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November 1, 2018

Six books—five novels and a memoir—were named finalists for the 2018 BookLife Prize. Each book was selected by an award-winning or bestselling author who served as a guest judge in one of six genres. The finalists are:

General Fiction

Anne and Louis by Rozsa Gaston

"A lively, engaging story, rich with historical detail that brings the story of a forgotten queen to life. Reminiscent of Philippa Gregory and Jean Plaidy, Anne and Louis gives voice to Anne of Brittany, allowing her to step from the historical shadows and illuminating her as a determined and influential political figure, as well as a bright and devoted woman in her own right." — Eleanor Brown

Mystery/Thriller

A Lady and Gentleman in Black by Kelly Jameson

"This is a fascinating and intriguing twist on the crime genre. Modern-day murder is blended with historical detail and the rich cultural background of Rembrandt’s work. The prose is engaging, the narrative voice is strong, and the plot is compelling." Adam Croft

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

Fid's Crusade by David H. Reiss

"Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss is one of the most refreshing and lively takes on the superhero genre I’ve seen in years. His title
character’s crusade is colorful, compelling, and takes wonderfully unexpected turns, and the novel delivers an impressive emotional punch (to go along with the super-powered ones). It stands easily alongside other character-driven superhero novels like Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn's After the Golden Age, and Paul Tobin's Prepare to Die!." — Tim Pratt

Romance/Erotica

After the Gold by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese

"McRae and Maltese craft a light, yet magnetic tale of life and love after professional sports that explores what happens when two people must decide if what's between them has been for the cameras or what is truly in their hearts." — Rebekah Weatherspoon

Memoir/Autobiography

Of Monkey Bridges and Bánh Mì€ Sandwiches by Oanh Ngo Usadi

“In dark times like these, the ability to find what binds us is vital.  In Monkey Bridges and Bánh Mì Sandwiches, Oanh Ngo Usadi brings empathy and vivid storytelling to her young life as a Vietnamese girl fleeing the country with her family after the Vietnam War.  At once an ode to the beauty of her home country and a harrowing depiction of the horrors of leaving it for an uncertain new life, Monkey Bridges is the sort of book we need right now, to remind us that for all our differences, we share love, fear, and the hope of redemption.  As Usadi and her family slowly adjust to their new lives in Texas, it becomes clear that theirs is a quintessentially American story." — Julie Powell

Young Adult/Middle Grade

Ray vs. the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart

"I was immediately drawn into the voice, witty and quirky, oftentimes verging on weird, (which is a difficult combination to master) and yet somehow the story and characters remain strangely believable—they’ll remind you of your own flawed family members and stay with you long after you read the last page. You'll find yourself simultaneously shaking your head and cheering them on. The trailer park setting isn't something I've seen a lot of in YA, and I found myself falling in love with the park and the odd but believable characters that live there. Everything was fleshed out and purposeful, full of heart and spunk. This author has a new fan in me. I'm definitely checking out more of his work." — Rebecca Sky

The grand-prize winner will be announced on Dec. 17. For more information about the BookLife Prize, check out all the semifinalists, quarterfinalists, and public entries.

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