The Bookseller today announced the ten titles on the shortlist for The YA Book Prize 2017.
Three debut authors are up against heavyweights Malorie Blackman and Francesca Simon for the £2,000 prize, which will be awarded at a ceremony at Hay Festival on 1st June 2017.
Former children’s laureate Blackman is shortlisted for her retelling of Othello set in space, Chasing the Stars (Doubleday), while Simon, who is best known for her Horrid Henry series, has made the shortlist for her first book for teenagers The Monstrous Child (Faber Children’s), a dark comedy narrated by an ordinary teenager who is also the goddess of the Norse underworld. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award.
They are joined on the shortlist by three debut authors: Martin Stewart, Sara Barnard and Patrice Lawrence. Stewart is shortlisted for his fantasy novel about a boy who is pulled into an epic journey into the unknown, Riverkeep (Viking), while Barnard is shortlisted for Beautiful Broken Things (Macmillan Children’s Books), a story about the intensity of teenage friendships. Lawrence’s Orangeboy (Hodder Children’s Books), also shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017, is a contemporary urban thriller with a family drama at its heart. Stewart and Lawrence are both currently longlisted for the 2017 Branford Boase Award too, which is awarded jointly to publisher and author.
Simon’s Faber Children’s stablemate Laure Eve has also made the shortlist for her dark thriller about a mysterious family who are rumoured to be witches, The Graces. Also shortlisted is Lisa Heathfield’s Paper Butterflies, the story of June who feels trapped in her unhappy home life until she makes a secret friend who gives her hope. Published under Egmont’s Electric Monkey imprint, it is also on the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017 shortlist. Clare Furniss’ Carnegie-longlisted novel How Not to Disappear (Simon & Schuster Children’s) the story of a teenage girl who starts developing a relationship with a long lost relative at the same time that she discovers she is pregnant, has been shortlisted as well.
Rounding out the list are Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle (Atom) and The Call by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books). Crongton Knights tells the story of McKay, who lives in a council estate in inner city London and gets drawn into a night of adventure and danger with his friends. It is the second book in a planned trilogy set on the South Crongton estate and won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2016. The Call is a fast-paced thriller that mixes fantasy, horror and Irish folklore.
The full list of titles on the shortlist, called the YA 10, is:
- Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard (Macmillan Children’s Books)
- Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman (Doubleday)
- The Graces by Laure Eve (Faber Children’s)
- How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
- Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield (Egmont)
- Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Children’s Books)
- The Call by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books)
- The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon (Faber Children’s)
- Riverkeep by Martin Stewart (Viking)
- Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle (Atom)
The judging panel is chaired by Caroline Carpenter, web editor and acting children's editor at The Bookseller and is comprised of leading industry figures:
- Melvin Burgess, author, who was last year honoured with a YA Book prize special achievement award
- Darren Chetty, academic
- Jim Dean, book blogger
- Amelia Douglas, account director at book printer Clays
- Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival
- Beth Goodyear, Scottish Book Trust’s schools tour programme manager
- Jenny Murray, Children’s Books Ireland’s communications manager
- Chelsey Pippin, commissioning editor for features at Buzzfeed UK
- Farah Taylor, manager at Alef Bookstores
The YA Book Prize was established by The Bookseller Magazine in 2014 and announced its first winner in 2015. It runs in association with World Book Day and Hay Festival.
The prize is the first in the UK and Ireland to specifically focus on fiction for young adults, addressing an important unmet need for a prize in the growing YA and teen market. Open to young adult novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1st January and 31st December 2016, the prize celebrates great books for teenagers and young adults and aims to get more teens reading and buying books.
To be eligible, a book can be written in any genre – romance, realism, dystopia or fantasy. The only requirement is that the author must have been resident in the UK or Ireland six months prior to publication.
Teen readers themselves are involved in the final judging process and many from across the UK and Ireland will be asked to vote for their favourite titles.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Hay Festival on 1st June 2017.