The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.The award winner was announced today and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won!

Witty, sardonic Cullen Witter agonizes over the disappearance of his beloved brother, Gabriel, while everyone else in his stiflingly dull Arkansas town thrills to the apparent return of a long-extinct woodpecker. Kidnapping, arcane religious texts, and ornithology collide in this ground-breaking coming-of-age tale.

“Straightforward, yet increasingly complex, this novel masterfully weaves together themes of brotherhood, friendship, loss and religious obsession,” said Printz Award Committee Chair Erin Helmrich.

I read Where Things Come Back this past summer and it was definitely one of the best YA books I read last year. I recommend it if you enjoy quirky, introspective stories. There are also lots of indie music references. In fact, the book was inspired by the Sufjan Stevens‘ (who I’m in love with btw) song Lord God Bird.

And here are the Printz 2012 Honor Books:

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
In this beautiful piece of bookmaking, heartbroken movie obsessive Min Green dumps a box of relationship ephemera on ex-love Ed Slaterton’s porch, each item attached to a raging, loving, insecure and regretful letter explaining how each memento contributed to their breakup.

The Returning by Christine Hinwood
A large cast of characters from two fictional kingdoms recover from a drawn-out, brutal war in a portrait both sweeping and specific as it explores the ramifications of the conflict on Cam, the only one who lives to return to his village.

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Spurred by the mysterious death of a schoolmate, Charlie confronts racism and his fears as he learns about family, friendship and love in the oppressive heat of small-town 1960s Australia. Silvey weaves themes of freedom and loyalty with moments of humor in this wrenching novel.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
A bloody, intoxicating horse race on the Island of Thisby is the backdrop for this atmospheric novel. The heart-pounding story pits two teens against death – to win is to survive.

Kimberly

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