YA Wednesday: 2018 Printz Award Winners

Seira Wilson on February 14, 2018

WeAreOkay225.jpgEarlier this week the winners of this year's Michael L. Printz Award were announced and it was one cheer after another from me, as three of the five were books on our own Top 10 YA books of 2017 list.

The one winning and four honored titles are a wonderful mix of genres and topics this year--each of them offering a unique and memorable reading experience.

The first title awarded the Printz medal was Walter Dean Myers' Monster in 2000, and in the years since the list includes American Born Chinese, Looking for Alaska, I'll Give You the Sun, and last year's March.  

See the 2018 winners below and past recipients here.

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

*Winner* Nina LaCour took home the Printz medal this year, and her novel, We Are Okay is a heartbreaking and hopeful story of loss and connection.  LaCour's protagonist crosses the country to start college in New York, and tries to forget the tragic events in the weeks leading up to her departure from California.  But we can't outrun grief and love, and there comes a time when that life confronts her once again.  An emotional, raw, and beautiful read.

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

I love, love, love this book.  It's such a powerful and totally consuming novel in verse, that I would have been absurdly disappointed had it not received a nod from the Printz committee.  Not only did Long Way Down receive a Printz Honor, it also won a Newbery Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor this year.  This book about a boy, a death, a gun, and a decision, will stick to your bones.  And that's a good thing.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Laini Taylor. Not only does she write amazing, epic, literary fantasy novels, but we share a love of unusual shoes, and talking about favorite YA novels.  After Taylor finished her Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, we waited a long time for Strange the Dreamer.  It's a rich and wonder-filled story of monsters, gods, a city in shadow, and a boy who loves books.  Hunker down with this one because you won't want to stop reading...

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas grabbed hold of what was happening with racism and law enforcement in our country and she wrote a young adult novel about it.  And Thomas got readers thinking, talking, and recommending The Hate U Give. The story of a young black teen who's sitting next to her unarmed friend when he's shot and killed by a police officer is nuanced and thoughtful, and real.  Besides a Printz Honor, The Hate U Give also won the Morris award for best debut book and a Coretta Scott King honor.  It's a book you'll want to talk about, so let me know when you're done because I still like talking about it. 

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Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

There have been some really strong works of young adult nonfiction lately, so it was exciting to see one chosen for a Printz Honor this year.  Vincent and Theo is a fascinating portrait of one very famous painter and his brother, whom I honestly had never heard about before despite the closeness of their relationship. Heiligman did tireless research to write the book but she tells Vincent and Theo's story like you would any family drama.  And these brothers had drama...

2018 Printz award books and authors on the Amazon Book Review:

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