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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Checking in with the mothership – SLJ’s Best of 2016

With only six weeks left in 2016—an almost universally recognized dumpster fire of a year—the best of lists will release in a steady stream. We take the lists seriously because they can help us identify books that are beginning to have a strong consensus opinion, as well as books that may become a dark horse.

SLJ editors discussed a selection of favorites from their Best of 2016 list in a fun live stream (which you can view here and on KidLit TV). The full list will go live on SLJ’s website next week but you can download a PDF of all 66 titles now.

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It Begins…

PW coverToday, we interrupt our usual 3 review posts per week schedule to do our first list look.

Because yes, it’s November, and yes, we’re in the rapid dash to the end of the year, and yes, the Best of lists have begun with PW’s, which landed last week.

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The List, Abbreviated

Photo by Flickr user List_84, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Photo by Flickr user List_84, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Traditionally, we’ve launched the season with our massive (like, 90 titles long) reading list, but when we open with the big list, we always end up regretting approximately one-third of the titles.

So this year, we’re going to share a shorter, not even slightly exhaustive list. Here are our top 25 titles, included either because we’ve already read them or because they’ve gotten all the stars (by which I mean 4 or more, marked with an asterisk) or because the author or description have us thinking these are likely to be worth the conversation.

Obviously, we won’t be reviewing only 25 books this season, and we have plenty of books we’ve read that probably won’t go the distance but are certainly worth a conversation and therefore a post. But here’s the 25 we’re most excited to talk about, alphabetized by title because that’s how we’ve been discussing them.

American Girls, Alison Umminger
As I Descended, Robin Talley
The Bitter Side of Sweet*, Tara Sullivan
Blood Red, Snow White, Marcus Sedgwick
Burn Baby Burn*, Meg Medina
Character, Driven*, David Lubar
Every Exquisite Thing, Matthew Quick
Exit, Pursued by a Bear*, E.K. Johnston
Golden Boys*, Sonya Hartnett
The Head of the Saint, Socorro Acioli
Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley
The Lie Tree*, Frances Hardinge
The Memory of Light*, Francisco X. Stork
My Lady Jane, Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
The Passion of Dolssa*, Julie Berry
Railhead, Philip Reeve
The Reader*, Traci Chee
Samurai Rising*, Pamela S. Turner
The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner
The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan
Spontaneous, Aaron Starmer
Still Life with Tornado, A.S. King
Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin
Unbecoming*, Jenny Downham
We Are the Ants*, Shaun Davis Hutchinson

What would you add? Remove? Actually, let’s play this committee style: these are our nominations thus far. What are yours?

We’ll be back Monday with our first review. Catch you then!

PW Launches List Season!

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 11.58.00 AMProbably the exclamation point was unnecessary, since (A) PW always kicks off the pack and (B) it’s November when the season always launches.

BUT!

It’s still exciting. And full of surprises! And books I haven’t read, which is always a concern. Why are there so many books? Why must we all have to pick and choose? Why can’t we read instead of sleep?

(These are the questions I ask every year, so at least in that respect, some things are exactly as expected.)

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Kicking Things Off (and a LIST)

1484545713_a6477d339e_zLabor Day has come and gone. School begins today for NYC. And the awards are only 4 months away.

In other words, we’re back in action!

If you’re stumbling upon us for the first time, remember: we know nothing (Jon Snow). But we’re going to have a blast speculating the &*#$ out of the 2016 Printz Award*, and we’d love to have you join in.

Need more info on who we are and what we’re about? Please poke through the archives and the about sections.

Those of you who have been with us all along really only want one thing: The List.

So here it is.

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The (Very Long) List

We’ve got a list. We’ve checked it twice.

(I want to make a naughty or nice joke, but really, naughty books just don’t make it on Printz contender speculation lists.)

We’ve considered buzz, that strange ephemeral thing that happens on Goodreads and Twitter, we’ve looked at stars (shoutouts, ever and always, to Jen and her amazing list, without which we would have no accurate data on stars and books), and finally we’ve gone over the list of previous winners and honorees to see who has new books out this year.

