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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Predictions! Picks! Probable Mistakes!

Not that we ever get these right, but here goes.

Karyn’s Picks:

I’m going to start with the if if I had my druthers list: 5 books I both love AND support (mostly), in no particular order:

The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson: I know this is divisive. I also recognize that it is indeed absurd, as I think was pointed out on The Book Smugglers blog, that the education system looks JUST LIKE OURS. But I don’t care, because when the lights go out in Palmares Tres the third time, I cry. And also lots of other good things, which are way more relevant to the Printz. But mostly, tears.

September Girls, Bennett Madison: Questions of male genitalia and reasonable sensations notwithstanding, I think this is a damn fine book. It’s a fairy tale and a commentary on fairy tales and a coming of age and a romance with the girl going off independently into the sunset, so it gets me as a romantic and as a feminist, all wrapped up in solid and occasionally gorgeous prose.

Mortal Fire, Elizabeth Knox: When I go all head, this one drops just below the top 5, but I love it so and if the RealCommittee deems it worth a sticker, I’m going to be rejoicing.

The Different Girl, Gordon Dahlquist: This is my dark horse. Darker than the other dark horses I stand behind as worthy contenders, like The Midnight Dress or The Golden Day. I read this so long ago, but I haven’t forgotten it. This is the book we should stop overlooking, and not just because the cover glows in the dark.

Paper Valentine, Brenna Yovanoff: I know, snowball’s chance in hell, yadda yadda. But I loved the mashup of mystery and ghost story, even with the imbalance in the final act, I loved the relationships, I loved Hannah’s wardrobe. I pointed out plenty of flaws when I reviewed this one, but when I vote purely from the heart I find the merits outweigh the issues in the hazy glow of memory, and I keep slipping this one back on my list.

I could also have listed The Midnight Dress here, because it’s the book I think most deserves the award, but it’s a little less of a love affair. So let me just state, again, that it’s the most deserving book I’ve read this year, but I’m not actually listing it as a heart OR a prediction.

So much for the books I’ll really really clap for on Monday! Here’s what I actually expect to see recognized:

Far Far Away, Tom McNeal: I’m calling this one for the gold. I hope I’m wrong, because I think it’s deeply flawed, but it’s a critical darling and I won’t be surprised at all to see it garner some love on Monday.

Boxers, Gene Luen Yang: I’m predicting that Boxers & Saints will be recognized as two separate books and will both net honors. Together, I think they would get the gold, but I think it’s a huge precedent and I predict YALSA and the committee will be wary of doing that, so this will be the compromise.

Saints, Gene Luen Yang: I’m predicting that Boxers & Saints will be recognized as two separate books and will both net honors. Together, I think they would get the gold, but I think it’s a huge precedent and I predict YALSA and the committee will be wary of doing that, so this will be the compromise.

More Than This, Patrick Ness: I’m taking it on faith that this holds up to multiple readings. It’s bold and it’s got people talking and I think Ness is widely considered under-recognized, because Chaos Walking only works as a series. This is standalone so I think it’s going to get a nod.

Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgewick: Rabbits. All those rabbits. But this has some strong support among readers and I think my issues are mine, and not universal. If it comes down to it, Sedgwick’s gorgeous prose and daring structure will probably overcome any complaints about sleight of hand or lack of substance or coherence.

(I also wouldn’t be shocked by Maggot Moon, The Golden Day, or Winger, just for the record.)

Now, to wait with bated breath for Monday morning so I can see just how wrong I am, twice over!


Joy’s Picks

Top 5 Favorites (My if-I-ran-the-world picks in alphabetical order by author)

Chasing Shadows, Swati Avasthi: Daring stylistically with a beautiful depiction of a dying friendship.

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell: A love story so perfectly done it hurts.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell: Literary and swoon-worthy. A true winner.

Boxers & Saints, Gene Luen Yang: Each book is a tour-de-force of visual storytelling with a message that never feels preachy.

The Lucy Variations, Sara Zarr: A lovely close study of what it means to have to redefine your life as a teenager.

