PinkNews Awards 2020: Nominees revealed for the Young Adult Book of the Year Award

Emma Powys Maurice November 26, 2020
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Text reading: PinkNews Awards 2020 in association with Amazon

The PinkNews Awards 2020 took place December 2-4 in association with Amazon.

Our community has so many fantastic stories to tell and it’s vital that young adults hear them. So for the first time ever, the PinkNews Awards 2020 is recognising outstanding LGBT+ representation in young adult books.

It’s a chance to celebrate authors whose books bring to light LGBT+ experiences for young readers, changing the narrative around what it means to be young and queer.

This award is in conjunction with the LGBT+ Reading Roadshow, an initiative by Just Like Us, Amazon and PinkNews that delivers LGBT+ diversity and inclusion workshops to secondary schools around the country.

Without further ado, here are the nominees for the Young Adult Book of the Year Award. The public vote is now closed.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.

This powerful and tender novel follows two sisters who lead two very different lives. Camino lives in the Dominican Republic, Yahaira lives in New York City, and neither knows the other exists.

Their worlds collide when their father dies and Yahaira flies to the Dominican Republic to learn more about her long-lost family.

Inspired by the real life event of American Airlines flight 587, the heartbreaking story that follows is a touching tale of cultural identity, grief, forgiveness, and the cultural expectations of women.

Yahaira is gay and has a girlfriend, but her sexuality is interwoven as a natural part of the story and doesn’t drive the plot or her character.

Wonderland by Juno Dawson.

The third book in the trans author’s London trilogy is a very loose and modern retelling of Alice in Wonderland that revolves around ideas of privilege in young adults.

The addictive crime thriller sees Alice search for her girlfriend, Bunny, who’s mysteriously gone missing. Alice ends up falling well and truly down the rabbit hole into a world of stifling privilege and luxury where only the elite are welcome.

As with Dawson’s other books, the issues of gender and sexuality are explored; Alice is pansexual and trans and there is a host of non-conforming characters.

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver.

The debut novel from Mason Deaver, a non-binary librarian, is a heartwarming queer love story that explores the gritty reality of coming out as non-binary.

Its protagonist is Ben De Backer, a non-binary student who’s kicked out by their parents and forced to live with their estranged older sister and her husband.

Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they try to keep a low profile in order to survive – but everything changes when a fellow student takes them under his wing, and soon their friendship blossoms into something more.

I Wish You All the Best is a celebration of life, friendship, and love that also explores themes of misgendering, homophobia, anxiety and depression.

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson.

This easy-to read romantic comedy centres on a poor, Black, bisexual teen called Liz, who feels hopelessly awkward and out of place in her rich, prom-obsessed town. Nevertheless, she decides to run for prom queen for a chance to win the scholarship prize money that’ll fund her university education.

Things get complicated when the new girl at school also enters the competition, and Liz suddenly realises she’s falling for her. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz is.

The question is, will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams… or make them come true?

The author’s debut novel was the inaugural Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club Young Adult pick, and deservedly so.

Middle School’s A Drag, You Better Werk! by Greg Howard

Greg Howard tells a funny and relatable story about relationships, family and friendships in the strange world of adolescence.

Middle school student Mikey Pruitt is gay, and he’s also a highly creative young entrepreneur. Unfortunately most of his business ideas end in failure, until kid drag queen Coco Caliente, mistress of madness and mayhem (AKA eighth grader Julian Vasquez) walks into his office (AKA his family’s storage/laundry room).

Coco needs an agent, and Mikey’s just the boy to do it. Thus, the Anything Talent and Pizzazz Agency is born – and Mikey realises there isn’t only one way of being gay.

It’s a brilliantly entertaining and heartwarming story for kids aged 10-13 that teaches them about fearlessness and the power of acceptance.

To vote for your favourite title, click here. Winners will be announced at the PinkNews Awards 2020. 

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