Friday, June 18, 2010

What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Potential Mock Printz Edition

Revolver – Marcus Sedgwick.

Wow, this was sort of a powerhouse of a book. Short, quick chapters, switching back and forth between two time periods. It was intense. I loved how the story was really one of family and survival, but that a revolver was so central to the story and so central to how the story turns out. That it propels this story both historically and in present day, that it ties into their survival, but also their moral life. That the story deals with all the ethical dilemmas that come with just having a gun. Do you use it? Do you not? What if you do? What then? What if you don’t, but you should have? It was a breathless story full of suspense…until that epilogue, which frankly was anti-climatic and unnecessary and detracted from the story to the point that where we probably won’t have this book in our Mock Printz.

The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

Everyone’s been buzzing about this book. It was a really emotional read and the type I don’t usually pick up, so I was happily surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I loved the family, my heart broke for all of them and I loved their quirks. I appreciated much about this book, especially how Lennie wrote poems everywhere and buried them under rocks, or wrote them on trees, or on discarded coffee cups. I loved her friendship with her best friend and how they moved apart only to find each other again. I enjoyed the plot line on how grief can lead you to act in wildly inappropriate ways. I was less impressed with the new relationship she was in. I mean, I liked the way they were drawn together and how they broke apart and even how they were drawn together again, but I would have liked a better conversation at that point. It seemed flat, for how much was invested in it. This one might be on our Mock Printz.

Split – Swati Avasthi

What I appreciated most about this book is how an act of violence perpetrated by a domestic violence victim is the catalyst for big changes. Jace’s family has been terrorized by his father for years. His brother disappeared when he graduated high school, never contacting his family again – or so Jace thinks. On the night when Jace acts in a way he finds completely abhorrent and he must leave home, he also discovers that his mother has secretly kept in contact with Christian throughout the years. She gives Jace his address (several states over) and tell him that Christian will look after him. When Jace lands on Christian’s doorstep, it is apparent that things aren’t going to be that simple. This is a story of abuse and what survivors must do to heal and most importantly what they must do to break the cycle. I was really impressed with this book. I had some quibbles with language on occasion which didn’t seem realistic, but on the whole, I really liked it. Another possible contender for our Mock Printz.

Toads and Diamonds – Heather Tomlinson

I could not get into this book. I tried several times and then just put it down. We’ll see if the other committee members feel strongly about it, I may have to force myself to press forward. That isn’t a bad thing – I frequently have had the experience where something I didn’t immediately get into turned into a favorite when I stopped monkeying around finally forced myself to read it.

So yeah, obviously I’ve been reading potential titles for our Mock Printz. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to let me know in the comments. We go on reviews, but sometimes word of mouth can be the thing that gets us that little known title we would have missed otherwise.

This is what it is shaping up to look like so far:

1. Bacigalupi, Paolo – Ship Breaker (probably)
2. Benoit, Charles – You
3. Larson, Hope – Mercury (maybe)
4. Nelson, Jandy – The Sky is Everywhere (good chance)
5. Perkins, Lynne Rae – As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth (yes???)
6. Stork, Francisco X – The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
7. ?
8. ?
9. ?
10. ?

Book Source: All Library Copies


Kerry said...

I liked "The Sky is Everywhere" quite a bit. I've got a copy at home if anyone around here wants to borrow it. The others on the list I haven't read yet.

Trisha said...

I wish my library system had a Mock Printz. Oh well.

The Sky is Everywhere is one of those books that I. Just. Don't. Get.

I do, however, highly recommend Nothing by Janne Teller for your Mock Printz. (I'm not sure I could ever "highly recommend" it for anything else, I found it so harrowing and disturbing. But it's also superbly written/translated and, in some ways, I think it challenges readers' expectations of youth literature.)

Shelf Talker recently updated their list of 2010 books with starred reviews, if you haven't seen it. According to the list, Nothing has received four starred reviews.

alison said...

Hey Patti,

I listened to Revolver on audio. It's the kind of book I love - short and suspenseful! The book says copyright 2009, and then first American edition 2010. Do you think it's Printz eligible? I am curious.

joanna said...

Alison! It only matters if the US edition is current for the Printz. I have joked that we need to see what wins in Australia the year before to get our Printz contenders.

Patti said...

Trisha: I checked out Nothing once and never got around to it, I've been wanting to read it, I'll have to check it out again.

This is only our second year for Mock Printz, third for Newbery, it just took a real go getter to get it started (thanks Alison!) You could always start small. We started with just staff, but we're going to invite the public this year. Who knows what kind of response we'll get, but it is exciting.

Alison, Joanna is right, Printz considers all 2010 publications, even if they were previously published in the UK and elsewhere.

alison said...

Thanks, Patti and Joanna! I was going to suggest we amend our blog's subtitle, but I see Patti's already got it covered! ; )

Patti said...

Only reluctantly... sob!

joanna said...

AW!!! I fear I'll be more of a commentor these days than a reviewer.