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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come


This might be a bit more than the 60-odd contenders we've actually got. And also it's not actually any of our piles. Frankly, none of us felt that our piles were nearly as picturesque as this conveniently cc-licensed image by Flickr user Katey Nicosia.

Here it is: the Someday My Printz Will Come list of possible Printzs!

This list comprises those books that we, speaking as Printz veterans and YA librarians/reviewers/bloggers, feel very very sure the RealCommittee is looking at, and that we are therefore planning to discuss here.

How can we be sure?

Not gonna lie, there’s probably a little bit of sheer, unadulterated hubris driving our conviction.

But also, and with less flippancy, we know from our own experiences and those of many colleagues who have served time on the RealCommittee that the members of the RealCommittee are reading widely and paying close attention to buzz, reviews, and stars. The RealCommittee folks are probably also reading books that didn’t make our list, and we they may not even finish reading some of the books that did, so we are by no means claiming that this is a comprehensive list. Nevertheless, we feel confident that this longlist should have significant overlap with the RealCommittee’s longlist this year.

Our arbitrary star threshold is 3 stars, which we know now doesn’t mean anything for actually winning or honoring, but does mean something for consideration purposes; certainly, when we were on the RealComittee, any book that received that level of critical acclaim was guaranteed a look. Last year we also looked at books that were getting a lot of buzz for Printz-worthy characteristics, and threw on the list a few books that didn’t get wide notice or several stars but that either one of us strongly championed or that someone we knew and trusted as a reader was really pulling for.

Using the same criteria this year, we have a huge pile. We plan on at least touching on all of these books, but reserve the right to add and subtract titles with or without due notice and as time permits (we’ll do our best to be transparent about any changes to the list).

(Transparency edit 1: unlinked titles were added after the post initially went up, based on comments and additional research. A second round of titles were added after the NBA finalists were announced as Out of Reach and Endangered had not been on the initial list.)

(Transparency edit 2: to make life easier, we rewrote the list in an order roughly analogous to our posting schedule, and if that is an easier way for you to check out the list or if you want to schedule your own reading, you can find that version by clicking here. Comments are disabled on that version, though, just to keep everything together.)

We’d also like to take a moment, before the hairsplitting and picking apart of in-depth analysis, to congratulate all of these books, and their creators (authors, editors, illustrators, designers, etc.). It’s no mean feat to make the longlist, and whether or not these books go the distance (and most of them, clearly, will not), they deserve a hearty round of applause for making the top 100 of the thousands published this year.

And so, enough caveats. Here’s what we’ve got:

The 3-or-more Stars Auto-Contender Stack o’ Fiction (compiled with huge reliance on the roundup from Elizabeth at The Shelftalker, who is clearly an excellent data collector and collator):

After the Snow, S.D. Crockett
Beneath a Meth Moon, Jacqueline Woodson
Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
The Brides of Rollrock Island, Margo Lanagan
A Certain October, Angela Johnson
The Chaos, Nalo Hopkinson
Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
A Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, Jordan Sonnenblick
The Difference Between You and Me, Madeleine George
The Disenchantments, Nina LaCour
The Diviners, Libba Bray
Drowned Cities, Paolo Bacigalupi
Dying to Know You, Aidan Chambers
Every Day, David Levithan
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
The Final Four, Paul Volponi
Froi of the Exiles, Melina Marchetta
The Girls of No Return, Erin Saldin
Grave Mercy, R.A. LaFevers
A Greyhound of a Girl, Roddy Doyle
Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Emily Danforth
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, Annabel Pitcher
Never Fall Down, Patricia McCormick
No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
The Obsidian Blade, Pete Hautman
Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
Second Chance Summer, Morgan Mattson
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman
Son, Lois Lowry
Tiger Lily, Jodi Lynn Anderson
There is No Dog, Meg Rosoff
Waiting, Carol Lynch Williams
The Wicked and the Just, J. Anderson Coats

The 3-or-more Stars Auto-Contender Stack o’ NONfiction (with same nod to Elizabeth’s post), and when did you last see this many NF contendas?:*

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship, Russell Freedman
Beyond Courage: the Untold Story of Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust, Doreen Rappaport
The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure, Martin K. Sandler
Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure, Jim Murphy and Alison Blank
Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies, Marc Aronson
Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years, Linda Barrett Osborne
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95, Phillip Hoose
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, Deborah Hopkinson
To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement, Charlayne Hunter Gault
We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, Cynthia Levinson

*We haven’t seen most of these yet, so let us know if any are too young; this is also true of a handful of fiction titles, so let us know about those as well.

