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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

The Long List

Everyone’s seen the NBA long list, yes?

Five titles are what I would consider firmly children’s and not within the Printz purview.

Of the other five, four were on our own longlist the other day, have garnered several stars, and are the books people* are generally speaking about.

(*people in this case=book people with a focus on well written YA)

Two things jumped out for our purposes: 1, Two Boys Kissing, which none of us have read yet,  clearly needs to move up on the to-read pile; 2, WHOA: Boxers and Saints appears to be considered one book from the National Book Award judges’ perspective.

(And speaking for me, alone, rather than the Someday collective, I am so happy there are others who felt The Summer Prince was something special, since it’s my personal frontrunner right now!)

So? Thoughts?


The Lucy Variations

The Lucy Variations, Sara Zarr
Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, May 2013
Reviewed from ARC

lucy variations 200x300 The Lucy Variations

If you stop doing the thing that defined you and made you special for most of your life, who are you and can you ever move on?

The Lucy Variations is a meditation on the classic young adult themes of loss, identity formation, and relationships – platonic, familial, and romantic. What makes Sara Zarr’s novel unique is that it is also a novel about talent, artistry, commitment, and the consequences of being a professional before you’re an adult. The Lucy Variations succeeds as the former, but excels as the latter.

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Book List

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

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We Aten’t Ded*


If you have been checking back regularly, you might have A: been disappointed when we did, after all, go dark, and B: noticed that we edited our last post to reflect that we would indeed be going mostly dark.

Life. It gets in the way, doesn’t it?

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What Do We Read Next? or, Potential Contendas

The Champ 500x500 What Do We Read Next? or, Potential Contendas

Which books can go the distance?
(CC-licensed image “The Champ” by truebluetitan)

Ok, so we’re a month plus into 2013 and I’ve finally, finally! started a 2013 title.

(Just One Day, by Gayle Forman, in case you wondered.)

And now I need to decide what to read next. So let’s talk 2013 publications that belong on the contenda list already, whether for critical acclaim (by which I mean, stars) or buzz.

I’ve got a few titles on the list already, so I’m thinking I’ll show you mine and you’ll show me yours. Good? Good.

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Watching the Awards…

The following stream of consciousness reflects my real time responses while watching the YMAs; I liveblogged through the YALSA portion of the morning. For those seeking actual information, the ALA Press Release is the place to go.

Trying to liveblog here. This might be an Epic Fail, but doing my best!

Lots of good stuff on the Alex list, including Mr. Penumbra, which I started last night on the rec of a teen and am adoring.

Schneider skewed young this year, so I have zero intelligent commentary.

Yay Drama!

Gone, Gone, Gone: already on my to-read list, jumping up right now.

October Mourning: couldn’t handle it emotionally.

Sparks has a great subtitle! But I’ve never heard of it.

AND ARISTOTLE AND DANTE for the win! Despite having been a little cool on the book, I am super delighted by this! So delighted that I suspect I liked the book better than I realized.


I love Kadir Nelson. I think that might be a professional requirement at this point, actually.

And Bryan Collier!

And Jackie Woodson!

Oh! Yay for No Crystal Stair — a beautiful and unexpected piece of writing.

Hand in Hand is another one I missed. Anyone have thoughts on it?

The MAE surprises me in the best ways every year. Waiting with baited breath…

So perfect! I grew up (well, at least I was still young when I read Alanna the first time…) on Tamora Pierce’s work — and based on the cheers, so did many others! And those are two series I particularly loved. Super cheers!

Morris. I maybe can’t breathe I want this for Seraphina so much.


(edited to add: In case you couldn’t tell, Seraphina did indeed win, and it was the highlight of the YMAs for me)

Nonfiction. Joy is biting her nails… (She’s totally pulling for Titanic.)

I totally called that one — this is THE nonfiction book this year, the one everyone loves as a reader (even Joy).

YAY BETH! I am delighted to see Monstrous Beauty listed for the Odyssey. Ooh, and now I want to see how Fault plays on audio. Oh. This would not have been the audio for me.


The moment we’ve all been waiting for, the Printz! It’s here! Will it be my Printz??


Aristotle and Dante — I did say this was a serious contenda, right?

An honor for CNV.  I am… troubled. But I can get over it. At least it got something!

Dodger, making Sophie’s day, and I am always happy with any recognition for Sir Terry.

And hey, there’s the dark horse! The White Bicycle, what?

And… In Darkness. Wow. Well, I’m awfully glad we got to it in time!

Huge kudos to the committee, and super congrats to all of these books! I’m delighted that at least one of my faves, and one of our predictions, medaled!

Comments are open, so comment away!

