Morris Finalists

This past December, YALSA announced the shortlist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. Edited to add: The Award went to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman!

You can get more information on the Morris Award at the YALSA website. I’ve had the chance to read and review all the books, and let me say, it’s going to be a tough choice. The winner will be announced at the ALA Media Awards at the ALA Midwinter Meeting on January 28. We’ll see what happens!

The five finalists are:

Wonder Show, written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. From my review: “Portia Remini has not run away from home to join the circus. First, its’s a carnival, not a circus, and it’s called Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show. Second, it was not home, not a home with parents or family. Parents and family left, long along, fleeing the dust and looking for work, and finally the last relative had enough and sent her to the McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls. She lasted there a few years before deciding she had to leave, to try to find her father. And why not the Wonder Show? She’s a normal among freaks: the Wild Albinos of Bora Bora, the Bearded Lady, and others. Will Portia find what she’s looking for? And will the McGreavey home let her go?

Love and Other Perishable Items, written by Laura Buzo, published by Alfred A.


Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc. From my review: “This is a book about that delicious, wonderful feeling of being in love, in having a crush that is so overwhelming it just consumes everything. That is what Amelia feels for Chris. It is both real and solid and full of possibilities, the possibilities of sharing time with the object of one’s obsession, of looking forward to a conversation as if it were oxygen, yet at the same time it is always an illusion, a dream, something that makes her brighter but is never real.

After the Snow, written by S.D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. From my review: “The journey to find his family takes Willo outside his comfort zone, the mountains and forests he knows. After the Snow is almost a fairy tale, as Willo encounters abandoned children, cannibals, settlements and cities, brutality and kindness. He learns about who he can trust, and who he cannot. At times he is the wild boy encountering civilization at times, wondering at the world he discovers. He is a puzzle with pieces missing, because of the isolation he was raised in.”

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. From my review: “Cam is both isolated yet not alone. She is isolated from her grief, and isolated because she has to hide her relationships with girls. She is not isolated, in that she has friends. While Cam cannot be public about her emotions and love, she is not alone. She manages to make connections. There is Irene, with whom she shares her first kiss. There is Lindsey, visiting for the summer from the west coast, who Cam dates and who becomes Cam’s long-distance friend and mentor, a link to a world where people are out and proud and public. Then there is Coley, the girl who Cam falls for, falls hard, who presents a danger to the delicate balance Cam keeps between her private and public lives.”

Seraphina, written by Rachel Hartman, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc. From my review: “Seraphina’s world: What is her world, exactly? The book begins just a few weeks after she joins the royal household, but soon it’s learned that this is Seraphina’s first steps outside her family. Seraphina has tried to keep herself away, hidden, at arm’s length from others to protect her secret. She doesn’t always know how to interact with others. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wondered, while reading, if some of Seraphina’s brusqueness was part of her dragon heritage or the result of a deep seated sense of isolation: “I did not understand that I carried loneliness before me on a plate, and that music would be the light illuminating me from behind.” Whatever the reason, she is also a keen observer of people: “He noticed my eyes upon him and ran a hand through his wheaten hair as if to underscore how handsome he was.””


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