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It’s back

March 26, 2008

Remember last year, when there weren’t enough entries for a YA category in the RITA awards? (Wow, according to Rosemary Clement-Moore, it’s actually been eleven years since.) Well, there’s a YA category this year, and congratulations to all the finalists:

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles*
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Grafitti Girl
by Kelly Parra

Grafitti Girl is also a finalist in the Best First Book category, along with Rosemary Clement-Moore‘s Prom Dates from Hell.

And another congratulations to Melissa Marr, for Wicked Lovely making it to the DA BWAHA Sweet 16.

* I hope this doesn’t come across as disrespectful towards Elkeles or her accomplishment, but I’m having a hard time with Leaving Paradise as a finalist. (Shocking, I know.) The RITAs are a romance award, after all, and the category is described as “Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers. Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is an important element of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.” And while I agree that the love story is an important part of the book, frankly, I didn’t find the ending emotionally satisfying or optimistic. But that’s just me.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ariel permalink
    March 27, 2008 3:43 am

    Gasp! No Meg Cabot? I am shocked! I am glad some of these got in though. A whole contest dedicated to romance novels. What a dream. ^_^

  2. Karen permalink
    March 27, 2008 7:15 am

    I’m sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more. Emotionally satisfying doesn’t have to mean happily ever after, particularly in a novel written for teens. And as far as an “optimistic” ending? I might not be a teen, but I found the final page of Leaving Paradise filled with hope.

    Evidently the Rita judges (all published romance authors) agree.

    As a librarian, you might also be interested to know how much teachers love Leaving Paradise. The Illinois Association of Teachers of English recently named Simone Elkeles their “2008 Author of the Year.”

  3. March 27, 2008 10:46 am

    I did not know that Simone Elkeles was named the author of the year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. Thanks for pointing that out, and she deserves another congratulations for the accomplishment.

    My problem with Leaving Paradise is not that it has an unhappy ending. The ending itself is not the problem, but what led up to it felt manipulatve and false to me, and therefore I found it emotionally unsatisfying. Having checked out other reviews when I first reviewed it, I know I’m in the minority about this, but I do think that if I didn’t feel so manipulated, I probably would have found it emotionally satisfying and perhaps uplifting, too.


  1. RITA Award Finalists announced « The YA YA YAs

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