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Huzzah! It's our favorite time of year at Mirth & Matter: Morris Award season! I'm delighted to make my long overdue return to this blog with a post announcing (can I "announce" something if it's not technically my announcement? A forwarding announcement?) this year's William C. Morris Award honorees. More information can be found at the American Library Association's Morris Award homepage.

I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone that the William C. Morris Award for a Young Adult Debut honors five outstanding novels by authors publishing for young adult readers for the first time. It is the only major ALA award to get a "shortlist" announced before the Youth Media Awards in January. ...And I won the first one.

Every year since 2009, I've been honored to host interviews with the nominees. In 2010/2011, I shared that honor with the late L.K. Madigan, who won for her novel Flash Burnout, and last year Blythe Woolston (The Freak Observer) joined our band of intrepid interviewers. You can read her interview with 2012 winner John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back) here. You can catch up on all the past interviews on my Morris Award tag page.

So. Let's take a look at this year's honored novels!


Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Stories come easily to motherless Portia, and a good thing, too. They sustain her when her father leaves her and when her aunt abandons her to the ghastly McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls. When she escapes, they win her a place with Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, where she hopes to find her father again somehow, where “freak,” “normal” and “family” mean something altogether different—and where Portia begins to take charge of her own story.


Love and Other Perishable Items written by Laura Buzo, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Love and Other Perishable Items written by Laura Buzo, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Amelia meets Chris when he trains her for her brand-new job at the local supermarket. Smart and witty, they are perfect for each other. She is smitten, but he, on the rebound from his first, lost love, is preoccupied with the pursuit of booze and sex—and his college degree on the side. More importantly, she is 15, and he is 22. It just can’t happen, can it?

After the Snow written by S. D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

After the Snow written by S. D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

In a future where winter lasts nearly all year, Willo returns from hunting to discover his family has been kidnapped. Skilled at surviving in the wild, he sets off from their remote farm, determined to locate them. But when his journey brings him to a corrupt city, full of strange and unfamiliar perils, Willo is swept up by events he doesn’t fully understand.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

On the same day that 12-year-old Cameron kisses her best friend, Irene, her parents are killed in a car accident. Nearly crushed with guilt, Cameron spends the next several years in self-imposed gay-movie therapy with her VCR or drinking and smoking pot with her track- and swim-team friends, gradually coming to terms with her sexuality. It’s not easy being gay in rural 1990s Montana, and it’s harder still when your aunt drags you to an evangelical church every weekend—where you meet the girl of your dreams.

Seraphina written by Rachel Hartman, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Seraphina written by Rachel Hartman, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

When the death of a royal prince threatens the fragile peace between humans and dragons in Goredd, court musician Seraphina is drawn into the murder investigation. But even as she aids Prince Lucian in his mission to uncover the murderer, Seraphina conceals a dangerous secret of her own—her half-human, half-dragon heritage.

What a spectacular lineup! Huge congratulations to all the honored books and authors!

Stay tuned for much more Morris excitement as the Youth Media Awards (January 28) draw nearer!





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