Fri-YA | #CYBILS2023 Books 1.19.24

How much did our judges love these books?

One added a title to her Christmas Wish List to have her own personal copy.

One put it on her purchase list to make sure she has it available for all her classes.

Another, who doesn’t normally like poetry for storytelling, really enjoyed a novel in verse.

A Fri-YAY, indeed! Have a great weekend, readers.

Summaries via Goodreads.
Click book covers to see the full summary + add the books to your TBR.


Tamara @ Bookish Things – Sarah Myer’s graphic novel memoir was filled with lots of emotions. I loved the scenes where young Sarah spoke with her father and he told her about how others perceive him. I also loved that they started to share a bond over anime and cosplay conventions. But in the memoir, there was also the racism, homophobia, and other bigotry–along with a multitude of slurs that were more “accepted” in the 90s and early 2000s, which is something to keep in mind for readers.

This was quite a read. It was the story of a young woman who was adopted and dealt with the wondering of why her birth parents abandoned her, the anxiety of not fitting in, and the fear of the monster she felt like she was becoming bigger. However, her tale is one that many could relate to, especially if they were bullied in school.

The art was fantastic and Myers did a great job at portraying the “monster” inside of her as a sentient being. I loved the ending of how she decides to protect that younger version of herself who was so full of fun and hope and how, by doing so, she would also protect her current and future self.

Alexis @ Goodreads – I was drawn to this story because of the cover combined with the description-a transracial adoption story with a character who struggles to fit in and with identity? Sold. And this book did not disappoint. I felt so many feelings in this story and it is such an important one that everyone should read. Highly recommend.

Library Coven (podcast) – Probably one of my favorite books of the year. I give it all the stars. Love the tension. Love the development of Alice. Recommend if you like…

  • The Kaz/Inej tension of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • Arthurian legend stuff…but not by dusty old white guys 😉
  • Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
  • Labyrinth Lost slash the entire Br0oklyn Brujas series by Zorida Cordova
  • LL McKinney’s Nightmareverse books (A Blade so BlackA Dream so Dark)


Tiffany @ Goodreads – This book is packed full of beautiful Indigenous knowledge and culture! I learned so much about Indigenous innovative designs and contributions. I could see classes breaking a part each chapter and diving deep into this learning. There are so many great activities that could be done and STEM connections- I will definitely be purchasing a copy for my classes!

Karen @ Goodreads – Oh, I got this book from my local public library, but this is going on my Amazon Wishlist aka my holiday gift (for me) guide. I can see readers as young as 9 years old enjoying this book, but it has a lot to offer adults. It’s probably designed for middle grade readers, but too many high schoolers, young adults and fully “grown up” readers do not know this information!


Cindy @ Kiss the BookA Warning About Swans, is a very whimsical novel written in prose, which at first I was hesitant because books that pretend to be poetry have never really been my forte. But this book was just the right amount of poetry balanced with storytelling. I enjoyed the fairy tale twist and I thought the overall execution of the book was well done. What I didn’t enjoy from the book was the lack of characters – there were only about 3 main characters and very few plot points- and it often times dragged on.


The NextGen Librarian @ Goodreads – Like with most story collection books there were some perspectives I liked more than others, but I did enjoy this YA dark academia fantasy anthology. There were many diverse authors that wrote this so be sure to add it your collection! CW: gore, racism, ableism, transphobia


Laura @ Writers’ Rumpus – The characters in this book are so raw and real, they will pirouette off the pages and into your heart.