The polls have closed for this year’s Awesome Awards and the results are in! I’m pleased to announce the following winners in the book category.
Best Debut : An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (Grove)
By the time Roxanne Gay’s debut novel hit the shelf she had already made quite a name for herself with various essays and short stories. But the story of a young woman, kidnapped off the streets of Port au Prince has officially made her a writer to be reckoned with.
Best Series: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)
The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue. We are now three books into this unique, magical and mysterious series from best selling author Maggie Stiefvater. And yet we are no closer to knowing what surprises she has in store for us. But now, with only one instalment to go, we’re firmly committed to Gansey, Blue and the others as they search for the ley lines and the lost king Glendower, wherever that may take us.
Best Non Fiction: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial)
2014 was a good year for Roxane Gay. We’ve already announced her novel, An Untamed State, as the best début of the year and now she’s scooped up the best non-fiction award as well, for her collection of essays, Bad Feminist. From Sweet Valley High, to The Help, to abortion and everything in between, Gay turns her sharp eye to our politics, our society and our culture in this must read collection.
Best Young Adult Fiction: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
A 2015 Caldecott Honor Book. A 2015 Michael L. Printz Honor Book. Time Magazine Top 10 Books of the Year, Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year…The list of accolades for This One Summer goes on and on. And it’s no wonder. This simple, elegant story tells the story of a family drama, a sleepy beach town and two friends and a summer they shared. A summer between being a child and growing up. A summer about secrets, and friendships. A summer that has resonates with readers of all ages.
Best Adult Fiction: The Martian by Andy Weir (Crown)
Soon to be movie starring Matt Damon, The Martian tells the gripping story of astronaut, Mark Watney. Six days ago he was one of the first men to walk on Mars. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from Earth, with no way to even signal that he’s alive. But Mark isn’t one to give up so easily – drawing on his engineering skills and his will to survive he fights to odds in a story that is part Gravity, part MacGyver.
Best Kids Fiction: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
This moving story, told completely in verse, won by a landslide in the polls. These eloquent and moving poems tell the story of growing up African American in the 1960-1970s. But this isn’t only a story about Jim Crow and the Civil Rights, it’s also a story about the strength of family and trying to find one’s place in the world.
Best Writer: Ellen Oh (Author of Prophecy, Founder of We Need Diverse Books)
Not only is Ellen Oh the author of a fabulous fantasy series, based on Korean mythology, she is also one of the founders of We Need Diverse Books (#weneeddiversebooks). It started as a hashtag, then became a tumblr and now it’s a movement. They were created to address the need for more diverse books in children’s literature and have been reaching out to all levels of the publishing community – agents, publishers, authors, booksellers, librarians, educators, and readers – to educate, inform and try to change the landscape of the publishing industry for the better.
Best Cover Design : Girl Defective by Simmone Howell, design by Debra Sfetsios-Conover; illustration Jeffrey Everett (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Jeffrey Everett’s striking cover, perfectly captures the story of Girl Defective. It’s the story of Skylark Martin, who lives with her family in a vintage record shop. But it’s also about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully, Nancy, Luke, Mia Casey and all the others that make up the strange neighbourhood she finds herself in. And this cover transports you into that neighbourhood, that record shop. It takes you into a different time and calls to mind stories like High Fidelity – which is exactly what it should do.
Best Overall Book Design: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, designed by Chip Kidd (Knopf)
If you write completely unique and indescribable books, than Chip Kidd needs to design your books. From the jacket, to the cover to the endpaper and more, the hardcover edition of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, is nothing short of a work of art. Chances are the story itself is pretty good too.