The voting for YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten is now open and will stay open through October 12th. Winners will be announced the following week. Here are the nominees along with the official video announcement:
#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
American Panda by Gloria Chao
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Frat Girl by Kiley Roache
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, Emily Carroll
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown
Wildcard by Marie Lu
Dig by A. S. King (9781101994917)
Meet five teenagers who either barely know one another or don’t know each other at all, but all are from the same broken family. It’s a family where the roots run deep into potato farming and racism. It’s a family broken by high expectations, greed, and an inability to connect. Each of the teens carries their own moniker other than their first name. There is the Freak, a girl who can flicker from one place in the world to another. The Shoveler is a boy with big secrets to tell. CanIHelpYou? works at a drive through, selling more than burgers and fries to her customers. Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress lives in a family of violence and hunger, but has her own flea circus at least. First-Class Malcolm lives with his father who is dying of cancer and jets back and forth to Jamaica. Each teen carries so much weight, so much dirt with them, and yet there is hope if they can just dig deep.
I won’t lie, this is one tough book. King wrestles with the issues, choices and lives faced by teens in the modern world. They are lives embittered by racism, poverty, drugs, violence, and lies. Still, as the reader gets to know each teen, there is grace beneath all of these layers of family crap and expectations. There is responsibility too, responsibility to be different than the previous generation and make better choices for themselves and their families.
I also won’t lie about the fact that this is a very important book. It looks at racism with an eye towards white people taking responsibility for their history, for their current state, for making assumptions, relying on friends of color for cover, and for not being allies in a real way. It lays all of that bare, insisting that the characters and readers take action in their lives to remedy things, to speak of the unspoken, to insist on change happening. So this tough read is filled just enough light through the muck of life.
A great teen novel full of depth with a strong voice and a definitely point of view. Appropriate for ages 15-18.
Reviewed from library copy.