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Thanksgiving Nominations

"Thanksgiving Table" by Flickr user: vxla CC BY 2.0

“Thanksgiving Table” by Flickr user: vxla
CC BY 2.0

Welcome to the Someday nominating table! As you sit down at your Thanksgiving table, reflecting on a year’s worth of gratitude, spare a moment to think about the YA books for which you are the most thankful. Last year we asked you, our smart readers who steer us toward dark horses and hidden gems, to nominate a YA book not already on our list. Once again we turn to you to find out, is there a novel you think is underrated or overlooked? Which title do you want to champion as a contender?

After the jump, details and the books we’ve already committed to covering.

We’re looking for YOUR nominations! These will be mini reviews (250 words max) on why your chosen book has the right literary stuff. Need a refresher on Printz criteria? Check out the Printz policies and procedures. In October we posted our list of books that we’re definitely covering, so let’s consider them already nominated. (The list is at the end of this post; any book that’s already been reviewed will have a link.)

We’d like to note that there are a few books that we’re particularly interested in seeing nominated: Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sàenz, and The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller. These are all books that we know have either buzz or critical support and we have a suspicion that you may smart ideas and things to say about them.

Leave a comment—be sure to include your email address!—with the title of the book you want to nominate and we’ll get in touch. Later in the season, we’ll compile your nominations in a special roundup post.

Thanks again for reading with us!

Books we’ve already “nominated”

Saints and Misfits, S.K. Ali
Midnight at the Electric, Jodi Lynn Anderson
Landscape with Invisible Hand, M.T. Anderson
Far From the Tree, Robin Benway
Jane, Unlimited, Kristin Cashore
Bull, David Elliott
Neighborhood Girls, Jessie Ann Foley
Spellbook of the Lost and Found, Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Turtles All the Way Down, John Green
A Face Like Glass, Frances Hardinge
The Careful Undressing of Love, Corey Ann Haydu
Allegedly, Tiffany D. Jackson
We Are Okay, Nina LaCour
Genuine Fraud, E. Lockhart
The Art of Starving, Sam Miller
Ramona Blue, Julie Murphy
Release, Patrick Ness
You Bring the Distant Near, Mitali Perkins
Queer, There, and Everywhere, Sarah Preger
Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds
Beck, Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff
Saint Death, Marcus Sedgwick
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
Maresi, Maria Turtschaninoff
Fire Color One, Jenny Valentine
Piecing Me Together, Renée Watson
The Pearl Thief, Elizabeth Wein
Gem & Dixie, Sara Zarr
American Street, Ibi Zoboi
Eliza and her Monsters, Francesca Zappia

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Comments

  1. Meredith Burton says:

    I would like to nominate The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, by Leigh Bardugo. This collection of fairy tales, set in the Grishaverse, explore the turbulent bridge between adolescence and adulthood. Those facing pressure from parents or friends to be something they are not is a theme that is explored in compelling ways. For instance, in the final story, a mermaid must decide whether to help a prince gain his father’s throne even if his methods will cause irreparable harm. In “The Witch of Duva,” a young girl learns the truth about the real monster that is plaguing her village and must decide how she will confront this foe. Things are not what they seem, and predators often lurk in places you least expect. The writing style is conversational, and the themes, though dark, are tastefully handled. Being blind, I cannot comment on the illustrations, but I was told they compliment the text very well. I have not read any other Grishaverse titles, but these stories are easy to follow and very compelling. My email address is burtonmeredith6@gmail.com

  2. I would like to nominate All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. I have a feeling this did not receive much love because it’s not an own voices novel.

    The characters and the voices are all unique. The themes are familiar but are presented in a fresh way.

    Joaquin desires was to be famous and he feared dying alone. He wants to be a DJ and some historical fiction is his pirate radio station and the music of the 60’s makes an appearance in the novel. They find a way to help Daniel and all the pilgrims through music. This was a minor theme; music has healing power/it can bring you out of the darkness. Because of his new DJ job, Joaquin will never die alone because he’ll always have listeners.

    When Beatriz and Daniel were 10 and 12, they discussed animals and if they could be cured with a miracle. Beatriz philosophized that because horses were not human and didn’t have the concept of right and wrong, they could not posses darkness and could not be cured of a miracle. When Daniel was still in the womb, he didn’t pass along the darkness because he had no concept of right and wrong and therefore did not need a cure. It’s a great topic of discussion and the reason for the abortion debate.

    Other themes include darkness is about shame and not because you’re a bad person; can’t conquer demons alone; fear holds you back.

    • The magical realism in this book seems almost experimental. I am enjoying the book on audiobooks right now.

    • I think there’s some truth to it getting less attention because it’s not own voices–but particularly because it’s not own voices but is magical brown people, and I’m not sure it does a good enough job of not exoticizing or fetishizing its brown people. I’d also love to hear a blind person’s take on the Soria darkness and felt Daniel’s dyslexia was handled well at first* and then sloppily dropped.

      The sentence-level writing is certainly great–Stiefvater is a gloriously talented writer–but I was overall a bit underwhelmed.

      * P. 78: “He was a slow reader and a slower writer, often reversing letters inside a word and sometimes transcribing numbers facing the wrong direction.” P. 80-81: “Several of the words were spelled incorrectly and he had left out a few of them and his emphatic but messy underline for emphasis had nearly crossed out a few syllables.” P. 189-194: “One of the e‘s was written backwards. . . . They were not looking for the signs of how his darkness had manifested, nor could they have, but if they had, they might have noticed how uneven the letters were, how some of them were misshapen and only legible to the optimistic. They were words crafted by a young man with fast-failing vision.” It feels like Daniel is dyslexic when it’s convenient–when his letter needs to be imbued with importance–but not when it would get in the way of a thematic point or poetic explication.

