RITA Winners

First, a big congratulations to this year’s RITA ® award winners. Glancing at this year’s list of winners, I must say that I am proud of the fact that I can actually recognize a few of this year’s winners. Usually, I glance at the list and glance at the list and glance at the list. Alas, I’m looking for a familar author on the winner’s list somewhere. I’m paritally jesting there. Many readers use the RITA ® winner list for finding new authors and such. I’m no different. This year, the book that caught my eye is the YA romance book that won the RITA ® award this year, Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer. 


Alas, I had started to buy this book earlier this year (readers it’s available at Fictionwise for your instant gratification) but didn’t. I’d heard some good buzz about it when it first came out but I let the book get away from me. I will rectify this soon.  Anyway, I visit Dear Author’s blog where readers are leaving their own 2 cents about this year’s RITA ® winners and find that a few readers are either upset, surprised or angry that Ms. Ferrer’s book won a RITA ® award in the Best Contemporary Single Title Romance. Color me confused at the negative vibe or debate this has generated for a YA novel to win the coveted RITA ® award. First off, YA novels are are great reads. I take offense at the notion that readers tend to think YA novels have nothing to offer an adult audience. Not true and you’re wrong just in case you didn’t know it. I’ve read my share of YA novels and find most of them quite fascinating reads. I guess that most readers felt it was a category that was wasted on a YA novel. So sorry you feel that way.

Why the small furor over Ms. Ferrer’s book winning a RITA ® award? Beats me and I’ll never understand it. I admit that I was was surprised the book won but it was a happy surprise. It was a I-need-to-get-this-book surprise. For once the RITA ® awards have brought one book to my attention and it doesn’t hurt to have Smart Bitch Sarah’s review of it, too. So, I am adding Ms. Ferrer’s book to my towering TBR but it will be at the top. As to the rest of the winner’s list – Ms. Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other pretty much left me underwhelmed.  Let’s see, who else–oh–I don’t read Julia Quinn (at least not yet) and the rest I didn’t recognize. Congrats to all.

[tags]Caridad Ferrer, Adios To My Old Life, RITA ® winners[/tags]


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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21 Responses to RITA Winners

  1. jmc says:

    I bought a copy of this book on Friday based on SB Sarah’s review, before the winners were posted I think. Very good book, IMO, but not actually a romance. At least, not any more than your average YA book is: there is a love interest, but there’s no HEA (as I read it) and the relationship is absolutely NOT the focus of the book.

  2. Jane says:

    I think the furor is that it is a young adult book and while it might very well be a well written book, is it really a best of the romance contemporaries written in the past year. Dessen writes spectacular YA books and Meg Cabot is a compelling voice but are their books romance?

  3. Selah March says:

    I believe the current RWA definition of romance says “satisfying ending” rather than “HEA.” Since the RITA is an RWA-sponsored contest, one assumes the judges use the RWA definition to decide whether or not a given book is eligible.

    Is ADIOS the best of the romance contemporaries written this year? Not all the romance contemporaries were entered in the RITA. Of those that were, the judges who happened to volunteer for the contest this year came to the conclusion it was the best.

    A different contest, run by different people, using different criteria and judging different books would likely come to a different conclusion. Which holds true for any contest, in any given year, does it not?

  4. Avid Reader says:

    Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever was very romantic to me but does it follow the romance guidelines? Probably not. However, I think I can see why so many romance fans are a bit upset about a YA book winning but the tone of most of those dissenters seemed to border on putting down the YA genre in general.

  5. Avid Reader says:

    Completely agree with your comments Ms. March here and over at Dear Author’s blog. I can live with a “satisfying ending” and that is subjective. As an aside, not every romance novel for me has to end with a wedding and a couple of babies. I was more put off about the tone of YA novels in general. Many readers completely dismiss them or just can’t understand the appeal to an adult audience. Anyway, that’s another topic for another day. I am looking forward to reading Ms. Ferrer’s book and posting my thoughts on it.

  6. Selah March says:

    Thanks, Avid. And not to be a total pimp, but…Caridad’s second book, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT (also Latina YA) is due out from Pocket August 21. In case you’re interested. 😉

  7. Jane says:

    Why have the category with Novel with Romantic Elements then? What I think is most interesting is that the very people who are cheering the rightness of Ferrer’s win are the same who previously criticisized the process, the definition, etc. All of it seems validated now, though, by Ferrer’s win.

  8. Jane says:

    Also, as Keishon knows, I am a big fangirl of young adult books and as i said on my own blog, as long as it was a romance, I have no problem with Ferrer’s book winning.

  9. Selah March says:

    I don’t recall saying the “entire process” or any “definitions” are validated by Ferrer’s win. Facts not in evidence, counselor.

    What I said was that this is how the contest is judged: they had the opportunity to disqualify the book based on the current definition of romance upheld by the current RWA regime. They didn’t. Then they had the chance to NOT vote it “best.” They didn’t. Clearly, THIS group of judges in THIS YEAR’S contest thought it was a romance and that it was the best single title contemporary of those entered.

    I’m not defending the process, but neither am I interested in hearing that Ferrer’s win disparaged after she followed every rule presented to her. If the rules need changing, let’s talk about that. In a perfect world, Ferrer would’ve been entered in and won the YA category. She’d say so, too.

  10. Jane says:

    I don’t recall directing my comments at you.

  11. Selah March says:

    And here I thought we were having a conversation. My mistake. 🙂

  12. Trisha says:

    First off, YA novels are are great reads. I take offense at the notion that readers tend to think YA novels have nothing to offer an adult audience. Not true and you’re wrong just in case you didn’t know it.

    Ha. So true.

    [quote comment=”16769″]I was more put off about the tone of YA novels in general.[/quote]

    Oh, me too. I mean, jeez, a YA book winning against adult books is not the end of the world. What’s with all the animosity?

