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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Pyrite: We (sort of) have a winner

PyriteRealPrintz voting is a pretty particular thing, and winning has two conditions: “To win, a title must receive five first place votes and must also receive at least five more points than the second place title. If no title meets these criteria on the first ballot, any title receiving no votes is removed from consideration and a period of discussion of remaining titles follows.”

If we look at the Pyrite results and the voting regulations literally, we have a for sure winner; if we look at them and then try to scale them (where 5 out of 9 is a majority vote), we don’t have a winner.

The results in a nut shells: Points-wise, Bone Gap* is the clear winner with 67 points; Challenger Deep is 2nd with 52.

First place votes are much tighter, with 9 for Bone Gap and 8 for Challenger — this is where we get into the question of how we want to interpret the RealPrintz rules for our purposes. If we scale up the 5 out of 9 to be “at least one more 1st place vote”, then Bone Gap still wins; if we look at as 50% plus 1, or a majority, then it doesn’t — but perhaps that level of consensus is nonsensical for a virtual vote with a far larger number of voters. With 42 voters, we would have needed 22 of us to agree on a single first place title. At the table, with conversation continuing after an indecisive vote and only 9 people talking, consensus really does happen, either through persuasive discussion and/or because there comes a point where you put aside a personal preference — for me, in the Pyrite, that would look like letting go of The Accident Season*, which had not a single other vote of any ranking — and throwing your weight behind a book you may love less but which you can still happily stand behind as a winner. (In this case, I’d swing over to The Walls Around Us, because on the whole I think it’s tighter than Bone Gap or Challenger Deep, excellent as they both are. If I could bring three more of the 42 of us over with me — three other people who had voted for books that were clearly not contenders in any other eyes, say — Walls would pull into second place even assuming all the Bone Gap and Challenger voters stood firm.

(The funny part, in my RealCommittee experience, was the way a vote could swing pretty widely in a totally different direction after conversation, although I am pretty sure — this was six years ago — that we only saw that in the straw polling stages, because the straw polling targeted the important books to discuss precisely enough that by the time we voted, we were working our way through ranking a very small portion of titles, not every YA book of the year; this is the reason to do a straw poll here, time permitting, next year and then revisit the serious contenders to really hammer out the issues)

All of which boils down to this: we’re calling Bone Gap the Pyrite winner, because it has one more first place vote and the points gap (hah!) between Bone Gap and Challenger Deep and the third placing title — The Walls Around Us — was so significant.

See below for the first place votes in a graph; if people want the full raw data, we can share a link, because the second and third place votes tell a pretty fascinating story about how we’re all feeling about this year’s books.

Pyrite Vote

We’ll toss up a post for the purpose of honor voting sometime tomorrow; this data may be very useful for that.

*So, confession: Tonight’s post was supposed to be Bone Gap AND The Accident Season, and I had a whole host of arguments for why Bone Gap is not the better of the two. But I read The Accident Season twice and Bone Gap only once, and these results have me thinking I need to at least partially reread Bone Gap before I commit to my own arguments, so I am once again delaying the Bone Gap post. Later this week, I promise.


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. We had a similar issue. Bone Gap received the most points but did not receive 5 more points than The Walls Around Us. We didn’t have a discussion; we just called it. I personally wanted More Happy Than Not but it was the one that got dumped. I don’t think any of us read Accident Season.

  2. When you look back on our voting from past years, how did we do at selecting the Pyrite winner which actually was the Printz winner? As I look at the top five books I would say that the these books could very likely be the whole slate, winner and honor books. I wasn’t a fan of The Walls Around Us but I can see the argument why it deserves to be in the conversation. The other four are all winners in my mind. I just keep thinking that this will be the year of a nonfiction book winning. Thanks for all this hard work.

  3. I am so curious to read your take on “The Accident Season”. I read it and liked it but did not consider it “Prinz-worthy”.

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