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2020

1st Place: The Weeping Forest, by Grace Willson

SYNOPSIS

The Weeping Forest Cemetery is haunted, or so the rumors say. Objects move there without being touched; whispers and laughter dance in thin air.

And then there’s the forest that borders it. Where ancient trees stretch for acres, their bark bone-white and their branches twisting like thorns into the sky. The depths of the forest are unknown. No one who has entered has ever returned.

The caretaker of the cemetery is a solitary man, mute and weathered. His wife died giving birth to twins and those twins supposedly died a few years later. No one remembers exactly what happened.

The truth is: those twins are invisible. They possess a strange connection to the forest. The trees of the forest are their friends and they’ve grown up under their shade. They’ve named the trees and cared for them, never venturing far away. To them, their life is normal – if a bit peculiar.

But then they meet a boy.
A boy who can see them.
A boy who should be dead.
A boy who is also connected to their forest.

Read on the Student Forum »

Beautiful prose, marvelous world building, and a unique plot make this unusual urban fantasy a memorable journey—for characters and reader alike.

2nd Place: Red Herring for Hire, by Abigail Haagen

SYNOPSIS

Sara was a professional red herring; if criminals stole something, they hired her to show up and throw the police off their trail. Her work helped pay for law school, and her life hung in a delicate balance between the two.

But then a little girl asks for her help to actually steal. From the top criminal in town. And Sara can’t refuse. Will she be able to evade her insurance detective crush, ace her Criminal Law exam, and help this little girl without feeling the wrath of the worst criminal in town?

Read on the Student Forum »

A delightful premise is paired with an equally delightful protagonist. Just when I think I’ve seen everything the mystery genre has to offer, an OYANer slams down a new twist: the who-didna-dunnit..

3rd Place: The King’s Brother, by Sarabeth Schuck

SYNOPSIS

In medieval Ireland, sixteen-year-old Arren is the king’s son. After his father dies unexpectedly, Arren is thrust into the role of helper to the king when his twin brother becomes ruler of the land. When an unknown uncle visits and informs the brothers of a sister they didn’t know existed, Arren leaves on a quest to find her.

However, a second uncle craves the throne and will do anything to obtain it. As Arren navigates the effects of his uncle’s greed, he must decide for himself–what is a man? Can manhood be of the heart and not just rest on outward ability?

Read on the Student Forum »

Engaging prose and a relatable main character make this fantasy heroicfor all the right reasons. Not every handicap is a flaw.

Finalist: Not My Duty, by Emily Martin

SYNOPSIS

Miguel Garcia doesn’t want to be a hero, and he doesn’t want an adventure. When he runs away from home, all he wants is to get away from his family issues and the responsibility of caring for his younger sister. But when an accidental run-in with a computer program leaves him stuck in another world, Miguel realizes that leaving his troubles behind isn’t as easy as he thought. Only two hours after stumbling—or falling, to be more accurate— into the land of Krivica, he finds himself on the run from the law after saving the life of a twelve-year-old criminal named Jess.

Miguel begins to develop a close friendship with Jess, who will do anything to repay him for saving her life. But corrupt Sir Julian is determined to kill Jess because of a dark secret she knows—and protecting her could cost Miguel his life, too.

Read on the Student Forum »

From the opening lines, the narrative voice is clear and intriguing, the plot compelling and well-paced. Fall into Krivica with Miguel!

Finalist: Isbjørn, by Rachel North

SYNOPSIS

One year and one day. That’s how much time Britta Andreasdotter has to capture a magical polar bear—alive. The reward for this feat? A fortune that can save her father from his deadly illness. But when she meets another hunter, Nicolai Magnussen, in the bear’s ice palace, Britta’s chance at saving her father is endangered.

Nicolai is trapped in the palace of ice, forced to spend his nights hunting and his days planning escape—when Britta isn’t impeding his efforts. She’s determined to remove him from the hunt, something he must prevent at all costs. For him, losing the hunt means more than losing the fortune. It means losing his kingdom. When blood is spilled and dark magic lurks in the surrounding forest, Nicolai and Britta must tread carefully if they don’t want to become the trolls’ prey.

One wrong move, and Norway falls.

Read on the Student Forum »

The mythic flavor of the ancient Norse world comes alive thanks to sharp details and a plot rich with allusion. The setting was remarkable; I felt cold reading it.

Finalist: Dragonmantles & Goldfish Crackers, by Lauryn Trimmer

SYNOPSIS

Koryna here. You want me to tell you what my story’s about? You could, of course, just read it. But you want me to sum it up?

Fine. There’s some magic, a few cows, some insane children, a teenager with magical powers and a weird sense of humor, two rabbits, and a murderous grandma. And maybe some goldfish crackers.

