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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Far Far Away: Once upon a time…

16030663 Far Far Away: Once upon a time... Far Far Away, Tom McNeal
Knopf Books for Young Readers, July 2013
Reviewed from Final Copy

It is perhaps the most polarizing title of the year. Love, hate, and debate about audience have all bubbled up around Tom McNeal’s Far Far Away. A National Book Award finalist, the novel also has five starred reviews and has made four of the year’s best lists; clearly, there is a lot of love for this book. But whenever I discuss Far Far Away with someone who didn’t like it, they don’t just dislike the book, it’s more like disdain.

I’m not one of those people but I’m not quite on the side of adoration either. McNeal’s most prominent theme is story—its power and our lives as stories are two variations that we see in the novel. McNeal’s use of storytelling (specifically, fairy tales) as a major theme is done well enough, but when analyzed with other elements of the novel such as voice, style, and characters, Far Far Away is a book made up of discrete notes that, when played together, make a dissonant sound.
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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

13477676 Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Matthew Quick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, August 2013
Reviewed from ARC

True confession: I had never heard of Matthew Quick until Silver Linings Playbook became an Oscar contender last fall, but then Sophie reviewed Boy 21 for the blog, and then in true Baader-Meinhof fashion, the ARC for Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock showed up on Karyn’s desk. This was probably less a case of Baader-Meinhof and more that Matthew Quick really was (and continues to be) having a moment. Which means I approached Leonard Peacock with a mixture of curiosity and tempered expectations because I’m always skeptical of anyone who’s “having a moment.”

Well, there is a lot of Printz-worthy stuff going on here. Thematically rich, ambitious in voice and style, this novel absolutely deserves to be a contender. But does it hold up to a close reading?

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

15786110 Relish: My Life in the KitchenRelish: My Life in the Kitchen, Lucy Knisley
First Second, April 2013
Reviewed from Final Copy

I was diagnosed with Celiac disease on Halloween eight years ago. That’s eight years of politely saying, “no, thank you” when offered a delicious pastry, forgoing mom’s signature stuffing on Thanksgiving, and checking restaurant menus ahead of any dinner out with friends. As anyone with food issues can tell you, the hardest part of having a restricted diet is adjusting socially and emotionally. Lucy Knisley perfectly defines the value of food in Relish: “When we eat, we take in more than just sustenance.” She’s actually describing the cultural immersion through food she experienced in Japan, but the statement resonates because it’s about the complex role of food in our lives.

Relish has only received one star (from Publisher’s Weekly), but it’s one of my favorite titles of the year. Yeah, it speaks to me because I have a lot of complicated emotions about food, but it’s also charming and witty, earnest and playful, and it has illustrated recipes that will make you want to run to your kitchen and start cooking.
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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*

Hello!

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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Dodger

Dodger DodgerDodger, Terry Pratchett
Harper, October 2012
Reviewed from ARC

So, Dodger is a heartsong book for me. I realize it’s not perfect — certainly not with regard to accuracy, which we’ll get to in a moment — but it is almost perfectly put together, and is certainly enough of an exemplar of voice, style and thematic development that I hope the 2013 RealCommittee will take a serious look (or maybe a second look) at it. In view of all the great titles before us, I would be surprised to see it take the gold, but you’d have to be a real nasty geezer, to borrow a term from Dodger himself, to snipe at any accolades thrown Sir Terry’s way.   [Read more...]

A Little Bit of House Keeping

Remember how we mentioned we were going to talk about books in roughly chronological order, but then we not-helpfully-at-all listed them alphabetically by — of all librarian crimes — title?

Well, it’s occurred to us that those of you reading along might appreciate more of an indexed approach.

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Contendas!

books Contendas!

This might be a bit more than the 60-odd contenders we've actually got. And also it's not actually any of our piles. Frankly, none of us felt that our piles were nearly as picturesque as this conveniently cc-licensed image by Flickr user Katey Nicosia.

Here it is: the Someday My Printz Will Come list of possible Printzs!

This list comprises those books that we, speaking as Printz veterans and YA librarians/reviewers/bloggers, feel very very sure the RealCommittee is looking at, and that we are therefore planning to discuss here.

How can we be sure?

Not gonna lie, there’s probably a little bit of sheer, unadulterated hubris driving our conviction.

But also, and with less flippancy, we know from our own experiences and those of many colleagues who have served time on the RealCommittee that the members of the RealCommittee are reading widely and paying close attention to buzz, reviews, and stars. The RealCommittee folks are probably also reading books that didn’t make our list, and we they may not even finish reading some of the books that did, so we are by no means claiming that this is a comprehensive list. Nevertheless, we feel confident that this longlist should have significant overlap with the RealCommittee’s longlist this year.

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Where have we been?

Hi!

We kind of disappeared for a week there, sorry! There were vacations! And back to school panics! And a guest post from Joy covering another preview that I failed to properly queue. Or possibly that the software failed on, given the comment weirdness, but I kind of suspect it was my fault.

And now we’re counting down to the contenda list release date!

I’ll post Joy’s preview coverage and my own coverage of another summer preview this week, and in the meantime, if there is a book you want to put forward as a contenda, stars notwithstanding (we’re still using the 3-star auto-contenda rule, arbitrary as it is, for the sake of convenience), please put the title forward in the comments here, ideally with author and pub date if it isn’t already out.

Thanks all, and soon enough, we’ll let the games begin!

Reading, Reading, Reading!

Well, we all know THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is THE book of the year (so far!). When did we last have a contemporary, realistic fiction title with this much buzz and prepub excitement? It probably goes without saying, but if you are the one person who hasn’t read it yet, be sure to get to it before September. We might just launch with this one, since we know some folks are already spoiling for that fight!

Now, let’s talk about the books that you might not have read yet, but probably ought to if you want to play along. Finally, remember that any books with three or more stars is automatically a contenda, so if you’ve gotten to something we haven’t, do let us know in the comments what deserves to go the distance—or not.

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