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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

The Scorpio Races

scorpio 150x150 The Scorpio RacesSusan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series haunted me as I read The Scorpio Races. Not because the two are really that similar; more because they are linked by Celtic mythology. And also partly because that series and this book are rooted in a recognizable world that suddenly and delightfully reveals  mythological roots (well, Scorpio Races is sort of an alternate world that doesn’t actually exist, but still. It feels the same).

I think I also connected the two because of the water horses, the capall uisce. [Read more...]

Round Up, Part Two

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

YALSA’s final nomination lists were posted last week.

We thought it’d be interesting to see what we are looking at here versus what Best Fiction for Young Adults and Great Graphic Novels will be checking out in January. (I am leaving Quick Picks off because the QP charge is so dissimilar to the Printz charge. And since Popular Paperbacks is retrospective, we can safely leave that list out, too. And until the short lists for the Morris and Nonfiction awards come out, there’s nothing we can say about those.) [Read more...]

A Monster Calls

monster 150x150 A Monster CallsFair warning: this is a book that will hurt to read.

You’ve probably heard of it.  It’s getting stars in journals and a lot of love online. In fact, Heavy Medal wondered if it’d be eligible for the Newbery. It’s also got a moving, fascinating back story. It’s hinted at by the sentence on the cover (Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd), but the full story is here. [Read more...]

Strings Detached

blundellcover 198x300 Strings Detached“Timing is everything.”

It’s an adage. And a cliche. And the Achilles heel of Strings Attached.

The pedigree: 3 stars and an NBA-winning book already under the author’s belt made this one a solid contenda.

In the interest of full disclosure, I recognized the impressive qualities of What I Saw and How I Lied but never felt the love so many felt. So while I was looking forward to this one, it was on my pile for reasons of this blog rather than because I was dying to read it. I don’t think this affected my reading, but I am in a sharing mood right now. So there you go.

[Read more...]

This Dark Endeavor

So there are some things that we probably all know about Victor Frankenstein. Let’s make a list:

  1. Mad scientist.
  2. Ruthless determination.
  3. “IT’S ALIVE!”
  4. Questionable judgment. [Read more...]

For Whom the Bell Chimed

Screen shot 2011 10 16 at 5.18.12 PM 198x300 For Whom the Bell ChimedI keep starting to write about Chime. And then stopping.

(This is take 5.)

I’ve read a lot of books I really enjoyed thus far this year. And I’ve read a lot of really excellent books. Sometimes they’re even the same book.

But Chime was the first 2011 book that made me say wow, and a year later, it’s still making me say it. When I finished this (last October, having snagged a copy at a preview), I actually called up Sarah (who, I remind you, was still in the midst of her Printz term) and said, “I totally just read the 2012 Printz winner!” Sarah didn’t care, but I just kept babbling: I was giddy with the experience of reading Chime.

I don’t think I’m alone in my Chime love (6 starred reviews, NBA shortlist, and lots of generally great reviews). You can be sure the committee will be looking at this one (or, really, probably has looked, given the early pub date), and I would guess they’ll look pretty closely given the stars and the NBA nod.

Will it hold up?

[Read more...]

Ghost in the Well

anyacover 150x150 Ghost in the Well We have one graphic novel on our current list of contendas. (Well, we wanted to consider Craig Thompson’s Habibi, too, but that was published for adults, which means it’s ineligible. Le sigh.) In any case, Anya’s Ghost is getting a lot of critical love (four starred reviews as of 9/1) and even has a blurb from Neil Gaiman!

The plot: Anya goes to a second-rate prep school and wants nothing more than to fit in. Well, if she could also snag adorable Sean as a boyfriend, she’d be great. And if she could lose a couple of pounds, that’d be fab. And if she could change her unpronounecable last name, life would be perfect. You know, she wouldn’t mind if people would stop associating her with Dima, another Russian immigrant at the school. And maybe if she had more friends than just Siobhan….but really, Anya’s a simple girl with simple wishes. Really. Until she falls down a well (long story, but you guys, it’s perfectly understandable!) and ends up with a new best friend: Emily, the ghost of a girl who mysteriously ended up down that well 90 years ago. We all know friendship’s difficult, but it’s even more complicated when your new best friend is dead. [Read more...]

Blink & Caution

Screen shot 2011 10 13 at 9.40.14 PM 198x300 Blink & CautionBlink & Caution has received stars from Kirkus and SLJ, and PW, a 5Q/4P from VOYA (per Books in Print), and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, plus it was just named a finalist for the Canada Council for the Arts Governor General’s Literary Awards.  So, you know, this book is no slouch.

And let’s get this out of the way up front: it’s a good book. It deserves praise.

But it’s flawed, and the flaws are literary in nature. And I’m mostly only going to talk about the flaws, because all those links at the start cover the good stuff really well and in great detail. [Read more...]

Imaginary Conversations

imaginary 198x300 Imaginary ConversationsWe thought we’d have a conversation about Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. It’s been getting enthusiastic reviews  (four of them starred), including a spoiler-free write up from the esteemed Liz B. And then we had a quick chat about it over the phone and we realized….we suspect that we totally agree, which may or may not make for an interesting blog post. Let’s see what we’ve got!

The plot: It’s about sisters Chloe and Ruby, who live in a small town in upstate New York. When Chloe finds the dead body of classmate London Hayes in the reservoir, she leaves her small town and her magnetic, larger-than-life sister to live with her absentee father. She returns to her town, and to Ruby, two years later to find things largely unchanged. Her mother is still the town drunk. Ruby is still Ruby, capricious and bold. But other things are very different—and only Chloe seems to notice. [Read more...]