2009 Printz Winner and Honors

Today the 2009 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced including the Printz winner and honors.  Since the winner and one of the honors is up for a Cybil in the Young Adult Fiction category, of which I’m a judge, I must remain mum on my feelings regarding these titles so I thought that I would connect you to some other wonderful bloggers’ reviews of the books.  Without any further ado, the 2009 Printz titles are:

Winner:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (review by Trisha @ the Ya Ya Yas)

Honors:

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart (review by Bookshelves of Doom)

Nation by Terry Pratchett (review from Guys Lit Wire)

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (review by Reading Rants!)

The Astonishing Live of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II by M.T. Anderson (um, no review because I couldn’t find one on any of my normal channels — i.e. my trusted sources, so check it out on Amazon)

For a full list of all the Youth Media Award winners, click here.  My highlights — Yeah for Graveyard Book (Newbery winner) and Savvy (Newbery honor), neither of which I’ve read yet but both of which I’ve heard awesome things about and hope to convince the teachers of the fledgling middle school bookclub to choose as bookclub selections, and yeah Curse as Dark as Gold as the first Morris Award winner.

In Love Already

I have just started reading My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison and already I’m a little bit in love and it’s mostly because of this:

As you requested, we sent Memoir Elves to the mortal Savannah Delano’s home.  Madame Bellwings, Memoir Elf Coordinator, was not at all pleased with this request, because elves who write memoirs of teenage girls have the unfortunate habit of returning to the magical realm with atrocious grammar.  They can’t seem to shake the phrases “whatever” and “no way,” and they insert the word “like” into so many sentences that other elves start slapping them.  They also pick up the bad habit of writing things in text message form (e.g., R U going 2 the mall?) and for no apparent reason occasionally call out the name Edward Cullen. (pg 20, my bold)

Hahahahaha.  Love it!  Though stereotypical, it’s still hilarious.

Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistryby Simone Elkeles

Meet two seemingly very different people: Brittany Ellis, co-head of the pom squad and fabulously wealthy, and Alejandro “Alex” Fuentes, resident bad boy gang member from the “wrong” side of town.  When they are paired together as chemistry partners, it’s hate at first sight.  They both believe they are too different to ever be able to function as a pair.  How wrong they are!  Soon, Brittany and Alex realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined, but will they be able to overcome the differences in their backgrounds — Brittany’s snooty friends’ ideas of who she should date and Alex’s increasing gang involvement — and find a way to be together?

Reaction:  Let me get a few things out of the way before I gush.  I found that the beginning was a bit of tell instead of show.  The characters seemed a bit too in tune with the psychological reasons behind their actions and they had no qualms sharing those reasons with readers over and over again.  I was seriously about to strangle Brittany if I had to hear the word “control” from her mouth one more time, or I would have if she was a real person.  So, the writing was a bit shaky.

Ok, on to the gush.  I LOOOVVVEEEDDD it.  Brittany was a likable popular girl and her love for her sister was admirable.  Alex was a swoon-worthy bad boy who, in the only way he knew how, tried to keep his family safe and create a future for his younger brothers.  The guy on the cover fits my exact image of Alex, with his floppy hair, white t-shirt, nice build.  Ack, I love me a good bad boy.  Also, I was so intrigued by the inner-workings of the gang and the part it played in Brittany and Alex’s relationship.  For Alex and his family, his being in the gang was a way of life, but the gang was something that Brittany couldn’t understand or accept.  Brittany and Alex’s romance really clicked for me, and, sheesh, they were sizzling!

Other Reviews: Trisha at The Ya Ya Yas and Teen Book Review (and I agree with both of them about the epilogue, especially because, to me at least, it felt like the second or third epilogue with how the passage of time was spaced at the end of the novel.)

Also, book trailer:  It’s a rap!

Cybils Finalists Announced

Ack, I almost forgot to post about this!  The finalists for each Cybils category were announce on January 1st.  The finalists for the Young Adult Fiction category are:

  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  • I Know it’s Over by C. K. Kelly Martin
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
  • Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher
  • Thaw by Monica Roe

Some are a surprise to me, others not at all but I am really excited to dig into judging!

