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November 1, 2017

Seven books—six novels and a memoir—were named finalists for the 2017 BookLife Prize. Each book was selected by an award-winning or bestselling author who served as a guest judge in one of seven genres. The finalists are:

General Fiction

A Hundred Veils by Rea Keech

"Set in the lead-up to the Iranian revolution, A Hundred Veils is a rich portrait of cultural and personal discovery and forbidden love. Keech uses both humor and drama, as well as finely chosen details and rich description, to bring the characters and their world to life." — Eleanor Brown


Face Value by Ian Andrew

“Two unusual private investigators with classified backgrounds take on a seemingly straightforward case to track down missing parents. With taut writing, bone-crushing action, and a pace that never relents, this was a difficult read to put down and a worthy winner.” — Mark Dawson

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

Transference by Kate Jonuska

"Kate Jonuska's Transference is a riveting tale of telepathy and suburban angst, with characters who reveal unexpected depths and challenge reader expectations as the story unfolds. Despite some powerful forays into darkness and despair, the book is ultimately
about hope, redemption, and making human connections in a difficult world." — Tim Pratt


A Scandalous Matter by Margaret Locke

"An extremely clever time-travel romance that has you rooting for the intelligent, earnest heroine from the first page of her amazing, magical love story." — Rebekah Weatherspoon


Beautiful Hero by Jennifer Lau

Beautiful Hero is the crushing and all-too-relevant story of one refugee family’s fight to survive in the wake of war, starvation, and genocidal cruelty.  There is an urge to distance oneself from painful stories like these, but in Lau’s artless, humane, quietly horrifying telling, there can be no turning away. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are currently 65.6 million displaced persons worldwide. That is a number so vast as to seem meaningless, but Beautiful Hero gives us the urgent reminder that every one of these people is someone’s mother, someone’s child, someone struggling and prevailing to save themselves and their families from unimaginable fear, pain and want. It is necessary reading.” — Julie Powell

Young Adult

Faithful and Devoted  by Jenna Rose Robbins

“A vivid and immersive account of a superfan’s trip to see her idols Depeche Mode in concert, that’s also a heartfelt coming-of-age story.” — Vic James

Middle Grade

The Accidental Pirate by Denise Deegan

“A swashbuckling pirate adventure on the high seas. I can still taste the salt on the wind." — Taran Matharu


The grand-prize winner will be announced on Dec. 18. For more information about the BookLife Prize in Fiction, check out all the semifinalists, quarterfinalists, and public entries.