A panel of publishing professionals—bestselling authors Sue Grafton and Sue Monk Kidd, literary agent Barney Karpfinger, and Penguin Press Editor-in-Chief Eamon Dolan—have written critiques of each novel.
Here are the finalists:
- Ian Gibson, Victoria, British Columbia, for Stuff of Legends (a comic fantasy about heroism and celebrity, where a 15-year-old boy’s fondest wish is granted and he is teamed with his idol, warrior hero Jordan the Red, to defeat villains, monsters and demonic armies).
- James King, Wilton, Conn., for Bill Warrington’s Last Chance (Bill Warrington tries to reestablish ties with his estranged children after he is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. After several attempts at a reunion fail, he decides to kidnap his 15-year-old granddaughter, April, so that his children will be forced to talk to each other – and to him – as they attempt to “rescue” April).
- Brandi Lynn Ryder, Napa, Calif., for In Malice, Quite Close (in 1979 San Francisco, an unlikely relationship forms between 15-year-old Karen, who longs to escape her abusive father, and wealthy art collector Tristan Mourault. Tristan gains Karen’s trust and she soon adopts a new identity as his daughter, sending the two on an extraordinary odyssey that spans 15 years and two coasts).