"Ohhhhhh crap," said Broome when the camera first turned to him during the virtual ceremony. "Oh geez. Are you kidding me? Um, wow. I do not know what to say. I’m sitting here by myself because I thought there was no way in heck that this would be happening to me."
Broome thanked his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech. "It has been an honor to have my name mentioned in the same sentences as you for the past couple of weeks," he said. He also thanked others, including his mother who he waved to on the camera. "Mom, I know you're watching."
Punch Me Up to the Gods, which chronicles Broome's journey as a Black gay man and his struggles with race, sexuality, addiction, and recovery, has been listed on multiple "best of" lists since its May 2021 release, including Entertainment Weekly, Apple Books, Amazon Books, and Publisher's Weekly.
"It is so gratifying for someone like me to be in this position," Broome said while accepting the award.
Pittsburgh writer Sharon Flake was also a finalist for a 2021 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' literature for her book The Life I'm In. Christina Soontornvat won that category for her book All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team.