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Michael L. Printz Awards
2017
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Louise O Neill
2016>
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Laura Ruby
2015
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Jandy Nelson
 
2014
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Marcus Sedgwick

Book list *Starred Review* In the year 2073, a reporter named Eric is sent to Blessed Island to research a rare flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he finds an insular community of mysterious villagers, a delicious tea that has him losing days at a time, and a beguiling girl named Merle. In just 50 pages, we reach a shattering conclusion and then start anew in 2011. An archaeologist is digging on Blessed Island, where he meets a quiet boy named Eric and his mother, Merle. So begins this graceful, confounding, and stirring seven-part suite about two characters whose identities shift as they are reborn throughout the ages. Sedgwick tells the story in reverse, introducing us to a stranded WWII pilot, a painter trying to resurrect his career in 1901, two children being told a ghost story in 1848, and more, all the way back to a king and queen in a Time Unknown. It is a wildly chancy gambit with little in the way of a solid throughline, but Sedgwick handles each story with such stylistic control that interest is not just renewed each time but intensified. Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folktales. Its strange spell will capture you.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Beginning in July 2073, Sedgwick's new novel makes its way backward through time, drawing readers into seven stories from different eras. Whether it is a 21st-century archaeologist, a World War II pilot, or a Viking king, there are subtle but tell-tale signs of the threads that bind them together over the centuries-the echoes of particular names and phrases, the persistence of a mysterious dragon orchid, and other seemingly innocuous moments that all hint at the dark mystery at the center of this lyrical yet horrifying tale. The plot is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004), with its themes of love and reincarnation, as well as of the cult-movie-turned-book Robin Hardy's Wicker Man (Crown, 1978), with its setting of remote and sinister island inhabitants. The many characters are vividly real and distinct from one another, despite making only brief appearances. Each of these vignettes seem rich enough to be worthy of a novel of its own, and readers might almost wish they could pause in each fascinating, detailed moment rather than be swept through time-and the novel-on the current of a cursed love. Although fans of the author's Revolver (Roaring Brook, 2010) will likely flock to this book to relish more of Sedgwick's stark, suspenseful writing, new readers might find that there are more questions left unanswered than are resolved.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly "I always prefer a walk that goes in a circle.... Don't you?" a woman named Bridget says to her daughter, Merle, at one point in this heady mystery that joins the remote northern setting of Sedgwick's Revolver with the multigenerational scope of his White Crow. Sedgwick appears to share Bridget's sentiment: as he moves backward through time in seven interconnected stories-from the late 21st century to an unspecified ancient era-character names, spoken phrases, and references to hares, dragons, and sacrifice reverberate, mutate, and reappear. Set on a mysterious and isolated Nordic island, the stories all include characters with variations on the names of Eric and Merle. In a present-day story about an archeological dig, Eric is a oddly strong, brain-damaged teenager and Merle his mother; in the 10th century, when the island was inhabited by Vikings, Eirek and Melle are young twins, whose story answers questions raised by what the archeologists discover. Teenage characters are few and far between, but a story that's simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers' attention, no matter their age. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2013
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Nick Lake

Publishers Weekly Shorty, 15, is trapped in the rubble of a hospital following the 2010 earthquake that left Haiti in ruins. As time wears on without rescue, he relives the journey that brought him to the hospital with a bullet wound, recounting his life running drugs and gunning down enemies for one of Site Soley's most notorious gangs. In a startling but successful feat of literary imagination, Lake (the Blood Ninja series) pairs Shorty's story with that of Toussaint l'Ouverture, the 18th-century slave who led the revolt that forced out the island's French colonizers. The narrative is as disturbing (people are hacked to death, an encephalitic baby is found alive in a trash pile) as it is challenging; the book moves back and forth in time from Shorty's fictional first-person account, shot through with street slang and Creole, to Toussaint's story, told in third-person. But the portrait it reveals of a country relegated throughout history to brutality and neglect is powerful and moving, as readers come to understand that Shorty is held captive by more than just the ceiling that fell on him. Ages 14-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Shorty, 15, is in a Haitian hospital with a bullet in his arm when the walls fall down during an earthquake. As he waits for help, drinking blood to try to quench his thirst, he remembers how he got to the hospital and the haunting gang violence he witnessed in the slums: his beloved twin sister was taken; his father was chopped to pieces. His mother loved freedom-fighter Aristide, but his father did not. Shorty's present-day narrative switches back and forth with an historical plotline set in the eighteenth century, when Touissant l'Ouverture, a former slave, led Haiti in the fight for freedom, calling for justice, not vengeance, in the struggle to emancipate the slaves. The constantly shifting narratives, large cast of characters, and cultural detail may overwhelm some readers, and the unspeakable brutality is not for the fainthearted. But older readers, especially those who have seen the devastating footage of Haiti's recent earthquake, will want to read about the grim, contemporary drama and the inspiring history.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
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John Corey Whaley

