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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Kirkus Teen

This is a little late, but Kirkus released their list last Monday. What I love about this list is that it’s HUGE compared to everyone else’s; in related news, Kirkus has a huge review volume, so it’s pretty well guaranteed that there will be a super surprise or two.

The quick and dirty breakdown:

The list is 50 titles long.

24 either were on our original list or else we added them along the way.

2 were not on our list but were added after appearing on other year-end lists (Conviction and Most Dangerous)

And a whopping 24 were not on our list at all, and of those 24, nearly half weren’t even on our radar. Now that you’ve got the numbers, let’s look at the titles in category 3.

Finding Audrey I read and loved but thought was not a contender; March Book 2 Sarah read and loved but decided book 2/time is short/move along.

The rest are split between the on a pile, haven’t read it category and the what is that book and why did I not know about it category. As always, I want to know if you’ve read any of these and how they compare to the top 10 or so of the year.

In the know it/haven’t read it stack: Never Always Sometimes; Fallout; Willfull Machines  (I really like the cover); The Shadow Behind the Stars; Scarlet Undercover; Not If I See You First; Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom; Ink and Ashes (nearly at the top of the books I desperately want to get to pile); Scarlet Undercover; My Seneca Village (I have copy on order but this one is nearly impossible to get hold of); and Out of Darkness (actually at the top of the pile).

In the books that were entirely off our radar stack: Cut Off; Weird Girl and What’s His Name; Hellhole; See No Color; What We Saw; Juniors; The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy; I Don’t Live Here Anymore; Under a Painted Sky; Astrologer’ Daughter; We are All Made of Molecules (based on the Pyrite votes, this has some fierce support); and The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (which I actually have in ARC but the title sounded terribly juvenile so I’d overlooked it).

I’m about to read Lizard Radio and then I Crawl Through It, and then start on additions to the list (beginning with Out of Darkness), but if I should reorder my reading to capture one of these (from either category), speak up. We won’t cover everything but if something is a particularly strong contender, I’d rather read it than not.




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 read “What We Saw” by Aaron Hartzler as an ARC. I would be hard pressed to “criticize” this book. I thought teens would enjoy it and it could spark some great conversations. It was a plot-driven message book. It did not strike me as a literary heavy-hitter. I do not see it being a contender for the Printz award at all.

    • I agree. I read this and thought it was excellent. I don’t necessarily think “Printz contender” but it is definitely on my personal best of the year list. It is similar to All-American Boys (another favorite of mine this year) as it contains an important message and should be a great discussion starter on an all-too-relevant topic.

  2. I’ve read WILLFULL MACHINES and while I enjoyed it and would read a sequel (not sure if that’s official, but it felt like it could easily have one), I’d say it’s not a contender. It didn’t feel “deep” enough to me, some of the plot twists were obvious to a genre-savvy reader, it didn’t really add to the conversation.

    TURNING 15 ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM I enjoyed as well, though I read it months and months ago and wasn’t thinking about literary awards at the time, so I’m not sure how it’d stack up. I think it skews down a lot more than one would expect from the title, though well within the 12+ range the Printz looks at. My gut reaction without re-reading is that it’s verse is a little too straight-forward to compete against some of the very complex books aimed at a much older audience.

  3. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B is one of my favorite books of the year. I don’t know if it is Printz-worthy, but it is a fabulous read and my students REALLY like it, A LOT! (More than some which I thought they’d like better, like Everything, Everything.) In a year where Mental Illness is surely a theme, this book does an excellent job with the topic of mental illness in the family, recovery groups, and what it is like living with OCD. I probably learned more from this book than any of the other Mental Illness themed books of the year, too. I noticed there are a few votes for it on the Pyrite, so I think others are noticing it, too.

  4. Is there a link for the Kirkus Teen list someplace?

    • Karyn Silverman says

      Whoops! I’m on my phone now but will update with the links later. This is what I get for posting while trAveling!

  5. Updated Best Books Spreadsheet now with SLJ, PW, Horn Book, Kirkus, and Booklist:

    And I have read none of the off the radar titles, but my reading has been even less than other years so that’s probably not saying much.

    Looking at momentum from the lists alone (and keeping in mind I only track the lists from the journals where I track starred reviews) – only 3 books have appeared on all five lists: Challenger Deep, Drowned City, and Most Dangerous.

    4 list titles include: X, Symphony for the City of the Dead, Shadowshaper, The Nest (too young?), My Seneca Village, Goodbye Stranger, and The Emperor of Any Place.

    Just waiting on the Bulletin List for this year!

  6. Jen Richards says

    I read “Weird Girl and What’s His Name” by Meagan Brothers, and I think she’s a wonderful new voice in YA fiction. This book reminded me of Judy Bloom’s best work; Brothers has that natural way of writing about sensitive subjects that are on teens’ minds. I think this book is definitely Printz-worthy!

  7. I suggest you add “Weird Girl and What’s His Name” to your reading list. I read an early ARC of the book, and I think it should be a powerful contender. This YA novel has a LGBTQ theme, and it has been listed on many “Best YA of 2015” lists in addition to Kirkus’ list. Buzzfeed, Forever Young Adult, and Bustle all recommended Weird Girl. I thought the book was heartbreaking and iconic.

  8. Hi, I read “Weird Girl and What’s his Name” and think it is a great read. The main characters are two teens Rory and Lula who both love “The X-Files”. They both go through a hard time trying to find themselves and understand their respective sexualities. This book seems like a great read for high school students unsure of who they are, who may need to know that someone else has been through the same thing as them.

  9. Weird Girl and What’s His Name is an AWESOME read, probably one of my favorites of the year!

  10. THE LOST MARBLE NOTEBOOK OF FORGOTTEN GIRL AND RANDOM BOY is definitely worth it…it’s a beautiful Nobel in verse with characters you can really feel. Captivating and honest.

  11. Add The Lost Marble Notebook to your list. Written in verse, you are instantly immersed in forgotten girl and random boy’s adult sized issues. Feels so real, it hurts.

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