Shape-shifting dragons, the pain of unrequited love, and an environment so frigid that its seas freeze over are themes among the five finalists for the 2012 William C. Morris Award.
Sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the award recognizes a book written for young adults by a debut author.
The 2013 finalists are:
Wonder Show (Houghton Harcourt) by Hannah Barnaby, a dark tale of historical fiction about a teenager who joins a traveling sideshow as she searches for her father.
Love and Other Perishable Items (Knopf) by Laura Buzo, an unflinchingly honest story following a fifteen-year-old and her intense, but one-sided, crush on an older co-worker.
After the Snow (Feiwel & Friends) by S.D. Crockett, in which a teen boy searches for his family in a bleak, dystopian world of freezing temperatures, crowded cities, and a fascist government.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray) by emily m. danforth, a complex and poignant coming-of-age story of an adolescent girl, wrestling with the death of her parents and her own sexuality, who is sent to a conversion camp for gay teenagers.
Seraphina (Random) by Rachel Hartman, a fantasy about a girl who inhabits a world where dragons and humans uneasily coexist—and who is hiding a potentially devastating secret.
The finalists “may be first-time published authors, but they are writing with great polish and sophistication, and their books have themes or topics that are really relevant to teens’ lives,” Joy Kim, chair of YALSA’s Morris Award committee, told SLJ. Representing a wide range of topics and genres, the finalist list “reflects that teens have diverse reading interests,” she said.
The finalists and the winner will be honored at a reception hosted by YALSA, as well as YALSA’s Nonfiction Award finalists and winner, from 10:30 a.m. to noon on January 28 in room 606 of the Washington State Convention center in Seattle.
The award is named for William C. Morris, an influential pioneer in the world of publishing who advocated marketing books for children and young adults.
Members of the 2013 William C. Morris Award Committee are: Chair Joy Kim, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, WA; Lee Catalano, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR; Diane Colson, Palm Harbor (FLA) Library; Michael Fleming, Pacific Cascade Middle School Library, Issaquah, WA; Sarah Holtkamp, Chicago Public Library; Shelly McNerney, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, KAN; Anne Rouyer, New York Public Library; Judy Sasges, Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA; Vicky Smith, Kirkus Reviews, South Portland, ME; Sandy Sumner, administrative assistant, Morehead (KY) State University Camden–Carroll Library; and Ilene Cooper, Booklist consultant, Chicago.