Shelah, Maralise, and I have spent the last couple of months reading and evaluating this year’s Whitney finalists. If you haven’t seen the list yet, pop over here and take a look. We’re not quite finished reading them all yet, but we thought we would talk about our early favorites to give more people a chance to become acquainted with them before the winners are announced at the LDS Storymakers banquet on May 7.
This year’s Whitneys have a couple of changes. Because of the strength of the LDS YA writers, the Whitney committee created two categories instead of just one: YA General and YA Speculative. This is a great move, in my opinion, because the YA books do divide easily along those lines and both categories are delightfully strong. The other major change is the possibility of a book sweeping three categories. Before this, in order to honor as many individual authors as possible, a book could only win in one category, even if it qualified by number of votes to win in three. So last year’s In the Company of Angels won Best Novel and was therefore ineligible to win Best Historical. This year we could have one author sweep several categories.
And if we at Segullah could choose that one author to sweep several categories, based on our reading so far it would have to be Kristen Chandler, author of Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me.