July 18, 2020

It's Hugo Time! Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

(Note: This is technically Not-a-Hugo, like the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and has to be labeled as such, even though it's awarded with the rest of the Hugos during the same ceremony. This is apparently one of those Necessary Distinctions That Make No Difference.)

This is another of the newest categories, for Young Adult SFF books. There are a couple of middle-grade books on this ballot, one of which I couldn't read because I couldn't get the packet-provided NetGalley link to work and it's not available at my library. I did try reading an Amazon excerpt but so many pages were omitted I couldn't really get a sense of the story. So, unfortunately, Fran Wilde's Riverland is omitted from my ballot.

Sorry, No

Minor Mage, T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)

T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon has written some lovely, whimsical, and downright terrifying stories (I have her adult horror novel, The Twisted Ones, and it scared the kee-rap out of me). This young-adult novella is about Oliver, a twelve-year-old mage who heads out with his three near-useless little spells (except when push comes to shove, they turn out to be not so useless after all) to bring the rain to his drought-stricken village. This was cute and sometimes funny, but definitely not at the top of the Kingfisher/Vernon pantheon.

Knocking On the Door

Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee

(Full review here)

I'm sure many thirteen-year-olds loved this book, but its uneven and sometimes uncomfortable blend of Korean myth and science fiction didn't really work for me.

We Have a Winnah!

Catfishing on CatNet, Naomi Kritzer

(Full review here)

This is a full-length expansion of Kritzer's Hugo-winning short story, "Cat Pictures Please." I think it has a good chance of taking this category, even if I couldn't quite put it at the top.

The Wicked King, Holly Black

(Full review here)

No book is for everyone, and this one even more so. If you can't handle morally twisted, ethically compromised, sometimes sociopathic, oft-murderous, and utterly compelling Fae and human characters, steer clear of this series.

Deeplight, Frances Hardinge

(Full review here)

This was the first time I'd ever read one of Hardinge's books, and this was quite the introduction. This is a lovely, thoughtful story (if sometimes terrifying--there's more than a bit of body horror to be found here), with fascinating worldbuilding and depth of characterization.

Next up: Best Semiprozine


June said...

Where's Riverland by Fran Wilde ? No need to publish this as this BTW.

Bonnie McDaniel said...

The second paragraph of the post answers your question.

June said...

Thanks. Spotted it.