I love fantasy, science fiction, horror, every one of their subgenres and all imaginable combinations, but my reading regimen for the next few months has been suddenly, drastically altered: I’ve been selected as a first round YA panelist for the 2011 Cybils Awards. Which means all straight-up YA fiction, all the time.
Read more about 2010 Cybils Award winners.
Not familiar with the Cybils? Well, let me enlighten you!
The Cybils are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. They were founded in 2006 in an attempt to find a happy medium between awards that purely celebrate literary quality (like the Newbery) and awards based purely on popularity (like the short-lived Quill). The first round panelists read all of the nominations—in some of the more popular categories, like YA fiction, the number of nominations is staggering—and winnow the list down to five to seven titles. Then the second round judges take over, and you can probably figure the rest out from there, eh? (If you do have questions, see the FAQ.)
Nominations are open from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15. Anyone—yes, that means you—can nominate a book. So check the lists to be sure that your favorite eligible books (or apps) haven’t been overlooked!
As I don’t want to totally bail on my October Country series, here are a few of my favorite spooky nominations:
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness: OK, I’m cheating already. This one isn’t spooky. But there’s a monster! Two, even. Also, it’s an absolutely beautifully written book, and you should read it immediately, even though it’s guaranteed to make you cry all over yourself.
Blessed, by Cynthia Leitich Smith: Also not that spooky. But vampires! Werewolves and other shifters (including an opossum)! A guardian angel! Amazingly grody gore! Snappy dialogue! Fabulous plotting! The heroine’s name is Quincie P. Morris! (Get it? Get it?) I’ve been tired of vampires for years now, but this series is criminally unknown. Go back and start at the beginning with Tantalize.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs: In my defense, I thought this one would be spooky. I mean, look at the cover! And the trailer made it look scary as well. But, despite the photographs—some of which are legitimately creepy—and the monsters, it was more of a mystery/adventure than anything else. Not that I’m complaining: I read the whole thing in one sitting.
Slice of Cherry, by Dia Reeves: Wow, I’m 0-4 here, because this one isn’t particularly spooky, either. But...teenage sister vigilante serial killers! In Texas! With magical powers! This is one of those rare stories that I enjoyed more in retrospect than I did while actually reading, but the setting alone was enough to guarantee that I’ll be keeping an eye out for Reeves’ next book.
White Crow, by Marcus Sedgwick: Hands down, the most genuinely creepy book I’ve read this year. And by genuinely creepy, I mean GENUINELY CREEPY. A girl moves to a town that is slowly eroding off a cliff into the sea (literally), meets another girl, and starts exploring the dark mysteries that surround the past of Winterfold Hall. Sedgwick constantly switches up voice, time period and perspective, which ratchets up the tension by never allowing the reader to get complacent or comfortable. And that’s not even allowing for the hair-raising nature of the storyline itself, which is just...GAAAH!! I read it over a month ago and simply looking at the cover gives me the shivers.
So, two questions: What books did you nominate for the Cybils? And what books have given you the genuine White Crow creeps?
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy is probably maniacally organizing all of her music into far-too-specific Spotify playlists.