The Buzz list, fiction flavor (some of these may yet net three or more stars, but so far they haven’t)

All You Never Wanted, Adele Griffin
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, Kat Rosenfield
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjanim Alire Saenz
Ask the Passengers, A.S. King
The Butterfly Clues, Kate Ellison
Catch and Release, Blythe Woolston
The Children and the Wolves, Adam Rapp
Chopsticks, Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
Days of Blood and Starlight, Laini Taylor
Dodger, Terry Pratchett
Dust Girl, Sarah Zettel
Endangered, Eliot Schrefer
The Girl With the Borrowed Wings, Rinsai Rossetti
Grafitti Moon, Cath Crowley
Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough
Monstrous Beauty, Elizabeth Fama
My Book of Life by Angel, Martine Leavitt
Out of Reach, Carrie Arcos
Personal Effects, E.M. Kokie
Radiant Days, Elizabeth Hand
Railsea, China Mieville
Silhouette of a Sparrow, Molly Beth Griffin
The Storyteller, Antonia Michaelis
Unwholly, Neal Shusterman
The Year of the Beasts, Cecil Castellucci

And last but not least, the nonfiction buzz book:

Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, Steve Sheinkin

Minor housekeeping note: titles are listed here alphabetically by title, but we’ll be posting analysis in roughly chronological order so that those of you with limited advance copy access aren’t at a total disadvantage for reading along, challenging our statements, and generally joining us in this wild discuss-and-predict-the-Printz joyride.

And now that the list has been unveiled… What’s missing? What’s on here that deserves to be struck off without further discussion? How many have you read so far?



  1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl only has two starred reviews but I found it hilarious.

  2. I think The Diviners by Libba Bray should be on there.

  3. I keep forgetting to mention it here, but has anyone else read ALL YOU NEVER WANTED by Adele Griffin? I thought it was really excellent, and definitely a contenda for me.

  4. The Diviners, although it’s going to depend on how the committee feels about the “things are only getting started” ending.

    Mark: The Griffin book is high on my TBR List, I’ve heard good things.

    Personally I’d knock off Dante and Aristotle for pacing especially, Curveball just doesn’t have the literary chops, and I didn’t think There is No Dog did a very good job with it’s world building.

    I would be fascinated to discuss Chopsticks since it seems my BFYA field nomination did not make it – maybe not “F” enough….

  5. Thanks so much for this list. I teach 7th grade English at a Boys school in Boston. We are going to try to read a number of these titles and make our own decisions about which ones we think should win. Is there a place where I can post my student’s opinions?

  6. Oh, how exciting! The list! The list! Thank you, everyone that had a part in compiling it!

    In my own notes I have Titanic: Voices of Disaster as a nonfiction book, but I look forward to reading it either way.

    I would also like to second the congratulations to all of the books and their creators.

  7. Titanic is definitely nonfiction. Also the author’s name is HopKinson.

    @Karyn – all that work of trying to cover up your mistakes: gone in flash 😉

  8. Great list! I definitely second Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl. I thought it was really well done. It’s still my favorite of the year (besides Code Name Verity!) I also loved Boy 21 by Matthew Quick.

    Other books I’ve heard buzz about but haven’t read:
    Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick
    Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
    Safekeeping by Karen Hesse
    For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
    Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    Dodger by Terry Pratchett.
    Again, I haven’t read any of these but I do hear them mentioned often as really good 2012 YA books!

  9. I also show the following:

    Beyond Courage by Doreen Rappaport (Non-Fiction) with 4 stars.
    A Certain October by Angela Johnson (Realistic Fiction) with 4 stars.
    The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman (Science Fiction) with 3 stars – 2 on reviews for age 12 and up.
    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Realistic Fiction) with 3 stars.

    As far as what could go: I greatly enjoyed Keeping the Castle by Kindl, but I don’t think it stands a chance, particularly when stacked up against others.

    The other titles I’ve read (which sadly are not many in number) all seem worthy of discussion at least: Code Name Verity (I’m actually still working my way through this one. It’s so slow for me.); Drowned Cities (not as good as Ship Breaker and a whole lot bleaker, but that’s not what we’re comparing it to, are we?); The Fault in Our Stars; and Grave Mercy (which I adored and anticipate having a hard time not letting my adoration color my arguments).

