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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Pyrite Redux: Recently Reviewed Nominees

We’ve been bringing the Pyrite* books back up for a second round of discussion, but a number of them were discussed so recently — and with their Pyrite nominations in mind — that it seems silly to post again about each one.

However, we didn’t want anyone to forget what makes these books at the very top of the top of the year, so here are the remaining Pyrite candidates revisited.

When guest blogger Joy reviewed Bomb, she said “With descriptive language and clever plot juggling, Sheinkin creates the atmosphere of life as a wartime spy (or a bomb-building physicist); it’s dangerous and exciting. This effective world building and use of stylistic tools create a book that feels light.” She then went on to list some criticisms, and concluded by wondering if Bomb is more style than substance. However, this is the one nonfiction book that made the Pyrite shortlist and is dearly beloved by many. It’s also gotten a lot of love from the Newbery speculation crowd over at Heavy Medal. Printz pick or pan?

Ask the Passengers swept our live Mock Printz event, and seems to be the book everyone loves, although it lacks the splash of Code Name Verity. Sarah’s review praised almost every aspect of the book, especially the characterization. She also mostly predicted it will place in the RealPrintz when she said “I think this title could go far at the table.” Is she on to something? Is this the one that can win the consensus and take the Pyrite, and maybe even the gold?

Whether or not it gets pyrite, nickel (isn’t that the pyrite equivalent for silver?),  gold, or silver, The Brides of Rollrock Island wins the award for most hotly contested title of the year, at least around here. Karyn’s review was a great big waffle. She loved the language and the scope, but was left puzzled by the messages seemingly encoded in the themes and the plot. And the comments were almost equally divided, with no one seeming to be particularly swayed by anyone else’s observations and thoughts. Books we can talk about for hours are good, but when it comes to the Printz, consensus is key and a book this divisive often falls by the wayside. Will that be the fate of Brides?

The Raven Boys is a delicious fantasy and first in a series. And the same goes for The Diviners. Do either of them have what it takes to place despite the series issue? And the genre issue? Or are these heart books that will fall off the list as soon as the voting starts?

So that’s it, the last of the Pyrite Redux posts. Voting will begin today, so consider carefully your top three picks. And feel free to use the comments here as one last chance to sway the other voters. How persuasive can you be?

 

*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, 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!

Every Day, Pyrite Redux

In early December, Sarah reviewed David Levithan’s Every Day.

At the time, Sarah said, “It’s ambitious storytelling; Levithan is balancing a lot of factors (many characters; a story about first love; a story about, well, a body snatcher who has no physical form) and the elements come together gracefully.”

She also pointed out some issues of pacing and lack of characterization in the laundry list of hosts A occupies.

In our local Mock Printz, this was was pretty thoroughly torn apart — the consensus was that it felt more like a book based in a message than is really ideal for an award-winner, and the message sometimes trumped development, making this fall right to the bottom of the pile.

Now that we’ve been thinking about it for a while and hopefully most folks have read the full Pyrite* shortlist, does Every Day still rate? Do you agree that message trumps tale, or does the original and thought-provoking premise make this into a serious finalist?

 

 

*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!

Seraphina, Pyrite Redux

In November, Karyn found a lot to say about Seraphina. In addition to being like tasty, delicious soup (that made sense in Karyn’s post, really), Hartman’s debut novel improves on reread. After her third go around with the text, Karyn raved about the complicated mystery that pulls the reader along (first read’s joy); the impeccable, detailed world building that serves to better illuminate the characters (second read’s joy); the nuance in the writing that brings unexpected layers and levels to the characters (third read’s joy). With six starred reviews and more love in the comments, Karyn was clearly not alone.

There were a few minor flaws pointed out. Per the comments, a few people mentioned a couple of awkward moments in the writing, a weak dream world, and an unnecessary love interest.

It’s on our Pyrite* list, it’s a Morris finalist, and now we have a chance to re-discuss. What do you guys think?

*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!