"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, October 20, 2017

BSD 2018 Mock Printz list

It is with a bit of trepidation that I publish the Bethel School District Mock Printz list for 2018 because it still feels like a work in progress. We have settled on fifteen books so far, and are leaving ourselves open to adding additional books once we get a chance to read them. Our list is static. Once we make our selection we publish it for our students, purchase additional copies of each book, and finally discuss these books only during our workshop. 

This year, as a retired employee of the district, I am butting in on the process because I have loved it so much in the past. I've read most of the books but have deferred to the other librarians if a conflict over a book has arisen. The workshop where the students select their favorite books of the year will be held February 9th at the three participating schools. It is later than usual as the ALA Mid-Winter conference is very late this year.

B.S.D. 2018 Mock Printz list of books.
(In alphabetical order)

1. Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson
With four starred reviews we felt this book with the plot twists had a psychological thriller feel to it. 
We thought the students would enjoy debating it.

2. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
A five starred review book. I haven't read this one but I understand that it brings forward some important thoughts about immigration, family, and racial issues.

3. Bull by David Elliott
Another 5 starred review book. We loved the way that Elliott played with a variety of poetic forms as he retold the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. It is very clever. One student remarked that he could hear the rap in his head as he read some of the poems.

4. City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Weighing in at over 400 pages in length this book may not be a favorite of the student readers. But we felt that the mystery and the cultural elements, it is set in Kenya, made this four starred review book worthy of our nod.

5. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Lantham
Another book which I haven't read yet. The librarian that pushed for it did so on the strength of the historical aspects of the story. 3 starred reviews.

6. The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby
Finally a YA book which doesn't have a romantic aspect to it. All of us thought this book was worthy of consideration due to the strong writing and character development. Another book with three starred reviews. (BTW- We are all in agreement---the cover is unfortunate)

A genre-less book: historical, humorous, LGBT. This was a great favorite of ours and hope our teen readers agree. With four starred reviews, others agree with us.

8. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
This is one title I fought for. The story unfolds in backwards time. Another psychological thriller. 4 starred reviews.

9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
With six or eight (depending what reviewers to count) starred reviews this is not only our favorite but everyone else's, it would seem plus is in an important book. We want to encourage all students to read it.

10. Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Another genre-defying book. Is it historical fiction or Sci-Fi. We all liked the historical aspects better than the futuristic bits. 5 starred reviews.

11. The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein
We are wondering if this book may be the sleeper this year. A fabulous book with tons of starred reviews (5) yet it seems like no one is gushing about it as much as it deserves. Wein is an amazing writer and I am over-the-moon about this book. It is a prequel to the award-winning Code Name Verity, but it does stand alone.

12. The Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld
OK. Maybe not really award-winning stuff but a fun graphic novel, the first of a series by the master Scott Westerfeld. Wonderful Sci-Fi with fun illustrations. (4 stars)

13. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whelan Turner
None of us have read Turner's Queen of Attolia series, of which this book is the 5th, but it also stands alone and we all enjoyed it. Good fantasy takes the reader into its world and lets them move around a bit. This book does this in spades. We are concerned that the it may be targeted at bit lower reading level than for our high school readers but decided to let it in. (4 stars)

14. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
We just finished reading this latest book by a teen-favorite author and LOVED it. It has at least three starred reviews. Not bad for just being published last week.

15. An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder
Another book that I pushed. Crowder includes poetry into her prose, which I adore. This story is based on real events set in Bolivia in the 1990s. We want our students to be good global citizens. (3 stars)

A possible additional book: 

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.
None of us have read it yet. But once one of us does, we will consider it for the list. With five starred reviews, we expect to like it. (5 stars)

Books we seriously considered but decided to leave off the list:

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
We've included her last two books on our past Mock Printz lists and the students didn't get too excited about them. This one seemed like a slow-starter so we left it off the list without any of us actually reading the whole book. Bad us. (5 starred reviews)

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman
I lost the debate on this one. I really like this biography of the Van Gogh brothers. Others felt its was too long for general teen appeal. I bet this one gets attention from the RealCommittee, though, or at least a good hard look. (6 starred reviews)

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitaki Perkins
The book crammed a lot into one volume: multi-generational immigrants, racial issues, American culture. It is solid book, just not whiz-bang. So we left it off the list. (4 stars)

Note: When I refer to starred reviews I am referring to stars awarded by trade publications: Booklist, Horn Book, Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books; Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly, and School Library Journal. 

I have hyperlinked titles of the books on the list reviewed by me.

What are your favorite YA titles published in 2017? 
Do you have any favorite books which you hope will win an award this year?


  1. Glad to see that you are still involved in this. I haven't read any of them, so I can't weigh in!

  2. Such a good list and I've added a bunch of them to my TBR list (and noted them as being on your Mock Printz list to help me remember the strong recommendation). Sadly, I have only read two of these books: City of Saints and Thieves, I liked a lot and The Hate You Give, which was fantastic!


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