This is a book I’ve been saving the whole season, saving until the end because I knew I’d love it and I wanted to savor it. I’m not alone in loving it — it has four stars, it’s on the SLJ Mothership’s year end list, and it’s fantasy, and there’s action, and there are pirates, and it’s atmospheric and beautiful, and there are magical reading powers, and that cover is so wow, and and AND! What can I say? Sometimes you feel like possibly a book was designed, down to a molecular level, to be a You Book. This is one of those times for me. But now that I’ve actually read it, and sat with it for a bit, I’m going to do my best and try to have a balanced take for our Printzly purposes.
I’m a little late to the party, but more lists! More books to read! More surprises, and also more alignment around the standout YA titles of 2016!
We’ve already covered PW and SLJ (AKA the Mothership); now let’s look at Kirkus and The Horn Book from the trade side and NPR’s Book Concierge and The New York Times notable list from the mass media side.
(Obviously there are dozens more lists we could look at, and this is by no means comprehensive. If comprehensive is your thing, I heartily recommend Jen J’s spreadsheet for the trades, once she updates it, and for the list of all lists ever, Largehearted Boy is your guy.)
Alrighty, enough intro. Let’s dig in!
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.
Wednesday, the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults (which I persist in calling ENYA even though I think that never really caught on the way I hoped) shortlist was released.
And today we have the YALSA Morris award short list!
So many fabulous books. Let’s take a look at the surprises.
In the meantime, I wanted to say a few words about the awesome SLJ Best Books list.
Sometimes I forget to highlight it, because you’re here, and we’re lucky enough to be part of the SLJ blog network, which means you probably already know all the SLJ newsy goodness.
It’s a fantastic list and I always like comparing editor lists to the books we’re looking at and seeing where the differences lie. And there are some differences…
Oh lists, we love you so!
And it’s open season for year end lists — PW’s early entry was followed by SLJ, and then Kirkus, NPR, the New York Times, and The Horn Book all joined the fray. Plus the Morris and YA Excellence in Nonfiction finalists (both YALSA awards, like the Printz) were made public. SO MUCH DATA. It’s amazing. So let’s take a look, crunch some numbers, and revisit what actually seem to be the real (for a purely speculative value of real) contenders of the year.
I love me some year end lists. Sometimes they affirm, sometimes they challenge and sometimes they bring me totally new books that I would have otherwise missed. And that’s even before we get to the comparing lists stage of things.
First up, released this weekend, we have the Publisher’s Weekly lists, which wins for affirming — almost all of these are books we’d put on our longlist — but also has two surprises.
Because one list doesn’t give us enough to start drawing big picture conclusions, I’m going to look at this in the really narrow lens of PW’s YA list vs Someday’s longlist. It’s a surprisingly good match. [Read more…]
We’re at the time of year when every day seems to bring us a new list — the past 24 hours alone saw Horn Book’s Fanfare, NPR’s (new! fun!) Book Concierge, and the Morris Award shortlist.
And while I’m not a data junkie, I like lists. I like cross-referencing, comparing, seeing how the end-of-year lists stack up against our longlist and my own personal favorites, and looking for weird correlations, like the way Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly are often on the same page.
So read on for what my quick and dirty look through a pile of lists tells me about the books of 2013, as always through our narrow lens of Printz speculation.
The Kirkus list posted yesterday, and it’s a whopper: a full 100 books.
Happily, since we’re talking 100, I can do some statistical analysis!
We had 42% of the books on the Kirkus list on our own contender list from the beginning — that’s not yet half, but more than a third, which is not a bad overlap.
(I’m not listing all 42 titles, though.)
An additional 7% of the list are on our unofficial list of books we will cover if we can get them read in time — two for their Morris nods (Wonder Show and Love and Other Perishable Items), one for multiple Pyrite write-ins (In Darkness), and four because we’ve been hearing things (See You at Harry’s, Enchanted, although I started that and felt a bit meh, The Broken Lands, and Vessel).
We’re also adding two more to our unofficial list now, since Kirkus marks the second year-end recognition for Drama (also on the PW list) and My Name is Parvana (also on the SLJ list).
A further 11% of the list are books that one or more of us have already read and didn’t think rated a post. We don’t disagree that that these are (or at least could be argued as being) in the top 100 of the year, but we felt these were not close enough to the top of the pile to merit the extra time. That said, they might find their way into a post eventually, time permitting.
Of the remaining 38%, I see a fair number of series books, many of them books with a strong fan base but which no one is reading except as part of the larger body of work and which, statistically speaking, are such Printz longshots that they aren’t worth covering here. We’ll call the rest dark horses, and see if we see them again or if they are just outliers.