I thought you might get more comments in response to your Aristotle and Dante post. I’m not the one to defend it, since I didn’t manage to finish it, either–but I will, in fact, read it in its entirety before ALA Annual, so perhaps I’ll have something to say about it then.
Meanwhile, the shortlists for two other major awards were announced this week, and I have a few observations. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have announced their shortlists for the Nebula Awards, which includes the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. The nominees are:
Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown)
Black Heart, Holly Black (S&S/McElderry; Gollancz)
Above, Leah Bobet (Levine)
The Diviners, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom)
Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (S&S/McElderry)
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House Children’s Books; Doubleday UK)
Enchanted, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
Every Day, David Levithan (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)
The Diviners, Seraphina, Every Day, and Railsea are books that were talked about in various circles as possible Printz contenders. And, of course, Seraphina won YALSA’s Morris Award for a debut YA work. I also read Summer of the Mariposas, which I supposed could be classified as a fantasy, although I would call it magical realism. I have never read any of Holly Black’s books, but I keep thinking I should. I know you’re a fan. Do I need to read other ones before I read this one?
But the thing that I find really fascinating about this particular list is that the jury that selected the nominees for the Andre Norton Award comprises: Victoria McManus, Christopher Barzak, Merrie Haskell, E.C. Myers, and Carrie Vaughn. And, yes, that’s the very same E.C. Myers whose book Fair Coin is one of the nominees. I understand that all of the judges need to be SFWA members, and thus, by definition, writers of science fiction and/or fantasy, but it just seems odd to me that someone would be on the jury in the same year that he has a new book published. But, hey, it’s their organization and their rules. And the winner is not chosen by the jury, but voted for by the membership, so I suppose that evens things out.
The other shortlist that was announced this week is the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. They have a category for Young Adult Literature, and it is always interesting to see both what gets nominated and what gets chosen. This year’s finalists are:
The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi
Ask the Passengers, by A.S. King
My Book of Life by Angel, by Martine Leavigtt
Boy 21, by Matthew Quick
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
I’ve read them all except Boy 21. I just think it’s a really interesting mix of titles. I read My Book of Life by Angel back in December or early January, and I couldn’t quite figure out why so many people seemed so excited about it. I really loved Leavitt’s earlier book, Keturah and Lord Death, and this one was just about as far away from that as it is possible to be. But it didn’t strike me as being a particularly strong book. I didn’t think the “verse” was very good, most of the time (although it had its moments), and I thought the plot was improbable, especially when Angel was able to go cold turkey on the drugs and save the little girl. And I didn’t think Leavitt entirely succeeded in bringing in the whole “someone is murdering the prostitutes of Vancouver” storyline.
I don’t know who the jury members for the LA Times prize are this year; and they don’t make it easy to find out. The jurors are often authors, but occasionally librarians and others who are interested in children’s and YA literature. Peter Sieruta and Cindy Dobrez were on the jury a couple of years ago.
By the way, since Code Name Verity is one of the nominees, I thought I would share this: three different covers for the book. You wouldn’t think it was the same book, would you?