Intro

The year 2020 has been rough. There’s no getting around that. For many obvious reasons that don’t warrant further explanation. Due to those reasons, it is more imperative than ever that we make deliberate efforts to seek out joy in our everyday lives.

Enter The Youtinees.

Star Wars books unite us. They are the catalyst for friendships, they are avenues of escape, they are lenses for viewing the world around us. Am I overplaying their importance? Perhaps… 

No, you know what? I’m not. Star Wars books are important. If you’re here reading this, I don’t have to convince you. And it’s because of their impact in our lives that the Youtini Staff and Community have banded together to show our appreciation to all of those involved in their creation. 

Welcome to the first annual Youtniees! After an extensive nomination and voting process, we are happy to present these awards to books and creators for excellence in a number of different categories.

The categories are:
- Book of the Year (Given to the best book in 2020)
- Best Comic (Given to the best ongoing comic line in 2020. This award is for the line as a whole, not a singular issue)
- Best EU Character (Any character belonging exclusively to the EU appearing in a 2020 project)
- Best Moment (Any moment in any medium. Can be most exciting, most heart-wrenching, funniest, etc)
- Best Cover Art (Best cover art from any book in 2020)
- Social Butterfly (Given to the Star Wars creator who is the most engaged with fans on social media and other forms)
- Best Quote (Best quote from any book in 2020)
- Best Easter Egg (Given to the best moment that made us say "I understood that reference!").

Best Easter Egg

It isn’t truly a Star Wars book unless you stop reading at least once per chapter to say “I understood that reference!”. 

Part of the beauty of an interconnected fictional universe is all of the shared lore that can be built upon or referenced. Seeing older references from authors who are relatively new to Star Wars shows that they have a love and sense of reverence for these stories, while still adding their own unique legacy to the galaxy we all love. 

Here are the nominees:

  • Lando referencing the Lady Luck - The Rise of Skywalker Novelization
  • "Hub Grub, Commander!" - FACPOV: ESB, “Rendezvous Point” by Jason Fry
  • Zade Kalliday offering Poe a ride off Kijimi - Poe Dameron: Free Fall
  • ROTS Novelization references - FACPOV: ESB, “Disturbance” by Mike Chen

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for The Rise of Skywalker Novelization
The Rise of Skywalker Novelization

Lando referencing the Lady Luck - The Rise of Skywalker Novelization

Social Butterfly

So much of what we love about the Star Wars EU community is just that, community. And the community would not be complete without the creators who breathe life into these stories we love. So we want to recognize the creator who is the most involved and active with the community, whether it be through social media, podcasts, newsletters, and more.

Here are the nominees:

  • EK Johnston
  • Charles Soule
  • Cavan Scott
  • Delilah S. Dawson

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for Cavan Scott
Cavan Scott

Cavan Scott

Best Cover Art

They say not to judge a book by its cover. Generally good advice. However, sometimes you can’t help it, especially when the covers say STAR WARS on them. And we want to recognize those who worked diligently to make sure that these books are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.

Here are the nominees:

  • Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed, art by Jeff Langevin and Scott Biel
  • Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn, art by Sarofsky design
  • Queen's Peril by EK Johnston, art by Tara Phillips and Leigh Zieske
  • A Jedi, You Will Be by Preeti Chhibber, art by Mike Deas

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for Shadow Fall
Shadow Fall

Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed, art by Jeff Langevin and Scott Biel

Best Moment

There is a certain feeling that is closely associated with very specific moments in Star Wars. A heavy weight in the chest, almost a physical manifestation of the weight of these moments. Yoda lifting the X-Wing out of the swamp. Obi-Wan’s tearful farewell to Anakin. Han and Ben Solo reconciling on the ruins of the Death Star. This award is for the moments in books that tap into that feeling as well.

Here are the nominees:

  • Luke and Leia training flashback in The Rise of Skywalker Novelization
  • Yrica Quell and ITO showdown in Shadow Fall
  • The Handmaidens revealed in Darth Vader #4
  • Expanded Universe characters during fleet arrival in The Rise of Skywalker Novelization

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for Darth Vader Number Four
Darth Vader #4

The Handmaidens revealed in Darth Vader #4

Best Expanded Universe Character

When considering all of the different factors that go into making the Star Wars universe so special, one could argue that the most important are the characters. However, these memorable, uniquely crafted characters are not just limited to the movies and television. 

Over the years, there have been a number of characters that originated in the EU and were so highly thought of that they eventually made their way onto screen. This award celebrates the characters that haven’t made that leap (yet). 

Here are the nominees:

  • Chass na Chadic in Shadow Fall
  • Chelli Lona Aphra in Doctor Aphra
  • Yrica Quell  in Shadow Fall
  • Thalias in Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for Chelli Lona Aphra
Chelli Lona Aphra

Chelli Lona Aphra in Doctor Aphra

Best Comic

The entire world took a timeout this year, and unfortunately, comics were no exception. While most of the main Star Wars comics were forced into a brief hiatus, when they did come back, they came back strong. From the Star Wars relaunch exploring the events immediately following ESB, to The Rise of Kylo Ren providing answers to questions we’ve been asking for years, it is quite apparent that the storytelling of Star Wars comics doesn’t take a backseat to anything.

Here are the nominees:

  • Darth Vader by Greg Pak
  • Star Wars (2020) by Charles Soule
  • Doctor Aphra (2020) by Alyssa Wong
  • The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for The Rise of Kylo Ren
The Rise of Kylo Ren

The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule

Book of the Year

Talk about a tough choice. In a year where publishers and authors alike were thrown so many unique obstacles, the mere fact that there are enough books to fill this category is an achievement all on its own. However, there can only be one.

Here are the nominees:

  • Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed
  • Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn
  • Queen's Peril by EK Johnston
  • From A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back by Various Authors

And the Youtinee goes to…

Trophy for Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising
Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn

Outro

All in all, it was a good year for Star Wars publishing. We at Youtini feel uniquely blessed to have been able to share in all of these wonderful stories with our community. 

Our goal is and has always been to help bridge the gap and make the Star Wars Expanded Universe more accessible for fans. Thank you to everyone who helps make this possible, and for allowing us to be a part of the best fandom this side of the Hydian Way.

May The Force Be With You.

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