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45 novels announced as 2019 Whitney Awards finalists; gala to go virtual this year

Awards honor novels by Latter-day Saint authors

Finalists for the 2016 Whitney Awards at the gala on May 13, 2017.
Finalists for the 2016 Whitney Awards at the gala on May 13, 2017. This year, the gala and awards ceremony will be a virtual event.
Brekke Felt, Felt Photography

Forty-five novels are finalists across nine genre categories for the 2019 Whitney Awards. The awards are for novels written by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during 2019, through Oct. 31.

The winners will be announced at the at the 2019 Whitney Awards Gala on Friday, May 8, 7:30 p.m, which will be a digital event this year. Information about the event is available on the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WhitneyAwards/.

The award for best novel is from the five adult categories and the one for best youth novel is chosen from the four youth categories. Last year, the general fiction and historical fiction categories were combined, according to information from the Whitney Awards committee.

  • In the general fiction category, the finalists are “Whatever It Takes” by Jessica Pack (pen name for Josi Kilpack), “Deborah: Prophetess of God” by H.B. Moore, “The Girl in Gray” by Annette Lyon, “Muddy: Where Faith and Polygamy Collide” by Dean Hughes and “The Book of Abish” by Mette Ivie Harrison.
  • For best contemporary romance, the finalists are “Missed Kiss” by Cassie Mae, “Finding Jack” by Melanie Jacobson, “Dreaming of the Next Door Doc” by Brenna Jacobs, “Love Again at the Heart of Main Street” by Meg Easton and “Hitching the Pitcher” by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers and Heather B. Moore.
  • The finalists in the historical romance category are “Suffering the Scot” by Nichole Van, “A Song for the Stars” by Ilima Todd, “What the Wind Knows” by Amy Harmon, “The Paradox of Love” by Teri Harman and “Miss Adeline’s Match” by Joanna Barker.
  • In the mystery/suspense category, the finalists are “Death in Focus” by Anne Perry, “Robin and Marian” by Stephanie Fowers, “Nest Egg” by Josi Avari and Traci Abramson Hunter’s “Mistaken Reality” and “Sanctuary.
  • The finalists in the speculative fiction category are “A Dragon’s Fate” by Daniel Swenson, “The View From Castle Always” by Melissa McShane, “To Kill a Curse” by Jennifer Jenkins, “The First Girl Child” by Amy Harmon and “House of Assassins” by Larry Correia.
  • In the general young adult category, the finalists are “Lovely War” by Julie Berry, “Just for Clicks” by Kara McDowell, “Paul, Big, and Small” by David Glen Robb, “Scars Like Wings” by Erin Stewart and “Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee” by Jeff Zentner.
  • The finalists in the young adult speculative fiction category are “Displaced” by Bridget E. Baker, “Harper” by Jo Cassidy, “The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe” by Ally Condie, “Shattered Snow” by Rachel Huffmire and “Lovestruck” by Kate Watson.
  • In the young adult fantasy category, the finalists are “Smoke and Summons” by Charlie N. Holmberg, “Before the Broken Star” by Emily R. King, “Warrior of the Wild” by Tricia Levenseller, “The Bone Charmer” by Breeana Shields and “An Affair of Poisons” by Addie Thorley.
  • For the best middle grade novel, the finalists are “Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers” by Shauna Holyoak, “Master of the Phantom Isle (Dragonwatch, Vol. 3)” by Brandon Mull, “The Obsidian Compass” by Liesl Shurtliff, “A Monster Like Me” by Wendy S. Swore and “The Vacant Realm” by Mike Thayer.

Holyoak, Huffmire, McDowell, Stewart, Swore and Thorley are eligible for best novel by a debut author.

Books published between Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2019 are eligible for the 2019 Whitney Awards. Then books published from Nov. 1, 2019, through Oct. 31, 2020, will be eligible for the 2020 Whitney Awards. This is to help give the judges enough time to read all the books nominated in their categories.

Last year, Josi Kilpack’s “As Wide as the Sky,” written under Kilpack’s pen name Jessica Pack, was the 2018 Whitney Award winner of best novel of the year from the adult fiction categories, and Jennifer A. Nielsen’s “Resistance” was the youth novel of the year.

Authors Elana Johnson and Lisa Mangum were presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award. The Whitney Awards were founded by Robison Wells in 2007 and named after early Latter-day Saint apostle Orson F. Whitney.

To nominate at novel by a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published Nov. 1, 2019, through Oct. 31, for a Whitney Award, see whitneyawards.com.

Panels of judges select five finalists in each category. Winners are then selected by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics and others.

For more information on the Whitney Awards, to nominate a book, or for information on tickets to the Whitney Awards Gala, visit WhitneyAwards.com.