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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Anna and the Swallow Man

anna-swallowAnna and the Swallow Man, Gavriel Savit
Knopf, January 2016
Reviewed from ARC

For the first posted coverage of the season, I thought I’d start with one of the earliest publication dates on our list. Anna and the Swallow Man came out in January. It had huge pre-publication push; we received at least 4 copies just to the school Joy and I work at, at least one of which was in a lovely paper slip cover. And it picked up three stars out of the gate (HB, The Bulletin, and PW): not a bad opening to the year. So does it live up to the hype or the buzz?

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The List, Abbreviated

Photo by Flickr user List_84, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Photo by Flickr user List_84, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Traditionally, we’ve launched the season with our massive (like, 90 titles long) reading list, but when we open with the big list, we always end up regretting approximately one-third of the titles.

So this year, we’re going to share a shorter, not even slightly exhaustive list. Here are our top 25 titles, included either because we’ve already read them or because they’ve gotten all the stars (by which I mean 4 or more, marked with an asterisk) or because the author or description have us thinking these are likely to be worth the conversation.

Obviously, we won’t be reviewing only 25 books this season, and we have plenty of books we’ve read that probably won’t go the distance but are certainly worth a conversation and therefore a post. But here’s the 25 we’re most excited to talk about, alphabetized by title because that’s how we’ve been discussing them.

American Girls, Alison Umminger
As I Descended, Robin Talley
The Bitter Side of Sweet*, Tara Sullivan
Blood Red, Snow White, Marcus Sedgwick
Burn Baby Burn*, Meg Medina
Character, Driven*, David Lubar
Every Exquisite Thing, Matthew Quick
Exit, Pursued by a Bear*, E.K. Johnston
Golden Boys*, Sonya Hartnett
The Head of the Saint, Socorro Acioli
Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley
The Lie Tree*, Frances Hardinge
The Memory of Light*, Francisco X. Stork
My Lady Jane, Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
The Passion of Dolssa*, Julie Berry
Railhead, Philip Reeve
The Reader*, Traci Chee
Samurai Rising*, Pamela S. Turner
The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner
The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan
Spontaneous, Aaron Starmer
Still Life with Tornado, A.S. King
Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin
Unbecoming*, Jenny Downham
We Are the Ants*, Shaun Davis Hutchinson

What would you add? Remove? Actually, let’s play this committee style: these are our nominations thus far. What are yours?

We’ll be back Monday with our first review. Catch you then!

Here We Go!

CC-licensed image by The Meeting Place North, UK

CC-licensed image by The Meeting Place North, UK

Hello! Howdy! Greetings!

Once upon a time, a couple of former Printz committee members were invited to start a blog for SLJ, a YA counterpoint to the always provocative and wonderful Heavy Medal. And thus Someday My Printz, a Printz speculation blog, was born. Five years later, and here we are back again (now with three regular contributors), ready for another season of reading, guessing, opining, and conversing.

As always, we like to start the season by looking back at the official criteria and eligibility guidelines. We’ve discussed these in some depth before — here and here and here and here, and also here, because apparently we had a lot to say. I don’t want to belabor the point, but it’s always worth noting that the official criteria is a loosely written document seemingly designed to allow growth and change in how the Printz Committee defines excellence. (For our part, we each come at our idea of excellence little differently, and we’d love to hear how you all gauge it.)

One of the most wonderful aspects of committee-based awards is that they grow from a constant dialogue about excellence and from a place of mutual respect. The book I champion won’t necessarily be the one any of you, or Joy, or Sarah, champions. And yet from conversations about each of the nominees, and from close reading and rereading, the committee comes to a consensus each year. And while we (YA librarians, not just the bloggers at Someday) may not always be happy with the decision, the one thing I know from having had the privilege of being in that room for a year is that the decision is always right, even if a different committee could have gotten to a different slate.

So what we do here is not second guessing the amazing, dedicated librarians on the RealCommittee; instead, we try to have a shadow committee, made up of anyone who wants to talk about YA literature and literary excellence, making transparent the kind of in-depth, thoughtful reading the RealCommittee has been engaged in for months already.

