For immediate release | December 3, 2015

2016 Morris Award finalists announced

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), selected five books as finalists for the 2016 William C. Morris Award, which honors the year’s best books written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. YALSA will name the 2016 award winner at the Youth Media Awards at 8 a.m. on Jan. 11 in Boston during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2016 finalists are:

  • “Because You’ll Never Meet Me” written by Leah Thomas, published by Bloomsbury Children's Books;
  • “Conviction” written by Kelly Loy Gilbert, published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group;
  • “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” written by Becky Albertalli, published by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers;
  • “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” written by Stephanie Oakes, published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers;
  • “The Weight of Feathers” written by Anna-Marie McLemore, published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press

“This year’s Morris Committee gladly accepted the challenge of searching for the best YA debut author from a collection of exceptional stories,” said Nichole King, chair of the 2016 William C. Morris Award committee. “The 2016 finalists feature teens embroiled in a star-crossed love affair, teens who told stories from inside prison cells, teens valiantly fighting insurmountable odds and teens that were dealt impossible challenges, however, these stories also highlight hope, love and friendship. The committee loved reading all the debuts and we look forward to more exciting stories from these talented authors.”

The Morris Award is named after William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “Bill” Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens.

More information on the finalists and the award can be found on the Morris Award page. Publishers and library staff can purchase finalist seals to place on the finalist titles at For more information on the Morris Award or YALSA’s other young adult literature awards, please visit

YALSA will host a reception honoring the finalists and the winner, as well as YALSA’s Nonfiction Award finalists and winner, from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Jan. 11 at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, room 205BC. See a full list of YALSA’s events and programs at Midwinter on YALSA’s Midwinter wiki page.

Members of the 2016 William C. Morris Award Committee are: Chair, Nichole King, Santa Clara County Library District, Morgan Hill (California); Faythe M. Arredondo, Tulare County Library, Visalia, California; Valerie Frances Diamond, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; Jennifer Fairchild, King County (Washington) Library System; Adrienne Gillespie, Stoller Middle School, Beaverton (Oregon); April Layne Shroeder, Loudoun County (Virginia) Public Library; Gregory S. Taylor, Hillside Junior High School, Bosie, Idaho; Carolyn Vidmar, Waunakee (Wisconsin) Public Library; and Sarah Wethern, Douglas County Library, Alexandria, Minnesota; and Daniel Kraus, Booklist Consultant, Chicago.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and library staff to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail:


Nichole O'Connor

Program Officer

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)