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Best Dressed Books: 8 Awards Show Looks and the YA Books That Match

I will confess: I am an awards show devotee. I will watch them all, regardless of whether I actually like the thing they are giving out awards for or have never seen even ONE of the movies nominated for that year’s Oscars—I gotta watch it! Part of this is that I am an admittedly judge-y person, and therefore love to make a competitive sport out of watching this kind of show, and part of it is living vicariously through people who get to wear pretty dresses and killer suits to fancy events on the regular. All of this, plus the imminent Emmy awards coming up at the end of September, got me wondering about book awards, and why they aren’t internationally televised events. Books are at least as good as movies and music and plays, and I wanna dress up, dang it!

In the absence of a fancy dress-up book awards show, here are my personal favorite awards show outfits and the books that best match their covers and sensibilities, in the hopes that someday I will get to wear an outfit that matches a book I edited to the Academy Awards of book publishing! (All photos courtesy of Shutterstock.)


Lupita Nyong’o at the 2014 Academy Awards + The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

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This is one of my absolute favorite awards show looks in the HISTORY of the UNIVERSE. Simple, gorgeous, and perfect for her. Honestly, it was so hard to pick only one Lupita look, she rocks it every time. This particular look though, from the year she won her Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, stands out. She looks like a princess! And what’s more princess-y than The Truth About Happily Ever After, which is about an actual (sort-of) princess! Plus those blues go so nicely together. *heart eyes*


Saoirse Ronan at the 2019 Met Gala + The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley


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Okay, okay, I admit that the Met Gala is not technically an awards show, but since the outfit that gave me the idea for this whole post is from there, I had to include it! I saw Saoirse Ronan’s killer armor-inspired look, it immediately made me think of Harry, the horse-riding, sword-wielding kickass main character from The Blue Sword. Honestly, this book cover could probably use an update, and my vote goes to just using this gif of Saoirse!


Sandra Bullock at the 2010 Academy Awards +Vow of Thieves by Mary Pearson

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I cannot believe it’s been nine years since I first fell in love with this look! Accepting her Oscar for The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock was PURE CLASS in this shimmery golden dress with simple hair and a red lip—she basically looks like the Oscar statue! It reminded me of the gorgeous gold foil on the cover of Vow of Thieves—and I definitely think Sandy could lend Kazi and Jase a hand!


Billy Porter at the 2019 Met Gala 2019 + Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron


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I know, I know, not an awards show, but LOOK AT THIS! Same energy! And this is only half the story—this gif doesn’t even feature the extremely attractive people who brought him in on a golden litter. *drops jaw* Honestly, this whole post could just be different Billy Porter looks. Kingdom of Souls just came out this week, but the cover alone should let you know what kind of ride you’re in for.


Lucy Liu at the 2019 Tony Awards + Going Off Script by Jen Wilde

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This is another one where I saw this picture of The Queen, Lucy Liu, and instantly thought of Going Off Script. The greenery background and the rainbow certainly helped, but I think even without that, this look would go perfectly with this book. And can’t you just picture Lucy Liu as a haughty network exec or head writer in the movie adaptation?


Donald Glover at the 2017 Emmys + The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper


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I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that men’s fashion is boring, and a suit is a suit is a suit, so I love it when people surprise me! I’m totally in love with this purple suit Donald Glover wore while he made TV history by being the first black person to win for comedy directing. Even though The Gravity of Us is a bit of an alternate reality, with the plot centering on the first manned mission to Mars, I think Cal and Leon would approve—and Donald Glover would definitely be down to go to space.


Leslie Jones at the Ghostbusters Premiere + Anna and the Apocalypse by Katharine Turner

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I’m not even gonna apologize for this not being an award show dress, because look at her!!! Leslie Jones is rockin’ this red dress, which is the same kind of striking look as the cover for Anna and the Apocalypse. I also love the story behind this dress—it’s made by Christian Siriano, who stepped up and custom designed it for Leslie Jones after other designers refused to make something for someone larger than a size four. Also, I feel like Jones would definitely survive the zombie apocalypse.


Evan Rachel Wood at the 2017 Golden Globes + Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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There is nothing about this outfit that does not say “Classy but mischievous band of misfits team up to pull off the world’s biggest heist.” I mean! The hair! The neck bow! The hand in the pocket! It’s practically like seeing Kaz Brekker standing right in front of you. *swoons*


Let me know if I missed an iconic awards show outfit, and what book you think pairs best with it! It was nearly impossible to cut myself off at only eight, so I look forward to hearing your suggestions!

Author spotlight

Rachel D.

Growing up in rural Oregon, books were my way out. Now, books are my way of reconnecting with my home. ...

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