All libraries will be closed Wednesday, June 19th in celebration of Juneteenth.

2024 YAVA Award Celebration & Winner

Posted about 2 months ago by Genevievre Gray

Richmond Public Library hosted the 11th annual Young Adult Virginia Author (YAVA) Award Celebration on April 20th, 2024. The Main Library Auditorium transformed into a whimsical tent of wonders, and the scent of popcorn lingered in the air as our excited audience gathered, and our nominated YA authors stepped into the spotlight. 

Our theme for this year’s celebration was a carnival fun fair, and red and white striped drapes hung down from the ceiling to help create that tent-like atmosphere for a fun-filled afternoon of cake, popcorn, prizes, and of course our nominated books and authors! 

The audience mingled with the nominated authors, asked pressing questions about their books, learned about their writing experiences, and received signatures from some of Virginia’s best YA authors, including Lane Clarke, Lamar Giles, Ann McCallum Staats, Jodi Meadows, and Emily Thiede. 

Local bookstore, Fountain Bookstore, also sold copies of the authors’ nominated books. 

After giving teens and other attendees a chance to meet with the authors, the event culminated in an award ceremony announcing this year’s winners.

Our winning author and finalists were determined by a panel of 7 teen judges from across Virginia.  The teen judges assessed all of the nominated titles on a variety of criteria and met periodically to discuss and narrow down their selections to two finalists and one winner.  

The winning author was Lamar Giles with his book The Getaway, making him the first repeat winner in YAVA history after previously winning the 2022 YAVA Awards for his book Not So Pure and Simple

Outside of his writing career, Giles is known for being a founding member of a non-profit organization called We Need Diverse Books, which advocates for change within the publishing industry – not only by producing diverse literature with characters that reflect real world marginalized identities and supporting authors from diverse backgrounds through grants and workshops, but also promoting these books, and putting them in the hands of young people. In addition, he is a faculty member within the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University.

Giles’ 2024 selection, The Getaway, is a dystopian post-apocalyptic horror novel set in a future resort escape for the wealthy ruling class. The novel focuses on the lives of 3 black and 1 mixed race teens as they not only navigate elitism and classism, but also systemic racism, misogyny, and questions of autonomy as they face the horrors of the end of civilization and the future of humanity. Kirkus Reviews said of the novel, “Hold tight: You’ll want to stay on this nightmarish roller coaster till the end.”

As one of our teen judges pointed out, “Besides the thrilling, innovative, plot and impeccable diction, this book offers necessary and insightful reflection on the state of racial and income inequality in our country. It’s a dire tale of the direction we could be heading.”

Another one of our judges stated, “I appreciate The Getaway’s emphasis on unity, because I think a lot of young people are really angry when they see injustice, and in the process of venting out that anger are too quick to turn on each other and forget one another’s humanity.”

And finally, another teen judge said of the book, “The main purpose of the book was to show how even the simplest of people can spark a change and create a better world. The characters were beautifully written, and the strength of these characters throughout the book… inspires growth and change in youth today.”

Our two runner ups were Hannah Capin and Remi K England.

Hannah Capin is an author who is known for modern YA retellings of Tudor England and Shakespearean tales with stories like the high school version of Henry VIII and his 6 girlfriends and a high school aged Lady MacBeth reimagined in a YA revenge slasher. The author’s website claims her books are “for every girl who wants revenge.”

Capin’s 2024 selection, I Am Margaret Moore, is a paranormal thriller about sisterhood, revenge, and seeking the truth. According to a Publishers Weekly starred review, “Lyrical writing distinguishes this haunting summer camp thriller as an enthralling literary mystery with crossover appeal…Via [the main character’s] urgent voice, intimate with the history of shared girlhoods and betrayal, [the author] reveals over three sections the previous summer’s events, plot twists that contribute mystery and terror to this ingenious story about misogyny and power dynamics.”

Remi K. England, also known as M.K. England, is known for their love of fandoms – especially Star Wars. They are a former Teen Librarian, have written tie-in novels for both the Marvel and Firefly universes, and have written an independent space opera, a queer fantasy with a unique magic system, and a battle royale video style series about video games.

Their 2024 selection, The One True Me and You, is as much a love letter to comic conventions and fandoms as it is to the themes of embracing queer identities, finding love, embracing selfhood, and finding community and acceptance. Kirkus Reviews has said of the book: “This novel wonderfully explores the alienation and confusion felt by many LGBTQ+ teens without slipping into hopelessness.”

Besides our author winners, 5 teens walked away with book bundles, and one lucky winner won the entire set of 11 books nominated for YAVA 2024! In addition, Ms. Loney, a teacher at Richmond Public Schools, won our educator raffle. She will receive an author visit from our winner, Lamar Giles!

As this year’s YAVA Celebration comes to an end, we look forward to more engaging young adult events in the library, so keep an eye on our calendar for future programs.

For more information about the YAVA Award process, visit

Genevievre Gray

Genevievre Gray is a Senior Librarian at Richmond Public Library and the Coordinator for Young Adult Programs. She holds an MLIS from Syracuse University and is a former English and Creative Writing teacher, having taught middle school in Henrico County Public Schools. A native Richmonder, Genevievre is passionate about giving back to her community by overseeing clubs for teens, sharing resources, organizing workshops, and developing partnerships with youth organizations across the city. In her free time, Genevievre loves exploring international markets, trying new recipes, traveling, mood reading, collecting vinyl records, and taking her mini dachshund, Dashiell, to the park.

Recent Posts


Write Your Comment