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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Oh! Oh! List Season Has Begun!

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. We’ve already written up 10 of their 19 picks (why 19? I counted three times to be sure, because I deeply wanted the round balance of 20. Just me?). Of those, we seem to be in total agreement on four titles — Through the Woods, The Family Romanov, We Were Liars, and This One Summer. And while we’re not pushing Poisoned Apples, Beyond Magenta, or The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender as final fivers, we’re neither surprised nor distressed to see them in a list of the top 20 19 of the year.

The Impossible Knife of Memory, Noggin, and Belzhar? Well, we’d probably have put them a bit lower on a ranking of the year’s books. Personally I’d say quite a lot lower for at least one of them, although appeal isn’t a factor we’re looking at when we consider Printz candidacy, while it usually does factor into stars and best of lists — especially for PW, I imagine — and it’s a quality all three of these titles certainly possess.

(Also, disagreement among readers and reviewers and critics and awards committees is, in fact, where all the fun comes in, so it’s good to have some friction.)

Of the titles we haven’t covered yet that were on our longlist and made PWs list, two will be posting this week (because we are prescient, apparently. Or PW reads the blog. Or — most likely — because coincidence and chance. But the other reasons are so much cooler) and the rest will come soon.

Now, let’s look at the two outliers: Half Bad and Say What You Will.

Confession: Half Bad is one of those books I steadfastly ignored because it sounded formulaic and I’m over witches and love and foil covers.

No, I’m lying, I will never be over foil covers.

Anyway, yes, bias and baggage oh my. My students love it, so I was happy to leave it in the commercial and popular but not actually something I need to read pile. Should I stand corrected? It is really one of the top titles of the year? Or is this a case of appeal plus eminently readable, rather than standout?

Say What You Will is a different story. A right off our radar story. But now I’m intrigued.

So. What do you think of the PW list?


About Karyn Silverman

Karyn Silverman is the High School Librarian and Educational Technology Department Chair at LREI, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (say that ten times fast!). Karyn has served on YALSA’s Quick Picks and Best Books committees and was a member of the 2009 Printz committee. She has reviewed for Kirkus and School Library Journal. She has a lot of opinions about almost everything, as long as all the things are books. Said opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, YALSA or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @InfoWitch or e-mail her at karynsilverman at gmail dot com.


  1. I’m slightly (a lot really) baffled that this list only had 19 titles. So strange.

    I will say for Half Bad that I think the cover actually does the book a disservice. While there are witches, Green does a lot of clever things with class and the idea of deeming an entire group “other” in the guise of a witch story. I can’t actually say more than that because the book is so gritty that it made me too queasy to read beyond the first third–your teens must be made of much stronger stuff than me!

  2. And here’s the link to this year’s spreadsheet of Best Books (with only PW so far):

    Also here are links to previous years

    Apparently I didn’t start tracking how many books each list had until 2012, but in 2012 PW named 40 books total to their Kids and YA list, in 2013 they named 51 and this year they named 50. They’ve broken the categories down differently for the first time this year too so I would have to go through the old lists book by book to identify what’s YA on there (categories used to be Children’s Picture, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Non-Fiction).

    I’ll update the 2014 sheet as more lists are announced!

  3. Karyn Silverman says

    Hah, I had totally ignored the middle grade list (I am terribly predictable), but it does have Port Chicago 50 and West of the Moon which both have some skew and might be YA/Printz territory, maybe.

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