I had the great privilege of serving as a judge on this year's Cybil award for Fantasy/SF. First of all, the nominees were so good that the nominating panel asked to split them between Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction so that we could honor at least one more book. Our judging panel quickly agreed (more books! more books!), and we set to work reading the ten nominees-five in each category.
The winners couldn't be more different, but both are fantastic. Here are the details, shamelessly borrowed from the Sheila at Wands and Worlds:
The True Meaning of Smekday
by Adam Rex
Nothing has been the same since the Boov invaded Earth and re- named it Smekland. But things get even weirder when twelve-year-old Gratuity Tucci embarks on a journey to find her missing mother--accompanied by her cat (named Pig), a fugitive Boov (named J.Lo) and a slightly illegal hovercar--and realizes that there's more at stake than just her mother's whereabouts. A terrific satire with a touching ending and spot-on illustrations by the author, the novel is heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. Gratuity's narrative voice as she struggles to define "the true meaning of Smekday" will draw readers in.
Nominated by jennifer, aka literaticat.
Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
On her first day as a Lady’s Maid, Dashti finds herself locked in a tower for seven years with her Lady, who is being punished for refusing to marry the Lord of a neighboring land. Thus begins a life-and-death battle against evil and time. Lyrically written and set in ancient central Asia, this novel retells a little-known Brother’s Grimm fairy tale with desperate, heart-wrenching emotion. Readers will be drawn in by the beautiful language and fighting spirit of Dashti, whose faith, spunk and ingenuity affect not only the darkness of her tower, but also the hearts and futures of kings.
Nominated by Sarah Miller.
Sheila served as our intrepid organizer, making sure we got our books (mostly on time), keeping us on task, and ensuring that we had a secure chat room for our final deliberations. The rest of the committee was also wonderful--I really enjoyed working with them:
Gwenda Bond, a writer and critic
Chris Rettstatt, YA author of the Kaimira series
Janelle Bitikofer, YA/Children's writer
Michele Fry, Independent scholar and writer