I know. I get it. This time of year EVERYONE who has ever breathed near a book has a list, or an award, or a best-of, or an opinion. It gets really hard to keep track of which award is for what and which ones are prestigious and which are made up. Throwing another list at a reader this time of year leads to excitement (yay books!) and dread (more books that are “the absolute best thing published this year” I have already have hundreds on my to-read list!).
I wish I could tell you that the Morris Award list is completely different (in some ways, yes), but it is just another award list in this frantic time of year. But it is my FAVORITE award list of the season and here’s my list of reasons why.
- The Morris Award is given to a new writer that has written a teen book. That means that every book on the list is by a debut author. Debut authors often have a lot to bring to the table – they haven’t been sullied by fame or success, yet.
- Debut authors are de-facto cool. Especially in teen lit. These authors are on the cutting edge of where teen lit is headed.
- There are only 5 books on this list. There are 5 Finalists. This is a manageable sized list.
- If you find an author or book you like, in five years you get to be that person who read the new hot author when they were actually new and already knows all their stuff.
- Even if you don’t plan to read all (or any) of these books, the Morris Award is a good one to keep your eye on. These are teen authors who are already doing incredible stuff in their first novel. These authors are very likely to be some of the teen royalty within the next few years, so this list is a great way to keep up with the up-and-comers with minimal research.
I could do on, but a list with five books, should have 5 reasons why it is cool.
The five finalists this year are:
- Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
- Rani Patel In Full Effect by Sonia Patel
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
- The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
- Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin
My personal pick is The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. It’s a great book about 3 friends and it keeps getting named to everyone else’s best lists. Zentner’s practically become the crown-prince of YA with The Serpent King – watch your back John Green!