The Lucy Variations
It’s a blessing and a curse that Karyn and I have, for the most part, different reading tastes. In practical terms, it means we can cover more books, but the downside is that we each have to miss out on some great titles; books that are generating a lot of buzz and deep critical response are still, sadly, in my to-read pile. With that caveat out of the way here are books I think will emerge as winners on Monday:

Predictions (Again, alphabetical order by author. I won’t pick a winner, because I’m picking two of the titles based on persuasive critical responses, year-end lists, etc.)

September Girls, Bennett Madison: Any book this divisive must have some interesting things happening. I’m convinced enough by the conversation.

More Than This, Patrick Ness: The discussion we had at the Mock Printz I attended last weekend could have gone on for at least another hour, and I haven’t even read this one.

Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick: Again, it’s a divisive title. I personally think it’s flawed and only loosely held together, but the language is intoxicating.

Black Helicopters, Blythe Woolston: So hard hitting and intense, packing in so much economically, I can easily see this getting recognition from the committee.

Boxers & Saints, Gene Luen Yang (recognized as one title): Everything above, plus I think Yang’s status as a previous winner is certainly persuasive.

Sarah’s Picks

I have to be honest, my due date/maternity leave lined up to make me one ineffective predictor. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have heart books because I haven’t had more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep in the past 3 years, and my heart is tired. (Note: that is an exaggeration. I had more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep back in my second trimester, so…back in June. Next year will be better. Right?) I’m going to make guesses based mostly on general buzz, conversation here, and, uh, tea leaves, I guess.

September Girls by Bennet Madison: It’s complicated, subtle, and smart. It plays with narrative voices to illustrate some big ideas about identity. And it uses fairy tales and summer love to do that.

Far, Far Away by Tom McNeil: Five starred reviews. National Book Award finalist. Comparisons to Neil Gaiman. What else could you ask for?

More Than This by Patrick Ness: This might be my heart book, if my heart weren’t asleep right now. I think my argument for this one might boil down to “isn’t it time for a little Ness love from the Printz?” Which may not be highly persuasive. So: audacious, intelligent, compelling.

Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang: Really two medal winners for the price of one. Great story telling, powerful art, and isn’t it time for a little more GN love from the Printz?

But let’s hear from everyone! Predictions? Best guesses? Bring ’em to the comments!



  1. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says

    Stop it! Stop the madness.! Must I be the lone voice of reason here regarding MORE THAN THIS? You’ve all put this on your prediction lists, and given weak, weak rationales for it. I have two major problems with this one (and a host of minor ones). If we’re going to criticize any book for needing editing, it’s got to be this one. It’s a nice short story, possibly, a novella, but it’s a very tedious novel because the pacing is torturously slow. And the world-building makes no sense (it’s essentially the same problem that I have with THE REAL BOY, a Newbery contender). It’s all based on a series of random coincidences. Please tell me your not serious about this one!

    • I actually really liked MORE THAN THIS, and Patrick Ness is one of my favorite authors ever, but I know why it didn’t win (or even get nominated): the prose. His CHAOS WALKING trilogy has beautiful, lyrical stream-of-consciousness throughout, and A MONSTER CALLS had a wondrously simple quality to its language, but MORE THAN THIS had some pretty sloppy descriptions. My personal favorite: “killingly hard rocks.”

  2. Karyn Silverman says

    I wouldn’t VOTE for it! I just think other people will.

    (I tend to be cynical in my predictions. I want to be happy to be wrong.)

    Tell me your problems. I want to know more.

    Also? I ADORED The Real Boy.

  3. I have no comments on the predictions (I was famously ALWAYS WRONG back in my bookseller days, and I don’t want to jinx everyone!), but I just wanted to reassure Sara that children do eventually let you sleep. My 10-yo is already doing the teenage sleep-as-long-as-we’ll-let-him thing. It is glorious. The day will come.

    Good luck to all worthy titles! I envy everyone going to Philadelphia.

  4. Can I just say that I am baffled that Far Far Away is a serious contender, at all? I felt completely underwhelmed when reading it – it was too disjointed, and I don’t think he accomplished the transition in tone, well, at all. I actually don’t know anyone who has read it and been blown away by it, so why, WHY is it such a critical darling?

