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In Lieu of my Planned Post…
You guys, we made a calendar. We assigned topics. We had a schedule. And according to that schedule, my post this week was supposed to be a write up of Candlewick’s Fall ’12 preview that happened last Friday. Only, things changed, some stuff shifted…and I wasn’t able to make it.
So I’m going to do a little shifting of my own here. You can think of this post as a bridge between now and early April. Next week, we’ll be talking (a little) about what we’ve been reading. The week after that, we’ll be focusing on the differences between starred review criteria and Printz criteria. So I’ll spend this blog post looking at our starred review tracking, which may help shape your reading (Karyn did mention that we were serious about encouraging participation, right?), and may help get us started thinking about what those starred reviews mean in relation to the Printz Committee’s work.
First, a little background and a few caveats about our behind-the-scenes process: we are looking at reviews from School Library Journal, Hornbook, Kirkus, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly. Obviously we are not looking at titles for younger readers; we’re including stars for books published for 12 years and up, grades 7 and up — you get the idea. Unfortunately for me and this blog post, we haven’t tracked down PW yet, so our data is not complete.
At the moment, we’ve got 43 titles listed with one or more stars. There are three titles with three stars each, and nine titles with two stars each. The remaining 31 titles have a single star.
The three with three: John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments, and Paul Volponi’s The Final Four. I have no doubt that we’ll be talking (however briefly) about TFioS next week (we’ve all three read it), and I know for a fact that a lot of you all have read it, too. I haven’t seen The Disenchantments, but I know Sophie has, so I bet we’ll hear at least a little about it in a week’s time as well. And I just picked up Volponi’s latest at the library today, so I should have something concrete to offer then as well. Phew — I’m glad we can say that we’ve got those three covered!
And the nine titles with two stars each are:
- Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
- Marching to the Mountaintop by Ann Bausum
- The Wicked and The Just by J. Anderson Coates
- Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
- Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
- No Crystal Stair by Vonda Micheaux Nelson
- There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
- Double by Jenny Valentine
- Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
I’ve already gushed about how excited I am to read Friends with Boys, so now I’ll squee about how intriguing Chopsticks sounds! Creepy, deliciously mysterious, and it’s not just words! I don’t know if I’ll have it tracked down by next week, but maybe you guys have already cast eyes on it? I’d love to hear more about it, if you have.
Of the remaining thirty-one titles, there are definitely some that have me excited. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews) is sitting on my dresser, so I’ll try to pick it up between now and next week. Pete Hautman’s The Obsidian Blade is the first in a trilogy. I only got about 1/4 of the way through it before I decided it wasn’t working for me. That star, however, is making me rethink my first impression; I’ll give it another shot and see what I can tell you next week. I’d also like to track down Roddy Doyle’s Greyhound of a Girl and Cecil Castelucci’s Year of the Beasts (but no promises on those for next week).
For the curious, a few more titles with one star:
- After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
- When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellison
- Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss
- Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Obviously, it’s early in the year — and of course we haven’t included numbers from PW up to this point. Clearly, these numbers can and will shift. But just writing this post has been helpful for me, in terms of giving me a plan for this week’s reading. What about you guys? Have you read any of these?
Oooh, and I’m wondering: would you all be interested in periodic starred review round ups? How often? What kind of information would you like to see included (do you care where the three stars for TFioS came from, for example)? Let us know!
Filed under: Books to look for
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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