2016 Nominees: fiction (page 5)

FOOL ME ONCE by Harlan Coben
Released: March 22, 2016

"Once again, Coben marries his two greatest strengths—masterfully paced plotting that leads to a climactic string of fireworks and the ability to root all the revelations in deeply felt emotions—in a tale guaranteed to fool even the craftiest readers a lot more than once."
Coben (The Stranger, 2015, etc.) hits the bull's eye again with this taut tale of a disgraced combat veteran whose homefront life is turned upside down by an image captured by her nanny cam.Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Much of the story revolves around issues of reproduction, housework, and economic opportunity that contemporary feminists would see as questions of justice. But Sophia narrates a story of fairy tale-like fatality, casting an amused, self-deprecating light on even the most painful moments."
A Depression-era artist struggles with crippling poverty and sexism in bohemian London; the result is a surprisingly charming and funny novel (first published in 1950). Read full book review >
Sugarland by Martha Conway

"An absorbing whodunit full of gangsters and glitz."
In Conway's (Thieving Forest, 2014, etc.) latest novel, a young jazz pianist encounters kidnapping, rumrunning, and gunplay in 1920s Chicago. Read full book review >
WHEN WATCHED by Leopoldine Core
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Entrancing, subtle, and tragically poetic, this collection is an important contribution to queer literature."
New York-based author Core (Veronica Beach, 2015) has put together a striking debut collection of 19 short stories revolving around sexuality and city life. Read full book review >
Mine by Katie Crawford
Released: March 1, 2016

"An intense, perceptive tale of two sisters grappling with a turbulent family history."
In this debut novel, a woman learns a truth as old as literature: she can't escape the past just by moving away and up. Read full book review >
THE BIG REWIND by Libby Cudmore
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A mystery that will inspire more than one playlist and, hopefully, a sequel."
The clues to a Brooklyn murder unspool on a mixtape in what might be a new mystery subgenre—the hipster cozy. Read full book review >
The Soul Mender by R.S. Dabney
Released: May 26, 2016

"Judging by the engrossing first volume, this trilogy about two heroines' perilous mission has the potential to be not only highly entertaining, but profoundly edifying as well."
A debut novel follows a young woman as she struggles to come to grips with the realization that in a parallel universe everyone has an opposite. Read full book review >
SWEETBITTER by Stephanie Danler
Released: May 24, 2016

"As they say at the restaurant: pick up!"
An ingénue from the Midwest learns the ways of the world, and the flesh, during her year as a back waiter at a top Manhattan restaurant. Read full book review >
THE UNDOING by Averil Dean
Released: Jan. 20, 2016

"Dean follows her startling debut (Alice Close Your Eyes, 2013) with an even more assured tour de force that peels back layer after dreadful layer from her characters in a way that really does produce pity and terror."
A Chinese box of a thriller, structured by a series of ever more distant flashbacks, that digs back, back, back into the past to uncover the reason for the deaths of an indelible ménage à trois.Read full book review >
FORTY MARTYRS by Philip F. Deaver
Released: March 29, 2016

"While reducing the stories to mere summaries makes them sound like either clichés or soap operas, Deaver's solicitude—and even love—for his characters elevates them to the level of beauty."
Nine loosely linked stories—or perhaps one loosely episodic novel—about infidelity, alcoholism, insanity, and other small-town ills, all told brilliantly and with humor and great compassion. Read full book review >
HERE COMES THE SUN by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Released: July 19, 2016

"Haunting and superbly crafted, this is a magical book from a writer of immense talent and intelligence."
The lives of three generations of women in Jamaica intersect as they try to build better lives. Read full book review >
GRACE by Natashia Deón
Released: June 14, 2016

"A haunting, visceral novel that heralds the birth of a powerful new voice in American fiction."
Fifteen-year-old Naomi flees slavery in Alabama for a better life of freedom up North—only to run into trouble along the way. Read full book review >



The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. Books that earned the Kirkus Star with publication dates between Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2017 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on November 2, 2017, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.