Some of you may be familiar with the Printz award – it’s basically like the Newbery for young adult books.
I know there is a lot of discussion (that I have participated in) about the Newbery not picking awesome books, but even despite that, I generally think the Newbery picks make sense, even if I don’t, myself, care for them.
The Printz award, on the other hand, usually picks the most RANDOM things you can possibly imagine. I mean, really.
Sometimes, of course, they are terrific – I loved Jellicoe Road so much it’s probably ridiculous. And Looking For Alaska is truly well-written (although has some, um, pretty mature content). The Book Thief is hard to surpass.
But many, many, many of them are so WEIRD. The White Darkness was perhaps one of the worst books I read last year; I get depressed just thinking about it. Fat Kid Rules the World was so awful, I gave up after about fifty pages.And, while I deeply deeply love Georgia of Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging, it is fluff at its best – this isn’t high literary reading here, people.
Which basically leads me to conclude that you might as well throw darts at a board full of the previous years books as correctly predict which books will win the Printz and Printz honors.
And yet, here we are at the half-way mark for the year and I’m going to make some predictions anyway. Because I like to live on the edge. And prove myself 100% wrong.
Also, I must say, this has been a fairly terrible year for Young Adult books. I read new releases like a FIEND after ALA and only a very few of them were at all noteworthy.
That said, I think these books might get some Printz note come January:
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar. Some writers are just a surefire winner. I haven’t read this one yet, but every review I’ve read of it has been positive and I love Louis Sachar. So, yes, I think this might have a chance.
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. This book skews a little young, but they’ve picked short books with a younger audience before, so I think this one could have a shot. Not only is it well-written, but it could be considered an issue book and I think the Printz committees are often all about those.
Incarceron by Katherine Fisher. I’m currently reading this one and it’s not bad, but it’s long and complicated and the Printz committees do seem to love that. Also, it’s the first in a series and while that seems to hinder books for the Newbery, it doesn’t appear to do anything for a shot at the Printz. And it was originally published in the UK, which would disqualify it for a Newbery, but the Printz seems to take special delight in not disqualifying those titles (Jellicoe Road was a previously published in another country).
The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. This is probably the longest shot, but it was a tremendously good debut novel – the first book I read after ALA that I thought, “This is actually a really well-written book.” It’s quite short and it was just so unexpectedly excellent, with the plot not going where I anticipated at all. Plus, there are family secrets and death, both of which the Printz seems to love.
Dear heavens, let us hope the second half of the year has some better candidates. Because I’m really reaching here.