Kiss Number 8, the graphic novel from Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw was longlisted for the New Yorker’s 2019 National Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature on Monday among nine other contenders. The First Second comic sits alone as the only graphic novel on the list; although this is the first of several categories which the New Yorker will release each day this week.
Kiss Number 8 is a story about a totally normal teen – until it’s not. Mads goes to church, watches minor league baseball with her dad, hangs out with her best pal Cat and does her best to dodge drama with the boy next door, Adam. He crushes on her hard, but Mads is disinterested, content without his affection. When Mads finds out a secret about her dad, one that he’s kept hidden from his family, things spin out of control. It only escalates when Mads finally realizes she’d rather be kissing Cat than Adam.
Venable and Crenshaw tell an important, timely story about self-discovery and sexuality in a confusing, often contradictory time. Since it hit shelves on March 12 of this year, it’s quickly garnered praise from Kirkus review, being called “a rare blend of tender and revolutionary.”
Venable is the creative director at Odd Dot Books, the co-author of One More Wheel and extremely excited about the news of Kiss Number 8’s placement on the longlist.
So I didn't know it was possible to have an asthma attack from being happy, but if you need me I'll be on my bedroom floor clutching my inhaler and simultaneously crying and giggling. https://t.co/A7L06RojqC
— Colleen AF Venable (@colleenaf) September 16, 2019
Crenshaw makes her graphic novel debut with Kiss Number 8, though you can find more of her cartooning over at The Nib and she’s also worked with HarperCollins UK, Beer Advocate Magazine, FableVision Studios and Fulcrum Publishing.
Also longlisted for the Young People’s Literature category are:
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson, Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby, 1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler and Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve.