7 Books That Should Have Made the Carnegie Shortlist

7 books that should have been on the carnegie shortlist

I have quite mixed feelings on book awards. On one hand: author recognition! Cake and smoothie every Thursday morning! Exciting book events! On the other hand: seriously bad choices. Especially in children’s book awards, when to a young person (such as my good self) just reads the books and sees ‘This is what adults think kids like to read’. I spent 80% of my time at Carnegie Medal Shadowing ranting about the books. And a lot of that time is spent glaring at the bad books and saying that it would be a lot better if we were reading (insert book here) instead. So: THE BOOKS I WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE TO SEE ON THE SHORTLIST! As chosen from previous nominations! Because some people were really dumb when narrowing down the nominations.

out of the easy
1. Out of the Easy Ruta Sepetys This is a book that I mention a lot. You might be getting a bi tired of it now but it should have at least made the longlist. I don’t read much historical fiction, but I think it’s a testament to the author how much enjoyed it. Josie is absolutely fabulous. This book manages to capture the setting whilst still having an actually interesting plot. The writing is ridiculously amazing. I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I mean, seriously, it even has the morals and stuff which seem to be pretty popular with judges but at least doesn’t deliver them in a patronising way.

brides of rollrock island
2. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan If this wasn’t a bloody well-written book then KICK ME NOW. It had scary beautiful mystic witches and mermaids and creepy islands and betrayal and families and I’m still in love. It had so many elements of fantasy that I love. Okay, maybe it was a little slow but HAVE I MENTIONED THE WRITING?!? (This also seems like quite a good sign.

killing god
3. Killing God by Kevin Brooks Killing God doesn’t really get any less weird than the title. It’s not an easy book. But I felt like it was a great book about being a teenager and dealing with trauma without (again) being patronising. Dark humour features. I don’t know, maybe people thought it was…too dark? At least Kevin Brooks’ The Bunker Diary got on the shortlist last time. (Though there was a lot of controversy over its win.)

the boy in the striped pyjamas
4. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne Another book that isn’t really a light read, but is still important nonetheless. It’s just so horrific to be reading and the narrator doesn’t know what’s happening but the reader knows. This seems to be a bit of a theme with my list, but maybe people thought it was too dark? I don’t think books should be censored like that. This was a great book. Not everything is fluffy and happy.

i coriander
5. I, Coriander by Sally Gardner I, Coriander reads like a dream, in the literal sense: half-nightmare, half-reality, with a good dollop of fantasy. It’s another historical fiction book that’s stayed with me… Maybe I wouldn’t like it as much now, but I loved it when I was younger and Carnegie technically is more geared towards that age group.

elsewhere
6. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin Okay, maybe this is a life-after-death book, but it’s a good life after death book. It’s another strangely fantastical book about love and grief and pain. It has a beautiful format – the end at the beginning! the beginning at the end! – and really, I love the world a lot. It’s a little slow and definitely crazy but…I still liked it. It was far more interesting than a good portion of the Carnegie books I’ve read.

how i live now
7. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff This book was painful to read. It’s in a sort-of-future with World War III and is written bluntly and without much punctuation from the point of view of a slightly bratty teenager. That kind of got on my nerves, but it was scary to see how possible it would be; that’s what makes it such a unique read.

Also! Yesterday same-sex marriage was legalised across the US (and also Mexico). This isn’t the be-all and end-all in equality, but it’s a pretty good step.

What do you think of book awards? Have you read any of the books on this year’s Carnegie shortlist? 🙂 Are there any ones you’d like to see on there?

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9 thoughts on “7 Books That Should Have Made the Carnegie Shortlist

  1. I remember a few years ago, I read one of the best Carnegie shortlists ever. It included White Crow by Marcus Sedgewick and Prisoner Of the Inquisition by Theresa Breslin. Those books stayed with me, as well as the Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan.

    • Oh WOW, that sounds great! I’ve really enjoyed all the Marcus Sedgewick books I’ve read so far.
      I love The Weight of Water – Sarah Crossan had a sort of similar one on the list this year called Apple and Rain, but I think I personally preferred The Weight of Water. 🙂

  2. I’m not familiar with book short lists, awards or related things. I found that most books that make these lists are actual subpar reads for me. In fact, if I see a sticker saying it’s an award winner I often avoid the book. I just feel like the people choosing literary awards and lists have a very different taste than I do..

    • Yeah, I think I get you – sometimes I find that the ‘meaningful’ books are just a bit bland. There are always several terrible ones on the shortlist, and some I wouldn’t dream of reading otherwise, but it’s nice to get a change of reading material.

      • I’m always reading something new and different. I just find books on the lists a bit boring or the characters shallow/not very relatable. I know many people enjoy them, but they aren’t really for me – which is okay!

  3. I actually didn’t much like Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I’m definitely adding the others to the TBR! On one hand I do like book awards, for example Station Eleven got an award recently and that was richly deserved. But on the other hand I feel like book awards like to go for meaning and whatnot, but most of the best books I’ve read I loved for the plot and characters and setting, not deeper meanings. Not that themes aren’t important, but it’s not the most important.

    • Haha, it’s been rather a while since I’ve read some of them, though.
      I hadn’t heard of that one, but it looks fabulous! 🙂
      Yes, I think that’s my main problem with awards. Most of all I fall in love with books because I fall in love with the characters; I love Throne of Glass, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be winning any book awards for meaningfulness. I can appreciate morals, but I do agree with you – they aren’t the most important part for me!

  4. I never get it either. Especially when they try to decide for us what the relatively younger audience likes to read. I mean, I’ve read books about thirteen year olds whonact like they’re eight. I wanna be able to relate to them, but um, this is what we get?!? OHMYGOD THIS LIST IS LOVE.

    • Yea, it’s ridiculous! I also find it rather annoying when they give you the age group it’s aimed at. What I always used to do was just add like 3 years to my age XD (Though now I mostly just go for YA!)
      Yay, I’m very glad you enjoyed it!

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