Book News: The Best YA of 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, the “Best Of” lists are making their annual appearances. After a disrupted publishing year in 2020, this year brought a true bonanza of releases. With such a deep bench, it’s been interesting to see which titles have risen to the top. Not surprisingly, the bestselling thriller The Firekeeper’s Daughter by debut novelist and Ojibwe storyteller Angeline Boulley made a big splash this year, appearing on eight of the year’s lists. Malinda Lo’s evocation of the lesbian community in 1950’s San Francisco in her historical novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club was not far behind, landing on seven lists. And Angie Thomas’ Concrete Rose, a prequel to The Hate U Give giving the backstory of Starr’s father “Mav,” also made repeat appearances, landing on five lists.

Dive into these pages for great ideas for your TBR lists and gift lists!


AudioFile (Audiobooks)



GoodReads Choice Award (Fiction)

GoodReads Choice Award (Fantasy and Science Fiction)

GoodReads Choice Award (Graphic Novels & Comics–All Ages)

Kirkus Coming Soon!

National Public Radio

New York Public Library

New York Times

Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal


Book News: Harvey Award Winners 2021

Named after legendary cartoonist and MAD Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman, the “Harvey Awards” have been honoring the year’s best comics and graphic novels since 1988. This year’s awards were announced this month, and the YA graphic novel The Magic Fish by debut author/artist Trung Le Nguyen won in two major categories.

In Nguyen’s gentle tale about language, family, immigration, loss, and coming out, readers meet young Tien and his mother, an immigrant from Vietnam, who practice English together by reading fairy tales. The challenges of Tien and his mother are actually interwoven with three of these fairy tales, which are “read aloud” through the course of the text. This award tops many other accolades for Nguyen’s fairy tale reinvention (including a nomination for this year’s Maine North Star YA Award!).

Here are all the notable “Harvey” YA winners:

Book of the Year
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Best Children or Young Adult Book
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Best Adaptation from Comic/Graphic Novel Form
WandaVision by Disney+ (based on “The Avengers” from Marvel Comics)

Best Manga
Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Book-to-TV/Movie News: 2021 Round-Up

We haven’t done a round-up of YA book-to-movie releases for several months, so there is quite a list here. The studios of the big streaming services seem to have fully recognized the eager audience for YA adaptations, and there are a good number of adaptations already released or in production. So, without further ado, here are the releases since our last round-up, in order of their release dates:

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
Based on the short story by Lev Grossman published in the anthology Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
Released on Amazon Prime on February 12


Shadow and Bone
Based on the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Released as an 8-episode series on Netflix on April 23rd (Production on a Season 2 is already in the works!)


Based on the modern classic Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Released on Netflix on May 7 (after many, many delays…)


Fear Street
Based on the essence of the 50+ novels in the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine
Released on 3-part series on Netflix on June 28


There Is Someone Inside Your House
Based on There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Coming to Netflix on October 6


One of Us Is Lying
Based on One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
Coming to Peacock as a series on October 7


I Know What You Did Last Summer
Based on I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
Coming to Amazon as a series on October 15

Summer’s Hottest YA Fiction: 2021 Edition

Summer often brings many of us back to the pleasure of reading, and after the upheaval of the past year, even more of us are turning to the joys and refuge of a good book. Below we’ve listed some of the popular YA books and big name authors to which readers are turning and which seem destined to be this summer’s favorites. Here is reading without assignments, essays, or tests. Just good ole reading for fun. Click on any book cover below to find a copy in our Minerva catalog.
(You’ll also find many of these titles as ebooks in our digital Cloud Library!)

Celebrate Pride Month 2021 with YA Lit

We’re celebrating Pride Month with our annual review of new and memorable LGBTQ+ characters starring in the pages of YA over the past year. Representation of LGBTQ+ characters, as well as “own voice” LGBTQ+ authors, in the publishing world continues to grow. Check out some of this year’s most beloved characters in the fiction and graphic novels of our YA collection below. Simply click on a cover image to view that book in our Minerva catalog.

Free Audiobook Downloads from Sync: 2021 Season

The month of May marks the beginning of the annual summer Sync season, during which AudioFile magazine provides free YA audiobook downloads to listeners. Each week, Sync offers two thematically-paired audiobooks which can be downloaded into the Sora app anytime within that 7 day window and then retained indefinitely. New titles go live every Thursday at midnight.

Register on the Sync website to get started or check out their FAQs. We can’t say enough good things about AudioFile (a Portland-based business!) and this generous program. AND they are featuring a staff favorite this week: They Went Left by Monica Hesse. Need we say more?

April 29 – May 5
COME ON IN by Adi Alsaid (Recorded Books)
ILLEGAL by Francisco X. Stork (Scholastic Audio)

May 6 – May 12
TRELL by Dick Lehr (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio)
THEY WENT LEFT by Monica Hesse (Hachette Audio)

May 13 – May 19
MONKEY by Wu Ch’êng-ên, Arthur Waley (Naxos AudioBooks)
DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE by Joan He (Dreamscape Media)

May 20 – May 26
WHAT MAKES US by Rafi Mittlefehldt (Brilliance Audio)
ALIVE by Scott Sigler (GraphicAudio)

May 27 – June 2
THE MAGIC BARREL by Bernard Malamud (L.A. Theatre Works)
OF BEETLES AND ANGELS by Mawi Asgedom (Hachette Audio)

June 3 – June 9
SALTY, BITTER, SWEET by Mayra Cuevas (Blink)
ROOK by Sharon Cameron (Scholastic Audio)

June 10 – June 16
EXTINCTION by Hannie Rayson (L.A. Theatre Works)
CRESCENDO by Allen Cheney (Thomas Nelson)

June 17 – June 23
THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART by Kimberly Drew (Listening Library)
POEMSIA by Lang Leav (Listening Library)

June 24 – June 30
SASHA MASHA by Agnes Borinsky (Tantor Audio)
STAY GOLD by Tobly McSmith (HarperAudio)

July 1 – July 7
DUST by Kara Swanson (Oasis Audio)
THE RAVEN’S TALE by Cat Winters (Recorded Books)

July 8 – July 14
THE HENNA WARS by Adiba Jaigirdar (Listening Library)
SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali (Listening Library)

July 15 – July 21
THE RUINOUS SWEEP by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio)
THE BODY SNATCHER AND OTHER STORIES by Robert Louis Stevenson (Naxos AudioBooks)

July 22 – July 28
SPELLSINGER 1 by Alan Dean Foster (GraphicAudio)
NOT YOUR SIDEKICK by C.B. Lee (Tantor AudioBooks)

July 29 – August 4
STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L. Armentrout (HarperAudio)
KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF by Tom Ryan (Dreamscape Media)

Book News: Teens’ Top Ten Nominees 2021

Looking for more reading suggestions? Choose your next book from the newly unveiled nominees of another great YA readers’ choice award: the Teens’ Top Ten Award featuring 25 nominees selected by teen book groups around the country. Read the nominees throughout the summer, and then vote anytime between August 15 and October 15. Be a part of selecting this year’s top ten!

2021 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (Memoir)

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (Fantasy)

Atomic Women by Roseanne Montillo (Biography)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Dystopian Science Fiction)

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass (Fantasy/Romance)

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph (Memoir)

The Bone Thief by Breeana Shields (Fantasy)

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Paranormal Fiction)

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (Historical Fantasy)

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Realistic Fiction/Novel-in-Verse)

Dangerous Secrets by Mari Mancusi (Fantasy/Romance)

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Gulledge (Realistic Fiction/Graphic Novel)

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (Sports Fiction/Graphic Novel)

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards (Suspense)

Flamer by Mike Curato (Realistic Fiction/Graphic Novel)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Mystery)

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer (Romance)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab (Historical Fantasy)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Fantasy)

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (Urban Fantasy)

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokudo-Hall (Fantasy)

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus (Mystery)

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller (Fantasy/Romance)

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (Romantic Comedy)

We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding (Realistic Fiction)

North Star YA Award Update: ’20-21 Winners & ’21-22 Nominees!

Congratulations to the inaugural year winners of the North Star YA Award, Maine’s newest readers’ choice award. From a field of 21 nominees, the 1st place honor went to the poignant yet funny novel Sorry for Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley. 2nd place went to the graphic novel Bloom by Kevin Panetta, and 3rd to On the Come Up by Angie Thomas.

Next year’s list has been announced for readers who are eager to get started. Remember, if you read any 3 of the nominees, you’ll be eligible to vote next spring!

North Star YA Award 2021-2022 Nominees:

The New David Espinoza by Fred Acevedo (Realistic Fic)

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli (Realistic Fic)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Mystery)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (Realistic Fic)

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee (Historical Fic)

Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley (Novel-in-Verse/Realistic Fic)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Fantasy)

Lobizona by Romina Garber (Fantasy)

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha (Nonfic/Graphic Novel)

They Went Left by Monica Hesse (Historical Fic)

Call Me American: The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant by Abdi Nor Iftin (Memoir)

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (Fantasy)

Beast: Face-to-Face with the Florida Bigfoot by Watt Key (Adventure/Survival Fic)

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo (Realistic Fic)

I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee (Realistic Fic)

Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis (Realistic/Survival Fic)

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey (Romance)

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (Fairy Tale/Graphic Novel)

Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds and Danice Novgorodoff (Realistic Fic/Graphic Novel)

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Fantasy)

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (Novel-in-verse/Realistic Fic)

Awaiting Spring

As we all eagerly await the return of the birds, bugs, soils, plants, and animals that herald spring, enjoy some of these books about our friends in the natural world. They are out there! Hang in there!

Celebrate Black History Month with YA Lit

In honor of Black History Month, we want to highlight some of the YA books from our shelves that explore Black History in narrative nonfiction and historical fiction form. Click on any of the book covers below to discover more about a title or to request a copy.

And don’t miss the postings on the Community Teach-In and Read-In website organized by Patten Free Library and RSU 1, where you’ll find fascinating stories about many figures and moments in Black History, shared daily in digest form throughout the month of February!

News & Updates