Absolutely thrilled to find out that my HOLD ME DOWN has been named a Massachusetts Center for the Book “Must Read“! This wonderful list means my psychological suspense novel is a finalist for the MassBook fiction award, which will be announced in October. In the meantime, I’m celebrating!

Mass Book Awards

The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by current Commonwealth residents.

Submissions open each Fall and customarily close at the end of the calendar year.

The 22nd Annual Massachusetts Book Awards (2021 pub date)

The Awards will be announced in October 2022 as we open the call for the 23rd annual awards. Judges are reading from the long-lists (“Must Reads”) in the following categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, and Picture Books/Early Readers. We did not receive a sufficient number of translated literature submissions to make an award this year.

Fiction Must-Reads

The Smash-Up by Ali Benjamin (Random House)
Love Like That: Stories by Emma Duffy-Comparone (Henry Holt)
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
Something Wild by Hannah Halperin (Viking)
The Human Zoo by Sabina Murray (Grove Press/Grove Atlantic)
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki (Viking)
An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon (Pegasus Books)
Phase Six by Jim Shepard (Alfred A. Knopf)
Leaving Coy’s Hill: A Novel by Katherine A. Sherbrooke (Pegasus Books)
Hold Me Down by Clea Simon (Polis Books)
The Summoning by J. P. Smith (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Playwright’s House by Dariel Suarez (Red Hen Press)

Nonfiction Must-Reads

The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Penguin Press)
Believing by Anita Hill (Viking)
Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert (Crown/Random House)
White Hot Hate: A True Story of Domestic Terrorism in America’s Heartland by Dick Lehr (Mariner Books/Harper Collins)
Extraterrestrial by Avi Loeb (Mariner Books/Harper Collins)
The Free World by Louis Menand (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles (Random House)
Names for Light: A Family History by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint (Graywolf Press)
Travels with George by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
Rationality by Steven Pinker (Viking)
Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training by Adam Stern, MD (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Empathy Diaries by Sherry Turkle (Penguin Press)

Poetry Must-Reads

Against Silence by Frank Bidart (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Everything by Andrea Cohen (Four Way Books)
Floaters: Poems by Martín Espada (W.W. Norton)
Winter Recipes from the Collective by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Pelted by Flowers by Kali Lightfoot (CavanKerry Press)
The Curious Thing by Sandra Lim (W.W. Norton)
Vanishing Points by Gary Metras (Dos Madres Press)
Cutlish by Rajiv Mohabir (Four Way Books)
I Wish My Father by Lesléa Newman (Headmistress Press)
Uncertain Acrobats by Rebecca Hart Olander (CavanKerry Press)
Sole Impression by Barry Sternlieb (Codhill Press)
Tremors by Cammy Thomas (Four Way Books)

Middle Grade / Young Adult Must-Reads

The Dreamcatcher Codes by Barbara Newman (Green Writers Press)
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado (Holiday House)
When All the Girls Are Sleeping by Emily Arsenault (Delacorte Press/ Random House Children’s Books)
Atlantis: The Accidental Invasion by Gregory Mone (Amulet)
Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen by Kate McGovern (Candlewick Press)
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton/PYR)
Picturing a Nation: The Great Depression’s Finest Photographers Introduce America to Itself by Martin W. Sandler (Candlewick Press)
The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance (Razorbill/PYR)
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (Quill Tree Books/Harper Collins)
The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney (Razorbill/PYR)
What Comes Next by Rob Buyea (Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books)
Treasure of the World by Tara Sullivan (Putnam/PYR)

Picture Book / Early Reader Must-Reads

Caution! Road Signs Ahead by Toni Buzzeo. Chi Birmingham, illus. (Paulsen/PYR)
Bubbles . . . Up! by Jacqueline Davies. Sonia Sánchez, illus. (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)
Dandelion Magic by Darren Farrell. Maya Tatsukawa, illus. (Dial/PYR)
Don’t Hug Doug by Carrie Finison. Daniel Wiseman, illus. (Putnam/PYR)
Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari. Felicita Sala, illus. (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Saving American Beach by Heidi Tyline King. Ekua Holmes, illus. (Putnam/PYR)
When Langston Dances by Kaija Langley. Keith Mallett, illus. (Simon & Schuster)
The Secret Code Inside You by Rajani LaRocca. Steven Salerno, illus. (Little Bee Books)
Walrus Song by Janet Lawler. Timothy Basil Ering, illus. (Candlewick Press)
Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge by Ray Anthony Shepard. Keith Mallett, illus. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Dream Street by Tricia Elam Walker. Ekua Holmes, illus. (Anne Schwartz Books/ Random House Children’s Books)
Bear Outside by Jane Yolen. Jen Corace, illus. (Neal Porter Books)

Translated Literature Recommendations