Posted November 18, 2013 by in Book Lists

4 Printz Honor Winners Worth Reading

Second place is the first loser, right? Well, not so with these fabulous Printz Honor Winners that represent the very best of young adult literature in the years they were published! The Printz race is always a close (and subjective!) one, so each of these are definitely worth a second look:

2013: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotle and dante

When Aristotle and Dante meet at the swimming pool, they are both in need of a friend. As Mexican-American teens growing up 1980s Texas, they find much in common. Ari is angry and refuses to open up to anyone – even himself. Dante is traditionally nerdy, but with a streak of confidence and sense of humor that Ari comes to appreciate. Aristotle and Dante is a quiet coming-of-age novel with lyrical writing and emotional characters, but it’s never boring. Other awards: Lambda Award for LGBT Children’s/Young Adult Literature, Bel Pre Author Award, Stonewall Book Award Check out the book on Goodreads

2012: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

why we broke up

Why We Broke Up is the story of a relationship told through objects. Min and Ed were an unlikely pair, but still managed to get caught up in a high school romance that gave Min butterflies. She saved all of their relationship keepsakes in a box, even when things started going downhill. Now Min is determined to return the box to Ed and earn closure on the past – but not before she takes one last chance to sift through the box and remember her first love. Worth a note: Lemony Snicket is Daniel Handler’s pen name. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Check out the book on Goodreads

2011: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

vera dietz

Vera Dietz was in love with her childhood best friend Charlie, but he died last spring under mysterious circumstances. Now Vera is trying to make it through her senior year, working forty hours a week as a pizza delivery girl because her father believed that working “builds character” and she’s still haunted by Charlie. Sometimes a hundred Charlies come marching through her world. Does Vera know more about Charlie’s death than she lets on? Who was Charlie, really? And can Vera let him go and move on? In this powerful  novel, Vera Dietz is a smart, funny narrator and memorable character from one of YA lit’s greatest authors, A.S. King. Other awards: Edgar Award Nominee (for mystery books), YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Check out the book on Goodreads

2009: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

When Frankie returns to her elite boarding school for her sophomore year, she has really grown up. The boys have all taken notice. She starts dating Matthew, and quickly realizes that he and his friends are involved in a classic pranking secret society that they will refuse to allow her to join. Not one to take such news lying down, Frankie fights back by staging a covert operation to take over Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds and engineer some of the greatest pranks in school history. Will that get their attention? Other awards: National Book Award for Young People’s Literature nominee, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Cybils Award Check out the book on Goodreads This fall in What’s New in YA, I‘ve been covering the Michael L. Printz award and the notion of a literary fiction genre in young adult literature. Interested in more Printz-caliber reading? Check out my other reviews of Printz-winning novels:

What’s New In YA will be celebrating the Printz award all this fall. Have a favorite? Share your thoughts!


Former middle school teacher and school librarian, current doctoral student in education. Reader of all things young adult. I'm particularly fond of dystopian societies, sassy female protagonists, and clever dialogue. I can often be found asleep with a book on my face. Check out all my articles.