Finished with 2001, #Printzproject

Reading the books from 2001 — overall, it felt like more of a chore than the first batch from 2000 did. Some of that is the novelty of the project wearing off, but some was the books themselves.

I appear to be in something of a minority on my dislike for Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, but looking at Goodreads, 87% of the people who rated it “liked” it. A good reminder that just because *I* don’t like something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad — although I didn’t think it was pretty awful. But that doesn’t mean the people that did like it are wrong. Nope, I’m not judging them. Not at all…….

I am glad for Many Stones, which I really did enjoy, and highly recommend.

I don’t have a lot more to say about the other two books that I didn’t already mention in their individual posts (Stuck in Neutral and Kit’s Wilderness).

As I write this post, I’ve already read several of the 2002 books, they are a very eclectic group of books (poetry! a verse novel!). I have one to listen to as an audiobook, and am waiting for delivery of the first book I’ve had to purchase. So far, I’ve found everything at a library or through my Oyster subscription.

“The Body of Christopher Creed” by Carol Plum-Ucci #Printzproject

This was a compelling read, told from the perspective of Torey Adams, a high school senior, the year after the disappearance of his classmate Christopher Creed. Compelling, but ultimately unsatisfying. For one thing, the over-stereotyping of teenagers is overdone. I spend too much time with teenagers to believe that teens can only be one thing, part of one club or clique or group, and that they are solely driven by one set of stereotyped characteristics. Just like adults, teens are more than their favorite sport, or the clothes they wear, or the part of town they grew up in.

In this book, we were supposed to be SO amazed that this particular character ALSO had other characteristics that were hidden for years from everyone else. And, surprise! THIS guy over here — he wasn’t just one-dimensional either!

I also had to take issue with the fact that a supernatural element was introduced toward the end, and it felt like a cop out, there was no preparation that this is the direction the book was heading.

The message that you can’t judge a person by their job or by the place they live, that you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, is a definitely one that everyone, teens and adults, need to hear on a regular basis. But I think it could have been done a little more subtly.

This was my last read from the 2001 Printz Award and Honor books. I’ll post a wrap-up in a bit, and then move on to 2002 — I’ve already read several of those!

“Many Stones” by Carolyn Coman #PrintzProject

I actually finished this about 10 days ago, and have continued to read, but haven’t had the time or energy to sit and finish writing up my reflections.

I loved this little book — I felt like the narrator was someone I could relate to, and her struggles with her family, feelings, and situation seemed authentic.

This book is set in South Africa in the time right after apartheid ended, and I think a reader might want to do a little bit of research (or a refresher if the reader is old and was alive and older than 5 during the timeframe of the book….) about apartheid, in order to fully appreciate the context, but I don’t think it’s required.

The conversations between the main character, Berry, and her Dad — and often, the things she DOESN’T say, but probably should — felt very true. She knows she’s being a jerk to her Dad, but she can’t help it. But Berry goes on her journey and comes out the other side a little more grown up, and little more able to cope.

I think this is a book that a teenager experiencing their own loss, whatever form that may come in, could read and feel kinship with, hopefully coming to a better understanding of their feelings and how to related to the world around them.

“Stuck in Neutral” by Terry Trueman #PrintzProject

I can’t decide if this was awesome or awful. Terrific or terrifying. Delightful or dreadful.

OK, I’ll stop.

It was short and definitely compelling, akin to a trainwreck. I couldn’t help but watch and wonder where this book was going. It’s written from the viewpoint of a 14 year old boy, which I am not, but I spend plenty of time around said beings, so….I think the voice was pretty accurate.

As I read the books in my Printz project list, I’m asking myself several questions. Am I enjoying this? Do I think this is an award-winning book? Would I recommend this to any of the students I know, or any of the adults, for that matter?

In the case of this book, first off: I’m not sure *enjoy* is exactly the right word, but I didn’t hate it. It kept my attention, and I’m sure I’ll continue to think about it for days to come.

As to the other questions: award-winning, important book for teenagers? Recommended to others? I struggle. This feels like a book that adults would read and think was important for teenagers. When I look at Goodreads or Amazon reviews, I can’t tell if the reviewers are adults or teens, so it’s hard to gauge what the target audience thinks of this one. It’s also old enough, that there’s probably not a lot of current teens that have or even will read it.  Of the books that I’ve read, only a few have really stood the test of time, as far as I can tell. I suppose that’s the way with all awards.

And so I continue on this journey. I’ve already finished another of the 2001 honor books, and just have one more to go. So far, I’ve been able to read all of these books through my Oyster subscription, Neibors (ebooks through my library), or hard copies from the school library. I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to check out books from school before, I think of that library as being for the kids…but  that’s just silly! All those books, just waiting to be read!

Color me unimpressed — “Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging” by Louise Rennison

So, I laughed at a few spots (out loud even), but generally? I thought this was really dumb, and the main character was needlessly silly and self-centered. There was no point (that I could discern), no growth (she was silly all the way through), and I can’t figure out why this was considered deserving of a Printz honor.

I know I’m not the target audience, but this felt to me like the worst of what YA has to offer — the kind of book that gets held up when people want to pooh-pooh YA.

As I said about a previous book, I don’t necessarily have to “like” a character to care about them, but in this case, not only did I not like Georgia, I didn’t really care about what happened to her.

From looking at reviews and ratings, I can tell that plenty of other people did think this book was pretty great. I won’t hold it against them, I guess.