On Monday, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) announced the finalists for this year’s Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. The Walden Award recognizes a title with “a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit.” As anyone who reads a lot of YA knows, that can be an elusive combination, but the finalists have it in spades. The members of the Walden Award Committee picked five titles; together, the books make up an intriguing and diverse list. It’s got historical fiction, contemporary fiction, a novel in verse, and one of the most under-appreciated dystopias of last year. It also has quite a bit of overlap with YALSA’s awards and selected lists, which hopefully means that both YALSA and NCTE (that’s the National Council of Teachers of English, ALAN’s parent organization) are on the right track!