Here are the winners in the Young Adult categories (all the quotes are from the Cybils Website):
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Every Last Word stands out because of its honest, moving portrayal of mental illness. But it also stands out because of Sam’s hard-earned character growth. After being a bully just to fit in with her toxic friends, becoming a member of Poet’s Corner allows her to right some past wrongs and learn that finding your unique voice is more important than blending in with your friends. Along the way, we experience the highs and lows of high school cliques, show how there are always ways to redeem yourself even if they aren’t easy, and feel the emotions of all involved from every angle. The poetry included helps break the ice on what can be a difficult topic, making it more accessible, while the “feels” you succumb to will make and break your heart. It’s not always pretty, but it’s real and fair, making it a story that Young Adult readers can connect with on many levels.-Cybils Webpage
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona is the snarky, shape-shifting sidekick to a supervillain. Nimona forces everyone to look deeply into questions of good and evil. She reopens old wounds between villain and hero, and tears into her own enemies with a vengeance, regardless of the consequences. But she also foils a nefarious government plot and is a fierce protector. Who is good? Who is evil? And who decides, anyway? In NIMONA, the answers keep shifting, and the results are awesome. We loved the way Noelle Stevenson created complex, sympathetic characters who subvert traditional understandings of beauty, power, and morality. And NIMONA is riotously funny to boot!
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin
Using historical data and interviews, Sheinkin sets a vivid, you-are-there scene, allowing readers to see Daniel Ellsberg move from enthusiastic Department of Defense political analyst to anti-war activist as he realizes that the President would continue sending American soldiers into this unwinnable war. Although Ellsberg is the title character, Most Dangerous is much more than a biography. It covers nearly three decades of US defense and political history, giving readers a front-row seat into the complexity of national security and decision making. Compelling, thought-provoking and timeless, Most Dangerous delivers readers not only an historical account of a time period in our history often confusing, but offers readers a critical eye towards the future as well.
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Ballerinas, normally the artistic apex of beauty and grace, were shown as something violent and unfamiliar, underscoring themes of innocence and its loss. Nova Ren Suma’s THE WALLS AROUND US provides an unhinged look into the competitive, obsessive world through the eyes of Amber and Violet, two girls with vastly different futures: one in a Juvenile Detention Center; the other on her way to a promising career at Julliard. A challenging narrative with definite speculative, creepy supernatural elements, the novel’s shadowy, edgy setting with its distinctive voices, together with the atmospheric beauty of the writing convinced even the dubious to embrace this psychological thriller
My Thoughts:I am delighted with the choices. I haven't read Every Last Word (but now I will). One fun thing, however, Ms. Stone will be in Tacoma in April and I will have a chance to meet her. The other three books are very, very good. Nimona was a Mock Printz selection for my team and the students loved it. I am a fan of Most Dangerous and wanted it to win a Printz Award this year. It must be hard for nonfiction books to gain the attention of that committee because they overlooked a fabulous book in this one, Thank goodness the Cybils didn't overlook it! The Walls Around Us isn't my cup of tea because it is really scary and I don't do scary very well. But even as I was reading it I recognized the excellent writing and the creative literary skills that Nova Ren Suma used in this book. I'm off to see if Every Last Word is available so I can check it out!
Have you read any of these books? What do you think of the list?