26 Jan 2013

William C. Morris Award, 2013

Did you know that this weekend is the ALA Midwinter Conference? And that on the last morning of the conference, at the crack of dawn, all of the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced?

Are you suitably excited?

I had the privilege of attending ALA Midwinter a few years ago. Those awards were announced so early, I tell you, that the conference shuttle buses weren’t running yet and I had to beg and plead my dear boy/chauffeur to drive us all the way to the Waterfront, which is an annoying trip straight through downtown Boston. Before we bought a GPS. Also, there was some sort of nasty January Nor’easter going on – I saw a girl almost get swept off her feet from the wind and the rain, I swear it up and down.

Anyway, this is how much we all love the ALA Youth Media Awards. Our moment of cultural influence, of glam, a lot of EXCEEDINGLY hard-working committee members put in the work and we will risk our lives to show up at 4:30 a.m. to hear the announcements.

I can’t wait until next week to start talking about ’em, so here is the William C. Morris shortlist for you – the top five YA books written by debut authors in 2012. In a few days, one will be the winner! I have read zero, so I have no opinion. I should really consider actually reading award nominees – I just referred to last year’s Morris Award and since that announcement, I’ve read one! One!! For shame. Anyway, more of these posts to come, because even if I never read any award books, I still love ’em.

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

A period piece about runaway teenagers and traveling circus freak shows. I was not at all inclined to read this book, but after reading a few summaries enough to write that pitiful last sentence, I am kind of intrigued. Also, a 20-something¬† guy who had no business being in a children’s bookstore bought this book when I was working, once, claiming he had no idea what YA was and didn’t usually buy books like this, and although it was a bit ridiculous, it was cute. I hope he reads lots of YA now. Probably not, but maybe this book changed his entire life and I should read it and see!


Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

This is one of my five romances, but it is still “on order,” meaning I may have months ahead of me. This is an Australian import, I believe, about an independent 15-year-old young lady and her maybe-not-so-impossible crush on her older male coworker. Can we please give a cheer for contemporary humor/romance appear on awards lists? Yay! Rah!


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Dragons. Princes and Princesses. Characters named Glisselda, places named Goredd. Not my cup of tea. However, I have been playing a lot of Skyrim; perhaps enough that dragons seem cool. Perhaps. Oh, and everyone I know who read it has loved it. So maybe I should stop being such a fantasy stick in the mud.


After the Snow by S.D. Crockett

I am still feeling ambivalent toward dystopias and haven’t read any new ones since Divergent a year ago. However, The Boy is currently re-reading Life As We Knew it and telling me about his reading every few days, reminding me of how freaky it would be to have no sun or no power, how we need to store more food, how we should get a place with a wood stove, etc. Anyway, After the Snow sounds like a dystopia with more of a survivalist bent, like Life As We Knew It, which I appreciate.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Put this one in the category of “Books I keep checking out/renewing but never actually reading because other books get in the way.” Yeah, I know. Sad story. Protagonist Cameron Post loses her parents and discovers her sexuality almost at the same time, and her life changes dramatically while also going through related emotional traumas. Well, I guess I’ll put it on hold AGAIN… try harder this time around!


If I had to make a prediction of which book will win, without having read any of the five, my instinct says…. Wonder Show. I don’t know why, that’s just my gut. And the guy I sold it to in June of 2012. That’s all I’m going on. We will find out in just a few short days!! Happy Awards Season!!



  1. Sarah Fenton wrote:

    The real question is whether Seraphina will also win the Printz. ‘Cause I can’t see it having any real competition for the morris. You really should try this—-it may well have been the best YA book of 2012, by anyone.

    Posted on 1.27.13 · Reply to comment
    • jessica wrote:

      Alright, alright. I abandon my biases – I put it on hold!!

      If it wins Morris AND Printz? That would be crazy, since John Corey Whaley did the same thing last year. Oh, I’m getting excited now!!

      Posted on 1.27.13 · Reply to comment

Leave a Comment