    • Karyn Silverman says

      I don’t know! I made Joy review it because I had so many problems with it, but I keep talking to people who tell me it’s genius and I am wrong.

      • I’m curious to know the support for this claim to genius status. I’ve read all the glowing reviews but have yet to meet anyone who felt the same way. It’s not that I actively dislike it – there were moments when the writing was great and the story itself was intriguing – but genius? Printz worthy? I don’t get it.

      • With you both on this one. I just don’t understand why everyone loves it so much. It’s not that I’m not the right sort of reader. I love fairy tales, I love ghosts, I love realistic fiction, and horror stories and serial killers and and and ….and I don’t love this book at all, and am somewhat baffled by so much love. Almost all of the online discussions I have seen either talk about why someone didn’t like it, or defensively spend the entire discussion focusing on why the book should be considered for children or for teens and therefore should be part of the discussion…without ever really explaining why we’d want to be discussing it, regardless of which award we’re talking about.

        • Exactly! I also feel like I’m the target reader here, because all of the elements you mention are things that I like. I just don’t think all those disparate elements came together as a whole, and when I finished it I wasn’t sure what, exactly, I had just read (and not in a good way). I guess I just didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, or something.

  5. TeenReader says

    I have read very little new YA this year, to the point that I didn’t vote in the Mock, but of course that isn’t going to stop me from incorrectly predicting the Printz! (In approximate order of likeliness)
    BOXERS AND SAINTS. The real issue here is how it will be considered. I suspect that they will consider it one work, both artistically (they complement each other) and logistically (NBA consideration and it’s being sold together). Assuming that it is considered one, it seems unstoppable. No other book(s) this year were so universally acclaimed.
    ELEANOR AND PARK. In a weaker year, this is a book that I think could easily build concnesus. It’s a book that everyone seems to at least like and appreciate.
    SEX AND VIOLENCE. This is a pure gut reaction. The critical acclaim and Morris nod don’t hurt either.
    BLACK HELICOPTERS. It’s a short read that packs a punch, and I suspect it supports rereads, so I can definitely see this one pulling through.
    ZERO FADE. A dark horse that I haven’t read, but it seems like a funny, smart contemporary fiction from a male perspective that have gotten the silver before. (An Abundance of Katherines, Arisitolr and Dante, Hard Love, etc.)

    • Karyn Silverman says

      I never got my hands on Zero Fade, but if they White Bicycle us this year, this might be the one, although it’s not a total unknown. But no one seems to be talking about it — except, apparently, people you know!

      I agree that if Boxers & Saints IS considered one book, it’s going to sweep — but I think that’s a longish shot.

      • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says

        Here’s why I don’t think it’s a long shot. If you read the entire P&P, the spirit of the law is this: we’re not going to define anything too rigidly because something’s going to come along that breaks the mold and we don’t want to tie your hands; you’ll know it when you see it.

        • Karyn Silverman says

          I’m thinking precedent, though; this opens the door for all kinds of awards jiggery pokery with multiple volumes and slipcased box sets, doesn’t it? Maybe not, but because it can be purchased both ways (and Meghan says BiP only lists them individually), I’d imagine the folks in charge would want to be conservative about the precedent being set in terms of “book” definitions.

  6. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says

    Well, a couple things. First, I don’t think a B&S win would have publishers hoarding books to release in a single year because . . . Second, I don’t think it will be easy to duplicate the feat. I’m thinking the way THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET really didn’t redefine “picture book” for subsequent Caldecott committees, did it? I think the key here is excellence, and that has to trump everything.

  7. Karyn Silverman says

    The other book (the first being Zero Fade) that might be a serious Printz possibility that we never covered was Friday Never Leaving. I started it, didn’t feel it, put it aside and have just picked it up again. I’m maybe 25% through. Interesting, and some strong writing but also some overwriting thus far. I may not finish it, since I am on deadline for a review book, but I can see why it has its supporters.

  8. Barbara Moon says

    Thanks for another year of great discussion of YA lit! I look forward to a reading some of the books published in 2014 & eagerly await the return of the Pyrite Printz next fall. Happy reading!

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