Monday, December 22, 2008

Making Up For Lost Time

As a graduate student I tried to stay on top of the latest and greatest in YA fiction, but alas between papers, projects and reading for school, I just could not keep up. Enter: completion of classes and present lack of full time job. There's nothing like a lack of employment to give you the time you need to catch up on your reading.

I want to be a top notch librarian and someday maybe serve on an award committee, but with so many books to read, where does one start? Coupling my desire to get up to speed with my quest to give YA lit the respect it deserves I figured I would start with the likely contenders for the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award. For those not in the know, the award is given by YALSA to recognize "the best book written for young adults, based solely on literary merit" published in the previous year (2008), and final selections for this year's award will be made at ALA's Mid-Winter Conference, coming up in just a few short weeks.

Borrowing a page from Betsy Bird's blog, A Fuse #8 Production, where she recently compiled and tallied up mock Newbery and Caldecott medal shortlists and final picks created by libraries and other groups across the country, I decided to use a similar method to guide my personal reading list. I perused lists from blogger BookEnvy, the Allen County Public Library, GoodReads, and BCCLS, and established the following list (alpha by author):

Octavian Nothing: Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson (need to read the first one tho)
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper
My Most Excellent Year: a Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Madapple by Christina Meldrum
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Nation by Terry Pratchett
Skim by Miriko Tamaki
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
Good Enough by Paula Yoo
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Before anyone goes getting all excited about some notable titles left off this list, I should note that I've already read the following:

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Paper Towns by John Green
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

To be sure, it is quite a long list, and I've probably left off titles that should be there, but I see it as a jumping off point to start the process of knowledgability. After I get through these, I'm thinking I'll turn to previous Printz medal and honor books, one year at a time. Thankfully, I've already read a bunch of the older books, so it shouldn't be too overwhelming.

1 comment:

  1. I made it my business to read the Printz backlist a while back (the ones I could tolerate and the ones I could find). Like you say, you've already read a lot of them anyway: Speak, Monster, Angus Thongs, etc.

    Oh, and Black Juice, too. The cavier and dry red wine of literature, if Twilight is its cotton candy.