September always feels like the start of awards season – the time when people who are into children’s and YA books get serious about what they think should win awards. I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d hoped to (isn’t that always the case?) and in no way am I trying to make predictions about what will win. These are just my favorites, out of the books I’ve managed to consume so far. If you have a favorite that I don’t mention, please suggest it in the comments!
- Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. She’s already won once, but not for a novel. This one felt like a heavy hitter – tons of atmosphere, great characters, rich historical setting, and some fantastical elements. Top of my list, so far.
- Liar and Spy, by Rebecca Stead. Again, she’s already won once. Some books by previous winners don’t live up to the expectations, but I thought this had a lot of the strengths of When You Reach Me without feeling derivative.
Those are the two that feel completely deserving of a medal. A few others that have felt solid, but not quite as distinguished, are The Humming Room by Ellen Potter, See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles, and Wonder by R.J. Palacio. These feel worth a look and some discussion.
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. That magical combination of superior writing and a story that I love, love, loved. I can’t imagine anything else this year beating this as my favorite for the award.
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yeah, it’s a tearjerker. But John Green has a way with characters and sharp dialogue.
- Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Fantasy! Dragons, like you’ve never seen them before! Oh, and great characters and world-building. Please give it an honor.
- The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats. More historical fiction – characters you love to hate and a time period I was fascinated to learn about.
Any suggestions for me? You can check out the complete list of everything I’ve read this year to see what I’ve read that didn’t make the cut (so dramatic!)