The National Book Award finalists were announced yesterday. Of course, the category I care the most about is Young People's Literature. This year's list is interesting in aaaaaall sorts of different ways.
The finalists are:
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborag Heiligman
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
Stitches by David Small
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Jumped by Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
Interestingly, three out of the five books are nonfiction. One of them (Stiches by David Small</i>) is a graphic novel that was published by an adult imprint, which has jump-started a lot of fascinating discussion throughout the kidlitosphere about what it means to have an adult title on the kidlit finalist bracket.
And one of them is by my friend and fellow co-panelist from last year's Cybils, Laini Taylor.
Now, I would be thrilled for Laini even if I hadn't had a chance to read Lips Touch yet. But it just so happens that I just finished reading it this weekend, and I am in awe of it, and of Laini. It's one of the most beautiful books I've read all year--intricately written, full of lines and paragraphs and phrases that get you right in that place where you keep all the best fiction--the ones that feel true.
I seriously can't recommend it enough, and I am thrilled beyond words that this beautiful and unusual book has gotten this kind of attention. It absolutely deserves it.