Flyleaf's Favorite Young Adult Fiction 2023
Gwen and Art can’t stand each other. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for their royal parents, they are also betrothed. As their wedding approaches, they quickly realize each other’s secret affections: Gwen’s endless journaling about the kingdom’s only female knight, Bridget Leclair, and Art’s undeniable pull towards Prince Gabriel, the heir to the throne. Gwen and Art become allies, resulting in this funny, wonderful romp through medieval times. The most sincere and lovable story I’ve read in a while, one that emphasizes friendship bonds and queer joy. Don't miss out on this! --Emma
Though she's hearing-passing (using hearing aids & lip reading), every day feels like an uphill battle to Lilah. One of the few times she remembers feeling fully accepted and accommodated was at a summer camp for Deaf and blind kids that she attended many years ago. So when she gets the opportunity to return as a junior counselor, Lilah is thrilled...never mind that the camp is running out of money. Sortino seamlessly blends spoken & signed dialogue, highlights a myriad of systemic issues facing the Deaf community, and showcases community thriving around disability & difference. --Talia
A bittersweet story told by two teens on opposite sides of the 2019 Hong Kong protests. Phoenix is an upper-class prep school student who gets swept up in the protests; Kai is a recent immigrant from mainland China who joins the police force to gain the approval of his HK officer father. This book is beautiful, propulsive, and important—I'd recommend it highly to older teens, with the note that it includes some really intense, difficult scenes that may be too much for younger readers. --Talia
A rich family means rich drama. And with this being the first time the Mayweathers are all gathered together in years, secrets are bound to spill. From the very first page we know someone is dead, but who is it? And why? --Jamie K.
An ultra-fast-paced, queer sci-fi romp! It's like Ocean's 8 meets Cinderella meets Knives Out...in space. As a resident of an outlying mining planet, Cass had to turn to pickpocketing to make ends meet. She impulsively decides to sneak into the Empire's most exclusive ball to steal from the rich. Then the Emperor is slain, and Cass has to solve the murder before the killer can pin it on her. There's some light romance, lots of intrigue, and pretty dresses with pockets full of pastries. A ton of fun. --Talia
Penny and Tate are complicated characters, and there is not always a clear side to root for. Which to me, makes them all the more interesting. The slow burn, the enemies (but not really) to friends to something more, is so well executed. --Jamie K.
When Amina's mom died, she and her dad each inherited some of her mother's qualities. She's got a sharp tongue and has never been afraid to use it. Then Amina is assaulted by a pastor, and her tenacity fades. Her community must figure out how to show up for Amina, help her heal, and fight alongside her. An intense, beautiful YA novel-in-verse, highly recommended for fans of Jason Reynolds and Elizabeth Acevedo. CW for sexual assault (not described graphically) --Talia
A lot of the stories about Jewish people in WWII take place in Germany, France, or concentration camps. For me, this book fills that gap perfectly. It's the breathtaking story of a girl, trapped in Romania, with her sister and family, from the fall of 1939 to 1945. This book is a quiet, slow heartbreak, and a million lives lived in one. I cannot believe how much the character of Rieke changed over the course of the book, and how much I changed with her. --Ada
This book is a remarkable representation of the depths to which academic competition can go (perhaps minus the murder). The characters’ desire to claw their way to the top will be a relatable sentiment for many a local high schooler. Mystery, murder, cutthroat competition, romance. --Clare, Youth Advisory Board member
Lynn Painter's hallmark is witty banter, and she delivers again in this fun rom-com. --Elese
The summer before senior year takes an unexpected turn (or perhaps a few) for Jaime, Taylor, and Theo in this queer supernatural mystery set in the small Vermont town of Saint Juniper. A story of high-stakes adventure, unbreakable bonds, and letting go of haunting pasts. I had so much fun with these three! --Emma