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William C. Morris YA Debut Award

Given annually by the Young Adult Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, to a previously unpublished author or authors who have made a strong literary debut in writing for young adult readers. The work cited illuminates the teen experience and enriches the lives of its readers through its excellence. Named for William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for books for children and young adults.

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      Frankly in Love

      by David Yoon

      Dec 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      2020 Finalist

      High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo—his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance—“Date Korean”—which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful—and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love—or himself—at all.

      Field Guide to the North American Teenager (Audiobook)

      by Ben Philippe

      Nov 2019

      Audiobook Mature Young Adult

      2020 Winner

      Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs. Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.

      The Candle and the Flame

      by Nafiza Azad

      Sep 2019

      Fantasy/Science Fiction High Plus

      2020 Finalist
      Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
      But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.
      Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

      Cast of characters. Glossary.

      The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

      by Ben Philippe

      May 2019

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      2020 Winner
      Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs. Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.

      Genesis Begins Again

      by Alicia D. Williams

      Apr 2019

      Advanced Readers

      2020 Finalist
      Genesis keeps a list of things she hates about herself: #86: Her skin is so dark, people call her Charcoal and Eggplant. And #73: Her family keeps getting evicted, their belongings laid out on the sidewalk. But an encouraging choir teacher helps her find something to love about herself: her singing voice.

      Darius the Great Is Not Okay

      by Adib Khorram

      Nov 2018

      Young Adults

      2019 Winner
      Afterword with resources. Darius, who’s half Persian, has never fit in at home in Oregon. He’s sure things will be the same in Iran; but then he meets Sohrab and everything changes.

      Check Please!: # Hockey

      by Ngozi Ukazu

      Oct 2018

      Graphic Novels High Plus

      2019 Finalist
      Eric Bittle is a former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier. But as accomplished as he is, nothing could prepare him for his freshman year of playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. It's nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South! For one? There’s checking. Second, there is Jack—his very attractive but moody captain.
      A collection of the first half of the mega-popular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: # Hockey is the first in a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.
      Foreword. Extra comic strips. Character tweets. Full-color illustrations.

      Blood Water Paint

      by Joy McCullough

      Apr 2018

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      2019 Finalist
      Rome, 1600s. After her mother dies, twelve-year-old Artemisia Gentileschi suddenly has a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint. She chooses paint. Afterword. Black-and-white artwork reproduction.

      Starfish

      by Akemi Dawn Bowman

      Jan 2018

      Young Adults

      2018 Honor
      Kiko Himura,a half-Japanese teen grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school.
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