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SLJ’s Best Books 2017

What a reading pile might look like, if sloppily staged

What a reading pile might look like, if sloppily staged

It’s nearing the end of the year, and all the year’s best lists are going to drop…soon! In fact, this year is so far along that the NBA will be announcing winners this evening (can you belieeeeeeve it?). It’s fun to take notes and make sure our reading lists are as complete as possible as we head to ALA countdown time. We’ve seen what PW had to say; now it’s the Mother Ship’s turn. SLJ released their year-end list earlier this morning, with 71 titles for kids and teens included. Click for more thoughts!

So I think there are no major MAJOR surprises on the SLJ list, right? We have some that we’re super excited to get to (the Green and the Pullman; You Bring the Distant Near; Long Way Down to name only a few of the non-surprises). And we have some that we mentioned in our original-but-incomplete list that have already been reviewed (The Hate U Give; Allegedly; When Dimple Met Rishi; American Street and Piecing Me Together…you can always jump in the conversations in the comments; we’d love to talk more about them) — none of those are big surprises either, right? We pretty much expected to see those, yeah? And of course, we have some that you’ve lobbied for strongly in the comments, which will be written up according to our highly detailed and always-accurate schedule (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, The 57 Bus). (Do I really have to confess that our schedule is not always accurate and seems to always be in flux? Shhh.)

And as always, there are a few that we can add to our list (always! So many books! ALWAYS!). This year, that means two: The Marrow Thieves, which sounds creepy, great, amazing, horrifying; A Skinful of Shadows, which I’m sure Karyn has on her bedside table, if not in the “already read but I haven’t brought it up because you didn’t ask me but not technically listed on the magical spreadsheet” pile (yeah, OK, that might not be what she CALLS it…but she definitely has that pile). Have you any of you read these two titles? Want to tell us all about them? Shall we add them to the magical spreadsheet? (Too late, I definitely already added The Marrow Thieves.)

And we have a couple that have moved around, at least in my own TBR pile — Eyes on the World and Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World. Have you all read them? Should I move them up?

So! That’s what we’ve got! Any thoughts? Reactions? Surprises?



  1. Brenda Martin says

    I agree that there weren’t many surprises on the SLJ lists. I wouldn’t quibble with many inclusions, especially those on the Teen list. Lots and lots of diversity and POC on that one, a majority of the titles even (I counted 10 of 18, but I might be wrong).
    The one thing that does bother me a little bit, however, is that some (not all) of the titles on various lists seemed to almost have been predetermined in that their advance buzz was nearly enough to give them a slot. To me that feels less authentic in choosing the very best of the year, and maybe even a little bit of wag the dog going on. I truly hope that is never the case.

  2. I’ve read a A Skinful of Shadows and was disappointed; It’s good, certainly, and much more approachable/accessible than some of Hardinge’s weird stuff (Cuckoo Song, Face Like Glass), but I wasn’t blown away by it the way I’ve been by Hardinge’s other recent books (Cuckoo Song, Face Like Glass, The Lie Tree. It also felt pretty squarely middle-grade for me, as opposed to the others that I would say are primarily MG but straddle the YA border and are frakking perfect for a lot of 12-14-year-olds.

    The copy of The Marrow Thieves on my library’s hold shelf is the only reason I’m planning to make a library trek in the rain today. (Of course, the librarians probably want me to get to the ever-so-slightly-overdue copy of I am not your perfect Mexican daughter that I have…)

  3. ….but not the National Book Award winner, Robin Benway’s FAR FROM THE TREE. It didn’t even make the list. Man, this stuff is subjective, which is why calls for “authenticity” in books is so problematic. If we can’t even agree on broad excellence, how can we agree on authenticity? Whose authenticity?

  4. I read Here We Are: Feminism and found it to be very uneven. Some of the essays were so good and inspiring and some so poorly written and not especially well-written. The topic is important in light of the “Me, Too” events on the news every night, but I don’t think it is award worthy.

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