As I came to the realization that my debut novel is coming up for its first awards season, I thought about what I’ve read in the last year and what books I think are deserving of awards. I’ve read many great books this year and have even more to read thanks to a number of conventions. ALA was the clear winner I took 10 copies of my book to give away and brought back 36 new books. Well, actually mailed them from the handy-dandy temporary post-office at ALA. Of the four books, two came from that book-booty.

I’m not certain what books these awards are up for. After reading the rules for half a dozen awards, I find that the definition of a year of publication and where things fall is confusingly difficult to decipher. Nevertheless, each of these books has some great reasons to be deserving.

I’ll also be talking about these books at Village BooksIndiesFirst presentations from 4:00pm to 5:00pm on Small Business Saturday—11/29/2014. So, I’ll be talking to patrons about books that I am passionate about including these four. If you’re in the area, come say hello. On another really cool note, when I tweeted about doing IndiesFirst, Neil Gaiman, retweeted my tweet! Yeah!

Without further ado…

#1 – Not A Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis. One of the descriptions: Little House on the Prairie as written by Cormac McCarthy is especially appropriate. This book is so amazing, I am now the proud owner of three copies: e-book, paperback and hardcover. The paperback disappeared as soon as I got it to school. I wouldn’t let the hardcover leave the room, but I had to share it with two students in order to read it! It will make you laugh and cry, it has pain and joy, love and hate. Another book set in the same universe with some of the same characters, In A Handful of Dust is already out, so no waiting

#2 – Otherbound – Corinne Duyvis. A young man in the real world has been plagued with seizures, including one that caused him to lose his foot in accident. When he has a seizure, he gets stuck in the mind of an abused female slave in an alternative universe. She is an incredible drawn, strong character with special healing powers that require her to take on the injuries of the person she’s curing. Couldn’t put it down. Gender identity and disability issues.

#3 – Sons of Zues – Noble Smith. When I first started reading, I was a bit put off by the really short chapters, but then my life got busy. It was actually the perfect book for sitting down and reading a chapter or two. Action, politics, espionage, sex, history, family relationships. Athens versus Sparta in ancient Greece. Oh, and Pankration. [I’ll make you look that up if it doesn’t mean anything to you.] I’d give it a PG-13/R sort of advisory.

#4 – The Living – Matt de la Peña. Okay. First spoiler. It is a cliffhanger. Almost literally. Three pages before the end, there is a cliff and people being chased and then… Well, you’ll have to read it. It’s got a great, believable character in Shy, the teenage Hispanic narrator. He takes a cruise ship job to help pay some bills for college or family, but then things go south by southwest. I would call this an apocalyptic thriller genre-wise. De La Peña is great at capturing modern teenage colloquial language. It’s definitely a page turner, some of the coincidences are a bit far-fetched, but why write a story about an average ordinary time? Perfect for the young adult reader.

All Is Silence is eligible for a number of awards this year. The biggest of which is the Andre Norton Young Adult Award sponsored by SFWA and the Nebula folks. It is also eligible for The William C. Morris YA Debut Award.