Excellence in Reading for Young Adults

Share on Facebook


Shortlist for the William C. Morris Award announced! Read about the finalists.
By Steve Zalusky

Interested in knowing who the next sensation in YA Lit might be?  Want to impress your kids by dropping the names of some of the hottest new voices in young adult literature?

The shortlist for the William C. Morris Award was recently announced.  The award is issued annually to the best book by a first-time author writing for teens, by the Young Adult Library Services Association.


The 2012 finalists for the William C. Morris Award are:

Book cover: The Girl of Fire and ThornsThe Girl of Fire and Thorns

by Rae Carson
Elisa bears the Godstone.  She is a chosen one.  What she is chosen to do is unclear, but perhaps her journey to marry the king of a neighboring country in the midst of war will provide some of the answers.  Carson weaves together religion, politics, prophecy,  and more in this fast-paced fantasy that brings Elisa to a destiny  no one could have anticipated.


Book cover: Paper Covers RockPaper Covers Rock
by Jenny Hubbard
Alex, a junior at an exclusive boarding school, uses his journal (neatly hidden inside a copy of Moby Dick) to relate the disturbing events that led to the drowning of a classmate.  Hubbard’s literary references, her creation of Alex’s poems and journal entries, and her storytelling skills combine in a story about the code of silence that often compromises the code of honor.


Book Cover: Under the MesquiteUnder the Mesquite
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall,
This novel in verse tells the story of Lupita, the oldest of eight children.  When Lupita’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, it is up to Lupita to step into a role she never considered taking in her drama class:  surrogate parent.  McCall’s chapters are exquisite poems with language that sings and stings.  Finding hope amidst despair, finding the chance to laugh, and finding the incredible power of family  make this a memorable reading experience.


Book cover: BEtween Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys.
In lyrical prose, Sepetys introduces readers to 15 year old Lina and her family as they are evicted from their home in Lithuania  and transported to Siberia as prisoners during Stalin’s reign of terror in the 1940s.  The journey is perilous; not all will survive. Lina is determined to document it all in her art and her journal. Sepetys shines a light on a corner of history not often seen in YA literature. The juxtaposition of lyricism in the midst of the horror underscores Lina’s indomitable spirit.


Book cover: Where Things COme BackWhere Things Come Back
by John Corey Whaley

Lily, Arkansas, seems like a sleepy town where it would be unlikely for anything of note to the outside world to happen. But Cullen’s seventeenth summer is marked by the overdose death of a relative, his brother’s disappearance, and the discovery of a woodpecker thought to be extinct. These seemingly disconnected events collide in this novel which demonstrates that nothing is random.  Whaley’s story will absorb readers as they follow Cullen on his journey through an unforgettable summer.


The winners will be announced, along with all the prestigious ALA Youth Media Awards, at 7:45 a.m. CT on January 23, 2012, at the American Library Association's annual Midwinter Meeting.

Virtual seats for a webcast, live from the Dallas Convention Center, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.


More information on this year's finalists and previous winners of the award can be found at www.ala.org/morris.

Creative Commons License


Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture.
Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.