Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: The Brothers Hawthorne by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • The Brothers Hawthorne
  • by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Narrated by Jay Ben Markson
  • Hachette Audio | Little, Brown Young Readers
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2023
  • ISBN:9781668623817

Grayson Hawthorne takes care of his family. Always. When his half-sisters (who know nothing about him) need help, he’s there. Thankfully, Xander and Nash show-up, too, just when Grayson needs them most. Jameson Hawthorne loves to win. When his absent father presents him with the challenge to win back his father’s inherited family residence, he is determined to win, as usual. Avery (the girl who inherited the boys’ grandfather’s fortune in The Inheritance Games) becomes his his accomplice. Tobias Hawthorne prepared his grandsons to solve every puzzle, to protect family at all cost, and – above all else – to win. In the face of new challenges, Grayson and Jameson are prepared to do just that. Except, this time, the Hawthorne brothers aren’t together to do so.   

The mystery of the Hawthorne family seems to never end. New readers will fall in love with Grayson and Jameson and be drawn into the current challenges. Curiosity may lead to reading the previous titles, but isn’t necessary. Jay Ben Markson’s narration keeps readers on the edge of their seats, rooting for Grayson and Jameson as each works to solve the clues to their own challenge, likely to change each of their lives.  


Perfect for readers who read other books in the series or enjoyed One of Us is Lying, Truly Devious, or Firekeeper’s Daughter. Also a good choice for teens who’ve seen and enjoyed the mystery of Knives Out and Glass Onion

-Lysha Thompson

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: October 18, 2022
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Release Date: October 11, 2022
Release Date: June 6, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: May 2, 2023

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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Royal Blood by Aimee Carter

  • Royal Blood
  • by Aimee Carter 
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Imprint: Delacorte Press
  • Release date: March 7, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593485910

Evan Bright has been kicked out of many boarding schools but this last infraction included possible felony charges. Which leads her caretaker, Jenkins, with one option, get her out of the country and to her father, the King of England. Evan and the King’s legitimate family have always known about her parentage but when her existence is leaked to the press it becomes the scandal of the century. Soon after her arrival, Evan is assaulted by a friend of the royal family who later ends up dead, leaving her as the prime suspect and public enemy number one. She doesn’t know who to trust and has few people on her side in a foreign country while she is determined to clear her name.

Royalty is a hot topic in books and real life. Evan gets the Meghan Markle treatment in the press clippings that start each chapter. This book gives a peek into how real life mistakes can be twisted to create a narrative for the press. Evan is sympathetic and side characters grow to create a family and support system that Evan so desperately needs. The treatment of sexual assault and mental illness is gentle and educational. 


Readers might also enjoy American Royals by Katherine McGee and The Castle School for Troubled Girls by Alyssa B Sheinmel.

-Cathy DeCampli

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: January 17, 2023
Release Date: May 14, 2023

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 (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Invisible Son by Kim Johnson

  • Invisible Son
  • by Kim Johnson
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Release date: June 27, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593482100

Seventeen-year-old Andres Jackson just spent two months incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.  A restorative justice program is allowing him to return to his family home in Northeast Portland–and the neighborhood friends who were actually the guilty parties.  However, Andres’ plans for returning to school and establishing his innocence are interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Andres now must juggle pandemic losses, family struggles, and the realization that perhaps the truth behind who framed him for stealing is much more complicated than he previously thought.  

This title is a suspenseful and dramatic mystery that slowly builds towards an action packed climax.  The story weaves together important aspects of the historical treatment of Blacks in Portland, contemporary social justice themes, a complicated romance storyline, and a slow burning suspenseful mystery plot.  Readers will connect with Andres’ struggle to learn the truth.

Teen readers drawn to storylines about social justice advocacy and emotion-filled dramas will be drawn to this text. Fans of Nic Stone’s Dear Martin and Dear Justyce, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose, and Jason Reynolds’ and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys will enjoy this important story of racial injustice and its intersection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

-Marie LeJeune

Other Nominated Titles

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/BFYA24TeenFB

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Someone is Always Watching by Kelley Armstrong

  • Someone is Always Watching
  • by Kelley Armstrong
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Imprint: Tundra
  • Release date: April 11, 2023 
  • ISBN: 9780735270923

Blythe’s tight-knit group of friends have started to be plagued by nightmares, hallucinations, and what seem to be repressed memories. The stakes are raised when her best friend Gabrielle has a series of psychotic breaks at school, and is whisked away to a mental health facility following a suspicious death of a school official. Blythe and her friends must work together to find out what really happened to Gabrielle and how this relates to their own nightmares and visions. But can they trust anyone, even one another?

Someone is Always Watching is a fast-paced, plot driven thriller. Although some parts of the plot feel a bit underdeveloped, especially in the second half of the book, the twists and turns will likely keep readers turning the pages until the end. The book is just about 350 pages, but reads as quickly as a book half its length.

