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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Rose Under Fire


rose1 Rose Under FireRose Under Fire
by Elizabeth Wein

Disney Hyperion, September 2013
Reviewed from an ARC

Last year, we had a lot of great conversation about Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, which ended up with a silver medal. This year, we have its companion title, Rose Under Fire. With two starred reviews, will this title go the distance? I’m not so sure; I’ve gone through at least three different stages of thinking about this book. I think I’ve settled on “not likely.”

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to enjoy here: The writing is beautiful, and the decision to keep first person diary style benefits this story. It allows for immediate, emotional connection with Rose, and also provides an opportunity to track the changes Rose undergoes through the course of the story. Her change in voice from part one to part two is abrupt and effective; you’re warily drawn in, trying to understand what changes have happened. And the polished writing of the third section gives the book a gorgeous, formal (but still emotional and effective) ending. [Read more...]

More on the Awards

InDarkness More on the Awards

In Darkness, with its Printzly bling on display!

Apologies for the radio silence! Almost as soon as the YMAs were over, it was time for an annual conference on education and technology, and I’m afraid I switched gears 100% from my book self to my tech self, and the blog was the poorer for it.

We will be taking a brief hiatus soon (and actually, readers, how long that will be is something we’d like some input on, but not today), but the past week was just a question of poorly planning for a conference that has significant impact on mine and Sarah’s lives.

With the excuses out of the way, and the high emotions hopefully down to a simmer…

A huge thank you to the RealCommittee, who read and read and read all year! As a YA librarian, as a reader, and as someone who has served on that committee (and unpaid, volunteer position, glory notwithstanding), I truly appreciate how hard they worked and how thoughtfully they deliberated. We wouldn’t be here without them!

Now, how ’bout that Printz award?? [Read more...]

Code Name Verity, Pyrite Redux

Karyn has been talking about Code Name Verity all year, starting with a teaser in her March 19th post (a post that wasn’t even about books we’d been reading, mind you).

And despite a few other top contenders, this is the one that seems to have all the love, pulling the most votes when we created the Pyrite* shortlist.

In her formal review, Karyn praised the craft of the novel: “The tightness of Wein’s grasp on her plot, her characters — all very impressive. That’s the piece most one-off readers will probably walk away in awe of, from a technical perspective, and it is awe-inspiring.” She also praised the wealth of literary references, which all speak to the plot and themes of CNV, and the thematic depths.

In fact, she concluded by saying “Simply put, best book this year.” Which is a pretty strong statement, especially given how often we tend to hedge our bets around here.

But even Karyn conceded that there are flaws here, and the comments discussion raised a number of them, most pressingly the question of plausibility.

Now that the year is drawing to a close, and the YMA’s are only days away, where do you stand? Is CNV still a serious contenda, for the Pyrite and for the RealPrintz? Or, having sat with the flaws raised by some close readers, has this slipped a bit in your estimation?

Discuss!

 

*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!

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity Code Name VerityCode Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
Hyperion, May 2012
Reviewed from ARC

At last! I finally get to write about my one true love of the year, the book I will champion against all others as the be all, end all best book of the year.

(Sorry, Railsea, you rock, but you’re still not number one, Pyrite nomination notwithstanding.)

Oh god, now that the moment is here I feel such pressure to make the case. Because this is, for my money, the runaway best written book of the year. And yes, I loved it, but that’s not actually the point at all. The point is that this is a masterwork of writing, full of literary flourishes, tightly plotted, rich in character, well-grounded in reality, haunting in setting, and just hitting it out of the park on so many levels. It deserves the Printz.

(And look, people, the world has been amazing about keeping mum about some of the intricacies of this plot, because there are twists and reveals and they are super. But after nearly a year of keeping mum unless the other party in the conversation had also read it, I’m going to break my discretion, because I can’t discuss CNV with any level of specificity or textual evidence unless I give it all away. So do us all a favor. If you haven’t read CNV yet, please don’t click through. This is a book that is already fettered by the weight of expectation for some readers; do yourself a favor and read it unspoiled. We’ll wait. You’ll be back.)

[Read more...]