Last year, you may remember, I was selected to serve on the jury for the Andre Norton Award. I checked out books from the library, I grabbed ARCs from NetGalley and Edelweiss, I bought a few books (mostly ones I would’ve bought for myself or my son anyway), and publishers and authors sent copies of books for consideration.
I didn’t read everything. I didn’t even finish every book I started. I did read a lot, and I can say there is a huge variety out there in middle grade and young adult books.
There’s SF and steampunk, dark fantasy bordering on horror and dystopia; there’s humor and graphic novels, fairy tale retellings and ideas drawn from myth; alternate history sits side-by-side with secondary world and urban fantasy. There were books that are first or second in a series, and others that were the culmination of one. There are debut novels, novels in translation, and novels by established favorite authors. In other words, something for everyone.
Oh, and that picture up above? It’s incomplete. That I can think of, both Greenglass House and Marina are missing (my son probably knows where they are), and there are almost certainly others that aren’t occurring to me at the moment.
What happens to them now? A good chunk are going to my son’s reading teacher. The reading teachers like to have books on hand in case students forget theirs or need ideas on what to read next. I don’t know whether she’ll share with the other teachers at the school or what, but the books will be appreciated.
Would I do it again? If I were asked by the head of the jury to participate, I’d most likely say yes. However, I spent a good chunk of the year feeling behind and knowing I wasn’t doing as much as other members of the jury, and I think they might be better served with someone else. If you’re in SFWA, enjoy MG/YA, and are up for a lot of reading, consider applying to be on the jury. I guarantee it’ll open your eyes to the breadth of the field.