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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

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.

Divergent Dystopic Visions

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 11.30.26 AMNot Divergent divergent, but diverse, unexpected, small press books diverging from the post-apocalyptic formula of yesteryear: that’s what we’ve got for you today. The Marrow Thieves won both the Kirkus Prize and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award, and has shown up on the year-end lists for Kirkus and School Library Journal — not bad for a Canadian publication almost entirely under the radar stateside. All the Wind in the World is Samantha Mabry’s sophomore effort after last year’s enticing A Fierce and Subtle Poison. It’s a quiet book in terms of buzz, although it had a strong showing out of the gate with 3 stars and a place on the NBA longlist; it also made Booklist‘s Editor’s Choice.

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Pyrite Time Is Here Again!

Adapted from photo by James St. John, CC BY 2.0

Adapted from photo by James St. John, CC BY 2.0

Yes, you read that right: It’s Pyrite time!

In case this is your first rodeo: The Pyrite is Someday’s Mock Printz. Instead of gold, we award fool’s gold — because mock/fool, right? (Puns may be the lowest form of humor to some, but I never met one I didn’t like.) We have no affiliation with the actual Printz, and no insider trading knowledge, but on the best years, our Pyrite slate overlaps with the RealCommittee slate, and then we get to pat ourselves on the backs and feel wicked smart.

 

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The Book of Dust

Book of Dust coverThis isn’t necessarily a big book in Printz speculation terms, but it’s a big book in the kidlit field; lots of excited librarians, lots of buzzing adults, lots of stars, lots of sales. Which means it’s the kind of book the RealCommittee is likely to look at, and it’s also the kind of book that we all wanted to read, so it was a solid candidate for a round-table review.

But then Joy decided to be a fan and not read this for critique purposes (and really, do you blame her? Sometimes it’s so nice not to worry about what you’ll say about a book). Karyn and Sarah, on the other hand, decided to use the critique to work through our conflicting feelings, so this is only a two-person discussion — but we’re hoping it will become a more-person discussion in the comments. We know some of you will strongly disagree with what we have to say.

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The Walters

The Walter Award has been announced, along with two honor books, and all three are books we’ve already talked about in terms of Printz contention —  although we only support one of them strongly. Of course, the Walter is a different award, with a different purpose, but the committee is looking for “outstanding books” so it’s fascinating to look at which books they recognized from a year that is relatively rich in diverse titles.

(Yes, we still need more diverse books and more #ownvoices books and yes the numbers are still woefully low — but relative to previous years, it’s more than what we’ve had.)

Does WNDB/Walter recognition for Disappeared and You Bring the Distant Near push them higher on anyone’s Printz speculation? Does the win for A Long Way Down change your bets for its Printzly potential? Speculate away!

 

More Previous Winners, with a Side of Uh-Oh

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 6.09.55 AMTwo books today, both fantasy. All the Crooked Saints technically belonged in last week’s previous winners cluster, as Stiefvater received an honor for 2012’s The Scorpio Races, but it ran over the word count. And That Inevitable Victorian Thing seemed like a good book to pair with it; Johnston, like Stiefvater, loves to play with old stories in new forms, and has a Morris, making her a previous winner — albeit not a Printz winner. Also, both fall into the problematic books from beloved authors category. So with no further introduction, here goes:

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Sleepers

Via giphy, and here because they say images are good. And who doesn’t love a sleeping panda?

2017 is done and there’s nothing else to be reviewed by the review outlets and everyone who isn’t on the artificial ALA timeline is looking at 2018 instead (ok, including me: I’m currently engrossed in the dark and mesmerizing The Hazel Wood, which name-checks like every book that made me, so you can imagine how much I am loving it, but really I have no business turning to 2018 yet). In other words, it’s that awful time of year when I’ve read everything on my to-read list that I wanted to read, and I’m left with a handful I should read (but really don’t want to)… and a sense that there must be more out there to entice me.

(And while I’m talking a lot about myself, I am assured that Sarah and Joy are in the same place, and probably all the wonderful librarians serving on actual committees are feeling the same, except with more pressure and hopefully less self-pity.)

So let’s do one of those delightful short posts where really all we do is ask for your feedback. We want to hear what you’ve been loving. What are the under the radar reads, the sleepers, the books of your heart that aren’t already getting all the buzz and attention? Feel free to contextualize in terms of Printz likeliness — but also feel free to just wax rhapsodic about books you’ve loved this year that you want everyone else to love too, except you think maybe no one else even knows about them.

Long Way Down

Long Way Down coverThere’s a weird kind of bookending happening this year; we opened with the biggest buzz for early 2017 books belonging to The Hate U Give and we’re closing 2017 with the biggest buzz for the end of the year going to Long Way Down, two books that look at violence in largely black, urban communities from different directions. While The Hate U Give was about the violence perpetrated on young black men by the system, specifically police, Long Way Down tackles the violence perpetrated on young black men by young black men — which, ok, is still the fault of the system, because systemic racism has a long and ugly reach, but centers the story in a very different place. Bookends. So does that mean that Long Way Down is due for an award of its own? [Read more…]

We’re Making a List, Checking it Twice…

A list of lists, in fact! Because we’re almost halfway through December, which means that only Booklist’s year-end list is still to come. So today we’re checking in on Horn Book’s Fanfare and the Kirkus Best Teen Books list, which both dropped about two weeks ago, and as a bonus glancing at the NYT teen section AND giving you a link to a list of every list ever, so if you, like me, love looking through the lists and seeing whether you agree or disagree — well, this list of lists will have you covered for weeks of that kind of web browsing.

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Fantasy You Don’t Want to Miss, a Two-fer

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.55.31 PMLet’s talk about heart books. Because today I want to call your attention to two books that are long shots at best, but which I loved them dearly as a reader. More than that, despite the flaws that I predict will ultimately sink them, these are strong books that deserve close attention. Both are contemporary fantasy, one in the magic realism vein and the other in the send up all the tropes and take no prisoners vein. (Ok, that’s a pretty niche vein, but still.) Other than genre, their bisexual protagonists (something I didn’t put together until halfway through this review), and their likely distance from medal territory these don’t have much in common – but that’s ok, because every book deserves to be considered on its own.

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Midnight

Midnight at the ElectricI’ve been dragging my feet with this one. I have plenty of excuses: the holiday weekend, my son’s (minor) surgery, major new unit coming up at school that I need to plan for. But those are just hot air; I have managed to write up books under far less ideal circumstances. Really it was that the posts where I point out flaws in widely acclaimed books are my least favorite to write.

And yet I keep doing it! So once more into the fray, my friends.

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