The Cybils Awards finalists were announced on January 1st. Of course, I helped choose the MG speculative fiction list, but I was excited to see what made it onto the other lists as well. Apparently, 987 books were nominated across all categories. That’s a lot of books!
I thought I’d share all the finalists with you along with a few of my thoughts. (Thanks to the folks at Cybils for the wonderful graphics!) I’d love to hear from all of you—what books would you like to see win?
Since MG Spec Fic was my category, I thought I’d share this list first. I loved all of these books, and I’d honestly be happy if almost any of them won. In the Red was my own nomination, so it was great to see that one make it all the way—it’s a heartstopping nail-biter of a read that helped me out of a major 2020 reading slump! I have a definite prediction about which book will win, but we shall see!
There are a few books that I adored that didn’t quite make this list (I’m not the only judge, of course, so my opinion only goes so far—plus, we can’t choose all the books!), so I thought I’d highlight them here:
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller – This is the one I’m most sad about not making the list. I thought that this book was so incredibly wonderful and heartbreaking (I cried at the end). I even asked for a copy of the book for Christmas so I could have my own. There was one other judge who felt just as strongly as I did, but the others weren’t as enthralled. I guess every book can’t be for everyone.
The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson – This one almost made the list. Again, I loved it. I think this one just suffered because it was so similar to some others that were universally loved (for whatever reason, a lot of the books incorporated fairy tales into the main story this year!).
A Game of Fox and Squirrels by Jenn Reese – This one really touched some of us and was too difficult of a read for others. The book talks about abuse, a difficult topic. In the end, we decided this one didn’t have enough universal appeal because of that.
Cleo Porter and the Body Electric by Jake Burt – This is one of those books that really surprised me with how much I loved it. The cover made me think it was going to be another superhero chosen-one story, but it wasn’t that at all. Yes, Cleo goes on a quest, but it’s a quest to leave her world’s absolute quarantine in order to save just one person who she believes is in danger. This sci-fi adventure had a lot going for it and almost made our list!
I almost added two more books to this list but decided to stop there. Watch my reviews to see other books I loved that didn’t quite make the cut!
The Other Finalists:
I haven’t read any of the books for these first four categories, so I can’t comment on them much, but several look really cute! If you’ve read them, let me know what you thought!
My mom nominated Efrén Divided (and it also happens to be written by an author at my agency), so I was very happy to see it made the list! I haven’t read the others—guess I have some reading to do!
The only one of these I’ve read is Flamer, but I absolutely loved New Kid, so I’m excited to read Class Act.
And, yep, confirming that 2020 was a pitiful reading year for me (up until I started reading for the Cybils), I have only read ONE of the YA finalists, Red Hood (really liked it, though it is a bit disturbing!). I am listening to Furia now, though, and I’m desperate to read Cemetery Boys and Legendborn!
Watch for the winners to be announced in February!!
Have you read any of the books that were nominated for the Cybils this year? Have any favorites that you’re hoping will win? Anything you wish had made the list? I want to know!
I read three from the YA fiction (I’m sure you are shocked). I do think that all three were amazing and deserve the nominations. I even read one of the graphic novels.
I’m 99% sure I remember hearing your thoughts on Furia and You Should See Me in a Crown. (Your reviews made me want to read both—one of the reasons I’m listening to Furia right now.) What was the third one you read? And which graphic novel? Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂
Clap When You Land – awesome! I read Almost American Girl.
I see so many books I’ve read! Yay! I have Furia on the way and can’t wait to read it. All Thirteen is amazing!
The only one of the finalists I have read is Almost American Girl (which I really enjoyed), though several of the others are on my TBR. This looks like a great selection, and I’m curious to see which books win!
I’ve read Even If We Break and The Guinevere Deception, and started Clap When You Land. But I’ve heard of a lot of the other YA books! Can you remind me how you got to be a part of reading for those? That’s so cool that you did that! I used to be a reader for a state library award when I taught in Missouri.
Go with the Flow was a good graphic novel. I own – or want to read – a lot of these!! Looks like some good nominations.
Furia and Burn were two of my favorite books of the year so I am THRILLED to see them as finalists! I also thought Clap When You Land and Red Hood were really good, so wonderful choices all around! I really want to read In the Red with Lena (after your glowing recommendation of course!) but she has been dragging her feet with reading lately. So many wonderful books here, and lots of ideas for things to add to the kids’ libraries!
I’ve actually read several of the finalists across many categories….especially middle grade fiction. I think my picks would be Punching the Air, All Boys Aren’t Blue, Class Act, and Fighting Words (but there are so many great choices in all of the categories, and I have not read them all). Can’t wait to see what the winners are!
I nominated Elatsoe (YA spec fic) and Go with the Flow (MG graphic novel) so it’s definitely exciting to see them with the finalists! I was surprised to see I read more of the MG fiction finalists this year than the MG speculative finalists. But the book I really want to the most of all the ones in your post is A Game of Fox and Squirrels – I had checked it out at one point but didn’t get to it. This year for sure!
I’m desperate to read Cemetery Boys too! I think it’s so awesome you got to be a MG judge!