SC Young Adult Nominees I’m Excited to Read


Each spring the South Carolina Association of School Librarians announces lists of the best books for grades K-12. There are four lists total, each consisting of 20 books that are recommended for picture books, children’s books, junior books, and young adult books. Personally, I love when the lists are announced because I get a jumpstart on reading as many as I can.

Today, I’ll be sharing the five young adult titles I’m most excited to read. These books are great for high school or college students or anyone who enjoys young adult literature.  

Break the Fall

by Jennifer Iacopelli

I’m definitely not athletic by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m always drawn to a good story. Especially if it takes place surrounding a national gymnastics team. This book has all the makings of a good TV drama, and I’m stoked to get my hands on it. Plus, the cover is absolutely gorgeous! 

Don’t Date Rosa Santos

by Nina Moreno 

For those looking for a good summer read, look no further! From the cover to the setting in Florida, this sounds like it’ll be full of comedy, romance, and sweet summer sun. I am preparing now to read this on a beach somewhere in June, listening to the waves crash nearby. 


by Mindy McGinnis

Mindy McGinnis is one of my favorite, gritty, YA writers. She doesn’t hold back on some of the tougher topics, and most of her books are not for the faint of heart. This particular book is no different. Despite the book surrounding a teenage athlete getting hooked on painkillers, I feel as if this is one adults need to read to remind themselves of the pitfalls surrounding teenagerhood. This one feels like it’ll be important in starting a conversation with the young people we know.  

Jane Anonymous

by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Another one that isn’t for the faint of heart, Jane Anonymous follows the story of a 17 year old girl who was abducted for seven months before then being freed. The reader gets the timeline during her abduction and her life after. This is one that I know I’ll race through because thrillers are best read in one sitting. Or as close to one sitting as possible since there are small children at home with me. I am more of a sensitive person so I’m interested to see if this one will make me unreasonably anxious. Either way, I’m definitely going to give it a try. 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

by Jason Reynolds

As I get older, the more I love nonfiction reading and learning through books. Back in 2019, I went to YALLFest down in Charleston and received an advanced copy of this book. Who would have known how timely this book would be? The curse of owning a book is that I never actually read it. The same is sadly true with this one. It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since. However, my love of nonfiction and Jason Reynolds has me putting it back at the top of my list this spring. It’s definitely one I would recommend reading alongside a teenager or another adult because of the good conversations it could lead to. I’m grateful that I already own this book because I know it’ll be one I want to highlight and make notes in. 

The Young Adult list is usually full of grittier titles and subject matters. I always recommend visiting Common Sense Media to see if these books are right for you and your high schoolers. You can see the full South Carolina Book Award Nominee lists here. Regardless, I can’t wait to make my way through these and see which ones end up being my favorite.

What titles are you looking forward to the most?


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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


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