Thursday, January 22, 2009

Morris Award Predictions

Over at librarian by day, I've been reading and reviewing the books shortlisted for the inaugural William C. Morris Award. It's been an intriguing attempt to get inside the heads of the Morris Award committee, to see what they saw in these books. I may or may not have succeeded in this goal, although we'll see on Monday how close I came. So, here are my predictions/general thoughts on the Morris Award shortlist.*

The Book I Enjoyed More Than I Thought I Would: Graceling. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy, especially something that veers more towards high fantasy. Yet I found myself totally caught up in the story of Katsa and her strange, fearsome ability.

The Book I Didn't Enjoy At All: Absolute Brightness. I truly don't understand why this book was shortlisted. I felt that compared to the other four books, it suffered from several defects in its writing. While it certainly has a few compelling characters, I don't believe that's enough to overcome its flaws.

The Book That Was a Surprising But Valid Choice: Me, the Missing, and the Dead. Sure, it's got a great hook, but it's the quality of the writing that elevates this novel from other books that start from a good idea. With quirky personalities and a believable narrative voice, this novel stands above other similar works.

The Book That Was a Hard Read: A Curse Dark as Gold. It's certainly a well-written book, full of interesting plot twists and philosophical questions. Yet this novel is quite dark, and draws the reader into an unforgiving world, where one small mistake can lead to ruin and destruction.

The Book That I Think Will Win: Madapple. With a complex structure, memorable characters and an unique style, I believe that this novel will win the Morris Award. It's truly different from anything else that has been published for young adults, and it represents a purity of thought that the other novels on the shortlist did not achieve as richly.

Agree or disagree with me? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And remember, you can follow all the action from the Youth Media Awards Announcement, including the Morris Award, via Twitter or by watching the live webcast. Find out all the ways to follow the YALSA action at Midwinter via this blog post.

*My opinions are my own and do not represent any disrespect towards the work accomplished by the committee.


Charlotte said...

I agree with you about Curse! It is a very dark book...

Anonymous said...

I'm very surprised the Absolute Brightness is nominated for any kind of award. It just so badly needed to be edited and pared down. If only the author would have stuck to the main story and not gone of on so many moral/political tangents. The anti-war theme was so tacked on and just distracted from the story. I think he just tried to do too much and a lot ended up undeveloped.

I wanted to like it based on the subject matter, and I did enjoy some parts of it. But a well-written book is was not.

I've been wanting to read Madapple, I should get that one soon.