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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

The Raven Boys, at Long Last

The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press, September 2012
Reviewed from ARC

So, I’m ready to talk about The Raven Boys.

I’ve read it twice. I really really like it. Maggie Stiefvater clearly grew up drinking from the same story well as I did, and this is one that hits pretty much all my buttons. Also, I’d like to be Blue, and I definitely had my own raven boys, once upon a time ago, although Blue’s are way better.

But that’s all heart. What about the head response? Stiefvater garnered a silver last year. Is The Raven Boys her shot at the gold?

I’m… not sure. So won’t you join me as I wonder, and, since this is an official Pyrite* nominee, let’s just make this the first Pyrite post of the year, as well as the first post of the new year — meaning I expect comments of epic length.

[Read more…]

The Diviners: Divine, and the Bee’s Knees Too!

One of the best things about having progressed from new librarian to rapidly aging librarian is the opportunity to work with bright young things. Former colleague Clair Segal is now the library technology coordinator at an independent school in NYC, and has graciously agreed to guest blog for us once again, this time about Libba Bray’s The Diviners. (If you take a close look at the acknowledgements in The Diviners, you’ll see why we farmed this favorite out — conflict of interest, what??)

Also, after you read her guest post, if you find yourself thinking, “Hey, this girl is awesome!” you should go check out her blog, the aptly titled Awesomebrarian.

[Read more…]

Ask the Passengers

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
September 2012, Little Brown
Reviewed from an ARC

Can I take an unrelated-to-anything moment to say how pretty the new blogs are? We’ve been hearing a lot about the new look behind the scenes, so to actually see it — and see how quickly it all came together — is so exciting! Yay for nice, new things, eh?

Of course, I’m actually here to talk about A.S. King’s newest, Ask the Passengers. By my count, it’s received two stars and is included in the buzz portion of our contenda list (as a past honoree, King’s an auto-contender, meaning we’d look at anything she has out, no matter the number of stars). For today, I have a lot of raves and a few questions. Since it’s on our Pyrite short list and we’ll be talking about it again very soon, maybe you all can help me answer some of those questions! [Read more…]

Dodger

Dodger, Terry Pratchett
Harper, October 2012
Reviewed from ARC

So, Dodger is a heartsong book for me. I realize it’s not perfect — certainly not with regard to accuracy, which we’ll get to in a moment — but it is almost perfectly put together, and is certainly enough of an exemplar of voice, style and thematic development that I hope the 2013 RealCommittee will take a serious look (or maybe a second look) at it. In view of all the great titles before us, I would be surprised to see it take the gold, but you’d have to be a real nasty geezer, to borrow a term from Dodger himself, to snipe at any accolades thrown Sir Terry’s way.   [Read more…]

We’re ba-ack!

Hello hello from snowy upstate!

We are back, and we have a lot to say, starting later this evening (now that we’re in, we have some post editing and such to do. Also, children.).

But in the meantime, comments are so very open and also we wanted to make sure you had the new URL to bookmark. Although if you are reading this, you must have figured it out. Hmmm.

Anyway, please bookmark blogs.slj.com/printzblog (or just remember it, since it’s so nice and tiny!), poke around our shiny new site, comment like mad, and let us know if you come across any quirks or issues — there may be some, and the quicker we hear about them, the quicker they can be corrected.

And yay! It’s good to be back.

Where We At?

You might, perhaps, have noticed the blog has been slow. You might have found yourself, say, spending scads of money on Thinkgeek or Onlineshoes or Etsy while waiting for a blog post to load. Oh, was that just me? Well, I’ll have some happy relatives come Christmas.

But you know what I am talking about, and we’ve all been frustrated. Well, we have some good news and some not so good news.

The good news: the blogs are migrating! Soon, Someday will be shiny and new and we’ll have a new logo and it will all be clean design and fast loading awesomesauce.

The bad news: Instead of some lead time, and waiting until the optimal time in terms of the blog (which would be after the YMA announcements, of course), the server situation is dictating immediate action.

As in, midnight tonight.

Sadly, this means five super exciting posts that are in the works but not ready to go live are now on hold until the migration is over — which could be as late as New Year’s. Comments made after midnight tonight might not migrate. Basically, at midnight we go dark, and we’re not sure when we’ll go back up.

When we do, we’ll have The Brides of Rollrock Island (short version? Stunning but pacing not perfect, but did I mention stunning?), The Raven Boys (love! But there are flaws. Although it might still be a top fiver for Karyn), Bomb (Joy is doing that one, and she is obsessing over chapter endings in YA nonfiction right now), Ask the Passengers (Sarah, thumbs up), and Dodger (Sophie loves it!) queued up and ready to go.