Whew!

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Book List

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

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Top 5(s)

Hopefully you’ve already voted for the Pyrite Printz* (if you haven’t, do so!), but maybe you had some Printz picks that didn’t make that shortlist?

Well, so do we. So we thought we’d fill these final hours before the Pyrite polling closes by talking about our top 5s.

And as we talked through our lists, a very interesting dichotomy came up: were we going to discuss our top 5 books from the heart? Or from the head?

Because there were differences, although they aren’t mutually exclusive lists. So we decided we’d give you both!

Note that these are not predictions — we’re going to make our best guesses as to what the RealCommittee will choose (and doubtless be completely wrong!) on Sunday, at the very 11th hour. No, these are hopes, and dreams, and books we can’t let go of.

Anyway, read on for Sarah and Karyn’s Top 5 Heart and Top 5 Head YA Books of 2012. With annotations, sort of. Alphabetized by title, not ranked.

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Where We At?

You might, perhaps, have noticed the blog has been slow. You might have found yourself, say, spending scads of money on Thinkgeek or Onlineshoes or Etsy while waiting for a blog post to load. Oh, was that just me? Well, I’ll have some happy relatives come Christmas.

But you know what I am talking about, and we’ve all been frustrated. Well, we have some good news and some not so good news.

The good news: the blogs are migrating! Soon, Someday will be shiny and new and we’ll have a new logo and it will all be clean design and fast loading awesomesauce.

The bad news: Instead of some lead time, and waiting until the optimal time in terms of the blog (which would be after the YMA announcements, of course), the server situation is dictating immediate action.

As in, midnight tonight.

Sadly, this means five super exciting posts that are in the works but not ready to go live are now on hold until the migration is over — which could be as late as New Year’s. Comments made after midnight tonight might not migrate. Basically, at midnight we go dark, and we’re not sure when we’ll go back up.

When we do, we’ll have The Brides of Rollrock Island (short version? Stunning but pacing not perfect, but did I mention stunning?), The Raven Boys (love! But there are flaws. Although it might still be a top fiver for Karyn), Bomb (Joy is doing that one, and she is obsessing over chapter endings in YA nonfiction right now), Ask the Passengers (Sarah, thumbs up), and Dodger (Sophie loves it!) queued up and ready to go.

So that’s where we’re at.

On the bright side, although we’ve got a few books yet to read plus the five I just mentioned stuck in limbo for a week or two, we HAVE covered, in some form, most of the official contender list we put together in September. And we’re doing our best to pick away at the write-ins, the books that were added to the list because someone nominated them for the Pyrite*, or they short-listed for the Morris, or made more than one year-end list.

Click through for the list of 93 (!) books that ended up being the long list (auto-contenders, general buzz, and write-ins), color coded and linked. And there’s an opportunity to write a guest post on behalf of an as-yet undiscussed book!

And in the meantime, start taking notes for the Pyrite* — we’ll be discussing those titles starting as soon as possible after Jan 1, so use this server-forced downtime to really get your arguments for and against all lined up. Remember to consult the RealPrintz P&P, which we, like the RealCommittee, should use to help organize our arguments, and be prepared for some seriously intense discussion. Because we plan to bring it!

And also in the meantime (and thanks to Miriam for the suggestion), you can go ahead and take our new readership poll — we’ll post results when we are live again!

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Lists, Lists, Lists!

CC-licensed image by The Meeting Place North, UK

Yesterday was full of goodness! We saw the New York Times Notables, Library Journal’s YA for Adults list (which has strong crossover with the contender list, no surprise), and a peek (via Twitter) at the SLJ list, which is full of goodness and a few surprises.

Sometime in the next few days, and as even more lists come out, I’ll have more to say — this is the kind of data I like to obsess over, after all. But today, only one list really matters: the Pyrite Printz nominations!

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