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November 24, 2014

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A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery by Albert Marrin Knopf, April 2014 Reviewed from final copy JOHN BROWN TAKE THE WHEEL is probably not how you expected this review to start, but let’s embrace the unexpected and just go with it. With four stars and some rave reviews happening, Albert Marrin’s [...]

Threatened

Threatened

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer Scholastic, February 2014 Reviewed from an ARC The art of reading for Printz is an interesting one; the pile adds and drops titles throughout the course of the year. With two stars and some buzz, Threatened was a back-and-forther for me — sometimes in the pile, sometimes to the side, sometimes [...]

The Hit

The Hit

The Hit by Melvin Burgess Scholastic, February 2014 Reviewed from an ARC Melvin Burgess, Melvin Burgess, Melvin Burgess! So much love for Melvin Burgess, who can do dark and devious and subversive. The Hit has two starred reviews, an action-filled plot, unexpected twists, and a killer idea: a drug that will kill you after giving [...]

Afterworlds

afterworlds

Three stars! Two plots for the price of one! Paranormal romance WITH commentary on the paranormal romance genre! A book for book lovers! Publishing trivia sprinkled throughout! Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is a door stopper of a book with a lot to say — about the intricacies of publishing, the craft of writing, the art [...]

Through the Woods

Through the Woods

Through the Woods, Emily Carroll McElderry Books, July 2014 Reviewed from final copy Just yesterday, we had our annual visit from an NYPL teen librarian to get students public library cards and do a bunch of booktalks. The book that got the strongest reaction? Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods. Both classes had teens verbally enjoying [...]

Tin Stars and Clear Days

Tin Stars and Clear Days

Nostalgia and the Printz process don’t really go hand-in-hand. But those old school feelings really can color reading experiences. We have to do a lot of work to recognize them and move past them in order to assess a book more objectively. The first time you read someone, you might have been a young, impressionable [...]

A Creature of Moonlight

A Creature of Moonlight

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2014 Reviewed from ARC This is a book that, I’m pretty sure, was written just for me. I love fantasy, I love courtly politics, I love dragons and willful ladies. Somehow, though, even though my review is due, I have to confess that I’m [...]

Children of the King

Children of the King

Children of the King, Sonya Hartmett Candlewick, March 2014 Reviewed from ARC Luxuriant prose, complicated and resonant themes, contemplative characters — Hartnett’s historical fiction is actually a bit of a genre-blender with thin fantasy elements woven in. Traditionally, the Printz committee rewards books that mix genres — but RealCommittee choices also tend to skew older, [...]

I Remember Beirut

I Remember Beirut

I Remember Beirut, Zeina Abirached Graphic Universe, August 2014 Reviewed from final copy I’m struggling to remain even semi-impartial here. This is a book that I loved reading. But when I put it on the list, I was pretty sure I was doing it because of personal reasons, not so much because I was ready [...]

This One Summer

This One Summer

This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki First, Second, May 2014 Reviewed from final copy In my head, as I’ve written this post, it’s mostly been a series of exclamation points and the word “squeeeeeeee” interspersed with pictures from the book’s pages. I mean, that’s legit Printz discussion, no? With 6 starred reviews, gorgeous [...]

Rose Under Fire

house, barricades

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Disney Hyperion, September 2013 Reviewed from an ARC Last year, we had a lot of great conversation about Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, which ended up with a silver medal. This year, we have its companion title, Rose Under Fire. With two starred reviews, will this title go the [...]

Yellowcake

Yellowcake

Yellowcake, Margo Lanagan Knopf Books for Young Readers, May 2013 Reviewed from Final Copy Short stories aren’t always my favorite – collections can be so uneven sometimes; I’d rather spend time in a big long novel. But Margo Lanagan seems to be trying to convince me that I – even I! – can love a [...]

More of the books!

Karyn just posted an impressive roundup of last minute reading, so I’m chiming in with some more. With Monday morning’s announcement looming large, it seems like everyone is trying to sprint through their last minute reads in order to feel prepared. Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby Houghton Mifflin, March 2012 Reviewed from an ARC This [...]

Nonfiction Roundup, Part 2

Karyn wrote about the long slog of winter break reading just before a conference/blog deadline. I understand her image, but I think I spend winter break/early January more like a muppet: waving my arms around in a flurry of indecision (and, sometimes, stress because I’ve put off so much committee reading. Blerg!); now’s the time [...]

Ask the Passengers

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King September 2012, Little Brown Reviewed from an ARC Can I take an unrelated-to-anything moment to say how pretty the new blogs are? We’ve been hearing a lot about the new look behind the scenes, so to actually see it — and see how quickly it all came together — [...]

Beyond Courage

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport Candlewick, September 2012 Reviewed from an ARC With five starred reviews, this was an easy auto-contenda to spot. Rappaport looks at the active, heroic roles Jewish people played during the years of the Holocaust. She shares 21 stories — many involving [...]

every Unwholly day

every day by David Levithan
Published by Knopf, August 2012
Reviewed from a final copy
You know a book’s a big deal when the visiting public librarian gives it a shiny booktalk and then all the students want to do is keep hearing about that book, to the exclusion of all the other books said librarian brought. [...]

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Harper Teen, July 2012
Reviewed from an ARC
As a quick reminder, we only have a little time before our Pyrite Printz nominations close, so if you have a book that knocks your socks off this year, you should head over to the comments to let us know!
But the real purpose of [...]

Round Up (Austen Style!)

Alright, y’all, I’m having a rough blog post, OK? Because I have here two books that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed reading for myself. But when I switch to my magical Printz-o-vision, neither Keeping the Castle nor For Darkness Shows the Stars stands up to a more critical analysis. Pity me, the poor [...]

Drowned Cities

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Little, Brown, May, 2012
Reviewed from final copy
So you know that Ship Breaker was the winner the year I served on the RealPrintz committee, right? And I can be a mature blogger — mature enough to admit that I wonder if my affection for “my” winner skews my reading of Ship [...]