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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Decisions, Decisions!

Oh how pleased we are to report that today, you voted and you were decisive!

We ran the total numbers (only 30 voters; everyone else was probably on a plane en route to Dallas, which is where I wish I was headed!) three ways: total voters and points, and then only those who had read all 9 books (5 voters) and again for the 9s and 8s combined (7 voters), just to see if there was any noticeable change based on number of candidates read.

And boy howdy there sure was!

Here are the top 4, with points, when all 30 voters were counted; votes are weighted with 7 points for first place, 5 for second, 3 for third and 1 for fourth. Note: not all voters voted for the full complement of 4 and some voters had only read 3 or fewer of the titles.

No surprise, given the closeness of the initial vote, that A Monster Calls swept it with a total of 98 points .

Scorpio Races, Between Shades of Gray, and Life: An Exploded Diagram clustered very closely for the remaining 3 potential honor slots, but it’s significant that they are nearly 40 points lower than A Monster Calls. The Honor Book section of the Policies and Procedures states “All nominated titles are eligible for honor book consideration. Following the selection of a winner, a straw vote is conducted. Any title receiving no votes is removed from consideration. A formal, weighted ballot will follow. Based on the results of this ballot, the committee will decide if it wishes to name honor books and, if so, how many” (emphasis mine). Given that huge gap, an argument could be made that only A Monster Calls deserves recognition as an honor book.

I would have made this argument, but it’s a hard decision: those other three books are great too, and does it really matter if they’re a tiny bit less great? As a committee, would we really want to recognize fewer books when there are so many to choose from and so many deserving of recognition? There’s a reason most years have the full set of 4 honor titles, and it probably isn’t that the point spread is always tiny.

So now let’s look at the numbers when we only look at the votes from those who read all of the honor contenders, meaning we take away the inflated status of books with more readers:

We’ve still got A Monster Calls in the top slot, but by a much narrower margin, so the one or four books question effectively disappears.

What’s most interesting here is that two of the other three books are different with this sample size (note: this graph actually shows the results from those who read 9 and those who read 8, for a sample size of 7, but the same four books were at the top with both data sets). Now we have a tight cluster of four potential honor books, with 22 points for A Monster Calls, 19 for Beauty Queens, 18 for The Returning, and 17 for Life: An Exploded Diagram.

This is probably closer to a prediction-level set of results, but maybe I’m just happy that this set of honor books plus Chime as our Mock Winner means that I called three of the five recognized titles as being the very top of the year’s crop!

For purposes of this blog, we’re going to say that we had two clear honor books, A Monster Calls and Life, since those made the top four in both data sets.

So our final slate is:

Winner: Chime

Honors: A Monster Calls and Life: An Exploded Diagram

And if honorable mentions existed, The Returning, Between Shades of Gray, Scorpio Races, and Beauty Queens all get an imaginary copper sticker.

Now we just need to sit tight, send psychic pulses to the RealCommittee in favor of our own favorites, and wait.

What do you think we’ll see on Monday? I’m putting my money on Chime and Life—and still hoping for a nod for The Returning.

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. Mark Flowers says:

    I know a lot of people love Mal Peet, but I have a hard time seeing LIFE stand up to an extended discussion by the committee — it’s just got too many flaws. I’m expecting to see CHIME and A MONSTER CALLS for sure, and at least one book that we haven’t talked about much at all.

    Now that I’ve written “predictions,” I can’t wait for the egg on my face . . .

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      Oh, I fully expect egg on my face–isn’t that part of the fun?

      Mark, if you’re going to rain on my love parade for Life, I want some details!

  2. I have no predictions for the real Printz (hoping for Beauty Queens, Life: An Exploded Diagram, and Where Things Come Back – maybe even a nod for my beloved Rotters? Or The Returning?) but I’m really happy with our mock honors! I seem to be in the minority in that I really disliked Chime, but A Monster Calls and L:AED were both pretty great. For what it’s worth, I was one of the people who read all ten books.

  3. I hope that at least one book between the winner and honors comes from completely out of left field of most Mock Printz discussions, surprises are always nice.

    CHIME would be my best guess for the winner, and I’ll be pretty shocked if it doesn’t at least pick up an honor.

  4. Mark Flowers says:

    @ Karyn – yeah, I kept meaning to write up my thoughts on LIFE, but I read it long after the discussion on this site was over, so I never found an appropriate place.

    But since you ask, and without further ado . . . my main objection lines up with what you and Sarah have already said about its flaws – ie clunky construction – but I just felt that this was much more of a deal-breaker for me. Specifically, while I acknowledge the excellent characterization of Ruth, the first 100 pages or so read as just an incredibly long piece of exposition that didn’t add much to the main narrative. And it wasn’t just that it could have been excised, it was the way it was written: the whole style in that section was very tell-not-show, rushes us through a bunch of details that might or might not have been necessary.

    I also objected to the long history lessons – especially the one about the history of the Cuban Revolution. While they were generally funny, they drove the narrative into the ground for me. Same goes for the stuff about Kennedy and Krushchev.

    Finally, even if we are to grant that all of the various narrative pieces were necessary to bring the main narrative together with the Missile Crisis: what, exactly, was the point of making this connection? The only narrative reason was that the Crisis was the immediate impetus for Clem and Frankie having sex, but 1) there are a thousand other reasons Peet could have used, and 2) it certainly didn’t have anything to do with their choice of location, which was the real tragedy of the story.

    So, in brief: I didn’t much like the first 100 pages; the rest I enjoyed as separate pieces but they didn’t come together to mean much of anything for me.

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