Whitney Finalists: Young Adult General Round-Up

By Rosalyn Eves

If the Whitney young adult speculative category had a strong showing from male writers and male point of view characters, then the young adult general swings the pendulum the other direction. Of the five books, all are written by women, and all feature exclusively female point of view characters. Some of this might have to do with genre: four of the five are young adult contemporary novels (though Jennifer Shaw Wolf’s Dead Girls Don’t Lie might also be classified as YA suspense)–and from my vantage point, this is a genre dominated by women authors and female point of view characters, largely because romance is often a central feature in the plot. ( Granted, there are exceptions: John Green and David Levithan spring to mind. I can’t think of any LDS male authors writing young adult contemporary–if you know of any, I’d love to hear them in the comments.)

Julie Berry’s All the Truth that’s in Me was the exception to the general trend for this year’s YA finalists: this is a historical novel (the setting is vaguely revolutionary war-era) with a terse but lyrical style. This was also the darkest in terms of theme and content. Four of the five finalists were published with national presses; one (Chasing June) was independently published.

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