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>Infer this.

>Magazine reviewer Jonathan Hunt offers his picks for the five best YA works of fiction this year over at NPR. I will nitpick that one of the choices is not fiction and another not YA but all five are good books. Three of them appear on our Fanfare list, which will be whizzing its way to your inbox in just one week.

To link this morning’s post with yesterday’s, Jonathan and Debbie Reese are arguing over at Heavy Medal about Albert Marrin.

And apropos of nothing but still burned in my mind is this sentence from Amy Sohn’s Prospect Park West, which I heard this morning on my iPod and which caused me to wonder if, when they came, they first came for the copyeditors: “Not once had Rebecca heard a mother infer even obliquely that she was hard up [for sexual gratification].” (I’m listening to this because PW gave it a starred review while over at all the Prospect Park parents are leaving bitter comments about how bad it makes them look.)

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >Well, in Jonathan's defense, he writes about "young adult literature"; it's just the headline that reads "best young adult fiction", so unless he wrote the head, it was someone else's fail. And I think middle-grade is pretty much a professional term used by librarians and booksellers and such. To much of the general public there are "kids' books" (picture books) and "young adult".

  2. Anonymous says:

    >What are you implying?

  3. Roger Sutton says:

    >Implication is far too subtle for the likes of me.

  4. Lyle Blake says:

    >I am reminded of the scene in the beginning of one of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries (I think GAMBIT), in which he is ripping pages out of his recently purchased third edition of Webster's Unabridged and feeding them to the flames in his fireplace. He speaks to a potential client:

    "Do you use 'infer' and 'imply' interchangeably?"

    She did fine. [Archie, narrating, tells us] "No."

    "This book says that you may."

    Archie goes on to tell the new client that Wolfe once burned a cookbook because it said to remove the skin from a ham before putting it into the pot with the lima beans.

    Lyle Blake Smythers

  5. Anonymous says:

    >I'm not sure why the lead reads Best YA Fiction instead of Best YA Literature. We certainly discussed this and you'll note the introduction reflects this. Since this is the only list NPR will be doing for younger readers, we wanted a range of titles for teens *and* tweens, as the introduction also acknowledges.


  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >It's true, as Wendy says, the the public seems to think YA fiction is 9 or 10 and up. What I find more troubling is publishing's neglect of true middle-grade fiction, of which When You Get Here (joke) is such a terrific exemplar.

  7. >Nancy Pearl has an NPR list up that includes LIAR, GOING BOVINE, WHEN YOU REACH ME, and BUBBLE TROUBLE.


  8. >Yes, but it is EEEEvil and it's illustrations are in the wrong places and none of it's links to excerpts seem to work!

  9. >Thank you for this – we will fix it for paperback, scheduled for 5/10. The world needs close readers.
    – Amy Sohn

  10. Roger Sutton says:

    >Or listeners, in this case, Amy! I wonder if it would have stuck out so much had I been reading. I'm enjoying your book–I like that you treat all the characters with equal measure of sympathy and satire. Too much light contemporary fiction for women (there, I didn't say chicklit) asks us to believe in the utter goodness and intelligence of its heroines while trashing every other character in sight.

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