Check out all the finalists here.  I was particularly happy with what I saw in the Fantasy and Science Fiction category, especially in the Middle Grade portion of the category, though there are great books to be found in all of the finalists.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darkside

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darksideby Beth Fantaskey

Jessica knows that she was adopted and that her name at birth was Antanasia, but what she doesn’t know is that she is actually a vampire and that she was betrothed to another young vampire when she was only a baby.  Her betrothed, Lucius Vladescu, has come to collect his bride and bring her back to Romania where their marriage will end the war between their two high-powered families.  But Jessica is sure that he and her adoptive parents are just delusional.  She is too practical to believe in anything like vampirism, and where are her fangs?  All Jessica wants is to continue being a mathlete and possibly date Jake, the farm boy from down the road.  Soon, though, Jessica begins to feel an ache in her gums, can sense blood in a way she never has before, and has a hunger that cannot be assuaged by any food or drink she knows of, but is it too late?  Lucius is showing incredible interested in the heartless and popular cheerleader, Faith.  Has Jessica lost him forever?  And what about the war between their families?  Jessica finds herself having to making hard decision to try and save vampire family members she has never met and the young vampire she is beginning to love.

Reaction: Much more than I expected.  I really liked Lucius.  He is so arrogant and annoying in the beginning, I just wanted to smack him, but then you learn that his life has been horrible.  His uncle raised him by beating him into submission.  Lucius was raised to think of himself as regal and entitled but he was also raised as his uncle’s pawn.  He grows a lot during his time in America when he learns about freedoms he never thought possible.  I also liked that the specifics of vampirism aren’t the main focus of the story.  Yes, Jessica and Lucius and several other characters are vampires, but it is more about their relationships–Lucius and Jessica, Lucius and his uncle, Jessica and the family she never knew–though vampirism does play an important part in shaping who Jessica ends up being.  There are definite weak points.  I wish that Jessica’s transition from despising Lucius to loving him as well as her transition from American teenager to vampire royalty had been a bit more developed .  I found the ending a bit rushed, though it was by no means a short novel.  Overall, I think Jessica’s Guide is a good addition to the ever-growing collection of vampire stories out there.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Darkside

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darksideby Beth Fantaskey

Jessica knows that she was adopted and that her name at birth was Antanasia, but what she doesn’t know is that she is actually a vampire and that she was betrothed to another young vampire when she was only a baby.  Her betrothed, Lucius Vladescu, has come to collect his bride and bring her back to Romania where their marriage will end the war between their two high-powered families.  But Jessica is sure that he and her adoptive parents are just delusional.  She is too practical to believe in anything like vampirism, and where are her fangs?  All Jessica wants is to continue being a mathlete and possibly date Jake, the farm boy from down the road.  Soon, though, Jessica begins to feel an ache in her gums, can sense blood in a way she never has before, and has a hunger that cannot be assuaged by any food or drink she knows of, but is it too late?  Lucius is showing incredible interested in the heartless and popular cheerleader, Faith.  Has Jessica lost him forever?  And what about the war between their families?  Jessica finds herself having to making hard decision to try and save vampire family members she has never met and the young vampire she is beginning to love.

Reaction: Much more than I expected.  I really liked Lucius.  He is so arrogant and annoying in the beginning, I just wanted to smack him, but then you learn that his life has been horrible.  His uncle raised him by beating him into submission.  Lucius was raised to think of himself as regal and entitled but he was also raised as his uncle’s pawn.  He grows a lot during his time in America when he learns about freedoms he never thought possible.  I also liked that the specifics of vampirism aren’t the main focus of the story.  Yes, Jessica and Lucius and several other characters are vampires, but it is more about their relationships–Lucius and Jessica, Lucius and his uncle, Jessica and the family she never knew–though vampirism does play an important part in shaping who Jessica ends up being.  There are definite weak points.  I wish that Jessica’s transition from despising Lucius to loving him as well as her transition from American teenager to vampire royalty had been a bit more developed .  I found the ending a bit rushed, though it was by no means a short novel.  Overall, I think Jessica’s Guide is a good addition to the ever-growing collection of vampire stories out there.

Top Picks of 2008

So, I’m a bit behind on this seeing how it is now 4 days into the new year, but here are my top reads in 2008.  Not all were new to 2008, in fact one is a 1983 Newbery honor book, but this year was the first time I read them and they made an impression.  In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
  2. Frostbite (Vampire Academy 2) and Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy 3) by Richelle Mead
  3. The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
  4. War of the Witches by Maite Carranza
  5. Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  6. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  7. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  8. Red Glass by Laura Resau
  9. Fact of Life #31 by Denise Vega