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These Are The Finalists For The 2018 Kirkus Prize

Kirkus Reviews has announced its 18 finalists in fiction, nonfiction, and young readers' literature.

Posted on September 25, 2018, at 9:04 a.m. ET

FICTION

Halsey Street by Naima Coster

Little A, Naima Coster

"A quiet gut-punch of a debut, Coster’s novel is a family saga set against the landscape of gentrifying Brooklyn." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $13.46+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Florida by Lauren Groff

Riverhead, Megan Brown

"In 11 electric short stories, the gifted Groff unpacks the 'dread and heat' of her home state." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $21.60, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Mourning by Eduardo Halfon

Bellevue Literary Press, Carlos Machado

"In this follow-up to The Polish Boxer (2012) and Monastery (2014), Halfon constructs a kind of postmodern memorial to his grandfathers, who outlived the horrors of the Holocaust but not its searing emotional aftereffects." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $10.99, Barnes and Noble for $14.39, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Severance by Ling Ma

FSG, Ling Ma

"This a biting indictment of late-stage capitalism and a chilling vision of what comes after, but that doesn’t mean it’s a Marxist screed or a dry Hobbesian thought experiment. [Ma] knows her craft, and it shows." —Kirkus

Read an essay from Ling Ma here.

Get it from Amazon for $17.10, Barnes and Noble for $20.80, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Ink / Atria, Nafissa Spires-Thompson

"In an era when writers of color are broadening the space in which class and culture as well as race are examined, Thompson-Spires’ auspicious beginnings augur a bright future in which she could set new standards for the short story." —Kirkus

Read one of those stories, "A Conversation About Bread," here.

Get it from Amazon for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $20.70, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

Riverhead, Athena Delene

"In her first book for adults, Williams imagines a not-too-distant future in which people find happiness with the help of machines. [...] With its clever, compelling vision of the future, deeply human characters, and delightfully unpredictable story, this novel is itself a recipe for contentment." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $16.51, Barnes and Noble for $22.50, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

NONFICTION

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder

"In a hard-hitting analysis of current events, Snyder ... argues persuasively that Russia under is aggressively working to destabilize Western nations and export 'massive inequality' and 'the displacement of policy by propaganda.' [...] A highly distressing, urgent alarm to awaken Americans to the peril of authoritarianism." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $18.36, Barnes and Noble for $21.60, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Little, Brown, David Hungate

"Harrowing travels through the land of the hypermedicated, courtesy of hopelessness, poverty, and large pharmaceutical companies." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $18.30, Barnes and Noble for $22.40, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Penguin Press, Ted Ely

"A penetrating exposé on the cruelty and mind-bending corruption of privately run prisons across the United States, with a focus on the Winn facility in Louisiana." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $18.30, Barnes and Noble for $25.20, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

Scribner, Kiese Laymon

"A challenging memoir about black-white relations, income inequality, mother-son dynamics, Mississippi byways, lack of personal self-control, education from kindergarten through graduate school, and so much more. [...] [U]nsettling in all the best ways." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $23.40, Barnes and Noble for $23.87, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) by Rebecca Solnit

Haymarket, Adrian Mendoza

"As the author argues in this fiery clutch of essays, optimism isn’t a particularly helpful attitude... Optimism — and its obverse, pessimism — are 'false certainties' that 'let us stay home and do nothing' in response to hard-line, bigoted conservatism. It is better, she argues, to cultivate hope, 'an informed, astute open-mindedness.'" —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $14.36, Barnes and Noble for $15.95, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Scribner, Paul Andrews

"Journalist Smarsh explores socio-economic class and poverty through an account of her low-income, rural Kansas–based extended family. [...] A potent social and economic message embedded within an affecting memoir." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble for $16.97 or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

YOUNG READERS' LITERATURE

Picture Books

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrator James C. Gordon

Bolden/Agate, Derrick Barnes

"Safe to say, there’s nothing like the feeling of the fresh cut. You feel so extra visible with a fresh new cut, and this book built from that experience translates it in a way never before brought to the children’s bookshelf. [...] One of the best reads for young black boys in years, it should be in every library, media center, and, yes, barbershop." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $12.56, Barnes and Noble for $14.44, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Neal Porter/Holiday House, Yuyi Morales

"Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love. [...] A resplendent masterpiece." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Middle Grade

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Candlewick, Penelope M. Carrington

"Merci navigates the challenges of being a scholarship kid at a posh South Florida private school and the expectations of and responsibilities to her intergenerational family. [...] Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $15.29, Barnes and Noble for $15.75, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Nancy Paulsen Books, Carlos Diaz

"Just before she begins seventh grade, Haley tells the story of the previous school year, when she and five other students from an experimental classroom were brought together. [...] An extraordinary and timely piece of writing." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $14.78, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Young Adult

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

HarperTeen, Elizabeth Acevedo

"Poetry helps first-generation Dominican-American teen Xiomara Batista come into her own. [...] Poignant and real, beautiful and intense, this story of a girl struggling to define herself is as powerful as Xiomara’s name: 'one who is ready for war.'" —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon for $16.19, Barnes and Noble for $17, or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Henry Holt, Elena Seibert

"Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa. [...] Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch." —Kirkus

Get it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble for $10.34+ or a local bookseller through IndieBound.

Winners will be announced Oct. 25.


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