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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Those pesky numbers

Let’s start off by acknowledging that this data would have gotten me kicked out of statistics class back in grad school days. Our sampling is random, but it might also include far fewer than 114 people, despite the 114 responses: it’s the interwebs, and we have no idea who really voted!

Plus, of our 115 voters, only 6 people definitely read all 10 books, and one of those 6 forgot to actually vote (despite answering how many he or she had read). Then, because of our own lack of thinking this all through, we also don’t even know how many books our first 22 voters read, since that question wasn’t there at first.

And–yes, there’s more!–we had a handful of votes where only first or first and second places were filled out, which skews the data, since a book with dozens of third place votes can outpoint a book with a few first place votes, all else being equal.

So, you know, bad bad data.

But hey, why let that slow us down?

Now that all the caveats are out of the way, here are some numbers for your viewing pleasure, and if you see any embarrassing math errors, please do let us know– we both majored in the humanities back in the day, which is a lame excuse but we’re totally going to use it anyway.

Most first place votes: Scorpio Races (23; Chime and A Monster Calls each had 21)

Most second place votes: Chime (26; A Monster Calls had 25)

Most third place votes: A Monster Calls (21; Scorpio Races was the next highest, with only 17)

The net result of the vote was A Monster Calls, but with only a five point lead, which was too close.

So we thought we’d run the data with only the votes from voters who had read all ten books, since that more closely follows what the RealCommittee situation would be.

Ok, not only inconclusive, but now the fight was between Monster and Life. And it was only 5 points of data, which is half the number of voters on the RealCommittee.

Well, we said, maybe we should look at voters who read 90% or more of the finalists, that gets us a larger data set.

So we ran those numbers. 7 points of data, and a THREE WAY tie, or near enough: 13 points for Monster, and 11 each for Chime and Imaginary Girls.

Well, we said, let’s try 80% or more titles read, which gets us up to 12 data points. That’s a little more than the RealCommittee, which is better than a little less.

And we had a winner! Chime, by a 10 point margin, with Imaginary Girls in second place.

We SHOULD have stopped there.

Foolishly, we felt guilty dropping the first 22 votes, which did not include reading totals, due to this nagging sense that our first bunch of responses most likely correlates to our most regular readers. We couldn’t ignore you! We love you!

So we threw those into the mix:

And hey! We had a winner: A Monster Calls, with a 10 point lead. And we should have called it then.

But we didn’t. We decided, instead, to go back to the first set of results and do a tiebreaker vote. We probably should have had it be a 3-way vote, with Scorpio Races in the mix. Only we noticed a funny trend: almost every voter who had read three or even fewer of the final ten HAD read Scorpio Races, which we thought probably meant its popularity was skewing the results. Is that even math? Should we just have included it? It was 3 pm and neither of had eaten lunch, so perhaps there was some impaired judgment.


We ran the second poll with Chime and A Monster Calls, and five hours in, we had a tie AGAIN (2 point differential). At that point we considered quitting this whole gig. We didn’t sign up for anything with numbers! We were just supposed to read books and sound smart! And this stat thing was going to blow our smart masks right off.

But instead we opened the voting back up for another hour.

And when the dust settled, we really had a winner, sort of: a 4 point lead for Chime, up from a 2 point lead. Yes, technically, we should have kept going, but the nice thing about being a Mock Committee is that we can say, enough already! Pity the poor RealCommittee stuck going in these circles, returning to the book discussion and getting more and more detailed in their critiques, evidence, and analysis, and then voting again: it’s exhausting, to say the least.


Now, it starts again: click through to vote for your honor choices!*

*We’ll get into the RealCommittee nuances of choosing Honor books when we post the results. For our purposes, we’re going to return to the 9 other finalists, and you may vote for 1 to 4 books, ranked in order of which ones your support most for the honor as this is also a weighted vote.

About Karyn Silverman

Karyn Silverman is the High School Librarian and Educational Technology Department Chair at LREI, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (say that ten times fast!). Karyn has served on YALSA’s Quick Picks and Best Books committees and was a member of the 2009 Printz committee. She has reviewed for Kirkus and School Library Journal. She has a lot of opinions about almost everything, as long as all the things are books. Said opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, YALSA or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @InfoWitch or e-mail her at karynsilverman at gmail dot com.


  1. Can’t even vote, cause I’ve only read, like, one of the books (Beauty Queens and I thought it rocked!). Guess I’m waiting around to see what the real committee picks so I can move that choice a little further up the TBR

  2. Same with me! But I very much enjoyed reading about your break down of the numbers. It sounds like exactly the kind of ‘statistical’ work I do when I get my hands on any kind of circulation numbers. I break down the numbers every way that I can think of, and really enjoy it, but they probably mean even less after i analyze them! 🙂

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