Mock Printz Roundup 2015

The Youth Media Awards, the collection of awards handed out by the American Library Association, will be presented Monday, February 2. For young adult literature, the Michael L. Printz award is considered the highest achievement. Awarded annually since 2000, it honors the best book (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or anthology) in terms of literary merit and up to four honor books that were published in the United States during the award year. A committee of nine YALSA members discuss the eligible titles at the Annual and Midwinter ALA meetings and choose the winner and honor books in a closed door session.

To promote the reading and discussion of quality YA books, many library systems and regional library groups organize Mock Printz events. Typically, librarians will choose a shortlist of titles that they think merit inclusion on the Printz list. They then meet to discuss the books and choose their own winner and honor books before the official ceremony.

I’m always curious to see what books look like contenders for the award, so for a few years (2014, 2012, 2011, 2010) I have compiled Mock Printz lists and winners. It’s not the best predictor of the eventual winner, especially since a lot of the groups share lists to some extent and most librarians aren’t reading as widely and extensively as those on the committee. It’s still an interesting exercise to see what’s buzzing before the announcement of the actual winners and honorees.

This year, I looked at 18 lists. Several titles appear on multiple lists, but there are a lot that only appear on one list. A total of 44 individual books were listed. Of the lists I looked at, here are all of the books that appeared and the number of lists they appeared on:

  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (16)
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (16)
  • The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (10)
  • This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (10)
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (9)
  • Noggin by John Corey Whaley (9)
  • Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (8)
  • 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith (8)
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye J. Walton (8)
  • Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (7)
  • The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston (6)
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (6)
  • The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin (5)
  • The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer (5)
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (5)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (4)
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (3)
  • Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire (3)
  • The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (3)
  • Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (3)
  • The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (2)
  • The Hit by Melvin Burgess (2)
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert (2)
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (2)
  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (2)
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (1)
  • The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, Telt by Hisself by David Almond (1)
  • Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley (1)
  • When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan (1)
  • Half Bad by Sally Green (1)
  • A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn (1)
  • Conversion by Katherine Howe (1)
  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard (1)
  • Love Is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson (1)
  • Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn (1)
  • Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (1)
  • How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson (1)
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson (1)
  • Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince (1)
  • We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt (1)
  • Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle For Civil Rights In Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin (1)
  • The Riverman by Aaron Starmer (1)
  • The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos (1)
  • Wildlife by Fiona Wood (1)

Only eight of the groups have publicly posted winners and honors. With those weighted (3 points for winners, 2 points for honors), the top of the list changes a bit:

  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (21)
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (20)
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (14)
  • The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (13)
  • This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (13)
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye J. Walton (11)
  • Noggin by John Corey Whaley (10)
  • Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (9)
  • 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith (9)
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (9)

What do you think? Who will take home the big award Monday morning?

These are the lists I surveyed:

A couple more that haven’t posted lists, but that include some discussion:

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