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We’re Making a List, Checking it Twice…
A list of lists, in fact! Because we’re almost halfway through December, which means that only Booklist’s year-end list is still to come. So today we’re checking in on Horn Book’s Fanfare and the Kirkus Best Teen Books list, which both dropped about two weeks ago, and as a bonus glancing at the NYT teen section AND giving you a link to a list of every list ever, so if you, like me, love looking through the lists and seeing whether you agree or disagree — well, this list of lists will have you covered for weeks of that kind of web browsing.
Fanfare first, because why not. Horn Book recognized 11 fiction titles and 7 nonfiction, and in both categories the titles are a mix of middle grade and YA. On the YA side of things — 8 titles — there is very little to surprise. Three of the five fiction YA are books that have had award buzz for months already — The Hate U Give, You Bring the Distant Near, and Long Way Down. We’ve already reviewed Hate and will be covering the other two soon. The remaining two YA titles — Thick as Thieves and The Fashion Committee — are multi-starred and well-loved, and while not getting as much award-related attention, both are excellent and have already been reviewed here. On the nonfiction side, three are YA — Undefeated, Vincent and Theo, and Eyes on the World. We had Undefeated on our review pile but pushed it low on the priority list after the AICL review, because we deem it unlikely to win awards given those questions about accuracy, although no one else seems compelled by those arguments. Eyes on the World is on our list but seems to have been lost in the shuffle; we really need to bump it back up. And of course Joy wrote about V&T a few weeks ago, and Heavy Medal has put it forward as a potential Newbery too.
Moving down the alphabet, let’s look at Kirkus. Kirkus is the longest — 75 books! — of the lists, and therefor the one with the most interesting outliers. Of the 75 titles, 8 are series books and therefore unlikely award fodder (although shout out for the brilliant Black Light Express, which you should all read). Another 34 we’ve either covered or we have them on our long list. Nothing shocking there, but worth noting this is the only review source that caught Devils Within; that longer list does pay off in terms of catching the not-quite-Printz fodder but well-worth-noting titles.
Now, the interesting bit — the 33 titles we weren’t paying any attention to. A few are in my collection, a few I’ve read and liked (like Grendel’s Guide to Love and War) and no surprise that they’ve made Kirkus’s list, which doesn’t mean they have any shot at the Printz but means these are books worth reading. Another handful are commercial delights without the literary chops, at least judging from reviews (Warcross) And then there’s all the stuff I don’t even remember knowing existed! It’s too many to list every title here, but take a look at the list and if there’s anything there you don’t recall seeing here but think we should cover, give a shout in the comments.
Finally, the NYT list: Finally, some recognition for John Green, who hasn’t been quite as prominent this season as you might have anticipated (and whose new book wasn’t on even that massive Kirkus list). Also La Belle Sauvage, which I can’t wait to read — we have it on our schedule for early January, I believe, and I am saving it for over winter break. Then a handful of what you would expect — Hate and Mexican Daughter, American Street (divisive and I would love to be a fly on the wall when RealCommittee discusses this one, which I am sure they will, or did at Annual), and a lone, unexpected series book, Akata Warrior, which is unexpectedly YA while Undefeated is on the middle grade pile; I think both are in-betweeners.
So there you go. Thoughts? Arguments? Cheers?
Oh, and if you wanted all the lists ever, Largehearted Boy has you covered, as always. Prepare for a massive time suck browsing these!
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.
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