I'm back from Dallas and the 2012 ALA Midwinter conference where I spent five days (and nights) talking books with others who live and breathe books.
Serving on the Best Fiction For Young Adults committee was an amazing, if exhausting, experience. I’ve served on wonderful committees in the past and it was where I found many of my dearest friends. The BFYA committee this year was actually a little intimidating. The fourteen other members were diligent, smart, and razor sharp in their discussion of the books. None of the nominated books were duds. I would be happy recommending any title on the nomination list. We honed the final list down from a list of 211 excellent books, already the cream of the crop, in a year filled with hundreds of good books.
Some of the books my teen readers loved and some of the books I loved didn’t make the final list but every book that made the list was voted for by at least 9 members of the 14 committee who had read it (along with around a book a day for a whole year) and judged it to be one of the best books of the year. Twenty-one of the books had unanimous yes votes. I find that an amazing number considering the variety of tastes, ages, types of libraries, and differences in experience of the people serving on the committee. Truly, no two people ever read the same book, so when this many people can agree you can bet that the book is worthwhile.
BTW, as far as I’m concerned, the nominated books that didn’t make the final list, were winners, being good enough a committee member nominated or seconded a field nomination for it out of a crowded field of YA fiction.
See the 2012 BFYA list at the ALA/YALSA web site.