    So many more I want to read, but I currently have checked out Amelia Anne and Seraphina in particular. I also just got Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst and have high hopes for it being as good as The Girl of Fire and Thorns was last year. Not to mention my hold on Monstrous Beauty which I can’t wait to read! Happy Publishing to you, Elizabeth!

  10. Kate Ellison’s BUTTERFLY CLUES (Egmont USA) has two starred reviews, perhaps worth noting.

  11. Karyn Silverman says

    Hi, pyrite committee folks! All it takes is a comment and we’re counting you in 😉

    The Diviners should TOTALLY be on here; adding it as soon as I finish replying to all these comments. I’ll add the Griffin to the buzzlist too– this makes it officially much buzzed, as Jen (of Reading Rants) had already mentioned it to me as well. Hannahlily, Dodger should be on the buzzlist as well– generally, anything from an author who has won or honored in the past is going to get a look, regardless of stars, so that was an oversight. Agreed that there is buzz about Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone, but it’s commercial buzz. I’ve read (and enjoyed) both books, but they are far from Printz contenders (although definite crowd pleasers). And Butterfly Clues does keep popping up, so I’ll add that to the buzz list too.

    Jen, thank you! Are you keeping careful lists? If so, please keep tossing titles into the mix; we haven’t been doing a good job staying on top of the stars, and I’d rather not miss anything. Also, totally with you about Keeping the Castle, although at the same time it’s a great riff on regencies.

    And I will move the HopKinson book (typo! ONE typo! Sheesh, Mark, you have seriously high standards).

    Thanks all! So nice knowing we have all of you to lend your voices (and note teh typos).

  12. I agree about taking off Aristotle and Dante, and Keeping the Castle, although I enjoyed them both. I would also drop The Difference Between You and Me–it was funny and fun, but The Miseducation of Cameron Post covered similar themes in a much more distinguished way, I thought. Bomb was excellent, even more so when you read it back to back with Master of Deceit.

    • Karyn Silverman says

      Does anyone care to make a case for Aristotle and Dante or Keeping the Castle as contendas? Because we have a LOT of books on this list and would be ok with letting go of a few if there’s consensus from the committee, which is to say you all. Two comments is not yet consensus, so weigh in either way on either of these or anything else on the list.

  13. I loved KEEPING THE CASTLE, but it’s nowhere near my top ten, so I’d be OK dropping it.

  14. Jonathan Hunt says

    I’ll help you out with the nonfiction: at the very least you should discuss MOONBIRD, BOMB, MASTER OF DECEIT, and THE IMPOSSIBLE RESCUE (which has four stars but escaped your notice).

  15. Two of us here at my library have read Keeping the Castle.

    My colleague says that she can see why it got starred reviews and that it is a delightful homage but it doesn’t transcend its roots enough to push its way past the other Printz contendas. For readers advisory work, she suggests it to people that have loved Jane Austen, Eva Ibbotson, and L.M. Montgomery.

    I also found it delightful and would definitely keep it in mind for teens that like “clean,” gently funny romances and/or retellings of folktales in which the princess has an ironic sense of humor. When I first started reading it, it reminded me of Cinderella (those stepsisters!) but by the time I finished it, of course, I realized it is more an homage to Jane Austen.

    Anyway, here are two more votes for winnowing it off the Someday My Printz list but with a hug and a prominent spot on the “New Books” display in the library as consolation prize.

  16. As soon as I posted that last comment I went to our catalog to see if our copy of Keeping the Castle was checked out. (It is.) The catalog reminded me of the subtitle, which I also love:

    Keeping the Castle: A Tale of Romance, Riches, and Real Estate

    And that reminded me of how hard it seems to be for humorous books to win awards, I think because humor is such a personal thing, and THAT made me want to take another look at this book for the Printz….

    But no, I do think there are other titles that are stronger.

  17. I see that For Darkness Shows the Stars is mentioned in comments as having a lot of buzz (I agree). I can also say it was one of the most stunning books I’ve read this year in scope and sheer quality of writing. However I’m not sure it’s contenda status (though I’d love if it were) because the Printz is not generally kind to sci-fi and I’m not sure how well-received a Jane Austen retelling would be (though, really, Peterfreund pulls it off and then some).

    One book I am stating as a contenda is VESSEL by Sarah Beth Durst. It already has two starred reviews and it really hits all the high notes: good writing, clever/thorough plot, strong characters, diversity, mythology. And it’s completely unexpected to boot. I can’t recommend it highly enough really.

