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The Bookish Academy Awards Tag 🏆

1. Best Actor: Best Male Protagonist

Winner: Maverick Carter from Concrete Rose/The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Maverick is a character introduced as a successful father and business owner in The Hate U Give. His backstory (becoming a father for the first time at seventeen) is explored in the prequel Concrete Rose. Maverick is devoted and cares deeply for his family and community. He is a mere seedling in Concrete Rose but we watch as he begins to blossom into the flower he will become in The Hate U Give.

2. Best Actress: Best Female Protagonist

Winner: Addie LaRue from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

This adult historical fantasy novel follows a woman who makes a deal with a dark god for her freedom. In exchange she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. I chose Addie because she is an independent feminist woman far ahead of her time. While she made some mistakes, she persevered through so much hardship and centuries of loneliness. Through it all she not only never surrendered to her despair but managed to find subtle ways to leave her mark on history.

3. Best Cinematography: Best Plot Twist

Winner: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Similar to Addie LaRue this book features characters who made deals with demonic entities. The plot twists (plural!) come very near the end and revolve both around the demonic creatures origins and the fate of a character. The first time I read this book it shocked and devastated me which is what I feel a plot twist should do (at least the shocking part, that is).

4. Best Costume Design: Best Book Cover

Winner: Charlie Bowater (artist)

I couldn't pick just one pretty cover, so instead I chose my favorite artist who does book covers. I've expressed before how much I love Ms. Bowater's work and how I hope that one day she'll be the artist for my own book (a girl can dream, right?). Her covers tend to feature the main character(s) on the cover and they always look so regal but fierce. I own multiple with covers designed by her. They say don't judge a book by its cover, but Bowater could sell me any book!

5. Best Supporting Actor and Actress: Best Male and Female Sidekick

Best Female Winner: Sabine from Bone Crier's Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Best Male Winner: Silas from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Bone Crier's Moon is a YA fantasy about women who guide the souls of the dead, but in order to become these ferriers they must first kill their true loves. Sabine is a gentle character who is fiercely loyal to her best friend Ailesse. She she will do anything to protect her which is why I gave her this award. Sorcery of Thorns, meanwhile, is a YA fantasy about a girl (Elisabeth) who works at an enchanted library and must save the world. Silas is a demonic servant in the novel who is loads more fascinating than his sorcerer master Nathaniel. He's sinister yet charming and his nuisance is what earned him this award.

6. Best Original Screenplay: Most Unique Plot/World

Winner: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Thorns scores its second win in this category. I chose this book because it's a world that's perfect for readers. The world features libraries full of grimoires (books of spells) that are alive. The books have varying levels of sentience and danger. Any reader knows that a good book seems to come alive off the page, so reading a novel where the entire plot is set in a world of books that actually come to life was so cool!

7. Best Adapted Screenplay: Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation

Winner: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

I believe this was actually a movie script before it was a book interestingly enough. The book depicts the romance between two teens with cystic fibrosis who cannot get within six feet of each other. It is an opposites attract romance full of both sweet, heartwarming moments and sour, heartbreaking ones. The movie is well acted and follows the book almost exactly. Just like the book it managed to bring tears to my eyes.

8. Best Animated Feature: A book that would work well in animated format

Winner: Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

This is a middle grade sci-fi book and is essentially a grand adventure in space mixed with Korean mythology. It's a fast paced story brimming with wild adventures and high stakes so it would never be dull to watch. There are a of different species of characters that I think would translate well to an animated format.

9. Best Director: A writer you discovered for the first time

Winner: V. E. Schwab

Schwab comes in as the second winner to score two awards. The first book I read by her was Addie LaRue late last year and it was my favorite of the over 100 books I read. This year I read another of her books, Vicious, and so far it's in my top five favorite books of the year. I have been left so impressed with the way this author crafts her stories and how she can write diverse character types (Addie LaRue being sympathetic and Victor from Vicious being morally corrupt).

10. Best Visual Effects: Best action in a book

Winner: Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez

This one is an obvious choice. This YA fantasy is about a queen without a throne (Catalina) who seeks out an elusive city of gold and its people. The book has the feel of going on an adventure and features the protagonist journeying through a dangerous jungle. Between fleeing from jaguars, wrestling with caiman, getting caught in mudslides, solving puzzles, and fighting moon zombies (yes, really) this novel had fast paced, nonstop action.

11. Best Short Film: Best novella or short book

Winner: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This adult sci-fi sees a depressed woman (Nora) try to kill herself only to end up in a magical library where every book contains another version of her life. The book is just under 300 pages but packs a huge emotional punch. It has wonderful mental health representation and a message of hope.

12. Best Picture: Best standalone

Winner: The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

This adult historical fiction manages to tell four characters' stories across two generations all within one book. It weaves the stories together seamlessly, showing how the characters come apart and back together again. This novel deals heavily with issues of identity and family. I got swept away in the four characters' lives as they progressed from childhood to adulthood. There's a lot packed into a singular novel but it never feels bloated and it all works.

13. Best Documentary: Best Historical Fiction or Non-fiction

Winner: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

This book, like Addie LaRue, sees a woman ahead of her time. Protagonist Felicity wants to be a surgeon in 17th century Europe. The novel has lots of adventure and features pirates and mysterious sea creatures. I didn't choose this novel because of those fun aspects, though. I chose it because it tackles the sexism of the time and how women were underestimated and held back. Felicity was a persistent protagonist, though, and never let the societal standards and expectations of her time hold her back.


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