Reviews of the 2023 Printz Award Winners


All My RageAll My Rage
by Sabaa Tahir
High School    Razorbill/Penguin    384 pp.    g
3/22    978-0-593-20234-0    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-20235-7    $10.99

In this stark and searing sort-of love story, two Pakistani American teens living in a California desert town struggle to choose connection over isolation when family crises strike. Salahudin—artsy, aimless, and anxious—feels the weight of the pressures posed by his sick mother, his alcoholic father, and the crumbling motel they own, which barely pays the bills. His ambitious and science-minded estranged childhood friend, Noor, needs a hefty scholarship to escape the domineering uncle with whom she lives, but gets rejections instead. Through chapters that alternate between their first-person perspectives, Sal and Noor tell intertwining stories of their urgent attempts to steer their own lives without support from family or their majority-white community. Sal’s mother—whose potent flashbacks of her immigration when she was young are interspersed throughout—is a reliable model of faith and optimism for both teens; her sudden death at first draws Sal and Noor closer, but grief and guilt soon lead Sal to a cascade of risky, tension-raising decisions that threaten their futures. While some descriptive language, especially dreamy Sal’s, borders on melodramatic, the tight focus on each teen’s emotional experience reveals a rich layering of determination, trauma, anger, and integrity underneath their raw reactions. This is a brutal depiction of the toll taken on some young marginalized and working-class people trying to conquer the odds; watching Sal’s and Noor’s devastating loneliness finally give way to glimmers of hope is both satisfying and affecting. JESSICA TACKETT MACDONALD

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Honor Books

Scout's Honor
by Lily Anderson
High School    Holt    416 pp.
4/22    9781250246738    $17.99








by A. L. Graziadei
High School    Holt    304 pp.
1/22    9781250777119    $18.99








When the Angels Left the Old Country
by Sacha Lamb
High School    Levine Querido    408 pp.
10/22    9781646141760    $19.99

In this expansive queer tale that marries historical fiction with inventive world-building based on Jewish folklore, a demon called Little Ash (short for Ashmedai) and an angel who takes on different names but is eventually known as Uriel set off from Shtetl, a tiny village in the Pale of Settlement, to the U.S., as many young people are doing around the same time (cued as the early twentieth century). Their ostensible mission is to find one of these young people, whom no one has heard from; their party also accumulates the soul of a murdered rabbi, who needs someone to inform his daughter of his death so she can say Kaddish for him and prevent him from becoming a dybbuk. On a parallel immigration journey is Rose, a sixteen-year-old girl who can’t understand why she’s so upset with her best friend, Dinah, for having married a man. The story’s many threads eventually converge around a labor dispute, and the witty, cerebral omniscient storytelling, steeped in Jewish detail, rewards attentive readers. It’s a particular joy to observe the human and supernatural characters come to understand themselves and their relationships. A ­glossary defines Yiddish, Hebrew, Aramaic, and some English terms. SHOSHANA FLAX

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality
by Eliot Schrefer
High School    Tegen/HarperCollins*    240 pp.
5/22    9780063069497    $17.99
e-book ed.  9780063069510    $9.99


*HarperCollins Union members (UAW Local 2110) continue to be on strike.



For more, click on the tag ALA LibLearnX 2023.

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