Teen Librarian Recommends: YALSA's Best YA Books of the Year


Want to know what the best new Young Adult book was in 2017? Recently, YALSA (the Young Adult Library Association) released their list of the BFYA (Best of the Year for Young Adult) Nominations. This extensive list provides books that are notable works of young adult literature, selected by a YALSA committee, for the past year. If you are looking for a new book to read, look no further! The library owns many books on the list, and if there is a book you see on the list that is not in our catalog, be sure to suggest a purchase, so we can try to get it on our shelves!  

Here are 10 books that were on the BFYA nominations list, with descriptions the BYFA committee. Be sure to check out the list for many, many more! 

The Arsonist, by Stephanie Oakes, is about Molly Mavity and Pepper Al-Yusef, each with troubles of their own, learn their lives are inextricably linked with that of Ava Dreyman, a young East German freedom fighter, when a series of mysterious messages challenges them to solve her decades-old murder. 

Insecure about his unusually large and hairy appearance, 15-year-old Dylan feels like a freak until he meets brave and beautiful Jamie, who accepts and loves him as he is. But when he realizes she is transgender, can he return the favor? Find out more in Beast, by Brie Spangler. 

 Noemi is a 17-year-old soldier defending her planet, Genesis, against Earth, in Defy the Stars, by Claudia Gray.  Abel is a robot programmed to fight Genesis for Earth and protect his creator.  They are sworn enemies who end up trying to survive together- and, perhaps, to find a way to end the war. 

After being sent away to boarding school when her brother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Suzette has returned home to LA for the summer, in Little & Lion, by Brandy Colbert. The siblings’ typically close relationship becomes strained when he secretly stops taking his medication and they both fall for the same girl. 

Odd & True, by Cat Winters, takes place in 1909 Oregon, complex characters and beautiful world-building combine as sisters Odette and Trudchen tell their stories. Od's version has magic and monsters, but Tru begins to believe the supernatural does not exist. When Od reappears after a two-year absence, her sister must decide for herself what is true. 

Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson, is about artist Jade has big dreams, but recognizes that coming from a rough neighborhood creates barriers. She reluctantly joins Woman to Woman, a mentoring program that promises a scholarship. Her well-intentioned mentor, also black, doesn't understand Jade has no desire to be “saved.” Each has things to learn from the other. 

Life for sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan isn't easy in A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, by Eric Lindstrom. As she tries to hide her bipolar disorder and grieve the loss of her older brother, it costs her old friends and threatens to affect new relationships. How will those closest to Mel react when they discover the extent of her secrets? 

In 1999 Bolivia, Francisco's father is arrested on false drug charges. Francisco and his younger sister, Pilar, move into a men's prison with their father. Francisco must decide whether to break up his family and take his sister to live with their grandparents or stay together in the dangerous prison. Learn more in An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, by Melanie Crowder 

In When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon, hopeless romantic Rishi Patel attends a summer coding program to meet his future wife, Dimple, per his parents’ wishes. The only problem is that independent Dimple isn't aware of this arrangement. Sparks fly—not always the romantic kind-- as ultimately the two teens realize that they have a lot in common. 

Beautiful and weird, the creative chaos of this slowly darkening novel reflects the abusive conditions that best friends August and Jack live in during The Wicker King, by K. Ancrum. When Jack begins to hallucinate, August is determined to protect him.  Intense pacing makes this a story readers will devour in one sitting.