Books·Forest of Reading

Here are the 2020 White Pine Award finalists: 10 great Canadian books for readers in high school

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2020 White Pine Award, which celebrates fiction for readers in high school.
The White Pine Award celebrates fiction for readers in high school. (Ontario Library Association)

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2020 White Pine Award, which celebrates fiction for readers in high school.

The White Pine Award will be broadcast at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 16 on, CBC's educational service.

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena

The Beauty of the Moment is a YA novel by Tanaz Bhathena. (Penguin Teen, Nettie Photography)

In The Beauty of the Moment, teenagers Susan and Malcolm are opposites in many ways. She works hard to keep up with her parents' high expectations, while he's had a reputation for mischief since his mom died. They end up falling for each other — and finding out more about themselves along the way. 

The Beauty of the Moment, a YA novel, is Tanaz Bhathena's second book. It won the Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction.

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

All Our Broken Pieces is a YA novel by L.D. Crichton. (Hachette Book Group)

In All Our Broken Pieces, Lennon Davies relies a lot on the number five — flipping her bedroom switch five times might mean her new school isn't so bad, 10 more times and her stepfamily will be kinder. In the tree house next door, Kyler Benton observes a light turning on and off and becomes curious about his new neighbour.

L.D. Crichton is a YA writer from Alberta. All Our Broken Pieces is her second book.

Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

Comics Will Break Your Heart is a YA novel by Faith Erin Hicks. (Nathan Boone, Raincoast Books)

In Comics Will Break Your HeartMiriam's grandfather co-created the iconic superhero series TomorrowMen, but doesn't get a dime for his work because he sold the rights for a pittance to his co-creator. Now the family's struggling to stay afloat. Things get complicated when the heir to the TomorrowMen fortune moves to town — and he happens to be pretty cute. 

Comics Will Break Your Heart is Faith Erin Hicks' first novel. She is also the author of the popular Nameless City graphic novel series.

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

We Contain Multitudes is a YA novel by Sarah Henstra. (, Penguin Teen)

In the YA novel We Contain Multitudes, a letter-writing assignment brings together high schoolers Kurl — an ex-football player known for fighting and for being held back a year — and Jo — a gay, nerdy teenager who loves poetry. As their fledgling, unexpected friendship grows, Jo and Kurl face homophobia and bullying from their peers and families. 

We Contain Multitudes is Sarah Henstra's second book. She won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for the novel The Red Word.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali is a YA novel by Sabina Khan. (, Scholastic)

In The Love and Lies of Rukhsana AliRukhsana Ali is 17 and balancing the expectations of her conservative Muslim parents with her desire to wear crop tops and date girls. When Rukhsana is caught kissing her girlfriend Ariana, she is sent to Bangladesh where she discovers her grandmother's old diary and is inspired to stand up for herself to her family. 

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali is B.C. writer Sabina Khan's first novel.

Synchro Boy by Shannon McFerran

Shannon McFerran is the author of Synchro Boy. (Calli O/Arsenal Pulp)

Bart Lively is a 16-year-old competitive swimmer, but he's tired of the swim team's macho man culture. Fortunately, Bart discovers that he has a natural talent for synchronized swimming and dreams of going to the Olympics with his partner Erika Tenaka. But Bart's goals are derailed when Erika quits and things grow even more complicated when he realizes he has a crush both on her and a cute boy in the diving club.

Shannon McFerran is a writer based in B.C. Synchro Boy is her first work of YA fiction.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

Crown of Feathers is a YA fantasy novel by Nicki Pau Preto. (Simon Pulse)

After being betrayed by her sister, Veronyka disguises herself as a man and joins the legendary league of Phoenix Riders. The Riders were heroes of the old empire, which was destroyed after a war between sisters.

Nicki Pau Preto is a YA fantasy writer. Crown of Feathers is the first book in a series.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is a YA book by Ben Philippe. (, HarperCollins)

Norris Kaplan is a wisecracking black French Canadian teenager who knows he's in for a major culture shock when his family moves to Texas. He keeps track of his fellow high schoolers by placing them in categories: Cheerleaders, Jocks, Loners and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. When people from the categories try and befriend him, Norris learns a lesson about his snarky attitude.

Ben Philippe, who now lives in New York, has contributed to publications like Vanity Fair and the Guardian. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is his first book.

Baggage by Wendy Phillips

Baggage is a novel-in-verse by Wendy Phillips. (Coteau Books)

This novel-in-verse uses multiple voices to tell the story of a young African refugee who is abandoned at a Vancouver airport and picked up by people with terrible intentions.

Wendy Phillips lives on Gabriola Island, B.C. She won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text for the book Fishtailing.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie is a young adult novel by Courtney Summers. (Megan Gunter, Raincoast Books)

In Sadie, a teen girl named Sadie lives in an isolated small town with her sister Mattie. When Mattie is found dead and the police botch the investigation, Sadie becomes determined to track down the killer herself. At a gas station, a travelling radio personality named West McCray hears about Sadie's story and starts a podcast about her investigation.

Courtney Summers is a bestselling novelist. Her next book is the novel, The Project, to be released in 2021.

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