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Hang Out at the Popular Table, or My List-style Love of BFYA

2014 January 15
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yalsa logoListen, I love a good award.  Oscars?  I’m there.  Grammy’s?  For sure.  Video Music Awards?  Just point me to Kanye (yes, I’m defaulting to Kanye because I will scream if we have to rehash Miley again.  You understand, right?).  But I love book awards more than any other award.  I can’t read all the books in the world (no matter how high I set my Goodreads reading goal), so awards help lead me to the greatest hits.  But you know what I love even more than an award?  A list.  And I’m not alone!  McSweeney’s, Buzzfeed, and Thought Catalog have shown us how America loves them a good list (preferably with animated GIFs).

So, I dream of “best of” lists.   Lists of awesome books that are all uniquely rad but all completely worthy of my precious reading time.  Presented with little fanfare except a Twitter-length description and the unspoken but earnest promise of a good book you won’t regret reading.  I look forward to ALA’s Youth Media Awards, but not for the Newbery or the Printz (okay, maybe a little bit for the Newbery and the Printz).  I’m most looking forward to the Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

So to pay homage to my love of lists and the upcoming 2014 BFYA list (which will name the best books of 2013), here is a list of things I love about the Best Fiction for Young Adults list (and animated GIFs because I know you love them).

  1. Best Fiction takes nominations from YALSA members (like you!), has a committee read them all, and weed out the best books of the year, leaving you with books that will make you fall in love.  The guesswork is gone.
  2. Although we all love to describe and book talk a book as “award-winning,” the Printz award is not going to be an accessible read for every reader.  I have much more luck connecting teens with a great read by using the BFYA list as a jumping off point for recommendations. What teen doesn’t take a book when you go all Emma Stone on them?
  3. “But, Christiana,” you say, “I don’t need a BIG list of things.  I need, like, ten.  Just the best of the best.”  BFYA has thought of that too!  The top 10 of the year are denoted with a star.  If you’re looking for a starting point of the year’s best in YA, second star to the right and straight on till morning.
  4. Last year’s BFYA chair Ted Schelvan was quoted as saying, “our final list is comprised of books a library can be proud to add to their Young Adult collection.”  Which reminds me of the other great part of BFYA: the bang for your buck part (that’s the scientific term).  We’re all trying to do more with less all the time and that includes what we spend money on.  Wouldn’t it be better if we could know we were buying all-stars instead of bench warmers?
  5. Best means books teens AND adults who love good teen lit will love.  Think of it as something of a reverse Alex award.

So– greatest hits.  Not a problem.  I know where you’ll be January 27, but I encourage you not to run away after the Printz and Newbery winners are announced.  BFYA is where all the popular kids (and books) hang out.

-Christiana Congelio, currently reading Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (and loving it!)

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One Response
  1. Katie Shanahan Yu permalink
    January 24, 2014

    I will most certainly be paying more attention to the BFYA list this year thanks to this post! And really who doesn’t love a good award show or an Emma Stone gif?!

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