Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Summing Up: Edgar Nominees for Best YA

Now that I've read all the Edgar nominees for Best YA, I'll give you my thoughts on the category. I started this blog a few years ago not to post pictures of my cats (even if they are cute) but to start keeping track of mysteries in the YA and MG departments of my book stores.

To refresh, here is the list of Edgar nominees for Best YA:


Shelter by Harlan Coben (Penguin Young Readers Group – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Penguin Young Readers Group – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall (Random House Children’s Books – Knopf BFYR)
The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines  (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Roaring Creek Press)
Kill You Last by Todd Strasser (Egmont USA)

In case you're interested in my thoughts on individual books, click on the links above...

To get to the point: mystery is alive and well in YA--how exciting, huh? In previous years, I would often find a fantasy or literary novel among the nominees, one that really wasn't a mystery at all. Sure, the book was good, and there was a mysterious element. But not a mystery. So what makes a YA a mystery in my book? I usually ask: if this book was written for adults, would it be classified as a mystery?

All of this year's Edgar nominees for Best YA are a solid yes as an answer to that question this year, which makes me very happy. Other than The Name of the Star, there were no supernatural elements, vampires, etc. present--and Johnson's book was such a strong whodunit, the ghost element was really secondary. 

Prediction of who'll win: To be honest, I could flip a coin--the nominees are that strong this year. It's anybody's guess; I certainly thought all of these were well-written YA mysteries. But since I don't want to wuss out, I would predict that it'll be Harlan Coben's Shelter.

We'll have to wait until April 26 to find out...


  1. Great project, reading all the nominees! I enjoyed SHELTER and think it's a likely win, but haven't read all of these yet. I was curious about Johnson's book; glad to hear the whodunit plot prevails over the supernatural! I like my YA mysteries straight up.

  2. Same here. All of these were impressive; I'm really interested to see where the dice will fall this year...

    And thanks for stopping by, Diana!