War of the Books 2012

2012 Eva Perry Mock Printz Book Club

Valerie – 2nd row, black jacket, reddish hair / Renee – 2nd row on Valerie’s left, pale dress, demonically glowering eyes / Myself – first row, red dress

I am a proud vocal member of the Eva Perry Library’s Mock Printz book club. We read the YA books published each year, and inform the world which one the official committee should award that year’s Printz Medal to. You have never seen such cheerful militancy.

It was with great trepidation and a secret stash of easily throwable food items that I attended our final meeting. Our 453 books were whittled down to two prominent contenders. At the hour-mark, armies formed in support of each title. Championing Paper Covers Rock, by Jenny Hubbard, I watched with dismay as former friends congregated around A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness.

Valerie Nicholson, our courageous adult adviser, facilitated a vote that unfortunately ended in a 12-12 draw. Battle-weary Valerie then proposed that we resolve the tie with rhetoric. Armies stampeded to opposite sides of the room, proposing more logical ways to break the tie – improvised rap-offs, counting voters’ years of seniority in the club, fisticuffs. . . I checked my stash of edible projectiles.

Enlisting the help of additional arbitrators Martha Choate and Lindsey Dunn, Valerie coerced us back into our seats. There was a minor skirmish between myself and club alumnus Renee Sherwood – she threw an NC State card at me, burning my UNC-affiliated skin, I lobbed a plastic coke bottle towards her, bruising her pride, she sucker punched me in the stomach, and then I decided to take the moral high road by plugging my ears and humming. A cease fire was quickly agreed upon when someone threatened us with duct tape.

The rhetoric began. Each exquisitely beautiful component of Paper Covers Rock – the thoughts the protagonist records in his diary , the poetry and prose he writes – create a rich character. . . Renee cut me off. Events in A Monster Calls, often play out unexpectedly, and yet are powerfully realistic. The most initially unrelatable characters develop unbelievable depth. . . I rebutted. Paper Covers Rock is rich in metaphor. Literally, the title refers to the game of rock, paper, scissors that ends with the protagonist’s friend jumping to his death. However, figuratively. . . well, let’s just say the group got it once they thought about it. The discussion raged on…

Honestly, the “monster’s” powerful arguments had me wondering whether I was fighting for the right book. Unfortunately, I had not been able to get my hands on one of our few copies of the book, so I hadn’t read it. I will rectify that tragic situation as soon as possible.

Hours later our fifth vote mysteriously turned out 12-13, in favor of Paper Covers Rock. I wasn’t then and am still not sure where that extra vote came from. However, slightly more than half the group rejoiced loudly.

You can check out Paper Covers Rock here or A Monster Calls here. I suggest both!

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Top 3 Nominations for 2012 Mock Printz Award

November 18, 2011 – Excited discussion brought forth the following nominations for this year’s best teen literature:

Paper Covers Rock, by Jenny Hubbard
Chime, by Franny Billingsley
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne Valente
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
In Trouble, by Ellen Levine
To Timbuktu, by Casey Scieszka
Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
Every You Every Me, by David Levithan

The following each received one nomination each:

Across the Universe, by Beth Revis
As I Wake, by Elizabeth Scott
Bluefish, by Pat Schmatz
Dark Eden, by Patrick Carman
Displacement, by Thalia Chatlas
First Day on Earth, by Cecil Castellucci
The Floating Islands, by Rachel Neumeier
I’ll Be There, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Iron Queen, by Julie Kagawa
Love Inc, by Yvonne Collins
Midnight Palace, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab
The Queen of Water, by  Laura Resau

Needless to say, we are all still reading like crazy!
What is YOUR favorite??