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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Norton Award Blog Tour



If you write science fiction or fantasy, then you should be aware of the SFWA, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And if you also write YA, then I'm betting you're also aware of the Andrea Norton Award for Excellence, one of the most prestigious honors for a YA sci fi or fantasy author.

Several of the authors in SFWA are doing a blog tour about the Andre Norton award (including me!) and you can check out the other links here. I definitely think you should read Sherwood Smith's blog on the topic--she knew Andre personally, and was in on the inception of the award. And you should also check out this interview with the Norton jury--absolutely fascinating. You know what? Just read all the blogs on the tour :)

One of the things I really have loved about this blog tour is learning more about Andre Norton. Norton was one of my first introductions to modern fantasy. As a kid, I read CS Lewis and Tolkein--but it wasn't until I joined a sci fi mail-order book club that I got exposure to a lot of the new and latest books coming out in the genre. I was in middle school, I think, when I read my first Norton title--MIRROR OF DESTINY. I still have my copy--with this exact cover--but I've never re-read it. I've not needed to. Norton's descriptions were so vivid that I still recall the book just by looking at its spine. There's one particular scene--where the main character polishes the mirror with her fingertips until they become bloody--that is so realistic in my memory that I can picture it as vividly as any memory I actually lived through.

The Andre Norton Award is for YA and MG in the sci fi and fantasy genres published in each calendar year. As such, one of my favorite reads of the year (THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS) isn't eligible--but the sequel, THE CROWN OF EMBERS is! And while it's not eligible right now, I already know one of the books I'll be nominating next year.

If you put me on the spot and forced me to pick two titles RIGHT NOW that I'd nominate, I'd select two of my favorite reads of this year.

First: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers. I just. You guys. This book. It's brilliant. It's the perfect combination of fantasy and history, and it's beautifully woven together in an intricate plot full of intrigue and mystery and general kick-butt-ness.

I read it via audiobook, and loved the narrator for the story. She definitely added appeal for me.

But the story, overall, is just amazing. I love the way Ismae is both fragile and strong. She is given a rare opportunity to choose her own destiny--and she does. Entirely.

Also, as if that's not convincing enough, here are two simple words for you that should make you want to pick this book up.

ASSASSIN NUNS. 

I know, right? What more do you need?

The next book I'd nominate for a Norton is one by my splendiferous friend, Lauren DeStefano: FEVER. (Although, ZOMG, you guys, you won't believe how much the last book of the trilogy, SEVER, will knock your socks off.)

WITHER was one of my fave 2011 titles, and Lauren doesn't disappoint with the sequel. It takes every idea in WITHER and amps it up even more. It left my head spinning with possibilities, and is the perfect lead-in to the final volume.

Also? One of the best things about Lauren's writing (aside from the brilliant plot and pretty world and awesome characters) is her actual writing. I don't know how she does it. Her words sing like poetry.

Reading Lauren's works sometimes makes me feel like she's DaVinci and I'm drawing on the walls with a crayon. It's just beautiful words, all lined up to make a stunning story.

I have more top picks--in fact, my hardest choice is narrowing down my selections!! But I don't want to overwhelm you. I actually want to ask you what are your top YA and MG fantasy and sci fi reads this year? Let me know in the comments--I'd love to add even more books to my teetering TBR pile!

And definitely check out the other blogs on the tour for more info about the Andre Norton Award, Andre Norton, and other top reads by many different authors!

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As a member of SFWA, my works are eligible to be nominated for the Nebula and Norton awards. If you're a SFWA member and would like to enter my works, here's what I have out now that's eligible.

A MILLION SUNS -- The sequel to ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, in which Amy and Elder must discover a way off their generational space ship.

"The Other Elder" -- A story about the governing system on Godspeed, a generational space ship, that has an ambiguous ending in which the reader must decide what happened to the narrator. Published in the anthology AFTER edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.


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