters who readers root for, keeping teens engaged until the satisfying conclusion. There are also lots of references to music, music history and the city of Detroit making this a fun read for young people who enjoy music.

Romance readers who enjoy a deeper connection to the characters will enjoy this heartfelt story as will readers who like music, music history or books that dive into a community or city. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant, and Syed Masood’s More Than Just a Pretty Face, as well as Nicola Yoon books are excellent read-nexts for readers who loved this title.

— Rachel Adams

Other Nominated Titles

Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto (September 27, 2022)

Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari (June 7, 2022)

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch (April 12, 2022)

Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard (May 10, 2022)


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.

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.

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

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry Cover Art

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
HarperCollins / HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063024793

Quinn, a wealthy Black high school senior at a predominantly white private school in Austin, TX, keeps deeply personal lists in her journal, like “If I Could Kiss Anyone,” and “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud.” When a mixup with Carter, one of the few other Black students in school, results in Quinn’s journal being held by anonymous blackmailers who threaten to post her most humiliating lists on social media unless she completes her “To Do Before I Graduate” list (including confessing her love to her best friend, admitting she didn’t get into the Ivy League school her parents think she did, and finally visiting her grandma with dementia), Carter offers to help Quinn complete the items on her list and find the blackmailers.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood

Sway with Me Cover Art

Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood
Hatchette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-0316492416 

Being homeschooled by his nearly 100-year-old great grandfather (Nana) has left seventeen-year-old Indian American Arsalan with an impressive vocabulary and not an ounce of cool. Considering that Nana doesn’t likely have many years left on this earth, Arsalan comes to the conclusion he needs to get engaged. Not married, just engaged. He just wants a guarantee that he won’t be left alone when Nana dies. So he makes a deal with Beenish, whose stepmother is the “premier matchmaking aunty of the Greater Sacramento Area” and so presumably knows something about the matchmaking process. Beenish agrees to set him up with someone if he will be her dance partner for her sister’s upcoming wedding. A wedding — Arsalan soon discovers — that Beenish wants to end before it happens, primarily through choreographing an outrageously inappropriate dance that will be sure to offend her sister’s in-laws-to-be.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

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A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
ISBN: 978-1534471245 

Cuban-American Lila Reyes is grief-stricken after the death of her abuela and breakups with her best friend and her boyfriend. Her parents send her from vibrant, sunny Miami to gloomy old England for a change of scenery and a chance to heal, but Lila has a plan for her life, and it involves running the family bakery with her sister after high school instead of summer at her cousins’ English inn. Determined not to enjoy herself, Lila nevertheless cannot resist the call of the inn’s kitchen, which dares her to mix Cuban spice with traditional British baking. Soon, a group of friends (including the cute, thoughtful boy whose family owns the village tea shop) makes life in England not only bearable but thoroughly enjoyable. Now Lila is doing more than falling in love with her new home — she’s questioning everything she thought she knew and everything she thought she wanted.    

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, August 7 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.

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Wednesday Books / Macmillan
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
ISBN: 978-1250239129

Manu has lived her whole life in a bubble, unable to truly exist in the world due to both her undocumented status and her unusual, unforgettable eyes. When her surrogate grandmother dies and her mother is arrested by ICE, she strikes out on her own and uncovers the true history of her Argentinian father’s family and the magic she didn’t know she possessed.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, August 7 Edition