What to Do After Your Debut? Keep Writing, Of Course!

The 2021 Morris Award Finalists (shown above) were announced in December, and the winner will be revealed at the ALA Youth Media Awards on January 25. First granted in 2009, the William C. Morris YA Debut Award recognizes the most impressive debut published in Young Adult Literature each year.

With more than a decade of winners to look back on, let’s see which of our former debuts are still impressing readers today.

2010’s Morris Award went to L. K. Madigan’s Flash Burnout. Tragically, the author passed away just a year after receiving the award. The rest of the finalists from that year, however, have continued to contribute to YA in significant ways, perhaps none more notably that Nina LaCour, who went on to win the 2018 Printz Award for We Are Okay. LaCour’s latest novel, Watch Over Me, has been nominated for the 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults Selected List.

In fact, several names on the 2021 BFYA nominations list were originally finalists for the Morris Award, including 2015’s Jessie Ann Foley, 2016’s Anna-Marie McLemore, 2018’s Nic Stone, and David Yoon in 2020.

Last year’s winner, Ben Phillippe, has been nominated. Both the winner of the 2019 Morris Award and one of its finalists have companion books that were nominated — Adib Khorram with Darius the Great Deserves Better and Tomi Adeyemi with Children of Virtue and Vengeance. And Becky Albertalli, the winner in 2016, is enjoying praise this year for Yes No Maybe So, cowritten with Aisha Saeed.

What about books out in 2021? Morris Award recipients have those, too!

Just released is Concrete Rose, 2018 Morris Award winner Angie Thomas’s follow up to The Hate U Give.

And out in August is In the Wild Light from 2017 Morris Award winner Jeff Zentner.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

The moral of the story is this: no matter which finalist is chosen in 2021, we will look forward to reading them for years to come.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 18 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Book Cover
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
HarperVoyager / HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
ISBN: 978-1616208967 

The first volume in a West African-inspired fantasy trilogy, Kingdom of Souls introduces Arrah – the first person in her family to not possess magic, much to her mother’s disappointment. In her desperation to have powers of her own, she strikes a bargain with the Demon King, a decision which ties her fate to his and may cost her everyone she loves and everything she knows. 

An extremely dark and at times disturbing story, Kingdom of Souls begins with incredible world-building and richly complex and sympathetic, though often flawed, characters. Common fantasy tropes are used and twisted around into a fresh, energetic storyline that is full of exciting twists and rapidly-paced action. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 18 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2020) Nominees Round Up, October 23 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Frankly in Love, by David Yoon; Narrated by Raymond J. Lee
Listening Library / Penguin Audio
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
ISBN: 978-0593105603 

Frank Li can’t shake his hyphen — despite being born in SoCal and barely speaking Korean, he and his “Limbo” friends straddle two worlds as the children of immigrants, forever Korean-American and not just American.  Filial duty dictates Frank fall in love with a nice Korean girl, but the heart wants what it wants and Frank falls hard for Brit, a brilliant, quirky and, well — white — classmate.  Staging an elaborate fake-dating ruse with fellow dating-outside-their-culture Limbo, Joy buys both Frank and Joy some freedom from their parents’ scrutiny.  As the lies — and his life — grow increasingly complicated, Frank confronts the complexities of his family, identity, and relationships, as each, in turn, crumbles.  An immersive coming-of-age story with tender romance, loyal friendships, and a willingness to tackle tough questions about race and identity.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2020) Nominees Round Up, October 23 Edition