Publishers Weekly In this darkly humorous debut, Whaley weaves two stories into a taut and well-constructed thriller. Acerbic 17-year-old aspiring writer Cullen Witter narrates the first, bemoaning the tedium of smalltown life ("Living in Lily, Arkansas, is sometimes like living in the land that time forgot"), until the Lazarus woodpecker, thought to be extinct, allegedly reappears, and his 15-year-old brother, Gabriel, goes missing. The alternating story line, told in an ominous third-person voice, begins with the story of Benton Sage-a failed teenage missionary, who leaves Ethiopia for the University of Atlanta-but it soon veers in unexpected directions as the action converges on the town of Lily. Vulnerability balances Cullen's arch sarcasm, and the maelstrom of media attention lavished on the woodpecker offers an element of the absurd, especially when juxtaposed against the mystery of Gabriel's disappearance. The portentous tone and flat affect of Whaley's writing is well-suited to the story's religious themes and symbolism (Gabriel, the Lazarus woodpecker, the apocryphal Book of Enoch), as Whaley gradually brings the story's many threads together in a disturbing, heartbreaking finale that retains a touch of hope. Ages 14-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list An answer to complaints about simplistic YA problem fiction, this debut novel, set in Lily, Arkansas, takes on the whole small town with alternating viewpoints, beginning with the first-person narrative of Cullen, 17, and moving on to a huge cast of friends, enemies, family members, lovers, and neighbors. In a parallel plotline, Benton, 18, fails as a missionary in Ethiopia ( passing out food, water, and Christ ) and, after returning to college in the U.S., commits suicide, setting off a chain of interconnected, unexpected events. What will hold readers most is the moving story of Cullen's beloved younger brother, who suddenly goes missing, leading to mystery, heartbreak, and an astonishing resolution on the very last page. Whaley's numerous themes range from religion to Internet technology to the environment, and a wry subplot about the so-called sighting of a long-extinct Lazarus woodpecker brings levity, as Lily's residents try to capitalize on the new tourist trade with creations such as th. Lazarus burger. An intriguing, memorable offering teens will want to discuss.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Cullen Witter, 17, lives in dull, dreary Lily, AR. He is desperate to escape his small town but is fearful that, like so many others, he'll never do so. His world is turned upside down by a flurry of activity and interest that the sighting of a supposedly extinct Lazarus woodpecker brings to his town, by the devastating and unexplained disappearance of his 15-year-old brother, and the death of his drug-addicted cousin. Simultaneously, Benton Sage, a young missionary, jumps to his death while searching for the meaning of his life. The lives of Cullen and Benton's roommate at the University of Atlanta, Cabot Searcy, collide and meld into one well-crafted narrative; however, it will take patience on the part of readers to find out how the stories and characters are connected. The powerful plot elements allow readers to have empathy for the Witter family and understand their painful ordeal. The characters' reactions are palpable as their grief deepens and yet they continue to hope for Gabriel's return. Cullen is an eloquent, thoughtful narrator, and, solemn as it is, the book is not without humor. The pacing is deliberate, but the ending is worth the wait, making a promising statement about faith and taking one day at a time: "We don't have to be anxious about everything. We can just be. We can anticipate that the day will probably have some good moments and a few bad ones, and then we deal with it."-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011
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Paolo Bacigalupi

