Best Young Adult Novel – The Third Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards

Hello and welcome back!

Today we are delving into the world of young adult literature. I’ll be honest, this isn’t a category I read a lot of and it isn’t one I seek out. Much of what I read in young adult novels is because I’m searching for books for my nieces and nephews, so my choices are somewhat dictated by what I hope/think they’ll enjoy. Occasionally, an ARC will catch my eye and I’ll read it. Even more rarely, I’ll pick up a young adult novel simply because I’m interested in it.

This year I read 6 books that I’d classify as young adult (my age range here is 12 and up and I realize that’s a little young but my youngest niece is 10). Here are the honourable mentions:

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (Dancing Cat Books, 2017)

While I did read this book as part of my (cancelled) 2020 Writers Fest Challenge, it was also one that had been on my radar for a while. Set in the near future, an Indigenous apocalyptic tale, this book had a lot going for it. I read it in January so my memory is a little dim but I remember there being real tension and it being a powerful metaphor for residential schools and the White European treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada, specifically.

He Must Like You by Danielle Younge-Ullman (Viking, 2020)

This was a recent read, an ARC I had on hand that I picked up when I needed something that I knew would be easy to read. And while it was an easy read, that doesn’t mean it was a simple one. This is a book that packs a lot in and does so with thoughtfulness and nuance. I think it would be a great book for teenagers who are beginning to think and understand more about what sexual consent looks like.

And the winner is…

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt, 2018)

This book was fun. The YA book market is flooded with fantasy series and I’m tempted to read very few of them but this series (of which I’ve only read the first, I’ll admit) stands out. The book has engaging characters and a fast-paced plot but what I particularly appreciated was the way it weaves in African and Nigerian mythology and culture. It adds a great diversity to the YA landscape and I enjoyed reading it.

Do you read Young Adult novels? Any favourite series? Tell me your favourite young reader book you read this year! Or any other year…

On Friday I’ll be back with my award for Best Christian Writing!

2 thoughts on “Best Young Adult Novel – The Third Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards”

  1. Great choice! I really liked Children of Blood and Bone a couple years ago, too. At the time I had been reading more YA fantasy and I thought the plot of CoBaB felt kind of expected and routine for that genre, but I did enjoy as you did the characters and the Nigerian cultural details, and still plan to continue the series someday.

    1. I could definitely see it feeling more expected compared to other YA. I don’t think I felt surprised by the plot but I enjoyed the details and that was enough for it to few fresh to me. Maybe if I read more YA fantasy that would be different. I don’t have a burning passion to find out what happens next but maybe if my niece gets into the series I’ll read along with her!

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