Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Excuse me, what the what?

Hopefully you checked out the Youth Media Awards on Monday.  Since my office was shutdown due to the polar vortex, I was blissfully sound asleep, but then filled with excitement when I woke up!  Unfortunately, I'm woefully behind this award season.  You can see how your reading stacks up by checking out the full list of winners at the ALA website, but I did notice a couple of things that got me thinking.

1.  Navigating Early as a Printz Honor--When I finally read Navigating Early, I loved it.  It completely deserves the recognition, but the Printz is normally a Young Adult award, making this seem like an awfully young book for that category.  Despite that, I'm still very happy to see this great book get some respect.

2.  Far Far Away was shutout!  I understand that Far Far Away received mixed reviews with some people noticing more flaws than beauty.  I thought it was excellent and moving and magical without being fantasy.  Chilling really.  But shutout.  It's a shame.  I thought this was the little book that could.  I still think that.  Read it now and see for yourself.  

3.  Eleanor and Park with a Printz Honor.  Well, at least it didn't take the top prize.  I just don't understand people's adoration for this book.  I don't.  Will never get it.  Was my copy missing some pages?  Was there a redeeming dance number that was added later, just before press, after I got my ARC?  Seriously, people, I just don't understand.  And it's not because I've forgotten what it's like to be a teen--I'm still pretty much right there.  Will someone explain to me why this book has received such critical acclaim when I thought it was slow and predictable?

It's books like Eleanor and Park that kinda scare me as a reviewer.  If I were being paid to review Eleanor and Park for one of my gigs, I would have recommended without recommending it.  Using that secret language that only librarians understand to mean:  It's fine, but you're not made of money, so pass.  And I would have looked like an idiot saying that!  I would have looked like Anne Carroll Moore panning Charlotte's Web (obscure reference-ask a librarian!).

Here's my dirty little reviewer secret:  I check out other reviews before I publish my paid reviews.  Shh!  So far so good.  If I'm on the fence about a book, I'll just cruise the other journals or Goodreads for a second and make sure I'm not entirely missing something.  And one book I loved, so I checked out the competition to make sure that my love was justified (it was!).  Hopefully I won't someday completely rip a soon-to-be classic apart, but it might happen, and that is why I live in fear.

As for the three books in question today, you can check out my reviews by clicking below:

My heart-felt review of Navigating Early.

My glowing review of Far Far Away (I still love you!)

And my meh review of Eleanor and Park (seriously, someone explain it to me!)

Happy Reading!

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