      • Mimi,
        I agree with the dyslexia issue. I honestly don’t remember that page but you make a good point.

        As a brown person, I think some people are a little too sensitive with the own voices thing. There have been some instances where is was a problem but then there are times when it’s not. I read Children of Blood and Bone and they were magical brown people. So is that okay because the author is brown? Where’s the line? I personally feel that if the book is a non own voices book and the characters portray a specific stereotype, then it’s a problem. Brown people are stereotyped as lazy, aggressive, savage, drug dealers, welfare recipients, unwed parents, ignorant, broken English. If magical brown person is a stereotype; I was unaware and please disregard this reply-LOL

        I am happy to see any brown person in books (if it’s not a stereotype). I loved Jesper and Winter and Naeemiah and Lavender Brown and if White authors continue to be crucified for writing characters of color then people are going to crucify them for not writing characters of color. It’s like they can’t win. This happened to Stiefvater and her Raven Boys Series.

        Rant over.

        • Honestly, in part the dyslexia thing irks me so much because it’s so easily avoidable.

          Magical Brown People certainly is a trope in sci-fi/fantasy, most commonly with indigenous peoples (whether Earth-culture indigenous peoples or the noble savages of the undiscovered country), and it can be deeply problematic. Tropes aren’t inherently bad, of course, but tropes going unquestioned can easily slide into stereotype. If you want some reading, I’d start here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EthnicMagician and let the link-clicking take you where it will.

          (But its existence as a trope in no way invalidates your comment.)

          I think Stiefvater did a much better job all around in the Raven Cycle, largely because I felt it took a much lighter and defter hand with its themes, including the themes of race, class, and culture.

          • Karyn Silverman says:

            I have seen some reviews that take issue with this one, for all of these reasons; I read it as a love letter to magic realism, and one that recognizes how deeply the genre is tied to cultural elements and so respectfully set the novel in a culture and starring the people whose literary traditions spawned the genre.
            (That’s not the same as saying it succeeds; it worked for me, and I thought they were magical but not trope-magical, if you will, but I say that as a white reviewer recognizing it would be all too easy for me to miss things that are offensive, even despite my best attempts to be aware.)
            (I still like The Raven Boys better, but also The Raven Boys is the kind of fantasy I like best, and also Ronan, so I don’t think that preference says much about the merits of either book.)

        • I am shocked about the indictment of Stiefvater for “not own voice” writing. If that “rule” were applied liberally we would not award any authors who have variety of cultures/races represented in their characters because some of them couldn’t possibly be in their “own voice.”

          I really loved All the Crooked Saints because it was a multi-layered story with lots of themes and interesting characters AND it was so magical. I thought Stiefvater was giving a nod to the Latin American tradition of telling a story with magical elements. Why would she have to consult the blind community to see if she wrote about blindness correctly when it wasn’t about physical blindness it was about being blind to self?

          I can tell I will NEVER be invited to be on the RealCommittee. Bet you can tell why, too.

          Enough on this rant.

          btw- I forgot completely about the dyslexia. Now I have to think about it. Why was it even part of the story? Was there something blocking his reading ability that was part of his darkness?

          • “Why would she have to consult the blind community to see if she wrote about blindness correctly when it wasn’t about physical blindness it was about being blind to self?” IT’s not about getting blindness “correct,” it’s about hurtful presentation. It’s because it is using a literal disability as a symbol. It’s because it is cursing someone with something that is part of real peoples’ daily lives and identities. If someone’s darkness made their skin literally get darker, I think people would be broadly questioning that narrative reinforcing the idea of dark skin=bad, light skin=pure.

            The dyslexia is presented as a lifelong issue–most of the anecdotes about it are from his childhood and hellion years–so I think it’s unrelated to his darkness.

  3. I nominate The Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder

    I became aware of Melanie Crowder after reading her astonishingly good book, Audacity. That book was written in verse. The Uninterrupted View of the Sky, though not written in verse, does include a lot of poetry which is really well done and advances the story and the understanding. In the 1990s Cowder spent some time in Bolivia and she saw first-hand the corrupt justice system and the forced imprisonment of people too poor to pay for legal help, all done to satisfy the US war on drugs and Law 1008. This book was a direct result of the inequalities she saw in this small South American country.

    This YA book has heart, and I assure you it will touch your heart. Often it seems that YA novels deal with such small, first-world problems. That is not the case with The Uninterrupted View of the Sky. This book opens the eyes of the reader to much bigger and life-threatening problems that exist elsewhere in the world. It does it gently and thoughtfully, with a touch of poetry, so the reader doesn’t end up feeling clubbed over the head with the information.

  4. Wait, if something’s been reviewed but isn’t on the list in this post, does that mean you’re looking for field nominations to keep it alive/voting eligible? Because… Strange the Dreamer!

  5. What happened to The Book of Dust? Are you not going to do a post for it?

  6. I had spoken up for The Inexplicable Logic of My Life before and am still willing to nominate it/kick-start a discussion of it if no one else wants to. My e-mail address is the one I used to write this comment.

    I’d also advocate for The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord if someone else wants to take the Sáenz (I know I wasn’t the only commenter in that discussion).

  7. Karyn Silverman says:

    Keep the offers coming! We’ll reach out by email next week about scheduling, next steps, etc.

  8. Eric Carpenter says:

    Is The 57 Bus on the list?

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      Long list yes, but if you want to guest nominate it, I don’t think any of us mind passing it along (I don’t think any of us have read it yet).

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