Past Winners


Congratulations to our 2019 YAVA award winner – Katy Upperman!

Katy Upperman’s book, The Impossibility of Us, is a contemporary novel with a romantic spin. Set in San Francisco during the Afghan War, The Impossibility of Us tells the story of Elise and Mati, two teens from very different backgrounds. Elisa and her mother are grieving the loss of her brother who was killed in the war in Afghanistan. When they move to a new town, Elisa meets Mati, an Afghan teen visiting with his family from overseas. The two unexpectedly fall in love but face the disapproval of Elise’s family. Can their relationship overcome the deep-rooted prejudice that confronts them?

Upperman’s novel has been described as “timely, tender, romantic and impressively honest.” Readers will relate to Elisa and Mati’s struggle and the book’s themes of racism will feel very real and relevant.

Upperman is the author of two other contemporary YA novels, Kissing Max Holden( 2017) and How the Light Gets In (2019). She lives in Northern Virginia with her family. To find out more about Katy Upperman and her work, visit her website.


Congratulations to our 2018 YAVA award winner – Christina June!

Christina June’s book, It Started with Goodbye, is a modern day Cinderella story for today’s teens. Confined to her house for the summer after being unfairly implicated in one of her best friend’s ideas gone awry, 16-year-old Tatum launches a graphic design business and falls for a cello-playing client who lives in Ireland.


2017:  Lisa Maxwell for Unhooked


2016:  Kat Spears for Breakaway


Gigi Amateau for Come August, Come Freedom