The Printz Awards were announced at the ALA Midwinter conference on Monday, and the winner was Going Bovine by Libba Bray. The book had caught my eye last month, and as a big fan of Libba Bray, I bought it immediately; it has hovered near the top of my "to read" pile ever since.
(In Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy, the mythological Morrigan features prominently; it just so happens that my cousin's daughter is named Morrigan, so when she saw her name in a book, she wondered if I was reading about her. Morrigan also has a slight obsession with bacon, and she wondered if there was any bacon in the book. When I met Libba Bray at a book signing and relayed this little story, she laughed, then she signed a copy of A Great and Terrible Beauty: "To Morrigan--This book really IS about you and bacon!" I will be a fan forever.)
So I squealed with delight when Libba Bray won the Printz! And I immediately began reading. And it was...strange. Good. Odd. Interesting. Literary. I liked it. I finished it in four days! But I'm not entirely certain...that is...I don't know...um...(mumbles softly) Idon'tknowifIwouldhavegivenitaPrintz. Ahem.
The thing is, there is a swearing in it. The F-bomb. And they smoke pot. And the main character is dying of mad cow disease, so he's delusional. And I'm not sure it's a book I can put out on the shelf in my 8th grade classroom, for all of those reasons.
On the up side, the book is based (perhaps loosely) on Don Quixote, and there are lots of literary references to that book and more. It is definitely a hero's journey--one of my favorite literary games is identifying the hero's journey in any story. Wow! This is a good one. As a full-fledged word nerd, I really liked it.
But I wonder, what will my students think? I have felt this way before. When The Wednesday Wars won awards a few years ago, I wondered how appealing this book that I loved would be to a young adult audience. I feel the same way now; it is a relatively new book, and I can't wait to know how other people (especially teenage people) feel when they read it.
Up next: Percy Jackson. The movie will be out soon, so I'd better get reading!