The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the finalists for the William C. Morris Award, which honors the year’s best books written for young adults by a previously unpublished author.
The 2016 finalists are Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas, Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, and The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore.
Ollie and Moritz are best friends in Leah Thomas’s Because You’ll Never Meet Me, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker.
In Kelly Loy Gilbert’s Conviction, Braden has always measured himself through baseball. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized.
Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda follows sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier, who prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow in Stephanie Oakes’ The Sacred Lives of Minnow Bly: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
In Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers, the Palomas and the Corbeaus are rival performers, but when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace Paloma’s life.
“This year’s Morris Committee gladly accepted the challenge of searching for the best YA debut author from a collection of exceptional stories,” said Nichole King, chair of the 2016 William C. Morris Award committee. “The 2016 finalists feature teens embroiled in a star-crossed love affair, teens who told stories from inside prison cells, teens valiantly fighting insurmountable odds and teens that were dealt impossible challenges, however, these stories also highlight hope, love and friendship. The committee loved reading all the debuts and we look forward to more exciting stories from these talented authors.”
YALSA will name the 2016 award winner at the Youth Media Awards on January 11 in Boston during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.
Who do you want to win the Morris Award? Sound off in the comments below!