"Dig," the latest novel by Berks County native A.S. King, has been named winner of the American Library Association's 2020 Michael L. Printz Award, given for a young-adult book that exemplifies literary excellence.
A 1988 Exeter High School graduate, King has been publishing novels for young readers for the past 10 years, establishing herself as a prominent and influential voice in the genre.
In an email, King said "Dig," which was released last March, is set partially in Reading, though it's a fictional setting mixed with Lititz, where she now lives.
According to a press release from her publisher, Penguin Random House, "Dig" dives into the tangled secrets of a wealthy suburban family, examining how privilege and bigotry persist in our culture while looking at the disparity in experience between the Baby Boomer generation and their children and grandchildren.
It's been called "stuningly original" by Kirkus Reviews and "profound" by Publishers Weekly.
All 12 of King's novels are set in Pennsylvania, including her 2011 Printz Honor winning "Please Ignore Vera Dietz," in which the Reading Pagoda has a speaking part and is a character.
Her 2012 novel "Ask the Passengers," about a girl who copes with her small town's gossip and narrow-mindedness by sending her love to the passengers in the airplanes flying overhead, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
The Printz Award was founded in 2000 to highlight the best and most literary works of excellence written for a young adult audience.
In her email, King said she never expected to win, but she's very happy about it.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet," she wrote. "It will, in time. And I'm looking forward to accepting it in Chicago at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June."