Search on ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
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.


scythe-9781442472426_hrSometimes the world really does save the best for last. Because people? Scythe is amazing. I keep thinking about it. I unabashedly loved reading it in that can’t put it down way, but I also absolutely love it as a contender. It jumped the queue right into my top 5, and as the second to last 2016 YA book I read, that means it jumped a whole lotta books.

Basically, Shusterman took his commercial chops and mashed that with the thoughtful, nuanced writing he displayed so wonderfully with Challenger Deep, and the result is a near perfect combo.

Scythe, Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster, October 2016
Reviewed from final e-book

[Read more…]

Pyrite: A Seriously Decisive Win!

PyriteWell, we revoted, and boy-howdy do we have a decisive margin this time!

A few thoughts on the raw data: In the interest of time, I’m only going to share a few highlights here, but the deeper analysis is totally interesting and we wouldn’t want to deprive geeky like-minded souls, so later this week we’ll do a post, after the honor vote is done (see below for honor vote link), to share the full data and all sorts of thoughts on what it tells us.

Finally: since we’re online and virtual &etc., we didn’t have a perfect revote in terms of voters — approximately 24/30 people voted in the runoff, and we picked up about 10 new voters.

Anyway, enough introduction.

[Read more…]

Pyrite: Honor Voting!

Nickel section (from Wilipedia): because the silver equivalent to pyrite is nickel. (At least for our purposes.)

Nickel section (from Wilipedia): because the silver equivalent to pyrite is nickel. (At least for our purposes.)

Now that we have our winner, let’s see how we’re feeling about an Honor Book lineup.

From the P&P:

Honor Books 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.

In the interest of time, we’ll skip the straw ballot step and jump straight to the weighted vote.

All “nominated” (reviewed here this season) books are eligible, plus The Female of the Species, which has been receiving steady write-in support and which we clearly should have covered (I’m hoping to read it this week, given the groundswell of support) and When the Moon was Ours, again because of write-in support. Remember too that The Reader and Scythe are coming in the next few days, so they count as officially nominated for the Pyrite.

(Note that the whole nomination list being eligible is a major difference from Newbery procedure, which only allows books that received votes in the initial balloting for the winner to be considered for the honor.)

  • Voting will happen in the comments
  • Votes are weighted, so number them 1-4; pointing is 7/5/3/1
  • You can vote for up to 4 books but don’t need to vote all spots; however, you can’t skip spots (so if you only vote for two books, they get 7 and 5 points, respectively)
  • We recommend voting BEFORE looking at any other responses to avoid the temptation to do math and strategize — because the RealCommittee can’t, so it’s maybe a little bit like cheating?
  • Polls will stay open until Tues early evening, with the goal of posting results late Tuesday or even first thing Wednesday.

That’s it! Go vote!

Still Life With Tornado

still-life-with-tornadoOh, A.S. King! Every year, a new novel. Every year, a bold move to expand what we think of as a novel. I’m not sure if I’m a King fan, but I find myself drawn to her books year after year because I trust them to be engrossing reading experiences, even if I have an Alice-in-Wonderland feeling the entire time, unsure of what’s real and what’s hallucinatory, unsure where I stand or how to even approach thinking about what’s in front of me.

This year’s offering is pure King — but it’s also accessible in a way we haven’t seen since Ask the Passengers. And I’d argue it’s better than King’s Printz honor-winning Please Excuse Vera Dietz. In short, this one is a true contender.

[Read more…]

The Pyrite Results Are In… We Get to Vote AGAIN!

scales-310962_64030 of us voted, and the results definitely  indicate some clear trends, but by the Printz guidelines, we do NOT have a winner.

From the RealPrintz Policies and Procedures:

To win, a title must receive five first place votes and must also receive at least five more points than the second place title. If no title meets these criteria on the first ballot, any title receiving no votes is removed from consideration and a period of discussion of remaining titles follows. A second ballot is then conducted. Balloting continues in this fashion until a winner is declared.

For our purposes, we’ve adapted “five first place votes” to “at least one more first place vote than the next highest title,” since on a 9-person committee, 5 votes is 50% plus 1, a majority, and also at least one more vote than the next highest first place vote; with an open mock event and no telling how many voters, we stick with the simplest way to make this rule still applicable to our results.

We do have a book that both received the highest number of points AND has one more first place vote than the next highest pointing title — but the spread between them is only 3 points, so it looks like it’s time to vote again! Jump below the fold to see what’s still eligible and a few data points that might help you cast your vote strategically.

