Fri-YA | #CYBILS2023 Reviews 01.26.2024

High school nonfiction fun? A mystery that makes you laugh? A graphic novel by the director of a television show?

Yes. Yes. And Yes. Read on …

Book summaries excerpted from Goodreads. Click the cover to see the full summary and additional reviews.


Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks – Sometimes a title tells you everything you need to know. Bianca Torre is afraid of everything. Author Justine Pucella Winans has delivered a mystery with tongue planted somewhere near the cheek. It’s not always overtly funny, since at its base is something terrifying. In a way, these bits of fun also make the danger of the murder investigation even more heightened. One second, Bianca stresses over meeting up with their crush. The next, they’re receiving threatening messages from someone who clearly knows too much about them. There’s an unsettling feeling that something bad could happen at any moment. With skilled plotting and a lovable cast of characters, Winans balances this into a compelling mystery that readers have no need to fear.


Kristen @ Goodreads – If you love this director you should definitely check this book out, the art is amazing and I love that it was finally translated into English for us to enjoy. Such a fascinating story a journey to find food in a land that is becoming sterile.

Katy @ Books YA Love – M is for Hayao Miyzaki masterwork. Just before co-founding Studio Ghibli in 1985, Miyazaki created this stunning illustrated story based on a Tibetan folktale about a prince’s epic pilgrimage to bring barley to his people. Four decades after its publication in Japan, the classic graphic novel (read back to front) is available to English readers for the first time.


Hilary @ Goodreads – This book is SO. MUCH. FUN. I enjoy learning about germs and microbes because I think when told in the right way, it it such a funny and fascinating topic, and this text does not disappoint! Learn about all the bacteria, good and bad, that populate our world and our day to day life. With chapter titles like, “Fart as if the Future of the Human Race Depended on It” and “Sleep Tight, Don’t Let ‘Em Bite!” Even the backmatter is funny and an absolute treat to read.


Alexis @ Goodreads – Carve out time because putting down Nikki Grimes’ books just don’t happen. I devoured this book. I love having more of Garvey’s story and having it set during the pandemic and George Floyd as well was a good surprise. This was a fantastic read and kids will really enjoy seeing their history on the page.

Cindy on behalf of Kiss the Book, review by Mallory Birch – I loved that Garvey’s story was written in Tanka poetry. I also liked that it was written about a recent historical event. Students will get to see and compare their experiences of the global pandemic through someone else’s eyes. I thought it was great.


Karen @ Teen Librarian Toolbox – I am reading this as part of my Cybils reading, which I discussed here the other day. To be honest, I’m not sure why I hadn’t read this already as it is solidly in my wheelhouse. The main thing I want to say is this: this is a solidly enjoyable teen horror book. And as someone who has spent a fair amount of time recently railing against how adult YA has gotten, this is solidly YA; the teens act and talk like teens and it is authentic in voice and relatable. As a bonus feature, In Nightfall features one of my favorite horror tropes: creepy towns with dark secrets. It got a bit sluggish in the middle, but I listened to the audio and never walked away. A solid horror book that I definitely recommend.

The NextGen LibrarianThe Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this a**-kicking good time of a YA thriller! This was the best paranormal horror book I’ve read in a while! [Author Suzanne Young]  SLAYED (get it?) this novel I couldn’t put it down and found myself immersed in this world. And the cover? Come on! So good—I highly recommend it! CW: blood, alcohol, death, murder, violence, hospitalization, gore