Yesterday, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the five titles that are the finalists for the 2014 William C. Morris Award. The Morris Award, honouring a book written by a previously unpublished author, is presented each year in January at the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards.
The titles chosen this year represent a diverse and rich sampling of young adult literature. Readers will find deep themes and fantastical elements as well as contemporary and historical literature. All five will be eligible for the Morris/Nonfiction reading challenge on YALSA's The Hub website, which begins Monday, December 9th, and which encourages readers to sample all of the titles before the winners are announced on January 27th.
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. Readers are introduced to Andrew Winston Winters's story in two parts, the first being Win’s present in the boarding school where he has spent the past several years and now wonders if his increasingly violent temper has finally caused him to do something truly terrible, and the second his past as Drew, where he has yet to deal with a horrible family incident.
Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian. Evan Carter has always had whatever he wanted without thinking about the consquences, including sex. When a hookup leads to a particularly brutal attack upon both him and the girl in question, leaving him physically and emotionally devastated, Evan is forced to deal with long-lasting ramifications for the first time in his life.
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos. James hasn't been having an easy time of it at home or school, which you'd expect if you have to ride the "short bus", so much so that his only respite has come from poetry, "yawping" the way his idol would have, and talks with his imaginary therapist, a bird he calls Dr. Dora.
Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Maude Pichon left her family home in Brittany against her family's wishes with dreams of making it big in Paris. She never dreamed that she would end up working as a repoussoir — a beauty foil, for the Durandeau agency. In 1800s Paris beauty is everything, so much so that the rich hire foils, plain women, whom they believe will make them stand out by comparison. When Maude is hired by a countess for her daughter, Isabelle, without telling Isabelle, Maude's poverty forces her to comply, and as Maude gets closer to Isabelle, she finds it increasingly difficult to choose between her friendship and her livelihood.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Mary Shelley Black is dealing with a turbulent time in San Francisco: WWI, the Spanish Flu pandemic, and citizens caught up in the thrall of spirit photography. Could her childhood sweeheart really be sending her messages from beyond, and if so, how can she deal with his brother, spirit-photographer Julius, to find out, when she can't bring herself to believe in what he does?
Charm and Strange Sex and Violence Dr Bird's Advice Belle Epoque Shadow of Blackbirds