Joss Stirling’s Struck (Oxford University Press) has become the first YA novel to be awarded the prize for Romantic Novel of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA).
At the association's annual awards (RoNAs), held this evening (16th March) in London, Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews were also presented with outstanding achievement awards for their “continued championing of the RNA and romantic fiction”.
Barbara Taylor Bradford presented Stirling with her trophy and £5,000 cheque. Formerly called Storm and Stone, Struck follows Raven Stone, a young American girl at a British boarding school, who teams up with fellow student Kieran Storm to find out what is happening after noticing some of her peers acting unusually. The novel won the Young Adult Romantic Novel of the Year category, and was selected as the overall winner against the winners of the other five categories.
Lucy Dillon’s A Hundred Pieces of Me (Hodder & Stoughton) was the winner of the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year, while Ella Harper’s Pieces of You (Avon) won the Epic Romantic Novel of the Year category. Hazel Gaynor won the Historical Romantic Novel category with The Girl Who Came Home (William Morrow).
Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy by Lucy-Anne Holmes (Sphere) was the winner of the Romantic Comedy category.
Louise Allen’s Scandal’s Virgin (Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical) won the RoNA Rose, for category/series or shorter romance. This is the first time the winner of this award has competed for the overall prize of Romantic Novel of the Year.
Pia Fenton, chairman of the RNA, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled that a Young Adult book has won the overall award of Romantic Novel of the Year. It's such an exciting sub-genre which has been embraced by both teenage and adult readers during the last few years. This win really highlights its growing appeal and Joss's book is fantastic - huge congratulations to her."
The judging panel this year was made up of Sarah Broadhurst, formerly of The Bookseller; Alison Flood from the Guardian; Jane Mays of the Daily Mail; Karin Stoecker, ex-editorial director at Harlequin Books; and Matt Bates of WHSmith Travel.