[Read more…]

Last Licks

There are so many great books, and every year we’re reading until the 11th hour to get in as many as possible. This year, between last minute reads and beloved books that didn’t seem like true contenders but deserve a shout-out, we find ourselves down to the final days before the YMAs with quite a pile left.

So here you have our last licks — not counting our three remaining biggies (Still Life with Tornado, The Reader, and Scythe), this post concludes our 2016 pile of books we still have something to say about. Whew! Nearly there.

[Read more…]

MOAR Morris

morriscoversWhile Morris-Printz crossover isn’t exactly common, it’s happened twice —  in 2012, when Where Things Come Back took the double gold; and again in 2015, with sleeper hit The Carnival at Bray taking double silver.

This season, we pretty much flubbed our Morris coverage; the debuts we covered earlier in the season were largely not the debuts the Morris Committee shortlisted (exception: The Serpent King), and those we “predicted” were notably absent from the shortlist. But failing to predict the Morris is actually pretty true to form for us, as is this post: a last minute roundup of the actual Morris shortlisters, squeaked out shortly before the YMAs.

We are not a Morris speculation site, and the Morris has different criteria than the Printz, so our goal here is not actually to predict the Morris (which we’ll definitely fail to do!) but to look at how these already notable books — some of which were on our radar already — stack up in the larger and more specific Printz pool. Here goes!

[Read more…]

Pyrite Time! Whoo!

CC-licensed image by Flickr user ideonexus

CC-licensed image by Flickr user ideonexus

It’s Pyrite time! Did you think we weren’t doing it this year? Nah, we just wanted to wait until we’d covered as much as possible of the year’s best.

Voting will happen in the comments. We’ll be doing our best to adhere to the RealPrintz voting procedures, as follows:

  • Any officially nominated book is eligible; in our case, that means anything that’s been written up this season, plus the handful of books we’ll be posting in the next week*
  • Voting for the winner books takes place first (the honor book vote will follow, and all books other than the winner will be eligible for the honor vote, regardless of whether they received votes in this round)
  • Votes are weighted, 5 points for first place, 3 for second, 1 for first — Be sure to number your votes! You don’t have to vote for three books but you can’t skip positions – if you vote for two books, they get 5 and 3 points, not 5 and 1 or 3 and 1.

Voting will stay open until midday Wednesday, with the goal of posting our Pyrite winner by Wednesday evening

Take a minute to read back through all our “nominations” this year or just vote away!

*TK this week, in some cases in very brief form: The Smell of Other People’s Houses; Rani Patel in Full Effect; Tell Me Something Real; Girl Mans Up; Merrow; Julia Vanishes; Steeplejack; Spontaneous; Beast; Still Life with Tornado; Scythe; The Reader


These Books Have Nothing in Common

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-2-37-04-pmThat is, these books have nothing in common except their matching star count. But time is short and the books with positive reviews are many, so here we are, lumping them together.

Russo’s If I Was Your Girl was on our list from the very beginning of the year. It’s a love story with a trans main character, and never devolves into a problem novel, which is still relatively refreshing (and oh so welcome) when it comes to trans protagonists.

Kids of Appetite, on the other hand, was a late entry after it started showing up on year-end lists. It features a protagonist with an uncommon medical ailment and a character who maybe functions as a magical negro, and reads like Andrew Smith lite.

Needless to say, I only support one of these as a contender.

[Read more…]

Tales from Mother Russia

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-12-56-45-pmWe’re back from a few days of rest, travel, and so much family, with yet another double post — always, as the year draws to a close, the double posts, because the good books just keep piling up. Today’s books in many ways have nothing in common — one historical fiction, absolutely realistic despite some stylistic flourishes that point to fairy tales, and the other contemporary fantasy. One is set in Russia and Sweden and England and a few points in between; the other in only a few square blocks of Brooklyn. One stretches over years, even decades when the framing narrative is considered, and the other takes place over three nights — although they are long nights, it’s true.

So what ties these two — Vassa in the Night and Blood Red Snow White — together? They share a mythologized love of Russia. They grow from Russian fairy tales, in one case because the protagonist has written a collection and in the other because everybody’s favorite wicked witch, Baba Yaga, is running a murderous convenience store that entraps our intrepid heroine.

Neither of these is a portrait of the true Russia, but both of them demonstrate the deep love affair people have with Russia, the fabled Mother Country, regardless of actual Russia, the political and geographic entity making front page news.

[Read more…]