Read on the Student Forum »

The title of this entry captures the flavor of both its prose and characters. Its lighthearted surface hints at an undercurrent of serious observations about life.

2019

1st Place: I Am Nightrunner – Victoria Shanks – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Frostlighter – Seraphina West – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Message Carrier – Emily Schaeffer – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Outlaw – Miriam Crews – Read on the Student Forum »
The Traitor’s Sunstone – Felicity Edwards – Not available to read, by author’s request

2018

1st Place: Say Uncle – Rosey Mucklestone – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Hearthfoot – Victoria Shanks – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Forgotten Flame – Michal Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Chasing Phantoms – Abby Anderson – Read on the Student Forum »
The Questers – Nicole DeBenon – Read on the Student Forum »

2017

1st Place: R.E.M. – Ashley Schaller – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: To Kidnap DNA – Lydia DeGisi – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: The Stonecrest Existential Crisis Club – Sam Cooper – Not available to read

Finalists (not ranked)

Agram Awakens – Aidan Bender – Read on the Student Forum »
Evik – Emily Schaeffer – Read on the Student Forum »
Starless Nights – M. R. Shupp – Not available to read

2016

1st Place: Chromeheads – Jake Buller – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Ten of Hearts – Joy Audens – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Hattie – Elisabeth Newton – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Show Me the Way – Meredith Lundell – Not available to read
Silhouettes: The Un-Telling of Peter Pan – Jamie Dougall – Read on the Student Forum »
Small Hands’ Flight – Charlotte Anderson – Read on the Student Forum »

2015

1st Place: Factory Rats – Catsi Eceer – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: The Monster Upstairs – Elisabeth Newton – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: The Reverse Road – Sam Cooper – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Of Lavron – Ellie Gardiner – Read on the Student Forum »
Somnia – Amy Nickelsen – Read on the Student Forum »
Wings of Dust – Charlotte Anderson – Read on the Student Forum »

2014 

1st Place: The Witch’s Cat – Miguel Flores – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Under the Weather – Sam Cooper – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Children of Ashes – Justin Ferguson – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Pitch Black Stars – Catsi Eceer – Read on the Student Forum »
When the Stars Are Singing – Meredith West – Read on the Student Forum »

2013

1st Place: Blue Sky Burnt – Erynn Besse – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Redemption – Annika Lee – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Broken Glass King – Abby Walsh – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalist (not ranked)

Dangerous Games – Emily Haan – Read on the Student Forum »
Flightless – Bethany Ingham – Read on the Student Forum »
Indumentum Oris – Verity Rising – Read on the Student Forum »

2012

1st Place: Bitter Magic – Collin Anne Suttle – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Hosanna House – Hannah Mills – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Quintessence – Rachel Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Heirborne – Braden Russell – Read on the Student Forum »
Survivor One – Richard LaRue – Read on the Student Forum »
Shining Stars – Wynter Croix – Read on the Student Forum »
Chatoyant – Sarah Seifert – Not available to read

2011

1st Place: Snapshots – Matthew Lauser – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Project Theta – Kyle de Waal – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Deep Six – Collin Anne Suttle – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Archipelago – Sophia Debusschere – Read on the Student Forum »
Forewarned – Rebekah Swank – Read on the Student Forum »
My Lady – Grace Debusschere – Read on the Student Forum »
Sightless – Miguel Flores – Read on the Student Forum »
Speak Aloud, Scream Alone – Read on the Student Forum »

2010

1st Place: Recollections – Janae Leeke – Read on Student Forum »
2nd Place: Becoming Human – Jared Schmitz – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: My Father’s Dream – Sarah Wacker – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Sacrifice – Collin Anne Suttle – Read on the Student Forum »
The Fly by Night – Kyle de Waal – Read on the Student Forum »
Out of Darkness – Sarah Noé – Read on the Student Forum »
Of Princesses and Dragons – Grace Garner – Read on the Student Forum »
Offset – Matthew Lauser – Read on the Student Forum »

2009

1st Place: Kytt’s Tale – Carlie Gernhart – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Of Self and Sacrifice – Elizabeth Lobach – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Allemande – Lydia DeWolf – Read on the Student Forum »

Finalists (not ranked)

Forest of Lies – Rachel Garner – Read on the Student Forum »
Knights in Red Coats – Jane Johnson – Read on the Student Forum »
Child of Darkness, Child of Light – Rachel Werner – Read on the Student Forum »
Prince of Thertine – Grace Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

2008

1st Place: Averill – Lydia DeWolf – Read on the Student Forum »
2nd Place: Fable Weaver – Carlie Gernhart – Read on the Student Forum »
3rd Place: Betsy Flowain – Rachel Garner – Read on the Student Forum »

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