A. M. Jenkins
2008 Michael L Printz Honor Book
Don't call me a demon. I prefer the term Fallen Angel.
Everybody deserves a vacation, right? Especially if you have a pointless job like tormenting the damned. So who could blame me for blowing off my duties and taking a small, unauthorized break?
Besides, I've always wanted to see what physical existence is like. That's why I "borrowed" the slightly used body of a slacker teen. Believe me, he wasn't going to be using it anymore anyway.
I have never understood why humans do the things they do. Like sin--if it's so terrible, why do they keep doing it?
I'm going to have a lot of fun finding out!
This was? OK? I guess? The idea was interesting, a demon possessing a teenaged boy, and experiencing life on Earth through his body, but the execution was a little underwhelming for me. I guess I wanted there to be more to it, more plot, more exploration, just…more…
It also took a preachy turn to it towards the end that I thought was a little too in your face, message-wise.
This is ridiculously short, but the more time I spend agonizing about what to say about a book that clear the threshold of awesome for me is less time I can spend reading….
The White Darkness
2008 Michael L Printz Award Winner
I have been in love with Titus Oates for quite a while now—which is ridiculous, since he's been dead for ninety years. But look at it this way. In ninety years I'll be dead, too, and the age difference won't matter. Sym is not your average teenage girl. She is obsessed with the Antarctic and the brave, romantic figure of Captain Oates from Scott's doomed expedition to the South Pole. In fact, Oates is the secret confidant to whom she spills all her hopes and fears. But Sym's uncle Victor is even more obsessed—and when he takes her on a dream trip into the bleak Antarctic wilderness, it turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival that will challenge everything she knows and loves. In her first contemporary young adult novel, Carnegie Medalist and three-time Whitbread Award winner Geraldine McCaughrean delivers a spellbinding journey into the frozen heart of darkness.
This was….a strange and intense book. Having gone on my own little adventure a few years ago, on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, I find reading about other adventurers to be very captivating. Not that my adventure in any way compares to what Symone, the main character in this book, experiences when she goes on a “vacation” to Antarctica.
From the start, you suspect that something is off, and the whole book is one big descent into madness. I found myself unable to look away as everything horrible happened, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did, and in ways I didn’t expect.
This is another one of those books that won’t be up your alley if you don’t like unreliable narrators, or need happy endings for your books.
Your Own, Sylvia
Knopf Books for Young Readers
2008 Michael L Printz Honor Book
On a bleak February day in 1963 a young American poet died by her own hand, and passed into a myth that has since imprinted itself on the hearts and minds of millions. She was and is Sylvia Plath and Your Own, Sylvia is a portrait of her life, told in poems.
With photos and an extensive list of facts and sources to round out the reading experience, Your Own, Sylvia is a great curriculum companion to Plath's The Bell Jar and Ariel, a welcoming introduction for newcomers, and an unflinching valentine for the devoted.
I was not expecting to like this book at all, and honestly, there was a fair amount of dread on my part before starting it.
Poetry? About Sylvia Plath, the poet? I’m not smart enough for that — for poetry. This is my high school English experience still haunting me. Not surprisingly, poetry is not as hard as I once thought, and if nothing else, this Printz project has gotten me to read plenty of it!
I don’t consider myself any kind of judge of poetry, so I don’t know if Hemphill’s poetry is any good or not, but everything about this book worked for me. I know that the author was fictionalizing the thoughts and accounts of Plath’s life, but it drew me in, and made me want to learn and read more. Plath’s own novel and poetry are now on my TBR list.
One Whole and Perfect Day
Front Street Incorporated
In this Michael L. Printz Honor Book, Lily wishes she could be like the other girls in her class. But how can she? As the only sensible person in her family, she never has time to hang out with friends. Someone has to stay home to look after her brother. Maybe she should fall in love! What could be less sensible that that?
When her grandmother invites the whole family to a party, Lily cannot imagine how they will make it through the day. Her mother is always bringing home strange people. Lily doesn't even know her father . Her grandfather has disowned her brother. Her brother has a new girlfriend that no one has met. To top it all off, that day when her eye caught Daniel Steadman's just for a moment, she felt all woozy inside. If that was love, she isn't sure she likes the feeling. As the party approaches, all Lily can hope for is one whole and perfect day. Is it too much to ask?
I was completely underwhelmed by this novel and was glad it was so short. I didn’t really care about the characters, and all of the coincidences were a little too coincidental for me.
The whole thing felt a little pointless, and while I can handle a character-driven story that is light on plot, this was a little too far over that line for me.
Oooo, a three sentence post. OK, 4 with that one. Well, once I finish this it’ll be 6.
The Dreamhunter Duet #2
2008 Michael L Printz Honor Book
The dreamhunting began as a beautiful thing, when Tziga Hame discovered that he could enter the Place and share the dreams he found there with other people. But Tziga Hame has disappeared and Laura, his daughter, knows that the art of projecting dreams has turned sour. On St. Lazarus's Eve, when elite citizens gather at the Rainbow Opera to experience the sweet dream of Homecoming, Laura, determined to show them the truth, plunges them into the nightmare used to control the convict workers. The event marks the first blow in the battle for control of the Place, the source of dreams. Then, when Laura's cousin, Rose, uncovers evidence that the government has been building a secret rail line deep into the Place, Laura follows it to find out what lies at its end. As she struggles to counter the government's sinister plans, a deeper mystery surfaces, a puzzle only Laura can unravel, a puzzle having to do with the very nature of the Place. What is the Place, after all? And what does it want from her?
Inventive and richly imagined, Elizabeth Knox's dramatic conclusion will satisfy readers - whether or not they've read Book One.
Awhile back, I looked ahead to all of the books on the list, figuring out if I could borrow them from a library, read them on Oyster, or purchase a copy. At the same time, I discovered that this book, “Dreamquake” was part two of a “duet” — so I grabbed a copy of the first book as well, and I am so glad I did. Despite what the blurb says above, you DO need to read the first book to enjoy the second (in my opinion).
The first is Dreamhunter, and I actually felt like it was the stronger, more interesting of the two books. I think it if had been one complete book, with a little bit of paring down, it could have been even better. But that’s just me, and I’m not the author or her editor with their vision of what they wanted the books to be.
I’m always very jealous of books that have such amazing world-building — jealous because I could only wish to be so clever and come up with so much detail.
Some people probably won’t like the ending, it’s a little too neat, but I’m letting my overall satisfaction with the pair of books as whole carry me through on this one. Glad I read it and glad to continue to get read authors from other countries.