2 Printz Award WInners

printz

“The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit, each year.” From the ALA Website http://www.ala.org/yalsa/printz

midwinter bloodSedgwick, Marcus. Midwinter Blood. Roaring Brook Press, 2013.  $15.34 ISBN-13: 978-1-59643-800-2

Told in 7 short stories, this book follows the past lives of Eric and Merle as they repeat a tragic story again and again.

Genre: Fiction

Age: 14 and up

Rating: 3 of 5 for quality. 5 of 5 for popularity

Awards Michael L. Printz Award, 2014

Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2014

Review

Starting with a journalist named Eric who visits the mysterious island of Blessed, the seven short stories go back in time, repeatedly finding Eric and Merle in a relationship where the story is repeated again and again. The stories find them as mother and son in a 2011 archaeological dig, as strangers in 1944,back to an early king and queen. Always there is the island, Blessed. Always the medicinal, mysterious Dragon Orchid. In every story the reader gets a little more understanding of how this journey of reincarnation started and where it will end.

Why is this a YA title? I do not know, since only a few of the characters are children. Why is this considered a love story? I do not know, since that is a facet that does not repeat regularly, and is actually never really fleshed out. Why is this classified as horror? Maybe because someone dies in almost every story, certainly it is dark and spooky, but not overly gruesome. I have a hard time understanding all the hype, although I did enjoy the book; it was a fast read, and mysterious enough to keep me going. The characters were a little flat, in fact the Island itself seems the most deep and changeable character in the book. The structure was interesting, reminiscent of Cloud Atlas, and the writing was good. The author did a great job of using repeating themes, phrases and items in each story to create a well layered and interesting book overall.

Read-Alikes

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

How They Met, and other stories by David Levithan

Resources

Author website http://www.marcussedgwick.com/

Author Article about the state of the young reader http://marcussedgwick.blogspot.com/2013/10/jane-austen-fantasy-fiction-and-morals.html

Author Interview with Book Brats! Blog. Includes visuals of the painting that influenced and appears in the novel.

Book Trailer )

 

 

american born chinese

Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. Illustrated by Lark Pien. Turtleback, 2009. 233 pages. Library Binding $20.85 ISBN 978-0606144841

This graphic novel follows 3 storylines: Jin a Chinese American, the Monkey King, and Danny and his steryotpical Chinese cousin Chin-Kee.

 Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary Fantasy.

Age Range: 11 and up

Rating: 4 out of 5 for Quality. 4 out of 5 for Popularity.

Awards:

Winner of the Printz Award, 2007

Winner of the Eisner Award, 2007

Review

The Monkey King, after being humiliated at a party for the gods, wants to become more than a monkey and gains the skills of Kung-Fu, but is stuck under a mountain of rocks until he can embrace his true self. Jin is a Chinese American with few friends but with a tremendous crush on a beautiful classmate. Danny is a popular white high school student who’s visiting cousin Chin-Kee embarrasses him in every school he attends because he is the worst of all Chinese stereotypes. Together these three characters come together in this well told and illustrated graphic novel.

This author’s newest books have created quite a stir and so I looked for this earlier, award winning graphic novel. The quality of the storytelling is excellent, keeping the reader engaged as the thee seemingly disconnected stories come together to give a broader picture of the experience of being an outsider trying to fit in to the popular culture while learning to embrace himself at the same time. The illustrations are bold and do a great deal to tell the undercurrents of the story. This is an uncomfortable novel, the character of Chin-Kee is cringe-worthy, and the traditional teen storyline of trying to fit in to the popular culture is in itself hard for me to enjoy. I think, however, that this is an excellent choice for the YA audience.

Read-Alikes:

Dragonwings by Laurence Yep

The Accidental Genius of Weasel High by Rick Detoire

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang

Book discussion points:

  1. Why does Chin-Kee arrive and terrorize Danny? Why is there a laugh track?
  2. What do the Monkey King and Danny have in common?

Resources:

Author Website http://geneyang.com/american-born-chinese

Monkey King Website http://www.geneyang.com/monkey/

You tube video

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