Louise O’Neill has won The Bookseller‘s first annual YA Book Prize for her debut novel Only Ever Yours. The industry publication announced the prize in 2014 in response to the dearth of literary awards recognizing Children’s literature — one of the only sectors of the publishing market that is growing. The honor comes with a £2,000 check.
Judge Rick O’Shea, at presenter at Irish broadcaster ITE, called Only Ever Yours “one of the best speculative fiction books I’ve read in years.” Rounding out the judging panel were Melissa Cox, head of range and children’s at Waterstones, World Book Day director Kirsten Grant, Foyles children’s buyer Jo-Anne Cocadiz, author Philip Reeve, vlogger Rosianna Halse Rojas, freelance journalist Imogen Russell Williams, and teen readers Erin Minogue and Rodrigo Raimundo-Ramos.
For the win, Only Ever Yours edged out A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond, Salvage by Keren David, Say Her Name by James Dawson, Lobsters by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen, Half Bad by Sally Green, Finding a Voice by Kim Hood, Goose by Dawn O’Porter, Trouble by Non Pratt, and The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick. The magazine, which is based in Britain, specifically sought to celebrate UK- and Ireland-based authors with the prize.