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Fanfare, YALSA, Times, Oh My!
Wednesday, the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults (which I persist in calling ENYA even though I think that never really caught on the way I hoped) shortlist was released.
And today we have the YALSA Morris award short list!
So many fabulous books. Let’s take a look at the surprises.
From Fanfare’s fiction section, I count 5 books that I would consider true YA, and all of them are books we’ve covered or plan to cover. I am delighted to see two of my personal frontrunners for the Printz popping up here (Challenger Deep and The Walls Around Us), but really all five are highly lauded and hail from the relatively short list of exactly the books I expect to see all over the year-end lists. Horn Book also recognized two of the books we considered Printzbery fodder (Goodbye Stranger and The Hired Girl).
So that’s a comprehensive lack of surprising, except maybe for the fact The Hired Girl is trucking on despite the fairly high level of conversation about tropes, stereotypes, and ways we read.
Their upper end nonfiction looks a lot like I’d expect too — Drowned City makes another appearance, as does Most Dangerous. March Book 2 (which Sarah loved but which we think has book 2 issues that make it an unlikely Printz contender) also popped up, which is great. The one glaring omission is Symphony for the City of the Dead, which I fully expected to see on here. It’s ok, though, because it made Monday’s other list.
(What a segue! She shoots, she scores, she moves right on to…)
The New York Times Notable Children’s Books was released digitally on Sunday (print subscribers, you old school souls, you’ll see it this coming weekend), and it’s a bit less full of the expected, although mostly not breaking the mold. Again, only five YA were recognized (one of which we considered more MG). The two not-surprises are Shadowshaper and Symphony, making a comeback after the Horn Book snub (I don’t know why but I keep wanting to do a sports announcer voice). The two surprises are Six of Crows (what what? Total twist ending, as my millenial sister would say, although it does have three stars so maybe I jumped to hasty judgment about popularity and should take another look) and Becoming Maria. I’ve heard nice things about both, but not the kind of buzz that would have me predicting they’d place on such short lists.
Also notable is more recognition for Most Dangerous, here back on the middle grade pile (none of us have read it yet, but there’s quite a bit of back and forth on the age level).
Moving on, let’s look at more collections of five, the ENYA and Morris shortlists.
The Nonfiction award shortlist skews young this year. Most Dangerous continues its streak, along with Symphony — it’s looking more and more like these are the two most serious YA nonfiction contenders, and given how they are also the most mature in terms of readership, I imagine one of them will take the prize.
(Then again, I am a total ageist and haven’t even seen two of the other finalists, so I fully imagine someone will have a contrary opinion.)
And finally, the Morris! Another nod for Conviction, which probably needs to go back on my towering pile (or Sarah’s or Joy’s… all of us are reading desperately and cursing how good this year is). Also some love for the charming feel good Simon, yay! And The Weight of Feathers, which we have on our list and which Joy is reading. I’d love to hear thoughts on Because You’ll Never Meet Me, which is 100% new to me, and on The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, which seems to be a proper dark horse — the sort of book that keeps cropping up, but no one is quite shouting about. It’s been on my radar all year, but never quite hits the top of the pile — time to rearrange?
The big surprise is that there’s no nod for More Happy Than Not. Per Joy, Silvera’s debut is a “beautiful character study with a great sense of place”. So she is sad. (She’s sitting beside me making faces. If only this were a vlog.)
So there you have it, this week’s fabulous list of lists. What surprised you?
About Karyn Silverman
Karyn Silverman is the High School Librarian and Educational Technology Department Chair at LREI, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (say that ten times fast!). Karyn has served on YALSA’s Quick Picks and Best Books committees and was a member of the 2009 Printz committee. She has reviewed for Kirkus and School Library Journal. She has a lot of opinions about almost everything, as long as all the things are books. Said opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, YALSA or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @InfoWitch or e-mail her at karynsilverman at gmail dot com.
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