Paranormal novels vie for Amazon Breakthrough (YA) Novel Award

Young adults like strange stuff. Want proof? All three of the finalists in the young adult category of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest involve the paranormal – ghosts, psychic powers and mind-reading computers.

“This year was the biggest ever for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, and there were many fantastic submissions,” said Nader Kabbani, Director of Independent Publishing at Amazon.

Lainey Young, a junior at Northbrook Academy, has a secret. She’s not the only one. A fact she finds as shocking as most people would find her ability to see how someone died or will die (hmm, a future career in law enforcement perhaps?). Other psychically gifted characters, all members of a secret society, by the way, are Jenna, the Sensor (guess what her gift is) and Carter Penrose, the Historian, an Academy graduate with secrets and gifts of his own. Author Cara Bertand of Sturbridge, MA, chronicles the adventures of Lainey, Jenna and more in Lost in Thought, a paranormal novel the former middle school literacy teacher and new mother completed in just six months as a personal challenge.

Devolution by Richard Larson is a futuristic thriller that features Dimas, a master thief as he navigates a futuristic society where computers are built directly into the human brain. When a debilitating and unknown virus strikes, Dimas delves into the underworld attempting to locate the source of the virus before it wipes out the minds of the world. Author Larson will soon begin his junior year at the University of Alberta. He lives in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) attracts thousands of writers each years and produces hundreds of drafts of novels. Many never see the light of day. Spookygirl by Jill Baguchinsky of Marco Island, FL, is one that has. In this supernatural tale, Violet Anderson has moved into an apartment above her father’s funeral home where she regularly converses with ghosts. It isn’t the haunts that scare Violet however. It’s starting her sophomore year at a new school. Not only does she face unknown classmates and teachers, Violet also confronts rumors of her father’s involvement in her mother’s death and the evil forces inhabiting the girls’ locker room.

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is sponsored by, Penguin Group and CreateSpace, part of the Amazon group of companies. Two grand prize winners, one in general fiction (where none of the finalists were paranormal) and one in young adult (YA) will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA) including a $15,000 advance. Winners will be announced in Seattle, WA on Monday, 13 June, 2011.

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