For Young Adult Literature, the Finalists are:
Paolo Bacigalupi / The Drowned Cities (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers)
A.S. King / Ask the Passengers (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers). From my review: “Astrid lives in a small town where everyone knows, or thinks they know, everyone’s business. Everyone judges. So Astrid keeps some things to herself: like that her father is smoking pot. Like how she and her younger sister Ellis are no longer close. Like she’s sure her mother dislikes her. Like Astrid has been kissing Dee, a girl from work. For months. Astrid doesn’t even tell her two close friends at school, Kristina and Justin, which is both amusing and sad because Astrid knows their secret, that the popular, well-liked couple are not really a couple, both are gay, and both are covering for each other because being gay in their small, perfect town would be impossible. Besides, just because Astrid like kissing Dee, it doesn’t mean she’s gay. So Astrid plays a game, giving love to strangers, staring up at planes and sending love. And the passengers flying over Pennsylvania wonder why suddenly they feel hope, or love, or calmness.”
Martine Leavitt / My Book of Life by Angel (Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers)
Matthew Quick / Boy 21 (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers)
Elizabeth Wein / Code Name Verity (Disney-Hyperion). From my review: “Maddie and Queenie become friends, meeting first as wireless operators, staying in touch as their war careers take different paths, Maddie as a pilot and Queenie with the OES. “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.” This friendship, this pair — how can you not love them? Love Queenie? And one moment there is laughter in the English countryside as Queenie displays both her ability to get lost and to talk people into doing what she wants, the next the reminder that Queenie is in a Gestapo prison listening to people being tortured, clutching her dirty sweater as if it can somehow make the noise and dirt and blood go away. Somehow, remembering a younger, more naive and sheltered girl telling another, while German bombs fall during the Battle of Britain, “‘Kiss me, Hardy!’ Weren’t those Nelson’s last words at the Battle of Trafalgar? Don’t cry. We’re still alive and we make a sensational team,” somehow, that makes Queenie hold on just a little bit longer as she writes to explain herself and what she has done.”
(The above list from the LA Times Book Prize website).