Boy21: Feeeeeeeelings, a Whole Lot More Than Feeeeeelings

Boy21 Boy21: Feeeeeeeelings, a Whole Lot More Than FeeeeeelingsBoy21, Matthew Quick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, March 2012
Reviewed from Final Copy

So, I should start this post by disclosing that I have a personal connection with this book and its author. I want to acknowledge my personal baggage (a topic that has been addressed particularly well in the comments to the most recent post about The Fault in Our Stars), which is:

  • I know Matthew Quick, and have followed his career with interest, because he was my sister’s favorite and most influential high school teacher,
  • I’ve had coffee and exchanged some tweets with him,
  • And he signed a copy of his first YA title, Sorta Like a Rock Star for my high school library’s collection.

All of which is to say, I have a great deal of affection for Quick, and for his books, and now that I’ve said all that, I think I can set it aside for the purposes of this review, in which I’ll make the case that his most recent YA title, Boy21, is a possible contender for a Printz Honor.

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All You Never Wanted

Another (and last for the year) guest post from pinch-hitter Joy Piedmont. This time, Joy raves about a book that made the contenda list with three stars but mostly deserves recognition as a serious buzz book. I’m a long time fan of Adele Griffin’s, and this is, I think, a stronger candidate than her last few YA titles when it comes to award chat. But I’ll let Joy explain why…

AYNW 198x300 All You Never WantedAll You Never Wanted, Adele Griffin
Knopf, October 2012
Reviewed from final copy

All You Never Wanted: it’s a gem of a title, isn’t it? It’s a warning, a temptation, and a promise written directly at you, pulling you in.

And Adele Griffin’s latest has more than a great title. It’s an engaging study of two teenage sisters told from their alternating perspectives. Attention-seeking Thea and anxiety-stricken Alex seem to be direct descendants of Edith Wharton’s characters. (It’s no surprise that in a recent online Q&A, Griffin revealed that she went through a Wharton phase, and discussed how that may have influenced AYNW). Like Wharton’s, Griffin’s characters are complex and fully realized in an exploration of wealth, privilege, class, desire, jealousy, and anxiety.

In the end, it’s a gorgeous little TARDIS of a novel.

(Bigger on the inside, for you non-Whovians).

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Drowned Cities, Pyrite Redux

drowned Drowned Cities, Pyrite ReduxIn November, Sarah reviewed Drowned Cities, from her admittedly biased perspective.

At the time, she praised the thematic depth: “It … explores what it means to be human, our inescapable need to create packs — and why we have to leave them. Bacigalupi scrutinizes humanity’s tendency to act monstrously, our insistence that we are civilized even when the evidence shows otherwise… Our identities are stories we tell ourselves to explain the situations we find ourselves in.”

She also praised the characterization and world building — although at least one comment raised the question of whether the world building here stands up without prior knowledge of the world (which Sarah’s repeated reads of Ship Breaker would have provided) — the powerful metaphors that work themselves into the narrative, and the careful pacing.

She mentioned a few issues with the book: some less than perfect characterization/weak dialog and weak moments in the plot. And, per the comments, an ending that is too hopeful.

A couple months have passed (and the book has been out since May), so we’ve all had a little time to sit with it. Since it’s a title on our Pyrite* short list, we need to consider: do these flaws knock Drowned Cities out of contention? Or will its strengths carry it through? Questions, questions. Let’s start answering them in the comments!

*The Pyrite Printz, or Pyrite, is the Someday My Printz Will Come mock Printz deliberation, and should not in any way be confused with YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award, often referred to here as the RealPrintz or Printz. Our predictions, conversations, and speculation about potential RealPrintz contenders and winners reflect only our own best guesses and are not affiliated with YALSA or the RealPrintz committee.

Lots of Unfinished Books

Tired 300x200 Lots of Unfinished Books

This is how I feel in December.
CC-licensed image by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar.

One of the things that no one believes when I say it is that I read less on winter break than any other time. There’s just no time — my kid stays up too late, we’re always visiting family or being visited, and if I manage to finish a book it’s a miracle.

And actually, my kid staying up late and visitors? Those are just excuses. Because really what happens is that I burn out. For 7 out of the past 10 years, my reading life has centered on a late January deadline, and my reading selection has been dictated not by my own whims and tastes but by the necessities and vagaries of nomination lists, whether official YALSA lists or our own contender list.

And when late December comes, and all my colleagues and friends talk about all the books they plan to read over break, I feel sad. Because what I have left to read at this point is a pile of books I’m just not that excited to read — that’s how they ended up at the bottom of the pile, after all. A few late additions to the list of must-reads might spark my interest, but my reading at this point is so purpose driven that I don’t feel like I can take the time to finish anything I can’t defend as a necessary read — these days, that means anything that falls below the top 20 or so books I’ve read this year feels like gross indulgence when there are other books clamoring to be read before the YMA announcements. This year, I’d really like to have read the winner and any honor books before they are the winner or honor books!

Mind you, I’m not complaining — all those committees were AMAZING experiences, and Someday is a dream come true. But everyone I know who has served on a selection or award committee has felt this burnout. And it probably colors how I read books that I come to for the first time this late in the award season, and certainly is one of the hazards of committee work.

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