Friday, December 27, 2019

Morris Award Finalists

Looking for selections whose criteria meets, and exceeds, standards set by an esteemed panel of judges?

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award honors a book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating new voices in YA literature. The winner is announced annually (January 27, 2020 is the next presentation) at the ALA Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December.

The award's namesake is William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for young people.

2020 Finalists

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

A tempestuous royal family, opposing clans of powerful djinn, a bustling city at the heart of the Silk Road, and the orphaned delivery girl whose magical inheritance might be enough to save them all. Fatima could not have imagined that witnessing the death of her mentor could awaken a powerful magic within her, giving her the ability to help djinn move between the human realm and their own. The Ifrit who protect her city need her help, but they are not the only djinn with an eye on her powers. When the kingdom faces both human and supernatural threats, Fatima and the women around her must harness their power, magical and otherwise, to save it.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Moving to a new town and attending a new school sucks. At least that's what Norris Kaplan, a Black French Canadian teenager, believes when he moves to Austin, Texas. All of his knowledge about U.S. high school life comes from movies and television. He assumes that the students he meets in real life are just as one-dimensional. Norris, who can be a bit snarky, decides to write about his interactions with jocks, cheerleaders, loners, and Manic Pixie Dream Girls in a pocket journal for amusement. However, as he gets to know the people behind the labels better, Norris begins to realize that he shouldn't judge a book by its cover - or its characters, for that matter.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

What would you do if you knew your parents would disown you for dating someone of a different race? Frank Li, the son of Korean immigrants, knows what could happen when he starts dating Brit Means, a white girl. After all, his parents already cut his sister out of their lives. Frank's solution? Pretend to date the acceptably Korean Joy Song, who has a forbidden boyfriend of her own. It's the perfect plan, as long as his parents and Brit don't find out. He didn't expect to actually fall for Joy. He really didn't expect the bad news for his family or the realization he might not understand as much about his parents, identity, or love as he thought he did.

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

When one person says you aren't beautiful because of the color of your skin, perhaps it's easy to brush off. When an entire group of people, including your family, says this it isn't something you can easily ignore. Genesis is the thirteen-year-old daughter of a light-skinned mother and dark-skinned father and, much to his disappointment, her skin is the same color as his. He is a gambling addict and alcoholic, and has repeatedly made sure Genesis knows of his unhappiness. Frequently locked out of their rental units for his inability to hold down a job, Genesis' mother struggles to provide her with a normalcy that doesn't exist. Genesis simply wrestles to find her place and voice in a world that too often reminds her that she is not enough, until she meets a music teacher and new friends that encourage her to speak her truth.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

The Age of Darkness is upon us, so says a secret prophecy foretold generations ago by the Seven Prophets. In a land where there's a rising movement to persecute those who are Graced and have enhanced abilities, five lives intersect:

  • Hassan, an exiled prince who wants to take back his kingdom from the Hierophant, the leader of the anti-Grace movement. 
  • Ephyra, a serial killer known as the Pale Hand because she uses her healing Grace in reverse. 
  • Beru, Ephyra's terminally ill sister who is ready to die. 
  • Anton, a gambler who is on the run from his past. 
  • Jude, the paladin leader who is torn between upholding his duties to find the Last Prophet who can save the world (or destroy it) and his feelings for his best friend Hector, another paladin.
Will these five prevent the prophecy from happening or become the catalysts for its beginning?

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