Penguin leads the nominations in the list of 10 finalists for the 2022 YA Book Prize, led by the bookseller in a strong year for debut talent, with the winner to be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Penguin author Manjeet Mann has been shortlisted for her Costa Children’s Book Award-winning novel in verse, The crossing, which tells the story of two teenagers from opposite worlds: Natalie, struggling with her mother’s death and her brother’s descent into anger and violence; and Sammy, who has fled his home in Eritrea for a chance at a new life in Europe. Penguin debut authors Natasha Bowen and Femi Fadugba are also nominated: Bowen’s skin of the sea is a fantasy love story infused with West African mythology about a mermaid who goes on a dangerous quest after saving a child thrown from a slave ship, and Fadugba’s the upper world is a sci-fi thriller set in South East London in which two teenagers from different generations travel through time to try to change their destiny.
Usborne and Hachette each have two titles on the list. Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is recognized for her first novel, Ace of spades, a twisted school thriller in which principal Chiamaka and musician Devon must join forces to confront their anonymous tormentor and institutionalized racism. Her stablemate from Usborne, Holly Bourne, is recognized for the yearbookwhich sees the quiet Paige learn to stand up for herself and expose the lies about her school’s popular clique, as well as her own troubled family.
Two very different Hachette LGBTQ+ love stories are shortlisted: After Love by Tanya Byrne and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar. Byrne’s is a supernatural romance in which a teenage girl dies after a car accident and then must choose between gathering souls for the afterlife or seeing her first love again. In Jaigirdar’s novel, two very different Bengali girls start a fake relationship for their mutual benefit, only to start developing real feelings for each other.
Scholastic author Simon James Green makes the list for the first time with his LGBTQ+ romance You are the only one that I want. In it, Freddie tries to transform his social and romantic life, but discovers that sometimes doing things wrong helps you discover what and who you really want. complete the list of finalists hollow house by Krystal Sutherland (Hot Key Books) and first day of me Life by Lisa Williamson (David Fickling Books). The first is a gothic fantasy that centers on the mysterious disappearance, and even more mysterious reappearance, of the seductive and glamorous Hollow sisters. The latter is a contemporary story where Frankie goes on a road trip with ella’s ex-boyfriend Ram de ella to find ella’s best friend Jojo de ella after she goes missing on GCSE results day.
the eighth year
The YA Book Prize was launched in 2014 by the bookseller to celebrate great books for teens and young adults written by authors based in the UK and Ireland; previous winners include Louise O’Neill, Patrice Lawrence and Juno Dawson. Last year’s award went to alice osman for her novel about a romance-obsessed teenager who realizes she’s scented and asexual, heartbreak (HarperCollins Children’s Books). the bookseller partnered this year with the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the award for the first time.
The 2022 winner will be chosen from a shortlist of 10 finalists by a panel led by Caroline Carpenter, the booksellerchildren’s editor and deputy editor of articles and president of the YA Book Prize. Rachel Fox, director of the children and schools program at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, will return to the panel for the second year, joined by three new faces: the award-winning children’s book author and campaigner for better representation of neurodiversity in publishing, Elle McNicoll; Wales-based speculative fiction writer and content creator Joel Rochester; and Irish children’s writer, event programmer, bookseller and critic Sarah Webb. The final judging will also include input from teen judges from schools based in London, Hereford, Bradford and Edinburgh.
I’m very pleased with the incredibly strong shortlist for this year’s YA Book Prize, which spans a myriad of genres, from contemporary to fantasy, thriller and romance, and covers a wide range of topics and issues including institutional racism, time travel, first loves. , friendship and the refugee crisis. Caroline Carpenter, President of the YA Book Prize.
Fox said, “We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with the YA Book Prize, which always highlights the highest caliber YA authors for the award.” He added: “As a judge, it’s going to be an incredibly difficult year to decide a winner, but I look forward to hearing the thoughts of the experts and the school children on the judging panel to make the decision together.”
Webb was “delighted to be a judge”, adding, “It’s been a banner year for junior fiction and I can’t wait to discuss the shortlisted books with the other judges.” McNicoll described being asked to join the panel as “a professional highlight”, saying, “It has ALREADY made me the reader I am today, so celebrating and championing the amazing work that is being produced today is a thrill and an honor”. Rochester called his role as judge “a dream come true” but warned that it would be difficult to pick a winner from “such a good list.”