And I do mean at last — for the first half of the votes, Boxers & Saints and Eleanor & Park were running neck and neck. But the final surge pulled one ahead conclusively, so we can call it — and move on to honor votes, if anyone has time given that my Twitter feed indicates the whole world has already arrived in Philadelphia!
Is the subject too niche? Are readers putting all their support behind Eleanor & Park?
I lurve E&P. You know I do. But Fangirl is the stronger book. It’s richer thematically, has better characterizations, a more complex story, and a fascinating structure. If only one of Rowell’s novels is recognized by the Real Committee this year, it should be Fangirl.
Did you know that “It’s a Pyrite runoff” can TOTALLY be sung to the tune of “It’s the final countdown”?
I know. We make your world better every day. Anyway, voting is open for the Pyrite, AGAIN. For 25 hours only (until 7 pm EST Thursday), so please vote fast!
(Although if you’re going to be truly thoughtful and imitate RealPrintz process as much as possible, before you vote you’ll take a look at what’s been said about all the books again, starting with any comments on the results post and then clicking through titles as needed; many of these have also been written up elsewhere and truly thorough voters will poke around at other blogs and in professional review sources as well.)
Voting is weighted — vote in order from your top choice to your third choice, and number them to be sure. Only vote for books on this list! And may the best book win.
17 & Gone
All the Truth That’s In Me
Boxers & Saints (as a single entity)
Charm & Strange
A Corner of White
Eleanor & Park
Far Far Away
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
The Golden Day
The Kingdom of Little Wounds
The Midnight Dress
More Than This
Rose Under Fire
The Summer Prince
*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. You probably figured that out on your own, but we like to make it clear!
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.
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!)
A few days ago on Twitter, Rachel Hartman (yes, you know, that Rachel Hartman, who brought us last year’s best debut — and one of last year’s best books, period), Seraphina, asked if we were doing a Morris shortlist roundup this year. The answer, sadly, was not really, because our Morris readership hasn’t been thorough enough. Out of that conversation came the following guest post, in which Rachel reviews Charm and Strange, the most Printz-buzzed of the Morris shortlist titles.
For those of you who don’t
stalk follow Rachel on any social media, a few salient biographical details and some links: In addition to Seraphina (which won the Morris Award last year AND a Printz Honor) and also the author of the forthcoming sequel (in March 2015. I KNOW) Shadow Scale. She can, as mentioned, be found on Twitter, where she procrastinates, talks about music and writing, frequently makes me laugh, and is a general source of things that are Good. But if you really want all the details, you should head over to her website and blog, this month featuring Morris shortlist authors and books — in fact, she’ll be posting an interview with Stephanie Kuehn later today! But enough of the introduction and on with the write-up.
I asked Karyn whether y’all would be doing any kind of Morris roundup this year. She told me time was tight, so probably not. I’ve only read Charm & Strange from this year’s Morris list, but I volunteered to review it because I’m on deadline. My procrastination knows no bounds.
There will be spoilers ahead — to my great relief, since this is a difficult book to discuss without spoiling — but let me try to give you the spoiler-free condensed version first. I loved Charm & Strange, and that’s saying a lot. I’m a fantasy person. It takes a very special real-world, “problem” novel to keep my attention at all, let alone make me love it. This is an intensely painful book to read, however. In terms of awards, I don’t know. I never predict anything correctly. You could certainly write a multi-page paper on this book — or on the psychology, philosophy, and metaphor contained therein — and yet I don’t think I could bear to re-read it. I’m not sure how it would hold up if I did, since so much hinges upon the reader and Win discovering the truth together. Once all the terrible truths are revealed, is that all there is — and is that enough?
Come with me under the fold, and let’s dig into this thing!
Time for a true confession: of the five 2014 Morris Award nominated titles, I’ve read only one. All of the books had been on my to-read list before becoming Morris finalists, but we all know what happens with to-read lists and then you’ve only read one of the books. Fortunately for me, that book was Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence. It’s challenging and smart work from a promising writer—truly deserving of the Morris nod (and I really regret not being able to judge it against the rest of the field).
Mesrobian has a clear thesis in Sex & Violence; it’s mostly there in the title, but she’s also interested in how an already emotionally detached young person copes with PTSD. The latter is really the meat of the book and what makes it work: after a violent attack in his boarding school’s shower leaves him without a spleen, Evan begins to question his sexual history and actions which led to the assault. Mesrobian puts the reader directly in his head by writing in first person, but Evan is never entirely honest with himself, making him an impenetrable narrator. It’s only in his letters to Collette where he reveals anything true about himself, because it’s as he writes these letters that he begins to understand who he is. Evan’s voice is consistent and pitch perfect; this kind of assured writing is worth the price of admission.
Well, it’s time to vote for the Pyrite!
So enter your votes — weighted, 1, 2, and 3 — below and have your say. Voting will be open until 1/22, with any runoff and honor book votes on 1/23, and then we’ll post the results on the eve of Midwinter, just in time to be completely and totally surprised by the RealPrintz results.
Okay, not all the books, but three books for the price of one post: The Golden Day, Winger, and The Midnight Dress.
(It was going to be four books, because I stayed up way too late reading More Than This the other night, but I think I need to sit on that for another day or so before I can do it justice.)
Other than the facts that all three feature murders and have garnered three stars, these aren’t linked by anything other than that they needed to be talked about in the context of awards season.
We’re about two weeks away from the YMA’s so it’s the perfect time to highlight some books that are flying under the awards radar. Both of the titles I’m looking at today have excellent character writing and deal with themes of violence and what people do in extreme circumstances. Neither book quite has what it takes for the Printz, but I was surprised that they didn’t show up on more best of the year lists. Thankfully, both are BFYA nominees so while I keep my fingers crossed, read on for why I think they deserve some kind of recognition.