Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Blackout Cover Art

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
HarperCollins / Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063088092

It’s a hot, muggy summer day in New York City. When the power goes out, sparks fly. All across the city, an interconnected group of Black teens finds love. Bitter exes cross paths at a competitive internship before they’re forced to walk home together. Old friends reconnect on the subway and at the library. New attractions bloom at a nursing home and in a rideshare. Everyone is on their way to the same block party in Brooklyn, and who knows how their stars will have realigned when the lights finally come back on… 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Off the Record by Camryn Garrett

Off the Record Cover Art

Off the Record by Camryn Garrett
Penguin Random House / Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-1984829993 

Josie Wright is seventeen years old, Black, fat, a future Spelman College legacy student (fingers crossed), and a brilliant writer already getting some exposure. When she wins the chance to write a feature article for an important magazine on a young up-and-coming actor, Marius Canet, Josie is determined to make the most of her time on his film’s cross-country press tour, even if it means ignoring her growing feelings for Marius. Just when Josie thinks she’s got her work/life balance under control, a young actress on the tour discloses the horrible truth about a powerful director and asks Josie to break the story of his on-set abuse. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Muted by Tami Charles

Muted by Tami Charles
Scholastic Press / Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338673524

Denver and her best friends are taken under the wing of music legend Sean “Mercury” Jones aka Merc to become the next big thing, but at what price? As Merc becomes more controlling and cuts the girls off from family and friends, will they even make it out alive?

Muted flows from the first page with verse that feels like lyrics to a song (not including the song or two that is included). Readers will immediately be hooked by Denver and her dreams of music stardom. Then, what at first seems like an inspiring read about friends making music, quickly turns sinister as Merc takes control, further calling readers to race through to see how everything plays out. Each section reads quickly with plenty of white space to help with the overall flow of the book, but does not lessen the overall emotional impact of emotional abuse that is ripped from the headlines.

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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.

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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. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Every Single Lie by Rachel Vincent

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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.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Class Act by Jerry Craft

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Class Act by Jerry Craft; narrated by Nile Bullock, Jesus del Orden, Guy Lockard, Marc Thompson, Peyton Lusk, Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, January LaVoy, Phoebe Strole, Jordan Cobb, A.J. Beckles, Robin Miles, Ron Butler, Miles Harvey, Kim Mai Guest, Kyla Garcia & Soneela Nankani
HarperAudio
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 9780063032057 

Drew Ellis, Jordan Banks and Liam Landers are back at Riverdale Academy Day School for their eighth grade year, where they have to navigate microaggressions, colorism and class differences.  The focus of this book is Drew and his home life with his grandmother, his longing to join the basketball team without becoming a stereotype, and his growing resentment towards Liam, the wealthiest of his friends.

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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.    

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

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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.

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Celebrating Black Voices

Though we champion Black voices all year long, February is Black History Month, and YALSA member Annierra Matthews has pulled together a list to commemorate and elevate this celebration. Annierra is a Research Services Library at Mercer University in Douglasville, Georgia, and has a passion for YA!


Black History Month (BHM) is quite prominent in most Black households across the United States. Founded in 1924 by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of Black leaders, musicians, writers, athletes, etc., are celebrated throughout February. For teens searching for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are plenty of options: viewing online exhibitions and archives, binging documentaries and films, streaming special programs and recitals, and even supporting black-owned businesses.

For those who prefer to cuddle up with a book, here’s a list of compelling fiction written by Black authors and featuring Black characters. 

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Malik must save his sister from a sinister spirit, and in order to do so, he must kill Crown Princess Karina. Karina, on the other hand, must offer a king’s heart to revive her mother. When Malik and Karina face-off in the Solstasia competition, they contend with falling in love and completing their goal.  

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