This is a book I’ve been saving the whole season, saving until the end because I knew I’d love it and I wanted to savor it. I’m not alone in loving it — it has four stars, it’s on the SLJ Mothership’s year end list, and it’s fantasy, and there’s action, and there are pirates, and it’s atmospheric and beautiful, and there are magical reading powers, and that cover is so wow, and and AND! What can I say? Sometimes you feel like possibly a book was designed, down to a molecular level, to be a You Book. This is one of those times for me. But now that I’ve actually read it, and sat with it for a bit, I’m going to do my best and try to have a balanced take for our Printzly purposes.
We voted, and we have some results to share!
(Insert boilerplate about how this will be the simple version of the results with analysis to follow when Joy finishes geeking out over the numbers.)
But first, a reminder about honor vote procedures:
Based on the results of this ballot, the committee will decide if it wishes to name honor books and, if so, how many.
We can name up to four Pyrite honor books, per RealCommittee rules, but we don’t have to — last year, the RealCommittee only named two, which was a bold move (usually all four get honored). In my own RealCommittee year, we debated long and hard over how many honor books to name because of the points gap; we’ve seen this in the Pyrite before as well, where there is a clear distinction between the most supported and the least supported of the top four books. We can suss this out in the comments, and decide what we, as a shadow committee, want to name, but to do that you’ll need some numbers. Here they are:
The Lie Tree was the clear frontrunner — no surprise — with
70 75* points (7/5/0/1).
There’s a huge gap before the next group of books, which are pretty tightly clustered, as follows:
We Are the Ants: 35 (2/3/2/0)
Still Life with Tornado: 34 (2/2/3/1)
Scythe: 32 (3/1/1/3)
The Female of the Species: 32 (2/3/1/0)
Just to give a fuller sense of the points spread, March Book 3 just missed the top 4, coming in with 30 points (2/1/3/2), and The Sun is Also a Star had 29 (2/1/3/1); after that there’s another drop down to 22 points.
So, have at it: 1 honor book? 2? 3? Or do we go for the full four? (And if so, how?) Some years this is one of the more difficult choices the RealCommittee makes; let’s do our best to be as thoughtful.
*An earlier version of this post stated that The Lie Tree had 70 points due to a spreadsheet error.
Oh, 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.
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.
While 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!
It wouldn’t be January at Someday without roundup review posts galore! I’m nothing if not a stickler for tradition so we’re rolling into hump day with three nonfiction books covering three very different subjects: a man whose story might as well be myth, a complicated and unpopular war, and a pacifist turned spy. If there’s any thread connecting these three books it’s perhaps that none have been short listed for the YALSA nonfiction award, which demonstrates the depth of quality nonfiction for young readers we saw in 2016. With no shot at the nonfiction award, do any of these (appearing below in order of author’s last name) stand a chance at the Printz?
That 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.
We’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.
OK, this was supposed to be a nonfiction roundup, and it sort of still is, because I am going to talk about a few titles. However it also sort of isn’t because I definitely have one title that I want to focus on. I’m also slightly skipping around in time (through the magic of this blog post and not actually a time machine, or anything) — but in order to fit this all in, I’m writing about two titles from the fall with a mid-year title. Obviously we can focus on any title in the comments — but I’ve got a rave coming on and I wanted to warn you all about that from the start. [Read more…]
Lucy and Linh, in addition to being a quintessential coming-of-age story, is a novel about power, class, and racial microaggressions. It’s about the hard work of adjusting our sense of self when we land in an unfamiliar environment and it’s about finding peace through that process. Alice Pung delivers these themes in a package of well-paced narrative, lovely descriptive writing, and an earnest (although occasionally sardonic) voice.
If you can’t tell from that intro, Lucy and Linh is one of my favorite books of 2016 and a very strong contender for the Printz.