Publishers Weekly SF novelist Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) makes a stellar YA debut with this futuristic tale of class imbalance on the Gulf Coast. Teenage Nailer scavenges ships with his crewmates, eking out a poverty-filled existence while avoiding dangers that range from giant "city killer" hurricanes to his vicious, drug-addicted father. When a storm strands a beautiful shipping heiress on the beach (earning her the nickname "Lucky Girl"), Nailer manages both to infuriate members of his camp (including his father) and to become embroiled in upper-class trade disputes that he barely comprehends. As Nailer and Lucky Girl escape toward the drowned ruins of New Orleans, they witness rampant class disparity on individual and international levels (tribes whose lands were flooded have taken to the seas as pirates, attacking multinational shipping firms). Bacigalupi's cast is ethnically and morally diverse, and the book's message never overshadows the storytelling, action-packed pacing, or intricate world-building. At its core, the novel is an exploration of Nailer's discovery of the nature of the world around him and his ability to transcend that world's expectations. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-A fast-paced postapocalyptic adventure set on the American Gulf Coast. Nailer works light crew; his dirty, dangerous job is to crawl deep into the wrecks of the ancient oil tankers that line the beach, scavenging copper wire and turning it over to his crew boss. After a brutal hurricane passes over, Nailer and his friend Pima stumble upon the wreck of a luxurious clipper ship. It's filled with valuable goods-a "Lucky Strike" that could make them rich, if only they can find a safe way to cash it in. Amid the wreckage, a girl barely clings to life. If they help her, she tells them, she can show them a world of privilege that they have never known. But can they trust her? And if so, can they keep the girl safe from Nailer's drug-addicted father? Exciting and sometimes violent, this book will appeal to older fans of Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series (S & S) and similar action-oriented science fiction.-Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* This YA debut by Bacigalupi, a rising star in adult science fiction, presents a dystopian future like so many YA sf novels. What is uncommon, though, is that although Bacigalupi's future earth is brilliantly imagined and its genesis anchored in contemporary issues, it is secondary to the memorable characters. In a world in which society has stratified, fossil fuels have been consumed, and the seas have risen and drowned coastal cities, Nailer, 17, scavenges beached tankers for scrap metals on the Gulf Coast. Every day, he tries to make quota and avoid his violent, drug-addicted father. After he discovers a modern clipper ship washed up on the beach, Nailer thinks his fortune is made, but then he discovers a survivor trapped in the wreckage the swank daughter of a shipping-company owner. Should he slit the girl's throat and sell her for parts or take a chance and help her? Clearly respecting his audience, Bacigalupi skillfully integrates his world building into the compelling narrative, threading the backstory into the pulsing action. The characters are layered and complex, and their almost unthinkable actions and choices seem totally credible. Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2010
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Libba Bray

Publishers Weekly Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister "pre-majoring in perfection," while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal It sucks to be Cameron. He has no idea why he sees things that no one else sees or why, at the most inappropriate times, his hands shake uncontrollably. Then the results of his MRI come back. Cameron has a rare case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow) disease. Sent on a quest by the angel Dulcie, he and his dwarf roommate break out of the hospital to save the world from dark energy and Dr. X. Why It Is for Us: When fate deals you a one-in-five-billion blow, do you go out living or dying? You are advised to keep a Cliff's Notes edition of Don Quixote handy as you read-though instead of windmills, Cameron tilts at Disney's Tomorrowland. Bray has not written a teen problem novel about mad cow disease. She swims in deeper water, defending the importance of friendship, family, and life purpose in the face of mediocrity.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2009
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Melina Marchetta

Library Journal When she was 11, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother at a convenience store. At 17, she resides in a boarding school on Jellicoe Road. The closest person to her is Hannah, a nearby resident and would-be foster mom to the school's misfits. Now Hannah has disappeared when Taylor needs her most. She has been chosen to lead the school in its war with the local "Townies" and visiting "Cadets"-the cadets being led by a smoldering Jonah Briggs, with whom Taylor has a past. Looking for a clue to Hannah's whereabouts, Taylor reads a manuscript she left that tells the story of five friends united by a fatal accident on Jellicoe Road 22 years earlier. Why It is a Best: Set in rural Australia, the story of Taylor and of the five friends is permeated by a sense of place and time. Readers will smell the trees and taste the dust. Why It Is for Us: This is rich and layered domestic fiction that requires patience and careful attention as it spins a story of parents, children, and the legacy of tragedy. Readers of Anita Shreve and Wally Lamb will find much to enjoy here.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2008
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Geraldine McCaughrean

