So I stayed up to catch the webcast of the ALA’s children’s and teen awards. Which are still going on, but the big YA awards have already been announced. And all I can say is, huh. Interesting. The Printz winner and honor list frankly shocked me.
Winner: The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
The only one I’ve read is The White Darkness, and that’s only because it was nominated for the Cybils. I’ve read good things about Dreamquake and Your Own, Sylvia, but never heard of One Whole & Perfect Day.
But The White Darkness. Really? I don’t think any of the mock awards I’ve seen picked most of these books, and I do think there were books that were more, well, excellent. I realize most of the books I like best aren’t literary, so I’m so not the best judge of this, but even as much as I dreaded finishing, oh, say Tamar by Mal Peet, I’d be more comfortable with that winning than The White Darkness. (That sound you hear? The shock of the other Cybils YA panelists. No, but the writing in Tamar really is excellent, it’s just not my kind of book.) And Repossessed? I like A. M. Jenkins, but I got bored reading it and didn’t even finish it. Although, maybe I should’ve taken that as a sign that it would win a literary award. Which reminds me of this passage from Geek High by Piper Banks, which I just read this afternoon:
This was what bugged me about literary fiction—you had to interpret everything. Why couldn’t a story just be a story? If the man is impotent, just say he’s impotent. Maybe Sadie’s books wouldn’t win any literary awards, but at least they’re good stories and they spare the reader from having to slog through page after page looking for hidden symbolism just to figure out what’s going on.
And, hey, Brave Story won the Batchelder. Maybe I’ll go read that as part of my New Year’s resolution to read more books in translation more consistently, and not just adult mysteries.