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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

The List, Abbreviated

Photo by Flickr user List_84, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Photo by Flickr user List_84, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Traditionally, we’ve launched the season with our massive (like, 90 titles long) reading list, but when we open with the big list, we always end up regretting approximately one-third of the titles.

So this year, we’re going to share a shorter, not even slightly exhaustive list. Here are our top 25 titles, included either because we’ve already read them or because they’ve gotten all the stars (by which I mean 4 or more, marked with an asterisk) or because the author or description have us thinking these are likely to be worth the conversation.

Obviously, we won’t be reviewing only 25 books this season, and we have plenty of books we’ve read that probably won’t go the distance but are certainly worth a conversation and therefore a post. But here’s the 25 we’re most excited to talk about, alphabetized by title because that’s how we’ve been discussing them.

American Girls, Alison Umminger
As I Descended, Robin Talley
The Bitter Side of Sweet*, Tara Sullivan
Blood Red, Snow White, Marcus Sedgwick
Burn Baby Burn*, Meg Medina
Character, Driven*, David Lubar
Every Exquisite Thing, Matthew Quick
Exit, Pursued by a Bear*, E.K. Johnston
Golden Boys*, Sonya Hartnett
The Head of the Saint, Socorro Acioli
Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley
The Lie Tree*, Frances Hardinge
The Memory of Light*, Francisco X. Stork
My Lady Jane, Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
The Passion of Dolssa*, Julie Berry
Railhead, Philip Reeve
The Reader*, Traci Chee
Samurai Rising*, Pamela S. Turner
The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner
The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan
Spontaneous, Aaron Starmer
Still Life with Tornado, A.S. King
Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin
Unbecoming*, Jenny Downham
We Are the Ants*, Shaun Davis Hutchinson

What would you add? Remove? Actually, let’s play this committee style: these are our nominations thus far. What are yours?

We’ll be back Monday with our first review. Catch you then!

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. Glad to see my favorites of the year on this list – The Lie Tree, Golden Boys, American Girls, Still Life with Tornado and Unbecoming. Not sure if Spontaneous really cuts it. Looking forward to the discussions

  2. Ask Me How I Got Here is worthy of consideration. I am aware of some problems with the Garvin book, and do not think there’s anything all that exceptional about Every Exquisite Thing.

  3. My favorites of the year are on the list: The Passion of Dolssa, We Are the Ants, and Character Driven.

    I would include The Steep and Thorny Way for its literary allusions to Hamlet; and The Raven King for it’s spectacularness even if it is #4 in the series.

    What do you think of the idea of including Jazz Day? It has earned 6 starred reviews. It touches on the low range of the Printz (Gr 5-8; Ages 10-13) And it is SO GOOD.

    I really didn’t like American Girls and don’t think Highly Illogical Behavior is Printz-worthy.

    I did like The Memory Book. Too sappy? I don’t know. I liked it.

  4. Lots of reading to do, as I’ve only read 7 of the books on your list! My favorites so far: Thanks for the Trouble (Tommy Wallach), Passion of Dolssa, Burn Baby Burn, Salt to the Sea (Ruta Sepetys), The Serpent King, Girl in the Blue Coat (Monica Hesse), The Memory of Light, Exit Pursued by a Bear, Every Exquisite Thing, and Unbecoming.

  5. Eric Carpenter says:

    What about March Vol 3?
    I’d also add The Borden Murders which is perfect for that 12-14 Year old age range.

  6. I have only read 4 of this list! Woe is me, much reading have I to do.

    My top is still The Lie Tree, but I’d thrown in a couple additional nominations:

    The Raven King
    The Devil and the Bluebird
    Salt to the Sea

  7. A fascinating list–I’ve read fewer than half of them, but lots of books I’m interested to hear others talk about, and/or that I have plans to read later this season. I think I’ve already mentioned The Lie Tree and Burn Baby Burn as my early frontrunners (and I keep nervously going back to the P&P to make sure The Lie Tree is really eligible this year).

    The Serpent King is my biggest case of “this is just not the book I wanted it to be” of the year; I think it was fairly successful at what it actually was, but I can’t wait to hear what others thought of it. (I also think it had some marketing issues–almost everyone I asked about it thought it was fantasy.)

    Other titles I’d add for consideration: Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel; Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung (orig. published in Australia as Laurinda).

    I’d also like to talk about more nonfiction and some graphic titles, but I’m blanking on things to recommend right now–will have to check my list and come back!

  8. Angela Carstensen says:

    My favorites are still The Passion of Dolssa and Samurai Rising. I would add When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore to the list. What gorgeous writing!

  9. This is an amazing list, and I’m glad to see three of my favorites on the list. The only one I’d add is Salt to the Sea.

  10. I agree with the others above about Salt to the Sea. Worth discussing at the very least. The other I would add is Wolf Hollow. It is the lower range of Printz, but actually in some ways feels very mature. I would love to hear what others thought of it. I still have a lot of reading to do, but I’m happy to see the blog back in business!

    • An EXCELLENT choice. It would be on the younger range of Printz, but if Navigating Early won an honor a couple years ago, I see no reason why Wolf Hollow shouldn’t also be taken under consideration.

      And god. I’ve never hated an antagonist so much. Betty is probably one of the meanest bullies I’ve ever met in children’s lit. She’s downright sociopathic.

  11. I’m SO intrigued that AMERICAN GIRLS made this list. I felt it didn’t work on pretty much any level, so I’m interested that it’s been getting so much positive attention. I look forward to that discussion–I want to know what you see in it!

  12. I’m not sure this is truly a contender, but I keep thinking about Aditi Khorana’s Mirror in the Sky, which is quiet, thoughtful SF. It pulls in a lot of interesting threads and it’s stuck with me since I read it in July.

  13. So much yes to Laurinda/Lucy and Linh. Also The Sun is Also a Star? (NBA listed and excellent)

  14. There are a definitely a few on here I think you’re absolutely right will get honored but would not be my personal choices. My faves that aren’t on here are OUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore, AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White, and GIRL IN PIECES by Kathleen Glasgow. Fingers crossed that if none of them get any Printz attention, at least WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS will get a Stonewall nod and GIRL IN PIECES will get the Morris attention it so extremely deserves.

    • 100% with Dahlia on both the Moon books. They have my heart completely and deserve everything.

      I’m also very partial to The First Time She Drowned for Morris attention.

      As far as books on this list go, I’ve only read The Bitter Side of Sweet, which I found good but not quite Printz-worthy. I’m very much looking forward to diving into these and some others recommended in the comments!

  15. Michael Clark says:

    I found “If I Was Your Girl” to be a strong contender.

  16. Remy @MLISunderstanding says:

    Happy to see Exit, Pursued by a Bear and The Memory of Light both are getting attention. I think they’re unusual trauma narratives that don’t cast the protagonists as victims, and do show positive support models (community and therapy in both, family in the first). I’ll have to look into the others!

  17. Karyn Silverman says:

    Has anyone else read Character, Driven yet? I’m… not liking it.

    • I was not a fan of Character, Driven either. I found it to be rather slow and plodding, and that twist ending did not feel earned.


  1. […] My Printz Will Come is back with their initial list of contenders so I highly recommend popping on over there to see what they’ve got on the radar. […]

  2. […] The SLJ Printz Award long list, for a YA award from School Library Journal, has been announced. There are 25 titles, including The Passion of Dolssa, by Julie Berry, and The Serpent King, by Jeff Zentner. […]

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