Tip of the Day: If your local public library has to raise its fines/fees, please don't be rude to the library staff about it -- we agree with you that it stinks! Instead, take out your frustrations in a letter to the state budget cutters -- and library staff will thank you for your support.
One of my awesome teen volunteers this summer wants to do a Mock Printz Club with some of her friends. She asked me what some of my top reads of 2011 were. I went to my handy LJ book log and easily picked out these as "Printz worthy" out of the 116 books I've read this year (not that all would qualify for the award):
BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young
When Saba's twin brother Lugh is stolen by bandits, she resolves to get him back and travels through the sandstorm ridden wastelands to find him. This dystopian future novel doesn't spend any time explaining what happened to the world to cause the new landscape; it delved into the characters and plot, the heart and meat of the story, and felt like it was missing nothing. Saba is a fabulous narrator who fans of Katniss (HUNGER GAMES) will enjoy. The voice takes a little getting used to at the beginning of the novel, but is strong and real and carries the book through. Great adventure YA. (M. K. McElderry, 2011)
*This book stood out to me because in a glut of dystopian, BRR didn't dwell on the "catastrophic event" that made the world what it was; it just went forward with strong characters, visuals, and story.
RIVAL by Sara Bennett Wealer
Brooke and Kathryn became friends as juniors, but jealousy and misunderstandings tore them apart and one year later, they will be competing for a prestigious singing prize that may move them from rivals to enemies. This book is so well done for many reasons. First, because of the great alternating first-person pov that shows how neither girl is stereotypically bad, wrong, or evil, but that misunderstandings happen; second, because of the accurate portrayal of girls who are so similar in desires, thoughts, actions, and skills that those same things that make them bffs are the things that make them in competition with each other; and third, because of the relatable description of the confusing feelings/jealousies related to both points above. I loved this contemporary, realistic, relatable YA. (HarperCollins, 2011)
*This book stood out because of its on-point, realistic portrayal of teen girls who have lots in common without any added drama for drama's sake.
OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt
Doug moves to "stupid" Marysville with his sad but beautiful mom, angry dad, and pain in the butt brother, but when he discovers John Audubon's bird pictures, a love for drawing, and a pretty girl, even his injured oldest brother's return from Vietnam might make everything okay for now. I loved loved loved this book even more than GS's TROUBLE and WEDNESDAY WARS which I also loved. The combination of Audubon's birds with what was going on in Doug's life, the relationships between Doug and his family members and neighbors, and the way Doug wanted to be better than his abusive father made me love his character and fear for him when things went wrong. Reading this just pulled at pieces of me. Amazing upper MG to YA. (HMH, 2011)
*This book stood out because of its heart, its truth, its worrisomeness that will resonate with many, its hope, the way it still gives me chills to think about the main character.
IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma
When she was 14-years-old, Chloe tried to swim across the resevoir that buried an old town when her older sister boasted she could do it, but instead she discovered a dead girl; two years later, Chloe's sister claims she has fixed everything and they can be together forever, but Chloe knows she's hiding something. I should've been revising my own novel but I couldn't put down this book or skip over any words. This atmospheric tale of magical realism was captivating, sweet, and sad, but most of all addicting. Great YA. (Dutton, 2011)
*This stood out because of its atmosphere and hinted mystery and lovely magical realism, all of which made me *need* to keep reading.
What books do you think are Printz worthy so far this year? What makes a book really stand out to you among all the YA novels to choose from?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing