Here's the full list of finalists. Winners will be announced on April 14th at the Minnesota Book Awards Gala. It's a really fun event—if you can score tickets, go! Tickets are $45 (cheaper than dinner and a movie) and are available here or by calling 651-222-3242.
This is Jacqueline West's second consecutive appearance as a finalist. I haven't read her book, but she's a really nice person so I know the book must be fabulous. And it's her turn.
I did read Kurtis Scaletta's book, and it is wonderful. Plus, it features glowing mushrooms, and I am a sucker for all things mycelial.
Note: The perception among *some* authors is that YA books get taken more seriously by the judges, while funny, action-oriented books for younger readers are not given their due. The selection of the above two "middle grade" novels puts the lie to that. Or maybe the books are SO GOOD that the judges were forced to overcome their prejudices.
I have not read Brian Farrey's book, but he has a cat named Meowzebub, and we have a mutual affection for the Fifth Doctor (the one with the Panama hat), so I figure his novel is a shoo-in.