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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

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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Honor Girl

honor girl coverHonor Girl, Maggie Thrash
Candlewick Press, September 2015
Reviewed from final copy

I was distracted while reading Honor Girl. The first two chapters orient the reader in the early days of the new millennium; there’s a list of celebrity crushes including Leonardo DiCaprio, Usher, and Justin Timberlake, our narrator is reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (and later, Goblet of Fire), and her favorite band is The Backstreet Boys. I spent most of the book trying to figure out if I’m older or younger than Maggie Thrash (as it turns out, I’m older by just six months). Near the end of the book a date is shown which confirmed my suspicion, but I had to read it a second time just so that I could experience the book without my self-centered curiosity getting in the way.

I’m mentioning this at the top of the review because those little references tethered me to the material in good and bad ways. I’ve never attended an all-girls school or camp, nor have I ever gone to a sleepaway camp. But I remember where and who I was in the summer of 2000. Being able to contextualize Maggie Thrash’s memoir through my understanding of myself at that time allowed me to fully appreciate how she captures a few months in her life when everything and nothing changed. It’s beautiful and nostalgic.

In our first round of Pyrite voting a couple of you gave Honor Girl your first place slot. With three stars and solid content to back it up, it’s not a longshot for the RealPrintz but there are a few things that will probably keep this one from the winner’s circle.
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Graphic Novels, redux

OK, I know I’ve already said it’s been quite a year for historical fiction (and, you know, I stand by that), but we’ve had some amazing graphic novels to read this year, too. I don’t know if we’ll replicate This One Summer’s total dominance at the YMAs (OK, maybe I’m slightly overstating there!), but I did have a rave for Nimona, and I’ve got some more excitement for two other titles here. How far will they go? Well, I’d be happy (though surprised) to see one in the final five, and ready to argue hard for the other. [Read more…]

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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Untwine

untwine

Untwine by Edwidge Danticat
Scholastic, September 2015
Reviewed from final copy

Can I admit something embarrassing? This is the first time I’m reading Edwidge Danticat. I’ve been recommending her for years to eager readers, but I haven’t actually sat down and read any myself, until now. But what a title to start with: Untwine has received 2 starred reviews, and came out in September. I loved reading this book; it had me tearing up on the subway, and nearly missing my stop. What are its chances to get a medal in January? Well, that depends (of course) on RealCommittee. The layered language and beautifully woven themes make this a memorable and gorgeous read, but there are a few flaws, too. [Read more…]

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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The Weight of Feathers

coverThe Weight of Feathers, Anna-Marie McLemore
Thomas Dunne Books, September 2015
Reviewed from ebook

In previous years, I’ve been much more familiar with the Morris Award nominees, but Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers is the only book of this year’s nominees that I’ve read. Truthfully, if I don’t get around to the others I don’t think I’ll mind so much because McLemore’s debut is a gem. (Although, I’ll always be sad that Adam Silvera wasn’t recognized for More Happy Than Not. ::shakesfistatsky::)

Despite the Morris nod, I think The Weight of Feathers is flying (no pun intended) under the radar this season because it’s a quieter story that on the surface seems like it’s been done to death. Young star-crossed lovers forced to live with the sins of their parents’ generation isn’t a new concept. McLemore’s approach, using magic realism in a contemporary setting, heightens the stakes for her characters. Are the families really cursing each other? What will happen if a Paloma touches a Corbeau?

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Pyrite Time!

It’s time to vote!

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page: The Pyrite is Someday’s Mock Printz. Instead of gold, we award fool’s gold — because mock/fool, right? (I am a sucker for a pun or pun adjacent reference.) We have no affiliation with the actual Printz, but occasionally we do in fact intersect with the RealPrintz winners, which is always super exciting.

This year, we’re doing it in high speed – no preliminary conversation beyond the conversations we’ve been having all along, no shorter list of nominations. ALL 2015 YA titles are eligible. Voting will happen in the comments. Votes are weighted (see process notes, below); feel free to add editorial comments but this is really a straight vote.

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Mocking the Night Away

Prince Printzbery, in his berry delicious crown.

Prince Printzbery, in his berry delicious crown.

A little bit of Mock related housekeeping to start off the week…

We’re just shy of a month out from the Youth Media Awards, so the clock is ticking. We’re also still reading frantically, trying to get to everything anyone says we should have read (we’ll fail, at least a little, but we’re trying! And still growing the list. So comments, yadda yadda, add your ideas, etc.)

This past weekend, we hosted our fourth in-person mock event, except we changed it up a little and looked at YA and children’s lit together in what has been dubbed the Printzbery (see also our series of posts about crossover books), a new tradition that I think we’ll keep.

And it’s well past time to launch the Pyrite, in a slightly abbreviated version.

Read on for more info and to find our how we’re Pyriting this year.

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