What better way to celebrate ALA’s National Library Week (April 11-17) than doing something on National Support Teen Literature Day – Thursday, April 15th. What should you do? How about read a winner or finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award? What’s that award about? It was first awarded in 2009 and honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.
This year’s award was given to Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan: Blake’s life is way too complicated. He’s a sophomore in high school with a girlfriend and a friend who is a girl. One of them loves him. One of them needs him. Can he please them both?
Finalists this year were:
- Ash by Malinda Lo: Consumed with grief after the death of her father, Ash’s only escape from her harsh life and cruel stepmother comes from re-reading the fairy tales that her mother once told her and hoping against hope that the fairies will appear to her. When the fairy Sidhean appears, Ash hopes that he will steal her away to his enchanted world; but when she meets the King’s Huntress, Kaisa, she realizes that staying in her own realm can also lead to beauty, romance, and perhaps even love.
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: Sixteen-year-old Ethan has lived all his life in Gaitlin, South Carolina, a town that hasn’t changed much since the Civil War. While coping with the loss of his mother, a father who spends all of his time in his study, and high school, his world turns upside down with the arrival of Lena, a new girl with whom he seems to share a psychic connection. As they grow closer, Ethan discovers that Lena and her family share a dark secret and that she is headed for doom on her sixteenth birthday.
- The Everafter by Amy Huntley: Maddy is a ghost, surrounded by things she lost when she was alive. By touching these objects, she relives the episodes in her life where she lost them. Even though Maddy’s dead, she explores the lessons these objects hold — and why are they still important. AND
- hold still by Nina LaCour: After Caitlin’s best friend Ingrid commits suicide, Caitlin has a hard time making sense of the loss. She finds Ingrid’s journal and slowly allows herself to read it and learn about why Ingrid felt the need to end her life. Caitlin also grapples with allowing herself to find another friend, to let in a boyfriend, and to understand why her favorite teacher is ignoring her. It is the haunting story of dealing with loss, moving on, and finding peace and hope.