    I also have not yet read Adios to My Old Life, but am planning to. I’ve never — never — based my reading decisions on the Rita’s, but two different YA lit-bloggers I respect have really liked it, so I’m gonna give it a try.

    As for the YA romance thing, I tend to find the YA books that are actually published as romances are not as intriguing or compelling as the YA-book-that-happens-to-include-a-romantic-subplot type book.

    And while I’m commenting here, even though this is totally off-topic, Keishon (and maybe Jane) should consider reading Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith when it’s published in September. Definitely not a romance, but would be worth discussing.

  13. Avid Reader says:

    [quote post=”608″]As for the YA romance thing, I tend to find the YA books that are actually published as romances are not as intriguing or compelling as the YA-book-that-happens-to-include-a-romantic-subplot type book.[/quote]

    Oh I agree with you there, Trisha. That’s why I adore The Truth About Forever, great romance in there, chemistry, great story, period. Also, there’s Ms. Meyer’s series featuring Edward and Bella (I know you didn’t care for the first book, Trisha) and I just finished reading Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith and I’m like stalled on the second book (been reading other books), Court Duel which so far is just great. I will always seek out YA fantasy and YA historical. Those two are my preferred genre’s in YA fiction. I say read Megan Whalen Turner’s books and still say that YA fiction can’t be enjoyed by adults. Or read Harry Potter for that matter. Off my soapbox now.

  14. Jane says:

    I love Truth. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and it is very romantic. I want to read the Sherwood Smith books but I am only buying “e” these days. When, when, when, will these books be released in e format?

  15. Trisha says:

    Okay, I read Adios last night and thought it was great. I can see why jmc doesn’t consider it a romance, but it was romantic enough for me. For one thing, there was never any doubt who the love interest was, and there was a satisfying resolution. Which does not a romance make, but… {shrugs} The romance was more central than it is in other romantic-subplot books out there.

    I will always seek out YA fantasy and YA historical. Those two are my preferred genre’s in YA fiction.

    Definitely, definitely read Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days when it comes out in September. And I can’t remember who was the big Sharon Shinn fan, but General Winston’s Daughter (10/07) is another upcoming romantic fantasy. I really want to see other people’s opinion of this one, because I think the fact that “social commentary” is mentioned in the book description affected the way I read the book.

  16. sybil says:

    I fail to see how expecting a romance novel to win an award at a romance conference put on by the romance writers association is all that odd.

    There are some great young adult books. And I am sure there is some award for them. I would think they would be rather pissy if a romance novel, about adults, took an award that was suppose to be for a young adult novel.

    I understand there are romance authors writing young adult novels as well as novels with romantic elements but I don’t see why there needs to be a RITA for them. At the same time I haven’t had a chance to think through the whole thing either so I am well aware I could be wrong.

    I still think if the first thing that comes to mind is ‘It is great author X won because she is such a great person’ that there is a problem with the process. But that is sort of a given…

  17. Karen Scott says:

    I fail to see how expecting a romance novel to win an award at a romance conference put on by the romance writers association is all that odd.

    Sybil, don’t faint now, but I think I agree with you. *g*

  18. Pingback: Adiós to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer « The YA YA YAs

  19. Selah March says:

    There’s been debate over the definition of “romance novel” for some time now. It seems to me that if the RITA judges want to define ADIOS as enough of a romance to both qualify for the category AND win it, that’s their business. It’s their contest, is it not?

    Does this mean everyone has to agree that ADIOS is a romance? When does everyone agree on ANYTHING the RWA does? I rarely do.

    As to the bit about people being glad ADIOS won because they like Barb? Why are they mutually exclusive? They can’t like the book AND like the author, and be glad both won an award?

    I like Lance Armstrong. He seems a decent guy and an excellent athlete. I was glad he won the Tour de France all those times both because he rode a good race AND because he appealed to me personally. Does this somehow make his winning the race suspect? Or my being glad for him suspect? Not a perfect analogy by any means, but jeez, guys…we’re damned of we’re likable enough to make people glad when we do well, and damned if we behave badly. One would almost think you just want to see us damned.

  20. Jane says:

    It’s not about being glad that the author is nice or that she won the award. It’s whether the award being won by an author you like or even a book you like validates the process that earlier people were complaining long and hard about.

    For me, Ferrer’s win shows just how arbitrary the RITA process really is and how the award means nothing but 10 readers/authors opinions who you, Ms. March, did once criticize.

    Ferrer’s win doesn’t validate anything for me within the RITA process.

  21. Selah March says:

    You know what would be funny, Jane? If I told you I didn’t recall directing my last comments to you. But I’m not that funny.

    You’re right, I did criticize the RITA process. I think the categories are arbitrary, the word-count restrictions ludicrous, and the Board’s utter inability to comprehend why Erotic Romance needs its own category ridiculous. (Coincidentally, those first two points set up this entire controversy.) Furthermore, I know the judging is subjective (how could it be anything else? how is it not like reviewing in that way?) and too frequently colored by “who you know.”

    In this case, however, since Barb is a newbie author, I have good reason to believe that “who you know” did not play out in the judging of this category.

    Please point to where I’ve said, in any venue, that Ferrer’s win “validates” the RITA process? I said I agreed with the judges’ decision this time around because ADIOS is a uniquely insightful and brilliant piece of fiction. I’ve said I’m pleased for my friend. This is, in no way, my stamp of approval on the RITA as a whole, any more than my being pleased when my favorite football team wins the Superbowl is my stamp of approval on the drug-ridden, overly-hyped and utterly morally bankrupt institution of pro football.

    If you really can’t see that distinction, then it’s clear we’re not speaking anything like the same language, and we should probably cease wasting one another’s time.

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