  18. I’ll be a vote for keeping Darkness Shows the Stars ON the list, and for taking Keeping the Castle OFF the list. Keeping the Castle was fun and humorous, but didn’t have enough depth of characterization or story to compete with the Printz contendas (for comparison, I’d say Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens is a past book that was very humorous but also a real contenda).

    Darkness Shows the Stars, however, had depth of story and of characterization, and succeeded as far more than an homage to Austen’s Persuasion, while evoking that story beautifully. I’d hope that the fact that the genre hasn’t gotten much Printz love in the past wouldn’t be a reason that it shouldn’t be considered (triple negative).

  19. I am working my way through my stack of review journals tonight and want to make a note here before I forget:

    Long Lankin, by Lindsey Barraclough, is the Big Picture selection for the September issue of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books and received their R(recommended)starred rating for grades 7-10.

    (I’m still on hold for it at my library. ‘Speaking of holds, Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama, and The Diviners, by Libba Bray, just came in for me this week. ‘Looking forward to savouring one or both of them this weekend!)

  20. I’d love to see ABOVE by Leah Bobet discussed (April 2012, Arthur A. Levine). I’m not sure it would be one of my nominees were I RealCommittee, but I think it would be a really interesting book to discuss, in terms of writing, theme, setting, character… and especially in light of the post on _The Butterfly Clues_, as _Above_ also deals with homelessness.

  21. Genevieve, thanks for reminding me of the humorous Beauty Queens. I have not read it yet, but both co-workers and teens have raved to me about it.

    ‘Speaking of Libba Bray’s work, I stayed up until 2:25am last night (WAY past my usual bedtime and not something I usually do) to finish her newest book, The Diviners. Oh, my goodness, what a rich, satisfying, CREEPY read.

    And then, of course, I was too spooked to turn out the light and go to sleep. Thanks a lot, Libba Bray! (laughing)

    Anyway, I agree with Karyn and everyone that it MUST be on our list. I know what Beth means about the ending now (and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say just that much because the book’s website is so you know the end is not going to be the end) but I could still see it winning.

    Or at least being an Honor book, with Seraphina winning. (‘Laughing at myself again because I still have way too many contendas to read yet to be talking about winners.)

  22. I hope you decide to keep Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe as a contender. I’ve been checking back every couple of days to see if it’s been reviewed.

    I really enjoyed the book. I think it is definitely a contender for the Stonewall Award but would love for it to also receive a Printz Honor (far more likely than the win).

    Plus the 3 stars from SLJ, PW, and Kirkus along with the highlighted (starred?) VOYA review should make it an auto-contender, right?

  23. I am a little late to this discussion, but I just came across some information about The Butterfly Clues. Apparently, it’s a product of a packaging book agency ( So my question now is, what are the rules for books like this one (plotted and conceived by a group of people but written by one author)? Can something like this be a contender? Does it matter?

  24. Whitney over at “Youth Services Corner” has a nearly up-to-date list of books with starred reviews. She only keeps track of two or more stars, though. It was last updated on 9/2, but I noticed several additions since Elizabeth Bluemle’s post, which is dated 6/28.

  25. More Google Docs fun! Here’s a link to my ongoing spreadsheet – includes all October journals except the Oct. 29th PW. Also includes the November Bulletin since we got that super early. There are five tabs currently – so make sure you check the tab title for the data you’re looking at. Titles are color coded by how many stars they’ve received. The key is on the top right. When you compare the 2011 and 2012 numbers I think it’s fascinating how much more consensus there is this year and how many more stars have been given in general – last year there were 1232 stars total. This year there’s 1267 so far with two months to go! (Although some of those will be for 2013 titles undoubtably.)

    Caveats: Does not include VOYA although I’m considering adding that for next year since it appears to be easily accessible for free online. It also does not do a good job of recording whether titles have been reviewed by other journals or not if a star wasn’t given. It also includes everything for all ages. Obviously some of these will not be considered for the Printz as they are far too young.


    • Karyn Silverman says

      Jen, you amaze me!
      And I agree about the consensus. I pay closer attention to stars these days than I used to, so maybe that’s a part of it, but the level of agreement among reviewers has been really striking this year. And in some cases strangely divorced from reader opinion as far as I can tell. I wonder if the reviewer population is too stagnant? But we want experienced reviewers, too.

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