Search on ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

The Clock is Ticking!

Green Tree Frog by Flickr user Hunter Desportes; used under Creative Commons licensing.

Green Tree Frog by Flickr user Hunter Desportes; used under Creative Commons licensing.

Once upon a time, we went to a pond and started kissing frogs.

This year, the pond is large, the frogs are many, and (ALA Mid) winter is closing in. There’s no way we’re kissing them all, so we have some hard decisions to make.

In an ideal world, every frog published between January and June would be discussed by Halloween, leaving November and December for all those July through December frogs (tadpoles? This metaphor is collapsing).

There’s no way this is happening! So we’re going to crowdsource. Read on to see what’s left and help us decide which frogs are just going to have to hop away unkissed.

[Read more…]

Archivist Wasp Has A Sting You’ll Want to Savor

Archivist WaspArchivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace
Big Mouth House, May 2015
Reviewed from final e-book

I love this book. Can I just get that out there right up front?

Which is not to say I love its chances, but I’m still going to wax eloquent (or wax, anyway) in praise of its strengths.

This is a weird book from a small press. I’m not even sure if it’s widely available in bookstores, because in the past I’ve had trouble finding Small Beer stuff in brick and mortar shops. I bought the e-copy because it was on my radar as a fantasy novel (which is my primary non-YA reading indulgence); I wasn’t actually thinking about YA or awards at all. And then I read it, and I was just blown away.

[Read more…]

Boys Will Be… Knitters and Lovers and Funny, Oh My

Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda coverBoys Don't Knit coverSimon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
Balzer + Bray, April 2015
Reviewed from ARC

Boys Don’t Knit, T.S. Easton
Feiwel and Friends, March 2015
Reviewed from final copy

It’s a twofer Monday, today, with two delightfully warm, funny, and frankly tender tales of boys grappling with what it means to be a boy, and also what it means to fall for someone.

[Read more…]

The Walls Around Us (are pretty darn impressive)

The Walls Around Us coverThe Walls Around Us, Nova Ren Suma
Algonquin Books for Young Readers, March 2015
Reviewed from final e-copy

Finally! In The Walls Around Us, Suma has delivered the book I wanted back when I first read Imaginary Girls. It’s got the good stuff I knew to expect — her wordsmithing really is excellent (my notes use the effusive words “lush” and “sensual”), she slides between fantasy and reality with a slippery grace — and those qualities works together perfectly with the complicated plot and seriously broken characters.

In short, I was blown away by this one.

However, within a few weeks of finishing the book I felt this vague sense of distaste and wasn’t really singing its praises very loudly, because we have here a book that is excellently written but (much like The Tightrope Walkers) not entirely likeable.

I blame Violet. I hated her with a depth characters can’t often evoke, because she’s written that well.

The again, and luckily, likeability isn’t at all an issue for the Printz, while good writing is, which makes this one a serious contender.

[Read more…]

Haunting Historicals: Razorhurst

RazorhurstRazorhurst, Justine Larbalestier
Soho Teen, March 2015
Reviewed from final e-copy

This seems to be a divisive book. It picked up four stars right out of the gate, but in conversation with readers (mostly librarians), I’ve found the majority didn’t love it, although not necessarily for reasons that matter for Printz. It’s a genre-blender — well-researched historical fiction but also an I-see-ghosts tale (that is a genre now, right? At least, I-see-paranormal-stuff seems to be one). In some ways, it’s urban historical fantasy, a niche I rather enjoy and that allows for some fun to be had with a genre (historical fiction) that sometimes gets bogged down in balancing fact and fiction. It’s a good book that defies easy description, and yet it seems to be hanging out low on the buzz meter.

On the whole, I think the haters are wrong and this deserved all its stars, although there are a few issues. Let’s tease them out.

[Read more…]

So how about that NBA longlist?

NBA Young People's Literature longlist - book cover thumbnails

10 books.

6 YA, 2 nebulous, and only 2 middle grade.

7 of the recognized titles already on our own initial list.

I’m pretty happy with this NBA longlist, I must say! [Read more…]

Life, Life, and Masturbation: The Alex Crow

The Alex CrowThe Alex Crow, Andrew Smith
Dutton, March 2015
Reviewed from ARC and ebook editions

Last year, Andrew Smith wrote a book that had: weird science, boys who talk about masturbation, an incredibly strong voice, and strange animals created by the aforementioned weird science.

Love it or hate it, we couldn’t stop talking about it.

So why is The Alex Crow, which could also be described as a book with weird science, boys who talk about masturbation, an incredibly strong voice, and strange animals created by the aforementioned weird science, making so little ripple?

Backlash against Smith’s problematic writing of women? (It’s not better here, exactly, but used as part of the absurdism and thus ameliorated.) The fact that he JUST received a Printz honor? A less astounding package?

Or does The Alex Crow suffer because it feels like it’s not original, even though the thing that makes it seem less original is the same author’s work?

[Read more…]

Kicking Things Off (and a LIST)

1484545713_a6477d339e_zLabor Day has come and gone. School begins today for NYC. And the awards are only 4 months away.

In other words, we’re back in action!

If you’re stumbling upon us for the first time, remember: we know nothing (Jon Snow). But we’re going to have a blast speculating the &*#$ out of the 2016 Printz Award*, and we’d love to have you join in.

Need more info on who we are and what we’re about? Please poke through the archives and the about sections.

Those of you who have been with us all along really only want one thing: The List.

So here it is.

[Read more…]

We’re Out! But before We Go, let’s talk Printz 2016

number 2 number 0 Phase 10 Dice Red number 1 Bingo Ball Number 6

letter S letter P letter E letter C letter U
letter L letter A Hangman Red Letter T letter I letter o letter N

letter B Brick letter e Letter Bead letter G Foam Play Mat Letter I letter n letter S exclamation mark

Well, another season has come and gone, and emotions have ebbed and flowed and so many pages have been read!

Before we disappear back into our regular lives, we wanted to say thank you for reading with us, disagreeing with us, and generally raising the bar on the conversation in every comment. We will miss you all for these next several months! We’ll still be on Goodreads and Twitter, so look for us there.

And again, thank you to the RealCommittee, who work so much harder and with so little visibility. They have given us another great slate of titles and continue to work tirelessly to promote innovative, exciting, beautiful writing (and any number of other descriptors I am not articulating at this moment). We do this in fun, but they do it in earnest, and they deserve a round of applause, a week-long nap, and many many kudos.

So much for reflection. Let’s look to the future. I predict that the 2016 Printz winner will be… [Read more…]

Liveblog & Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Well, here we are, YMA Day!

I’ll be watching the award stream since I am sadly not in Chicago, and I’ll do some live reaction blogging for the YALSA portion of things. See you in the comments after for the Monday morning quarterbacking (on a Monday morning, no less!)

Also, while there may be shock, outrage, glee, or any other manifold emotions pouring off of me, I want to take a moment to reflect, very seriously, on the incredible hard work the RealCommittee has done. I reserve the right to disagree, but in the end I know how intense and amazing that process is, and I recognize that they are always right, because that’s what the process does. It separates the emotion from the criticism and gives us something very close to an unbiased slate. Thank you, RealCommittee, for all you’ve done this year! I can’t wait to find out what you have in store.

And now, for the live(ish) reaction portion of the morning.

[Read more…]