The Night Gardener Named 2015 MLA YouPer Award Winner

2015 YouPer Award Winner The Night Gardener by Jonathan AuxierThe Michigan Library Association (MLA) is pleased to announce that The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, published 2014 by Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, is the winner of the 2015 MLA YouPer (Young Person) Award.

Fourteen-year-old Molly and her younger brother, Kip, orphans fleeing the Irish famine, seek work in England. The destitute siblings become servants at the Windsor estate, at the center of which is a decrepit house entwined with a huge and sinister tree. Although warned that this place contains something ominous that changes people, they are unprepared for the evil they encounter. The master, mistress and their two children grow pale and thin; their eyes and hair blacken. Entering the forbidden room at the top of the stairs, Molly finds a knothole in the tree—a knothole that produces whatever one wishes for (money, jewels, sweets). The price is a piece of the petitioner’s soul. Muddy footprints and dead leaves in the house attest to an evil nocturnal visitor, the titular Night Gardener, who wipes the sweat of fear from their nightmare-ridden brows to water the tree. In a heart-stopping climax, Molly and Kip attempt to stop this specter and the ancient curse.

Jonathan Auxier writes strange stories for strange children. His first novel Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes was an ABA New Voices pick and a BookPage Magazine "Best Book" of 2011. The Night Gardener is a Junior Library Guild selection, an ABA IndieNext pick, an Amazon Editor's Pick of the Month and a finalist for the Governor General's Award, The Silver Birch Award and the Texas Bluebonnet Award. He lives in Pittsburgh with his family and their adorable pet umbrella.

This year's honor books include:

  • Boundless by Kenneth Oppel, published by Simon and Schuster for Young Readers
  • The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham, published by HarperCollins

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