So that’s where we’re at.

On the bright side, although we’ve got a few books yet to read plus the five I just mentioned stuck in limbo for a week or two, we HAVE covered, in some form, most of the official contender list we put together in September. And we’re doing our best to pick away at the write-ins, the books that were added to the list because someone nominated them for the Pyrite*, or they short-listed for the Morris, or made more than one year-end list.

Click through for the list of 93 (!) books that ended up being the long list (auto-contenders, general buzz, and write-ins), color coded and linked. And there’s an opportunity to write a guest post on behalf of an as-yet undiscussed book!

And in the meantime, start taking notes for the Pyrite* — we’ll be discussing those titles starting as soon as possible after Jan 1, so use this server-forced downtime to really get your arguments for and against all lined up. Remember to consult the RealPrintz P&P, which we, like the RealCommittee, should use to help organize our arguments, and be prepared for some seriously intense discussion. Because we plan to bring it!

And also in the meantime (and thanks to Miriam for the suggestion), you can go ahead and take our new readership poll — we’ll post results when we are live again!

[Read more…]

Beyond Courage

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport
Candlewick, September 2012
Reviewed from an ARC

With five starred reviews, this was an easy auto-contenda to spot. Rappaport looks at the active, heroic roles Jewish people played during the years of the Holocaust. She shares 21 stories — many involving teens and young children — of  the Jewish Resistance that took place across Europe during the Second World War. In a year that has been tremendous for nonfiction writing for teens, this is an important title. It’s a memorable read, and it’s a beautiful book. In the end, though, I don’t think I would be able to make the case for Beyond Courage if I were sitting at the Printz table on the RealCommittee. [Read more…]

December Blahs

One of the things I find frustrating about this blogging thing is the December blahs.

At this point in the game, I have a sense of what the year has brought us. I’m not a seer, so I don’t know what books will take the RealPrintz (and judging by last year, don’t listen even if I pretend I DO know), but I know what the top of the pile looks like.

But we’re still reading, and we’re still covering books we listed back in September as contenders. And some days, what we’re tasked with is coming up with a thousand or so words about a book that was quite good, and that doesn’t deserve to be dissected into shards, but that just isn’t a serious contender.

And yes, I acknowledge that sometimes, I say “not a contender” and what I really mean is, “here’s my argument against this one, but your mileage may vary.” This time, I really just mean they’re not contenders.

[Read more…]

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster (Is Not a Disaster)

Occasional guest blogger Joy Piedmont is back! She (unlike, say, Karyn) likes to read nonfiction, and has OPINIONS about it. Thoughtful, considered opinions. Making her a perfect candidate to guest write as we try to catch up on our nonfiction 2012 piles. So, with no further ado…

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic Press, April 2012
Reviewed from final copy

What is good nonfiction?

I know, I know; you came for a review and I’m hitting you with the big questions right up front. Apologies.

Right, so, good nonfiction.

Actually, it’s what any good book is: engaging, honest (factually and/or artistically), moving. Reading isn’t just the consumption of information, it’s an act that must change us, even in a small way. Good books should force us to question, to cry or to shout; we should be moved. Good nonfiction can put you under a spell and make the real unreal. (And isn’t this the inverse of good fiction, making the unreal real?) Good nonfiction, like fiction, is transformative.

When we consider this in light of the Printz, there is no reason why nonfiction can’t be in the conversation, and 2012 has been a particularly good year for YA nonfiction.

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Roundup: Vaguely Paranormal

Paranormal fantasy, which is to say fiction with a fantastic angle, but not set in a secondary world, with at least one character who is not human or not, technically, alive, and a romance plot or subplot, continues to go strong.

(Even if we, as adults who have seen vast quantities of formulaic fiction pass us by, kind of wish it wouldn’t.)

I’m on my second generation of HS students reading this addictive but too-often derivative genre, and my tolerance has decreased a lot over the years. So I don’t read nearly as many of the books marketed toward the paranormal-loving reader base as I did, say, 4 or even 6 years ago. I don’t need to — I read the reviews, buy and display the titles, and let the buzz and pretty cover machines do the work for me.

But some of the books that (more or less) fall into this category are actually quite different from their cookie-cutter compatriots. We’ve had three of them (The Girl With the Borrowed Wings, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Monstrous Beauty) on our contender list from the beginning, and we have at least one reader seriously pulling for a fourth (Unspoken). I’ll be honest — all of these, for varied reasons, strike me an noncontenders for the Printz. But they all rock, so let’s take a look.

[Read more…]