For immediate release | February 12, 2018

‘We Are Okay’ wins 2018 Printz Award

DENVER — “We Are Okay,” written by Nina LaCour, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, has won the 2018 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) today announced the winner during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Feb. 9–13, 2018, in Denver, Colorado.

California native Marin, devastated by grief and questioning her reality, plans to spend her winter break in an empty dorm in upstate New York. But now her best friend, Mabel, is on her way to visit, and Marin must confront the loneliness that is threatening to take over her heart.

Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, Nina LaCour now writes and parents full time. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. A San Francisco Bay area native, Nina lives with her family in Martinez, California.

“In luminous, spare prose, LaCour folds literary and artistic references into an intimate, haunting story of betrayal and grief,” said Printz Award Committee Chair Angela Carstensen.

Four Printz Honor Books also were named:

“The Hate U Give,” written by Angie Thomas and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Traumatized after witnessing the violent death of a friend, Starr searches for her voice as she moves between her black neighborhood and predominately white private school. This emotional novel, inspired by volatile race relations in America today, explores the importance of family, friendship, identity, and the courage to seek justice.

“Long Way Down,” by Jason Reynolds and published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

William Holloman is on the most haunting elevator ride of his life. He’s been urged to break “the rules” he’s grown up with. (No crying. No snitching. Get revenge.) Reynolds’ first novel in verse is a provocative, compelling, and essential love letter to young people in detention centers.

“Strange the Dreamer,” written by Laini Taylor and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group

In a world of gods, monsters, and nightmares, orphan librarian Lazlo and goddess Sarai find each other in their dreams. Against the backdrop of a city reeling after a brutal war, this lushly built, extravagantly written tale explores vengeance, love, and mercy.

“Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers,” written by Deborah Heiligman and published by Godwin Books/Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group,

Inspired by the more than 700 letters the Van Gogh brothers wrote to each other, Heiligman uncovers fresh insights into Vincent’s development as an artist and his relationship with the brother who supported him emotionally and financially throughout his life

The award, first given in 2000, is named for the late Michael L. Printz, a Topeka, Kansas, school librarian known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults. The award is administered annually by YALSA and is sponsored by Booklist magazine.

Members of the 2018 Printz Award Committee are: Chair Angela Carstensen, Sacred Heart Greenwich, Greenwich, Conn.; Julie Benolken, Inver Hills Community College, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; Kathy M Burnette, Stanley Clark School, South Bend, Ind.; Edi Campbell, Cunningham Memorial Library, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind.; Megan Fink Brevard, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte, N.C.; Jenna Friebel, Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, Ill.; Traci Glass, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Scot Smith, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Audrey Sumser, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio; and Printz Award Administrative Assistant Karen Ginman, BookOps: New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library, N.Y.; and Maggie Reagan, Booklist Consultant, Chicago.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians 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 email,

For more information on the Michael L. Printz Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit



Macey Morales

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Public Awareness Office