It’s almost that time. The book award season is nearly here and in the tradition of many other fine blogs, I thought I’d offer some predictions for the Printz Award for YA literature of merit. I could, of course, offer predictions for other awards but as my regular readers probably have guessed YA is really my area of expertise and where I do most of my reading. So, here are my predictions and hopes for the winner or honor books. (I tend to be late to catch the hype on some books so some of these are very wide of the consensus I’m seeing on other prediction posts).
- Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta: Although Marchetta just recently won the Printz award with Jellicoe Road, I’d be extremely surprised to not see this one as the winner or among the honors. It’s an excellently done fantasy with great writing and literary merit in spades. It’s also the kind of fantasy that isn’t really about an imaginary world so much as a reflection of ours which I think could definitely make a difference. Honestly, if this one isn’t a winner or an honor book, I’d be shocked. (Find it on Amazon)
- Incarceron by Catherine Fisher for a lot of the above reasons. It’s a smart fantasy that elevates the genre. And it’s insanely exciting. The excitement and the action might, sadly, be a drawback though since action doesn’t usually connote high literature. (Find it on Amazon)
- A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner: My predictions reflect a lot more fantasy than you ever see in the actual winners/honors but a girl can hope. This is probably the best book I read in 2010. The plot is tightly woven down to the last detail. Turner’s world is fully realized and really this is just what a good fantasy looks like. This is what a good book looks like. The problems? It’s the fourth in a series and I’m not sure it will stand alone enough for the committee’s liking (the plot is also really complicated). Because the plot revolves around political machinations and the like I’m also not sure the brilliance that is Megan Whalen Turner will be apparent to everyone. (Find it on Amazon)
- A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley: Now that I know books by non-American authors are eligible, I can’t imagine not having this one on the list. This book, right here, this is what good writing looks like. Crowley has captured the teen experience and makes the emotions in this book palpable in a way that I rarely see. She also juggles TWO first person narrators with two completely different narrative voices–which is really really hard. I was super impressed and kind of love this book and really want to see it on the list. The writing was so good it almost hurt, if you know what I mean. That said, I seem to be the only one around who is talking about it, so I’m a little worried this will slip through the committee’s radar. (Find it on Amazon)
- Heist Society by Ally Carter: This was one of my favorite 2010 books and also one of the best written. It is so sleek and clever though, that I think a lot of people dismiss the quality writing. Carter tells the story so effortlessly that some of the literary merit could get lost in the shuffle. That said, this one reminded me a lot of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (a previous winner) in terms of structure and vibe. The committee is different every year, of course, but I think that might help get this book on the radar if nothing else. I think of this one as my dark horse. Along with A Little Wanting Song this might be the one I want most badly to see win. (Find it on Amazon)
- Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson: This one is more pie in the sky than actual prediction. While the writing was brilliant, it was also funny. So much like Heist Society I think the quality of the writing might be missed because of the humor and wit. This one is also the second in a series and though it’s excellent and actually much better than the first, I don’t think it stands alone enough without the first book in the series to be a real contender. (Find it on Amazon)
So, those are my predictions. Some of them are longshots and qualify more as hopes than predictions. But you’re all readers too, what are you expectations for this year’s Printz Award?
Exclusive Bonus Content: I realize now that I’d actually love to see any of my top ten books from 2010 among the Printz winner/honors this year. There’s a lot of overlap with this list. That said, it’s just not happening for some of these books.
(I’m an Amazon Associate. If you use this links above to buy something, I receive a small percentage.)