Recommendations from Drew
Bookseller Drew has been listening to audiobooks while sewing masks. Here are some of her favorite YA audiobooks so far, all coming out in both book and audiobook format in May 2020. (As of Sunday, May 3, Drew has sewn 124 masks while listening to around 20 audiobooks.)
From the National Book Award winning author of The Poet X and With The Fire On High comes a novel-in-verse about grief and love. The audiobook is georgeously read by the author (who is a National Poetry Slam Champion) and Melania-Luisa Marte. I rewound the audiobook multiple times--not because I missed a part, but because the words were so expertly, cleverly, beautifully woven together that I wanted to listen to them pronounced again with my eyes closed.
This is the second of three books coming out in 2020 by author Kacen Callendar, following the multi-starred, powerful middle grade novel King and the Dragonflies (January 2020). In their second YA novel, Callendar writes with nuance and honesty about Felix, a Black, queer, transgender teen in New York who is navigating the complications of relationships, identity, and love. Highly recommended.
I'm always on the lookout for books with neurodiverse protagonists, so I was excited to come across Almond, which comes out in English (translated from Korean) on May 5. 15-year-old Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions. His mother and grandmother have always helped him to navigate the world and its social situations in the past, but a random act of violence leaves him alone to fend for himself. I wanted to slow this book down to make it last longer. A stunning, original book. I can't wait for more from debut author Won-pyung Sohn.
Stay Gold is alternately told from the perspetives of Pony, a transgender boy who's going "stealth" at his new Texas school, and Georgia, a cisgender girl who is drawn to him even as she worries about the effect their relationship will have on her status as a popular high school cheerleader. A welcome addition to YA fiction and an authentic voice. And, of course, I loved The Outsiders references.