Dedicated readers of this blog probably realize that I'm even more sporadic about posting awards stuff than I am at posting this blog at all. I figure if you care you'll get the info elsewhere, if you haven't already sought it out on your own. I'm only going to say something if I have something to say. However, this is the inaugural year for the ALA's Morris Award which is to be given to the best debut novel for young adults; it must be the author (or illustrator's)first published book. I'm interested in the limits and freedoms they have ascribed here, especially this part: "Its proven or potential appeal to a wide range of teen readers."
Here's the shortlist:
A CURSE DARK AS GOLD by Elizabeth Bunce
Despite good recommendations by Sarah Miller, I'm pretty ambivalent on this one. I think it needed to be tighter and cover a shorter period of time - the plot just flat out draaaaged for me and I felt that it was trying to be a cross-over novel to adult women; that it didn't have a clear sense of its audience and was therefore uneven. Concept was sound and interesting, it just didn't move fast enough for me.
GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
Love this book. Love. Love, love, love. Strong girl character in the fantasy tradition of Tamora Pierce plus a hot, idealised, love interest? Yeah, I'm predisposed to like that. Add in the fact that the girl has special killing powers? I couldn't get this into my hands fast enough. It lived up to the buzz.
ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS by James Lecesne
Haven't read, but have heard great things. I want to read.
MADAPPLE by Christina Meldrum
Also haven't read, and have heard mixed opinions, although most have acknowledged it's uniqueness. I can't decide if I want to read.
ME, THE MISSING, AND THE DEAD by Jenny Valentine
I liked this far more than I thought I would. It's very British. Not that that means anything other than it being a reflection of a very strong voice. The more I reflect upon this title, the better I think it is, however, if not thinking terribly hard, I forget it entirely. Weird.
This is just the shortlist - the winner will be announced in January at ALA Midwinter. I like the whole shortlist concept. I wonder if there would be less shock and controversy for the Newbery and Printz if people had a little warning and time to read the books themselves. Or, maybe not.
More here and here.
The only one I haven't read is Absolute Brightness, which I've heard mixed things about.
If I had a vote on this, I'd go with Madapple. Can't say I liked the book, but it was fabulously well-written. That said, I'm going to predict a win for Graceling, just because of the appeal factor. (Although I didn't see this past year's Printz winner and shortlist coming AT ALL, so what do I know?)
Madapple was just too bizarre for me. I can't really decide if it's well-written (whatever that means to each individual reader) but it's definitely strongly written. I guess I didn't care much for any of the characters. A cold novel about cold but passionate people.
The only other one I've read is Graceling, and of course I loved it. Those people, I did care about, and wouldn't mind knowing.
Yay for this new award AND the shortlist! Now who should win...
I would have awarded LOOKS by Madeleine George. Yup.
I'm posting anon to say I agree with you about CURSE!
I have only read one of these so far.
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