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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.)
Since we only looked at one graphic novel (Anya’s Ghost), I guess there’s not much to ruminate on there. We had thought about Craig Thompson’s Habibi, but since it was published adult, it’s ineligible for our purposes. While it is eligible for GGNT (they consider titles published for both adults and teens), it’s not a nomination. From having served on the committee, I can say that members read widely and most likely did consider it. While on the committee, we had many discussions about books that are great, and books that are great for teens. I would venture to say that Habibi falls into the first category but perhaps not in the second.
Queen of Water
Across the Universe
I haven’t served on BFYA, so I’m not going to speculate about why — at least too much! It’s worth remembering that Steampunk! and Across the Universe will be eligible next year, according to BFYA’s policies and procedures. I know that the committee has a massive reading load, so it makes sense to me to push end of the year titles to consideration for next year; that way the year really does get full, deep consideration.
However, it will leave the other three titles off — because according to the P&P, Printz titles no longer get automatically added to the BFYA list (well, I’m assuming so, because the practice is unmentioned in said policies and procedures).
Karyn noted just how few waves The Returning is making — so maybe that has something to do with that one?
And while Queen of Water did get more starred reviews (three of them), it’s possible that the based-on-a-true story aspect may be working against it for BFYA purposes? Sometimes a book that’s so topical, even when based on the truth, can feel a little preachy.
As for Imaginary Girls, I’ll admit, I’m a little flummoxed. I wouldn’t say lack of appeal, by any means (the story, the mystery, that cover…it may not be the most popular book ever, but I know it will have readers! It’s really a booktalk that practically writes itself). I wonder if its lack of resolve hurts it for BFYA? Karyn and I were hesitant to solidly back it as a prediction for Printz, with the caveat that we might feel different with a reread. In BFYA-land, readers have absolutely no time for the luxury of a reread. And, in my experience with committee work, if a book gets a couple of early readers that can’t support it, it can be hard to justify a nomination down the line. Especially in a situation like BFYA, where there are just SO. MANY. BOOKS.
So that’s my take on the nomination lists so far. But I’d love to hear yours!
About Sarah Couri
Sarah Couri is a librarian at Grace Church School's High School Division, and has served on a number of YALSA committees, including Quick Picks, Great Graphic Novels, and (most pertinently!) the 2011 Printz Committee. Her opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, GCS, YALSA, or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @scouri or e-mail her at scouri35 at gmail dot com.
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