The Carnegie shortlist has between 6 or 8 books on it. If I have to pick six my personal shortlist would be: (Any links in this post will take you to full reviews.)
- The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond
- The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
- Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
And if I was allowed an extra two for a longer shortlist I would sneak in In Darkness by Nick Lake and The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan. In terms of predictions, rather than personal preference I would swap out Billy Dean for In Darkness - I adored Billy Dean and would love to see it there but I think we might see In Darkness there instead. Now I haven't read a huge chunk of the longlist but I must admit I think Maggot Moon, Wonder, Midwinterblood and Code Name Verity will almost definitely be there based on my reading, general buzz and the Carnegie judging criteria.
- Jasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari - I read this a while ago when Sita visited my school. It's a well written, appealing book but I preferred Artichoke Hearts and it just didn't get under my skin enough.
- VIII by H. M. Castor - I know lots of people liked this a lot but have a look at my full review for a more reasoned explanation of why I didn't!
- 15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins - I thought this was very capably written and easy to read with likeable main characters but it didn't have anything that elevated it to outstanding for me.
- The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce - I really loved this and would be happy for it to be on the shortlist - it is charming, unique and moving.
- After the Snow by S. D. Crockett - I found this haunting and thought provoking but it is a little slow to get started and Willo is a hero who takes a little getting used to (he reminded me a little of Todd from Chaos Walking). Another book that didn't make my personal shortlist, but I would be happy to see it on the official list.
- Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher - I have mixed opinions about this - I found the first half a complete slog and I wasn't engaged at all despite a really wonderful premise, but the second half really picks up and it has a wonderful ending full of a love of stories and people. It had so much potential but I just didn't think it was up to Carnegie standards.
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - I liked this but it took me a while to get into - it has a very similar tone to The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan but I felt Lanagan's story had more to it.
I've also just started This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees and hope to finish it before Tuesday but I haven't read enough to comment yet.
Last year had some brilliant books on it but A Monster Calls was an unsurprisingly, although definitely deserving, winner. (The photo is from last year's ceremony with four of my brilliant students - photo from @HoE_School Twitter). I think this year will give us some excellent debates! Check out the brilliant We Sat Down's Carnegie predictions (and lots of other great Carnegie coverage) here: http://wesatdown.blogspot.com/2013/03/carnegie-2013-longlist-coverage-our.html
The shortlist is announced on Tuesday and the winner on June 19th and I will be doing plenty of Carnegie posts as well as talking about it lots of Twitter (@acaseforbooks) - look our for the Twitter shadowing group by following the hashtag #tweetckg.