Library Journal A lifelong love of Antarctica puts a sheltered 14-year-old in grave danger in this 2008 Printz Award winner. Symone's hearing disability and disinterest in boys alienate her from her peer group. Her only friend is Capt. Laurence "Titus" Oates, a long-dead victim of Robert Falcon Scott's 1912 expedition to the South Pole. She will need his expertise when her Uncle Victor invites her along on his own polar exploration. Cold Weather Appeal: Be sure to crank up the furnace. Between the freezing temperatures and the vast white landscape, frostbite is a real reading hazard. Why It Is for Us: Fans of Paul Theroux's The Mosquito Coast will recognize Uncle Victor's particular form of madness long before our heroine does. At the 2008 ALA Conference, Printz committee members sported buttons featuring an image of the real Captain Oates declaring "Titus is a hottie." The imaginary relationship between Symone and Titus is so very sweet that you may think so, too.-Angelina Benedetti (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2007
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Gene Luen Yang
2006
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John Green

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent-no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. Green's dialogue is crisp, especially between Miles and Chip. His descriptions and Miles's inner monologues can be philosophically dense, but are well within the comprehension of sensitive teen readers. The chapters of the novel are headed by a number of days "before" and "after" what readers surmise is Alaska's suicide. These placeholders sustain the mood of possibility and foreboding, and the story moves methodically to its ambiguous climax. The language and sexual situations are aptly and realistically drawn, but sophisticated in nature. Miles's narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability. Like Phineas in John Knowles's A Separate Peace (S & S, 1960), Green draws Alaska so lovingly, in self-loathing darkness as well as energetic light, that readers mourn her loss along with her friends.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Editor's note: When John Green†published†Looking for Alaska, which would go on to win the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, he was working at Booklist as a production editor.†It is Booklist policy that a book written or edited by a staff editor receive a brief descriptive announcement rather than a review. Green's first novel tells the story of 11th-grader Miles Halter, who leaves his boring life in Florida in hopes of boarding school adventures in Alabama. A collector of famous last words, Miles is after what the dying Francois Rabelais called ""the Great Perhaps."" At the boarding school, he is blessed with a fast-talking and quick-witted roommate, who just so happens to be friends with the enigmatic and beautiful Alaska Young. It's Alaska who introduces Miles to the purported last words of Simon Bolivar: ""Damn it. How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?"" It is a question that haunts Miles, particularly in the last third of the novel as he and his friends are forced to cope with loss.-- Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This ambitious first novel introduces 16-year-old Miles Halter, whose hobby is memorizing famous people's last words. When he chucks his boring existence in Florida to begin this chronicle of his first year at an Alabama boarding school, he recalls the poet Rabelais on his deathbed who said, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Miles's roommate, the "Colonel," has an interest in drinking and elaborate pranks-pursuits shared by his best friend, Alaska, a bookworm who is also "the hottest girl in all of human history." Alaska has a boyfriend at Vanderbilt, but Miles falls in love with her anyway. Other than her occasional hollow, feminist diatribes, Alaska is mostly male fantasy-a curvy babe who loves sex and can drink guys under the table. Readers may pick up on clues that she is also doomed. Green replaces conventional chapter headings with a foreboding countdown-"ninety-eight days before," "fifty days before"-and Alaska foreshadows her own death twice ("I may die young," she says, "but at least I'll die smart"). After Alaska drives drunk and plows into a police car, Miles and the Colonel puzzle over whether or not she killed herself. Theological questions from their religion class add some introspective gloss. But the novel's chief appeal lies in Miles's well-articulated lust and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time. Readers will only hope that this is not the last word from this promising new author. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2005
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Meg Rosoff

Publishers Weekly In our Best Books citation, PW said, "This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century." Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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