Yes yes, the real deal was announced this morning, but that doesn’t make Mock Printz results any less interesting, does it? Here is what we read:
- Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
- Crazy Beautiful, Lauren Baratz-Logsted
- Tales of the Madman Underground, John Barnes
- All the Broken Pieces, Ann E. Burg
- If I Stay, Gayle Forman
- North of Beautiful, Justina Chen Headley
- The Miles Between, Mary E. Pearson
- Marcelo in the Real World, Francisco X. Stork
- Heroes of the Valley, Jonathan Stroud
- The Eternal Smile, Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
I ended up reading All the Broken Pieces the day before the workshop, and most of The Eternal Smile the morning of – and I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the latter.
Going in, there were some titles that I knew I wouldn’t vote for – The Eternal Smile, The Miles Between, Crazy Beautiful, and If I Stay. Some of those I definitely enjoyed reading and would recommend, but they just didn’t strike me examples of excellence. But among the rest of the titles, I felt like I could be swayed by discussion. This is where the mock award workshops get interesting, because so much depends on your small group discussion – who’s in the group and what you end up focusing on in the ten minutes allotted to each title.
My group had three other youth librarians, a library page, and two teens. There was some real support from the teen boy for Marcelo and Heroes of the Valley, and the Heroes discussion in particular got me thinking. A few people had minor issues with the ending, but the discussion brought out a lot of the strengths of the book that I’d just jumbled into “liking the book.” We were mixed on Tales of the Madman Underground – a bunch of people had given up on it, but those that finished it thought it was a strong contender. No one had any significant criticisms of Marcelo or Wintergirls – not enough to talk us out of them. We thought All the Broken Pieces was strong but no one really lobbied for it as the best. North of Beautiful got some love, but those of us in that camp admitted it was more of a “recommend to lots of people” book than a literary success. We were mixed on If I Stay – one person loved it, but thought it would’ve been better if she hadn’t stayed. The other three we pretty much dismissed.
Did I mention we were a rowdy group? We broke almost all the discussion rules (discuss positive first, no personal anecdotes, no comparing to books outside the discussion list) but still had what felt to me like a useful discussion. In short, a lot of fun was had. I forgot to write down the point spread, but I think my small group voted Marcelo as the winner with Wintergirls and Heroes as our honors.
Then, the five small groups reconvened, revealed our winners, and large group discussion commenced. I’m not sure why, but at the Mock Newbery, all of the discussions were fairly sedate. Maybe it’s the teens that get us more riled up at the Mock Printz, or maybe YA librarians are more argumentative than the rest? Either way, there was some heated debate, particularly about Tales of the Madman Underground.
Finally, we voted again as a large group. I switched around my personal votes a lot, mostly because I felt like there were five or so equally deserving books – Marcelo, Wintergirls, North of Beautiful, Heroes of the Valley, and Tales of the Madman Underground. Marcelo was the only one I voted for both times. What can I say, I was feeling fickle. The final results were:
Winner – Marcelo in the Real World (87 points)
Honors – Wintergirls (71) and Tales of the Madman Underground (51)
Interestingly, Marcelo and Wintergirls had a variety of votes – first, second, third – to add up to their higher numbers, while Madman got almost exclusively first place votes. And, Madman is the only title from our discussion list to be recognized by the real Printz committee (same thing happened last year – The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks got both real and fake honors). This year’s Printz titles can be found here.