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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Predictions! Picks! Probable Mistakes!

Not that we ever get these right, but here goes.

Karyn’s Picks:

The Summer Prince cover Predictions! Picks! Probable Mistakes!September Girls cover 198x300 Predictions! Picks! Probable Mistakes!mortal fire 194x300 Predictions! Picks! Probable Mistakes!
I’m going to start with the if if I had my druthers list: 5 books I both love AND support (mostly), in no particular order:

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The Votes Are In — But the Winner Isn’t!

blank votes The Votes Are In    But the Winner Isnt!

The points, stripped of titles. Can you guess what the tied two might be?

You voted, and we have the results.

And… we’ll be voting again shortly, because we also have a tie.

But before we dip into the results, a few words:

Thank you! For playing along with us, for voting, for reading the blog, but mostly for caring about these books. Although only one book will win on Monday, and no more than four additional titles will be recognized with honors, your passion for so many more than five titles is critical and inspiring and a testament to the great year we’ve had in YA lit (previous snarking notwithstanding).

We do this blog because we love the books and the robust, amazing world of YA lit, and because in our lives, it actually matters who takes home the gold on Monday — and so we say thanks for caring too (it makes us feel less alone!) and thanks for championing great books for the teens with whom we work.

Ok, now let’s dig in.

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Reality Boy and More Than This and Black Helicopters, oh my!

A few final books we wanted to squeeze in: Reality Boy, which received some buzz early in the year but seems to have fallen off everyone’s radars despite three year-end Best lists; More Than This, a book that has picked up some traction recently as a buzz book and potential contender; and Black Helicopters, which seems strongly divisive but which no one has forgotten despite having first read it months ago — and staying power matters when it comes to awards.

(As a bonus, we each reviewed one of them so you can try to guess which “I” is which blogger!)

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All the Truth That’s In Me

Another guest post, this time on a book that has been getting a ton of positive press. Guest poster Maureen Eichner is a children’s assistant at a public library in the Indianapolis area. She has excellent taste in fantasy and is a thoughtful careful reader, so after reading and replying to this, do take a moment to check out her other writing:  Maureen blogs at By Singing Light (http://bysinginglight.wordpress.com) and spends more time on Twitter (https://twitter.com/elvenjaneite) than she would like to admit.

All the Truth cover All the Truth Thats In MeAll the Truth That’s In Me, Julie Berry
Viking Books (Penguin), September 2013
Reviewed from final copy

All the Truth That’s In Me is Julie Berry’s first YA book — she has also published several books for younger readers. It’s garnered some critical kudos, with starred reviews from SLJ, Kirkus, Horn Book, the Bulletin, and PW, as well as a mention on the SLJ and Kirkus Best of 2013 lists. In some ways, it’s easy to see why it’s gotten this acclaim. But of course, stars or lack thereof don’t necessarily bear on the Printz.

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Message or Masterpiece (Or, Does the Problem Novel Still Exist?)

Today we’re running a roundup of books that we think are worth discussing because they are in the top, say, 100 of the year. But they aren’t quite there, and we don’t think they’ll go the distance. And to make the post about more than just a series of short reviews, we’ve limited today’s roundup to books that have a lot to offer but seem to lose out on Printzliness in the name of message or purpose. Every time we discuss these books, we find ourselves focused on a central issue not of writing but of the world: an issue discussed in the books at hand but not really of them.

And as we discussed this, we found ourselves comparing these books to the problem novels of yesteryear, because like them, what the books are about seems to weigh more heavily then how they are written, even if the how is light years beyond the old chestnuts. And really, these books offer so much more than just the issues at their hearts — but we were struck by the ways that the social issue at the heart of the text stuck in our heads the longest, outweighing the literary elements. Is this about our own biases, seeing and holding on to the part that feels like a news soundbite — and therefore, easy to remember and the sort of thing that we are reminded of by the outside world on a sadly too frequent basis — or is it an issue in the writing?

