Okay, even though it is young adult lit and I tend not to seek that kind of thing out, I’m really tempted to read Lauren Myracle’s Shine just because I think the National Book Award people were out of line on this one. I think the National Book Award people took something that is supposed to be a shining jewel and, through possibly ordinary human and therefore understandable negligence though they handled the situation badly, turned it into the vehicle for an unnecessary insult.
You can get more details starting here, but as I understand it, Shine was announced to be a National Book Award finalist in the YA category but was not supposed to be. The National Book Award People made a mistake (as I have heard this) and had meant to nominate Chime by Franny Billingsley. The National Book Award people then let this info get leaked. At first they just added Chime and were going to let things stand, but then they asked (as I heard it) Lauren Myracle to withdraw.
Now, I know that people are human. I know that the National Book Award people did not mean to make this happen and that mistakes will occur despite the best of intentions. However, was this the best way to handle it? They have turned an honor into an insult to Lauren Myracle. Whether Shine deserved to be nominated or not is irrelevant. They didn’t have to do this to Lauren Myracle. I don’t know how I would have handled this, but I’ve got to think this could have been handled in some way that would not have been such an insult to Lauren Myracle.
Granted, the attention over this has probably driven up sales for Shine significantly. Still, Lauren Myracle had to experience the crushing blow of finding out an honor she thought she had achieved was not in fact hers after all. Further, whether or not this was a mistake, it tarnishes Lauren Myracle’s reputation in a way that she did not deserve. People will tend to think of this incident whenever they hear her name. She may have gotten a boost until she learned the truth, but I have to think that the net effect is pretty bad and that she would have been better off if the National Book Award people had left her alone.
I guess I just feel bad that the National Book Award people ended up insulting Lauren Myracle in this way. I am seriously thinking about reading Shine just because I think Lauren got a raw deal. All authors, regardless of the individual merits of their work, deserve better than this.