Each week we’ll talk about some of this year’s eligible titles, or the conversations around those titles, or other related topics. We’ll do our best to approach the standards of the RealCommittee: close reading, listening to others, considering myriad factors and not relying on emotional responses (although those have a place too). Hopefully, you’ll join the conversation!

So that’s it, the story of where we came from and what we’re doing. Welcome to Someday my Printz Will Come, Year 5! As always, we invite you to join us as we kiss—I mean read!—all the frogs in the pond.

Liveblogging the Awards, a Stream of Consciousness

YMAGood morning! Read on for my liveblog reactions to this morning’s YMAs! Content runs from bottom to top and ends after the Printz.

Edited to add: The comments are open for debriefing and post award conversation, but please keep in mind the hard work of the RealCommittee and be respectful of their work and process.

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Still Too Many Books, or, a Tale of Even More Hanging Chad

more books_2And we’re back with even more more books, in part 2 of our mega roundup of all (not really all) the books.

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So many books they never end oh god too many books (Hanging Chad part 1)

morebooks copyThis year is just full of books, and so many of them are worth talking about. Sadly, we’re not going to get to everything we hoped to read before Monday’s award announcements, despite valiant efforts.

I’m mourning Leavitt’s Calvin, loaded on my Nook but sadly unread; Seneca Village; Lizard Radio, with a premise so unusual that maybe I will read it even after I ought to be moving on to 2016 publications; and a handful of other books besides. Not to mention all the books reviewed by Joy and/or Sarah, a percentage of which I haven’t read and several of which are clearly among the top 20 or so of the year.

But enough crying over books unread, and on to the final titles we have squeezed in. We’ll run half of them today and the other half tomorrow, because otherwise this post would be out of control.

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Magic Realism x2 (Bone Gap and The Accident Season)

Happy 2016. I closed out the old year by frantically reading my way through a backlog of wonderful (and not so wonderful) books. Today, to start the new year on the right foot, I’m catching up on discussing some books I read ages ago but have been avoiding writing about.

Also! A week from today most of us will be in or en route to Boston, or else enviously reading #alaleftbehind tweets, so we’re in the homestretch! We’ll be reading and posting like mad all week and right on up through (and possibly past!) ALA.

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Pyrite: Let the Honors Commence

CC-licensed image by Flickr user rcnevada, via Fotopedia

CC-licensed image by Flickr user rcnevada, via Fotopedia

Here we go: honor voting!

Votes are weighted: 7 for 1st place, 5 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 for 1st. We will recognize four Pyrite honors (or Nickel books, since that’s sort of the silver equivalent to pyrite); we are limiting voting to only books that received at least one vote at any level in the Pyrite poll. This is not exactly RealCommittee procedure; it is, instead, a mashup of the straw polling regulations and the Newbery rules, put into play here to account for the fact that we don’t have a real nomination list and so the number of discrete titles we’re looking at could be vast without some limiter.

See below the break for the list of books that are eligible with that rule in place and to vote, as per usual, in the comments. We’ll leave this up until after the New Year, and post results probably on Monday.

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Pyrite: We (sort of) have a winner

PyriteRealPrintz voting is a pretty particular thing, and winning has two conditions: “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.”

If we look at the Pyrite results and the voting regulations literally, we have a for sure winner; if we look at them and then try to scale them (where 5 out of 9 is a majority vote), we don’t have a winner.

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Kirkus Teen

This is a little late, but Kirkus released their list last Monday. What I love about this list is that it’s HUGE compared to everyone else’s; in related news, Kirkus has a huge review volume, so it’s pretty well guaranteed that there will be a super surprise or two.

The quick and dirty breakdown:

The list is 50 titles long.

24 either were on our original list or else we added them along the way.

2 were not on our list but were added after appearing on other year-end lists (Conviction and Most Dangerous)

And a whopping 24 were not on our list at all, and of those 24, nearly half weren’t even on our radar. Now that you’ve got the numbers, let’s look at the titles in category 3.

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