Let’s see! [Read more...]

The Dream Thieves

We put out a call asking for interested parties to take a shot at making the case for their top book of the year, and today, occasional guest poster Clair Segal is back to do just that. Or sort of that, because she’s taken on a challenge: talking about a second book in a series.

Clair is the library technology librarian at a New York City independent school. You can read more of her thoughts on Twitter, at her own blog, or on the AISL blog.

Dream Thieves cover The Dream ThievesThe Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic, September 2013
Reviewed from ARC

See, the thing no one told me about going to your first Annual is that it makes you act crazy.

Totally crazy. Librarian!crazy. (Which is frankly the best kind of crazy because all things in life are better when prefaced with “Librarian!”)

But crazy is crazy, and I acted the book-obsessed-fool in Chicago. I stumbled over my tongue telling Holly Black how “amazering” Coldest Girl was. I tried to show Emily Danforth that I was awesome and hip, and great best-friend material. I waited in an insanely long line to profess to an indifferent Tamora Pierce that she had changed my life forever at the tender age of nine. (“Hmm,” my childhood idol offered, nodding politely and sliding over a signed book as her handler motioned me on.)

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves made me beg a stranger for pity.

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Roundup: Girls in Crisis

Double feature crisis show!

Today we’ve got not one but two — TWO! — reviews for the price of one click. Really, these two books — Fat Angie and 17 & Gone — have very little in common, but they are both March pubs and have some thematic overlap, dealing as they do with girls in distress. Not damsels in distress, but the kind of deep-seated internal anguish that is too often intrinsic to teen girls, saddled as they are with expectations and beliefs and the need to always be aware.

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Book List

Wanna know what we’re planning to write about this year?

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Pyrite Honors!

The results are in, and opening the honor vote to the larger list made for some interesting shifts in some of the votes — although not statistically significant shifts when it comes to the actual Pyrite* honor slate.

ALA definitely affected our voter pool (another note for next year, get all the voting done by the Thursday of ALA week), so we went down to only 35 voters (from nearly 70 for the Pyrite gold — can you have Pyrite gold? Hmmm), and it wasn’t exactly the same voter pool. However, the results show that this smaller and somewhat different pool was mostly in agreement with the original voter pool.

Which gives us hope that Seraphina, which we love a LOT, does indeed have a chance at the RealPrintz (although we left it off our prediction list, given the challenge real fantasy has historically faced), since it continues to be the second most loved title for the Pyrite, first giving CNV something that resembled a run for its money and now sweeping the honor vote. Read on for details and the rest of the lineup.

Our Very Best & Most Excellent Guesses Ever For Tomorrow

(Housekeeping note: we are still compiling the honor book votes, so look for that post shortly.)

We’re going to make some predictions for tomorrow. They will, doubtless, be wrong: never has there ever been a cat so clever committee that didn’t surprise, well, everyone.

But we’re not just wildly guessing here either. Or, not entirely, anyway.

You may, perhaps, be thinking, Huh, didn’t they just do top 5s the other day? How is this different? The other day, what we listed were our individual picks. This time, we (in the Royal sense; today we’re speaking as a single blogging entity) are actually trying to anticipate the RealCommittee’s picks.

The RealCommittee process, as we’ve said before, is unique to each year, since every member brings their own sensibilities, preferences, and baggage with them. This means that it’s almost impossible to truly predict what a committee will select, because all of those elements that make up 9 individuals meld into something that has a personality of its own. In the end, there are a lot of excellent books that could wear the gold and silver this year, so the final decision can have a faint whiff of the arbitrary to those outside the committee — why this one and not that one, we ask? But for everyone sitting in that room, making the decision, the reason are many and completely clear.

So while we’ve been reading and discussing and reviewing in the context of the award all year, and we’d like to think that we have a not insignificant sense of the field, we’re bringing our own baggage to this prediction list, which means we aren’t just guessing — but we might still be way off base. [Read more...]