National Book Awards

I have become the type of person that, when the National Book Award Finalists are announced, I have to read them all.

OK, not all-all. I mean the Young People’s Literature Finalists.

This year, there are six titles.

Chime by Franny Billingsley (Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, Inc. ). My review.

My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson (Marshall Cavendish)

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

Shine by Lauren Myracle (Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS)

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Judges: Marc Aronson (Panel Chair), Ann Brashares, Matt de la Peña, Nikki Grimes, Will Weaver.

The plan: read the books I haven’t read yet; review; and write a wrap up post before the winner is announced on November 16.

If you’re familiar with the NBA, you may be saying, “six? I thought there were usually five finalists.” Well, yeah. That’s covered in Oops! National Book Awards Unveil Six YA Finalists at School Library Journal and National Book Award finalists announced – with an extra title at the LA Times.

All I know is six books I’ve heard good things about (or read and liked) are on the finalist list. Six authors got the good news about being finalists. And now the five/six issue is taking away from what would otherwise be an exciting time. So, what I’m going to do is what I usually do when reading for a list like this: read the books I haven’t read yet, thinking, what about this book made it worthy for the list? What are the strengths of this book? Why do I think it appealed to the judges? Then I’ll post my reviews and look forward to see which one gets the nod!


4 thoughts on “National Book Awards

  1. The past couple of years I have done the same thing, Liz. And it was frustrating when I didn’t get to read them all before the winner was announced. This year, I am just waiting on My Name is Easy – I have read them all except that one and Flesh and Blood so Cheap – but I have that one at home to read! Doing good this year.


  2. I feel really bad that I haven’t read any of these yet! And they just released the list of the top YA books of the last decade, so I am feeling woefully underread. Better go rectify that, ASAP.



  3. Am I the only person who found “Okay For Now” to have far too many convenient coincidences and a lack of justification for the father’s sudden conversion at the end? The plot’s cleverly manuvered, but after the fourth coincidence I cried, “Oh, come ON.” For me, a lot of coincidences can work if the story has a slightly folkloric or mythic flavor, such as Louis Sachar’s “Holes.” But this… nice book, but my suspension of disbelief snapped.


  4. Susan, I’m so jealous that you are so way ahead of me in reading! I have to get busy.

    Lori, isn’t it wonderful, how many good books there are to read?

    Anon, since I haven’t read it, I can’t weigh in on OKAY FOR NOW. On adbooks listserv (and I think over at Heavy Medal) there has been some pro/con talk. Reading criticsm like yours makes me more eager to read the book, because I wonder if I’ll fall into the “love it” or “oh, come on already” camp.


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