2020 White Pine Award™ Nominees
All Our Broken Pieces
Written by L.D. Crichton
You can’t keep two people who are meant to be together apart for long…
Lennon Davis doesn’t believe in much, but she does believe in the security of the number five. If she flicks the bedroom light switch five times, maybe her new LA school won’t suck. But that doesn’t feel right, so she flicks the switch again. And again. Ten more flicks of the switch and maybe her new stepfamily will accept her. Twenty-five more flicks and maybe she won’t cause any more of her loved ones to die. Fifty more and then she can finally go to sleep. Kyler Benton witnesses this pattern of lights from the safety of his tree house in the yard next door. It is only there, hidden from the unwanted stares of his peers, that Kyler can fill his notebooks with lyrics that reveal the true scars of the boy behind the oversize hoodies and caustic humour. But Kyler finds that descriptions of blond hair, sad eyes, and tapping fingers are beginning to fill the pages of his notebooks. Lennon, the lonely girl next door his father has warned him about, infiltrates his mind. Even though he has enough to deal with without Lennon’s rumoured tragic past in his life, Kyler can’t help but want to know the truth about his new muse.
Written by Wendy Phillips
A mysterious young African turns up abandoned at the Vancouver airport. He speaks no English, but would he tell his whole story even if he could? An enthusiastic young woman throws herself into working for a cause. But whose cause is it that she’s actually working for? Her “boyfriend” finds a growing connection happening with her sister.
Wendy Phillips again uses multiple voices and points of view to present a fraught situation from multiple angles, to allow a more complete picture to emerge. Using this technique she delves into the murky world of third world refugees and human trafficking. And the way young Canadian people respond to so foreign, literally, a situation.
The concerns and preoccupations of Canadian teens are thrown into sharp relief in the glare of the truly dire circumstances of people from elsewhere in the world. With her keen eye for the emotional lives of teenagers, Wendy Phillips keeps us on the edge of our seats as secrets are revealed, alliances shift, true characters emerge under stress, and everyone has to find a way to cope with their baggage.
Beauty of the Moment
Written by Tanaz Bhathena
Penguin Random House Canada
Susan dreams of being an artist. Malcolm wants to move him and his sister out of a bad living situation. Sparks fly when the two teens meet at a fundraiser for Syrian refugees. A Canadian YA romance for fans of The Sun is Also a Star.
Susan is the new girl ― she's sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents' expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy ― he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan hasn't told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn't know what he wants ― until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.
Comics Will Break Your Heart
Written by Faith Erin Hicks
Roaring Book Press
A sweet, funny contemporary teen romance for the inner geek in all of us from graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks.
Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either ― how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town… and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.
In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).
Crown of Feathers
Written by Nicki Pau Preto
Simon & Schuster
An Ember in the Ashes meets Three Dark Crowns in this lush debut fantasy novel about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join a secret group of warriors that ride phoenixes into battle.
I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
Crown of Feathers is an epic fantasy about love’s incredible power to save—or to destroy. Interspersed throughout is the story of Avalkyra Ashfire, the last Rider queen, who would rather see her empire burn than fall into her sister’s hands.
Field Guide to the North American Teenager
Written by Ben Philippe
A hilarious YA contemporary realistic novel about a witty Black French Canadian teen who moves to Austin, Texas, and experiences the joys, clichés, and awkward humiliations of the American high school experience—including falling in love. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi, and John Green.
Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas.
Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloguing everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.
Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.
But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
Written by Sabina Khan
A timely and honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture.
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents' expectations, but lately she's finding that impossible to do. She rolls her eyes when they blatantly favour her brother and saves her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don't know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana's plans fall apart.
Her parents are devastated and decide to whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Through reading her grandmother's old diary, Rukhsana gains some much-needed perspective and realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love without losing the connection to her family as a consequence.
Written by Courtney Summers
Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press.
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial-like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.
Written by Shannon McFerran
Arsenal Pulp Press
Sixteen-year-old Bart Lively desperately wants to feel comfortable in his own skin. Being a jock doesn't mean he isn't the target of gay jokes, and the macho culture of his swim team is wearing him down. When he gives in to his curiosity and tries synchronized swimming, he discovers he has a natural talent ― not to mention a spark with one of the girls. So when Erika Tenaka asks him to swim the mixed duet with her, he commits to taking them all the way to the Olympics.
But judges' scores and Erika's sudden decision to quit the duet threaten to derail Bart's dream and kill what made the sport so liberating and alluring in the first place. And it doesn't help that as he falls in love with Erika, he's falling in lust with her frenemy…not to mention a cute boy in the diving club.
Ultimately, Bart will have to give in to his intuition as it leads him to realize there are many ways to be a boy. If he doesn't, he'll lose not only his friendship with Erika but also his new Olympic dream and the joy he feels as he dances in the deep.
We Contain Multitudes
Written by Sarah Henstra
Penguin Teen Canada
An exhilarating and emotional LGBTQ story about the growing relationship between two teen boys, told through the letters written to one another. For fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I’ll Give You the Sun.
Thrown together by a zealous English teacher's classroom-mailbox assignment, notorious scrapper, Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky, and Jonathan Hopkirk, a flamboyant Walt Whitman wannabe, have to write an old-fashioned letter to each other every week.
Kurl is a senior, an ex high school football player, held back a year, while Jo is a nerdy, out tenth grader with a penchant for vintage clothes and a deep love for poetry. They are an unlikely pair, but with each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying and familial abuse, Jonathan and Kurl must struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship, and each other.