Saturday, January 16, 2010

Last Minute Reads for 2010 Book Awards

Hello, Dear Readers! (all 15 of you *smooch*) Now that our Mock Newbery and Mock Printz have passed, I have been catching up on buzz books that I didn't get around to reading.

#1: The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor
I have big love for this small book. This is a prime example of an author successfully accomplishing what she set out to do - and by that I mean we hear about the small adventure and that's it. There are no back stories or tangents. I'm taking it as a good sign that I haven't seen this on many Mock lists. Had it come out earlier in the year, it would have been on ours. This would be a Newbery dark horse, but worthy of the distinction in my eyes. It also hits the younger end of Newbery which is often lacking on the list. If the winners are When You Reach Me and Claudette Colvin, it will be a higher-end Newbery age list. (Also a boy book in another year where the ladies may sweep the awards.)

#2: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
This title kept escaping my reading pile. The blogosphere has been a-twitter with Printz buzz for this book so I sought it out. I really liked this novel. Really liked it. The Erin Brockovich legal plot is exciting and Marcelo is one heck of a fun and amazing guy who really made me think about my interactions with others and my belief of good in the world. I enjoyed reading his story. But.. I am not in the Printz camp. I may eat my words, but in the vast international pool of 2009 books, it could get passed over simply because the field is so competitive. Maybe an honor.

As to why I think it may miss the Printz, to me the ending was tied up too neatly. Perhaps I'm over thinking it, but it was too sweet and too perfect. I also had trouble with the final scene with Rabbi Heschel (another great, original character) where I thought "gee whiz. would this conversation really happen like this?". And is Jasmine too good? Too perfect? Again, a wonderful book, but, for me, these small criticisms could be a roadblock to Printz glory. (Marcelo has one of the best covers of the year. As my husband pointed out, it's by The Harry and the Potters artist Dan McCarthy.) To note: the catch phrase in my house has been "Don't let the a-holes give you shit."

#3: Stitches by David Small
Not published for YA so it won't qualify for the Printz, but holy cow. Excellent. Can't really add to what has already been said. Alex Award? For durn sure. Read it and then read all his picture books again.

#4 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Now here is a fun little book. First, it's so pretty! Second, of course it's pretty it's by Grace Lin but being by Grace Lin means it's also very well written. BUT, I'm still reading this one. I'll update if I finish before Monday.

Exciting times, exciting times. I'll be up at 6:30 CST so I can get my seat for the webcast. Bring it!


Patti said...

Great post! I'm glad you weren't in the overwhelming love of Marcello, otherwise I might have had to force myself. I'll be logged onto gmail Monday morning. Log on too if you're watching. We'll chat!

joanna said...

I'll be logged in as well. So fun!

Ms. Yingling said...

Stitches was very good, but I can't see handing it to any middle school students because it was very graphic and very disturbing. Even for high school-- I'm just not seeing it.

joanna said...

Oh my yes, it is not a middle school book. I think for a high school it would really depend on their collection development policy, because it is visually intense. I do think it is a YA story so it fits in nicely with the Alex Awards.