Also try books by Karen McManus or These Deadly Games by Diana Urban.

– Julianne Novetsky

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: April 18, 2023
Release Date: January 3, 2023

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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones

  • Missing Clarissa
  • by Ripley Jones
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Imprint: St. Martin’s Publishing Group
  • Release date: March 7, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250801968

Twenty years ago, a popular cheerleader named Clarissa Campbell disappeared from a summer party in the woods. In the present day, best friends Blair and Cameron create a podcast as a school project that will explore this still unsolved mystery. In the years since Clarissa vanished, the story has taken on urban legend-like status in their rural, Washington community. But as the girls dig deeper into the case, they begin to uncover secrets that could put them in very real danger.

Missing Clarissa is a suspenseful, and intricately plotted book that is just over 250 pages. This makes it a quick read that is perfect for readers who prefer shorter books. The story is primarily plot-driven, but the two main characters have distinctive personalities. The podcast plot device is not new, but it will still appeal to teens who are fans of true crime in real life.

 For readers who also enjoyed A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson and Cold by Mariko Tamaki.

-Julianne Novetsky

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: April 25, 2023
Release Date: April 11, 2023

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 (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham

  • This Delicious Death
  • by Kayla Cottingham
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Release date: April 25, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781728236445

When melting ice-caps cause a new pathogen to be released into the world, an event called the Hollowing begins and those infected with the pathogen must consume human flesh or risk turning into a monster. Luckily, scientists are able to quickly create a synthetic meat allowing those infected with the pathogen to lead relatively-normal lives. All is going well until people start disappearing from a music festival. Can Zoey, Celeste and their friends figure out what is happening before the Hollowing takes them over? 

Cottingham has crafted a novel that is equal parts terrifying and responsive to modern-day teen issues. Underneath the body horror there are currents of Covid-19 trauma, fear of global warming, and a queer-normative story. The book is fast paced and keeps readers engaged while meeting teens where they are.

Teens who enjoy horror and thrillers with social commentary will like this book. Similar titles are The Getaway by Lamar Giles and The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Content warnings for: body horror and cannibalism.

-Zoe Smolen

Other Nominated Titles

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/BFYA24TeenFB

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Going Dark by Melissa De La Cruz

  • Going Dark
  • by Melissa De La Cruz
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co
  • Imprint: Union Square and Co
  • Release date: January 31, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781454947646

When college sophomore, Josh, returns from a romantic Roman getaway without his travel influencer girlfriend the internet has questions. Soon #WhereIsAmeliaAshley is trending and Josh is the police’s number one suspect. But fellow student and master hacker, Harper, is also working the case and she has discovered that even people who live their lives online can have plenty of secrets.

True crime fans will recognize the similarities to the Gabby Petito case, which is sure to raise interest. But this is not a retelling of her tragic death. This fast-paced book is filled with twists that have twists. The tone is dramatic and readers feel like they are rushing towards an inevitably dark conclusion.

Readers who are into influencer culture,  quick mysteries, and unreliable narrators should read  Live Your Best Lie by Jessie Weavernd You’re So Dead by Ash Parsons.

-Cathy DeCampli

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: March 7, 2023
Release Date: April 25, 2023

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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt

  • Aces Wild: A Heist
  • by Amanda DeWitt
  • Publisher: Peachtree Teen
  • Imprint: Holiday House
  • Release date: September 13, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781682634660

Jack attends a private school in Massachusetts and runs an underground, literally in the basement, blackjack ring where he uses his card counting tricks learned from his life in Las Vegas where his family owns and runs a casino.  Things seem to be running smoothly until he sees his mother arrested on TV and has to race back to Las Vegas.

Jack is ace and has a group of internet friends that have found each other as allies who are also ace that live around the country. When Jack’s mom is arrested, he makes an impulsive decision to fly his friends to Vegas to help him figure out what happened. Many bad decisions are made, but they have each other to rely on.

Readers who love the idea of taking risks in casinos and banding together with friends on a mission will enjoy Jack and his friend gang. Similar reads are The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass, Overturned by Lamar Giles.

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: April 4, 2023
Release Date: January 31, 2023

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.

6 Diverse Teen Authors

So many wonderful books are written by diverse and neurodiverse authors. Let’s get to know six amazing writers!

Edward Underhill: Transgender

Edward is a queer, trans man who grew up in Wisconsin. Underhill is a young adult author and composer who writes music for cartoons. He wrote ghost stories for the campus magazine while studying at Oberlin Conservatory. In addition to writing novels, he wrote music for Kid Cosmic on Netflix. He “is passionate about representation both on the screen and on the page.”

  • Title:  Always the Almost
  • Genre:  Transgender Romantic Comedy
  • Publisher:  Wednesday Books
  • Release Date:  February 14, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 7-12
  • ISBN:  9781250835208

  • Title:  This Day Changes Everything
  • Genre:  Transgender Romantic Comedy
  • Publisher:  Wednesday Books
  • Release Date:  February 13, 2024
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 7-12
  • ISBN:  9781250835222

Jackie Khalilieh: Palestinian- Canadian, Autism

Palestinian-Canadian Jackie lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. Her main female characters tend to reflect her heritage and autism.

  • Title:  Something More
  • Genre Romantic Comedy
  • Publisher:  Tundra Books
  • Release Date:  June 6, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 7-12
  • ISBN:  9781774882139

Alechia Dow: Black, Queer, & Body Image

Alechia was a pastry chef and librarian before becoming an author of Science Fiction. She has a passion for representing African Americans and characters whose bodies are not perfect in the sense of how society presents them. She embraces the perfect imperfections of her characters.

  • Title:  The Sound of Stars
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Publisher:  Inkyard Press
  • Release Date:  February 25, 2020
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:  9781335406699

  • Title:  The Kindred
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Publisher:  Inkyard Press
  • Release Date:  January 4, 2022
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:   978-1335418616

  • Title:  A Song of Salvation
  • Genre:  Science Fiction
  • Publisher:  Inkyard Press
  • Release Date:  July 11, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:   9781335453723

Mark Oshiro: Latinx, Queer

Mark is a Latinx Queer author who uses the pronouns they/them. They co-authored a book with Rick Riordan They live in Atlanta, Georgia and according to his About Me page, he loves to pet every dog he meets.

  • Title:  Each of Us a Desert
  • Genre:  Magical Realism
  • Publisher:  Tor Teen
  • Release Date:  November 9, 2021
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 7-12
  • ISBN:  9781250169228

  • Title:  Into the Light
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Publisher:  Tor Teen
  • Release Date:  March 28, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 7-12
  • ISBN:  9781250812254

Malinda Lo: Chinese, Queer

Award winning and New York Times bestselling author Malinda Lo has written seven novels. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her wife and dog.

  • Title:  Last Night at the Telegraph Club
  • Genre:  Historical, Asian American
  • Publisher:  Dutton Books for Young Readers
  • Release Date:  December 28, 2021
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9780525555278

  • Title:  A Scatter of Light
  • Genre:  Asian Teen Fiction
  • Publisher:  Dutton Books for Young Readers
  • Release Date:  October 4, 2022
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:  9780525555285

Kelly Andrew: Deaf

Kelly Andrew lives just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Her debut novel The Whispering Dark features a female, deaf lead.

  • Title:  The Whispering Dark
  • Genre:  Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
  • Publisher:  Scholastic Press
  • Release Date:  October 18, 2022
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9781338809473

-Jennifir Huston

References

About me. Jackie Khalilieh. (n.d.-a). https://www.jackiekhalilieh.com/about-me 

About. Kelly Andrew. (n.d.). https://www.authorkellyandrew.com/about 

About. Malinda Lo. (n.d.). https://www.malindalo.com/about 

About. Mark Oshiro. (n.d.). https://www.markoshiro.com/about/ 

About. Mysite. (n.d.). https://www.alechiadow.com/about-7 Edward Underhill. EDWARD UNDERHILL. (n.d.). https://www.edward-underhill.com/

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: Stars and Smoke by Marie Lu

  • Stars and Smoke
  • by Marie Lu
  • Narrated by Becca Q. Co
  • Macmillian Audio
  • Publication Date: March 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250877451

Winter Young is a pop star phenomenon. Sydney Cossette is the youngest-ever member of an elite covert ops group, Panacea. Winter is known world round while no one truly knows Sydney. They live worlds apart until Winter is recruited to join the ranks of Panacea’s elite spies to take down a criminal tycoon, Eli Morrison. The assignment is to infiltrate Eli’s house, Winter is the perfect person to get past Morrison’s security as entertainment for his daughter’s birthday party, and Sydney is assigned to be Winter’s bodyguard and his fake love interest. Their mission starts off smoothly, but the longer Winter and Sydney are in Morrison’s home, the more dangerous their assignment becomes, and the more their fake relationship begins to feel real.  

Becca Q. Co expertly brings to life Marie Lu’s latest novel. Co’s narration adds drama to the slow-burn espionage romance. She breathes life into Winter and Sydney as they follow the twists, turns, and dangers of going against an international drug lord. Lu’s signature writing is evident in the intricate and sprawling plot, strong charming characters that walk off the page, and masterful world-building. Fans of Ally Carter and Jennifer Lynn Barnes will enjoy this fast-paced adventure that is perfect for reluctant readers

–Rebecca Baldwin

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.