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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Golden Boys

goldenboysGolden Boys by Sonya Hartnett
Candlewick, April 2016
Reviewed from an ARC

Oh, friends, I may not be the person to write this review — not least because I haven’t technically finished reading this quite short book. I mean, I’ve read most of it, and what I’ve missed, I have skimmed through as I was trying to get ready for this semi-late review. If I just waited to post until tomorrow morning, I’d have it all done and feel slightly more legit about this. But…if I’m being honest, finishing isn’t going to get me where I need to be to make a solid call on this one. Hartnett is a past honoree, and Golden Boys has four well earned stars — the writing is lovely, full of well-integrated motifs and gorgeous imagery.

I know, I know, I sound like the most ungrateful reviewer around, not appreciating all this bounty! We’ve talked before about preferences and baggage, and the difference between reading for yourself, reading for a collection, and reading for committee (all so different!). I am always someone who wants a lot of plot in my plot, who would prefer that characters run around — and maybe swing a vorpal sword while they run. But I recognize that’s not always what I will get in my reads. Case in point here!  [Read more…]

What would you bring to the nominating table?

Thanksgiving Table by Barbara Kolbe Baker. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thanksgiving Table by Barbara Kolbe Baker. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thanksgiving is so close, I can almost smell the turkey and mashed potatoes (or maybe I shouldn’t write when I’m hungry?). Of course, Thursday isn’t only about eating your weight in [insert your favorite Thanksgiving dish here]. We express our gratitude for all of the things that makes our lives meaningful.

Here at Someday, we are so thankful for all of you, our readers who contribute smart comments and point us towards hidden gems. We often refer to this blog as a mock committee, with you as our fellow committee members. So why don’t we make it official?

Which 2016 YA book would you nominate? Is there a novel you think is underrated or overlooked? Which title do you want to champion as a contender?

[Read more…]

The Steep and Thorny Way

steepandthornyway_cvThe Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Amulet Books, March 2016
Reviewed from a final copy

Not a roundup, not a Best Of list, not a bird OR a plane, it’s a review! With three stars and a shout out in the comments of our original list, this is historical fiction with a twist — a Hamlet-infused ghosty twist. This is not the only Shakespeare inspired fiction that we’ve looked at this year, and it’s certainly not the only historical fiction. What makes this a standout title? [Read more…]

College Applications

Joy just wrote about authenticity and the way a You Read can find you at just the right time and be the book you need. I don’t need to tell you all about that, you already know; that’s why you read blogs about books, and talk about books, and tell other people about books. She also talked about how sometimes a personal reaction to a You Read can make it tricky to really assess a book — it’s like the positive version of baggage. So I have two reads here that have an awful lot in common — they’re both fictional takes on a novel-length college admissions essay, but they go in wildly different directions, feel like totally different reads, and I’m having completely different reactions to them. These differing reactions are (I suspect) a lot more about me than the books. Which is of course the opposite of what Real Committee members are supposed to be doing (or even what we’re supposed to be doing here at the blog).

A small housekeeping note: I’m jumping a little out of line with this post, because we’re working our way chronologically through the year (more or less), and one of these is actually a summer book. Apologies to purists, but they’re too intriguingly similar and dissimilar to not connect. [Read more…]

Samurai Rising

bk_samuraiSamurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Gareth Hinds
February 2016, Charlesbridge
Reviewed from a final copy

Here’s my first nonfiction title of the year, coming to us from back in February! We’ve got four stars, some love in the comments of our original list post — and who doesn’t love history? (I mean, maybe not the peasants burninating in the countryside at the time, probably. They might have argued that history sucked.) Turner’s title is an intriguing example of narrative nonfiction. With so few sources, with so little to really go on historically speaking, Turner manages to fill in with a lot of details, related research, and intelligent guesswork. She paints a vivid picture adding in details to set the scene — blacking teeth, Samurai training, armor, and other aspects of life in feudal Japan. [Read more…]

Rebel of the Sands

rebel

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Viking, March 2016
Reviewed from a final copy

OK, I’m a day late with this review because, well, I wanted to talk about this book and then I wasn’t sure if I ought to talk about this book, but I just wanted to keep thinking about this book and it was distracting me from the other books I was considering writing up this week. And basically, if we’re going to move past this week and get this review up, we’re just going to have to push our way through this review all together. 

To actually talk about Rebel: this is a title with three stars. We didn’t include it in our original official nomination list. It’s a debut title, and it’s also the start of a new series (and series books and the Printz don’t always work well together, although Morris has had some love for that). All of this may mean I’ll be talking to myself here. But I’ve got things to work out, and a blog, and, uh, I’m all out of bubblegum. Or something. [Read more…]

Here We Go!

CC-licensed image by The Meeting Place North, UK

CC-licensed image by The Meeting Place North, UK

Hello! Howdy! Greetings!

Once upon a time, a couple of former Printz committee members were invited to start a blog for SLJ, a YA counterpoint to the always provocative and wonderful Heavy Medal. And thus Someday My Printz, a Printz speculation blog, was born. Five years later, and here we are back again (now with three regular contributors), ready for another season of reading, guessing, opining, and conversing.

As always, we like to start the season by looking back at the official criteria and eligibility guidelines. We’ve discussed these in some depth before — here and here and here and here, and also here, because apparently we had a lot to say. I don’t want to belabor the point, but it’s always worth noting that the official criteria is a loosely written document seemingly designed to allow growth and change in how the Printz Committee defines excellence. (For our part, we each come at our idea of excellence little differently, and we’d love to hear how you all gauge it.)

One of the most wonderful aspects of committee-based awards is that they grow from a constant dialogue about excellence and from a place of mutual respect. The book I champion won’t necessarily be the one any of you, or Joy, or Sarah, champions. And yet from conversations about each of the nominees, and from close reading and rereading, the committee comes to a consensus each year. And while we (YA librarians, not just the bloggers at Someday) may not always be happy with the decision, the one thing I know from having had the privilege of being in that room for a year is that the decision is always right, even if a different committee could have gotten to a different slate.

So what we do here is not second guessing the amazing, dedicated librarians on the RealCommittee; instead, we try to have a shadow committee, made up of anyone who wants to talk about YA literature and literary excellence, making transparent the kind of in-depth, thoughtful reading the RealCommittee has been engaged in for months already.

Each week we’ll talk about some of this year’s eligible titles, or the conversations around those titles, or other related topics. We’ll do our best to approach the standards of the RealCommittee: close reading, listening to others, considering myriad factors and not relying on emotional responses (although those have a place too). Hopefully, you’ll join the conversation!

So that’s it, the story of where we came from and what we’re doing. Welcome to Someday my Printz Will Come, Year 5! As always, we invite you to join us as we kiss—I mean read!—all the frogs in the pond.

Infandous

infandousInfandous by Elana K Arnold
March 2015, Carolrhoda Lab
Reviewed from final ebook

I’ve been on a bit of a strange kick here at the end of this season. Untwine and Moonshot in particular really blew me away, but didn’t pick up a lot of stars between them. Infandous is somewhat similar in that it got two stars and didn’t make a year’s best list — and I really loved it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve talked before about the differences between stars and Printz votes, but…sometimes it does feel funny to be so rave-y about something that not every reviewer gave a star to. And I must acknowledge, as far as this specific title goes, I’m an easy mark; if you have a book on women, society, double standards, and fairy tales, then I’m pretty guaranteed to be first in line. So will this be a book that makes it to the final five? Well, for committee members who are most likely reading and rereading, that’s…hard to say. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]