Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Thoughts: National Book Award Finalists - awards season begins!

The National Book Award finalists were announced today. What made the cut for young people's literature?

Ship Breaker

 Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Yes. I loved this book - it's still one of my favorites for the year. I'm so glad the NBA isn't an award that shies away from science fiction - in 2002 they gave the award to House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and in 1980 they actually had an award just for science fiction (not in the young people's/children's fiction category, but still awesome). This is the only one of the five finalists I've read so far, so it's not fair for me to cast a vote...but I'm certainly rooting for it at this point!

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. I was looking at the nominees for the Best Fiction for Young Adults list the other day and counted at least four titles featuring characters with asperger's syndrome. I guess Marcelo in the Real World kind of opened the floodgates on that topic. I also wonder if people are going to get confused between this title and The Mockingbirds which is coming out in November (not to mention the other big avian-title of the summer, Mockingjay).

Dark Water Dark Water by Laura McNeal. This is the one title on the list that I haven't heard of at all, and that intrigues me. It's a romance, but it's set against the 2007 California wildfires and the male lead is an undocumented Mexican immigrant. This is at the top of my TBR list as of now!

 Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers. Unlike Dark Water, this one has been on my radar all year, but it keeps getting bumped down my TBR list by other titles that grab me a little bit more. This one is jumping back up and going on this week's library requests.

One Crazy Summer One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This one I have requested before, but for some reason my library dropped my request. What the heck, library? They have issues sometimes. Anyway, Ari of Reading in Color recommended this one after I reviewed The Rock and the River and I'm kind of kicking myself for not staying on top of my library requests and getting hold of this one sooner.

Also, I'm happy this is one award we don't have to harp on for inclusion, as there are both white and non-white authors and protagonists, as well as male and female. I'm always excited when diversity happens naturally, without any hand holding or special directives required.

How many of these titles have you read? Any early predictions for the winner?
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