Through a bracket style competition, judges who are passionate about getting more visibility for fantastic, under represented books will whittle down a shortlist of thirty two young adult novels until one ultimate winner is given the Nerds Heart YA sash and sceptre.
It’s not just about the winner though, Nerds Heart YA seeks to draw attention to all the books on the shortlist. The contest focuses specifically on books that in some way represent groups of people who are typically under represented in YA fiction. We hope that everyone who participates in this contest will find lots of new books to enjoy that will expand the diversity of their reading experience.
For the last week I've been thinking about what books I want to nominate. This year I've had the pleasure of being unable to nominate two titles because they've received/are receiving a lot of online attention.
I love not being able to nominate When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer and Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins.
For When the Stars Go Blue to have been released in November and be ineligible for NerdsHeartYA is a step in the right direction. Every time I saw another review or interview with the author, I thought to myself its nice see an author of color get extra blogger sphere exposure. And its happening more lately. Y.S. Lee, Cindy Pon, Dia Reeves, Zetta Elliott, Malinda Lo Neesha Meminger and Sarwat Chadda are all authors that have been reviewed, interviewed or discussed various places online.
All of these authors have two things in common. Talent and an online presence. Mitali Perkins is one of the first authors of color to blog.
She did a full hardcore PR press for Bamboo People and it worked. It's just one of two YA novels published by a smaller imprint to be selected as an ALA 2011 top ten best fiction for Young Adults . The other one is Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz, which won Nerds Heart YA last year.
Books I will be Nominating
Teenie by Christopher Grant. This was a great debut that was unfortunately released on Dec 28th. That's an awful release date for a debut author, even more so if its an author of color.
Pull by B.A. Binns - This was another wonderful debut
Stringz by Michael Wenberg - Before I picked this on up, I was a little wary thanks to the blurbs. In the end I am glad I took a chance on this great story.
Book nominations are open until March 7th