Best Book 2022 | Arts + Culture

Best of Halifax

Best Book

Best Book
Alex Cude Photography
The Summer Between Us by Andre Fenton, Best of Halifax 2022 gold winner of Best Book

GOLD WINNER

The Summer Between Us, Andre Fenton
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SILVER WINNER

Love in the Age of Quarantine, Katie Feltmate
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BRONZE WINNER

You and Me: Travel, Misadventures, and Love Around the World, Mike Ryan and Kristen Herrington
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Four-time-published author-poet Andre Fenton isn’t, by professional necessity, often at a loss for words—but he is when he hears the news that his newest YA novel has nabbed top marks in the category of Best Book. “The Summer Between Us​​ won gold?” he says, an audible smile forming. “Whoa!”

A stand-alone sequel to Fenton’s debut novel, The Summer Between Us likely landed so high on voters’ lists because it’s the type of coming-of-age tale that reminds readers of any age the value found in finding—and committing—to yourself. “The life lessons are so universal there, and definitely can impact us regardless of where we're at in our lives,” Fenton says. “And they can just be a reminder to not give up, to keep striving and always become the person that you needed when you were younger.”

The best example of this might be found in Adrian, the lead character of Fenton’s winning work. “Adrian was fighting for change for so long, because he believed in the city. He believed in the people in it and he just wanted to do better. And I feel like he's a character who wears his heart on his sleeve. And regardless of what happens around him, regardless of discrimination, regardless of everything depending on his future, he has every reason to fail. But like I said, he wears his heart on his sleeve: He’ll never roll up that heartbeat, you know,” Fenton says. “I think that was a line in the book that I feel really resonated everything super, super well. It's him digging deep and finding that resilience through the lens of love for himself, for self love, for the love of his community, for the love of his friends—and he just refuses to give up.”

When asked about what keeps him dedicated to his work, Fenton doesn’t hesitate: “I definitely didn't see myself always in books when I was growing up. But I always knew that I had a story in my heart. And I always knew that, if I write these stories, someone like me is going to need to read them. And that would help them. And I just feel super, super grateful. I feel super humbled. I’m over the moon of how much support I received from my community, of my city. And that's not something I ever take for granted.”

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