Back in December, I did a huge post looking at the annual trade review journal “best of” lists, looking at a number of different elements of those books. After looking at those numbers, I was curious to see what and how there were any worthwhile comparisons to make against YALSA’s annual award and selection lists, including the 2013 Printz, Morris, Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) and Quick Picks (QP). So I did some more comparisons.
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (Abrams)*
- Croak by Gina Damico (Houghton Mifflin)
- Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (Bloomsbury)
- Bad Boy by Dream Jordan (St Martins Griffin)
- Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey (Houghton Mifflin)
- I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Little Brown)**
- This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (St Martins Griffin)**
- The Final Four by Paul Volponi (Penguin/Viking)
- Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin/Nancy Paulson)**
I Hunt Killers got one starred review and earned a QP Top Ten spot.
The paperback originals, for anyone interested, were Croak, Bad Boy, and This is Not a Test.
How about a little breakdown of what the BFYA list is itself composed of? There are a total of 112 titles by my math (the list says 102 titles, but I counted differently). I looked at both the titles published in the latter half of 2011 and those in 2012 — this data is inclusive of the entire list. Of those titles, what’s the breakdown of author gender?
Of the 115 authors — there are three books written by duos — here’s what it looks like:
That breaks down to 86 female authors and 29 male authors. 25% of the authors were male.
I also looked at the breakdown of series and stand alone novels. Caveat here: I did not include Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Drowned Cities nor Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity in the series count; Bacigalupi’s is a companion and Wein’s companion was named after the original title published, so I didn’t think it technically counted.
There were 86 stand alone titles and 26 titles that were part of a series in the BFYA list.
What about the breakdown of debut and more seasoned authors?
There were a total of 93 non-debut authors and a total of 29 debut authors on the BFYA list. The debut authors accounted for about 25% of the total list.
And data nerds looking for paperback original publications against hardcovers?
There were a total of 5 paperback originals — Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, Croak, Bad Boy, Speechless, and This is Not a Test.
When I originally did the paperback/hardcover/split run data for the “best of” list data, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a split run title. I found the paperback edition on Barnes and Noble (and hardcover on Amazon). Now I can only find the paperback as unavailable (without a date) on Barnes and Noble. It did have a date in Amazon as April availability and one in Target as a February availability for paperback. I have a feeling the paperback release date for April will be of a reprint edition of the original paperback, but this time with the awards on the cover — in other words, they will do a more formalized paperback run this go around than when they did the split run. I’ve included it as the single split run title in this data for consistency’s sake.
There were a total of 106 hardcovers.
The last data I looked at for the BFYA was what publishers were represented. This chart is harder to read, so I’ll pull out the interesting bits below.
I compressed all of the imprints into their respective houses in this data, so Tor/St Martins Press/FSG and so forth are all beneath Macmillan. Note that Hachette refers to Little Brown Books for Young Readers. Random House had the most BFYA titles, with 14 represented. Following Random House was Macmillan, with 12 titles, then Penguin and Harper with 11 each. Candlewick held its own with 8 titles.
Since looking at the overlapping BFYA/QP titles and then the BFYA titles alone wasn’t enough, I decided to dive into the QP titles individually. There are a few important caveats: I did not look at the non-fiction titles on QP. I also did not include books that were on the list as a series — so, the Chris Lynch books, the Megan Atwood books, and the “Travel Team” series were off limits. This was done to save sanity and level the playing field in terms of data. All told, I looked at 46 QP titles.
Of those 46 QP titles, how did gender play out? There were 47 authors total, due to a writing duo.*
There were 18 male authors and 29 female. This breaks down into 38% of the authors being male. Compare that to the 25% ratio for BFYA books.
Another interest data set for the QP titles was the paperback and hardcover breakdown.
There were 12 paperback originals of the 46 total. That’s a much larger percentage than BFYA, and I would think much due in part to the Orca books represented on the list (more on that in a second).
How about the debut authors and the more seasoned writers?
There were 38 non-debut authors and 9 debuts. 19% of the authors were debut for the QP list. This is a smaller percentage than those on the BFYA list. Part might be in due to the Morris award titles on BFYA, which will be discussed further below.
And because now I’ve set the bar high, here’s how those QP titles break down by publisher. Note that Hachette refers to Little Brown Books for Young Readers. Again, imprints have been collapsed into their bigger houses.
It’s hard to read, but far and away, Macmillan had the most titles on the QP list, with 9 titles. The next closest was Penguin, with 5 titles total. Orca, which specializes in high appeal titles, made a good showing here as well. Most of their titles are paperback originals, as noted above. They had 4 titles on the QP list.
- These titles earned a combined total of 15 starred reviews. Seraphina earned 6, followed by 4 for Cameron Post, 3 for After the Snow, and one star each for Wonder Show and Love and Other Perishable Items.
- These titles earned a total of 8 “best of” list placements. Again, Seraphina took the lead with three, followed by Cameron Post with 2, and one place each for the remaining titles.
- Seraphina was named a BFYA top ten book.
- Two of the titles did not make the BFYA list at all: After the Snow and Love and Other Perishable Items. Worth noting, though, that Love is eligible for next year. After the Snow is not.
- None of these books were on the QP list. Only one is eligible next year.
- These titles earned a combined total of 16 starred reviews. Dodger and Code Name Verity each earned 6 starred reviews. Both Aristotle and Dante and In Darkness earned two starred reviews each. White Bicycle is no where to be found, except for a single review written for Booklist by the Booklist consultant to the Printz committee.
- These titles earned a total of 12 “best of” list placements. Code Name Verity took top honors with 5, followed by Dodger on three, and two “best of” placements each for Aristotle and Dante and In Darkness. Again, no White Bicycle to be found.
- Code Name Verity, Dodger, and Aristotle and Dante were all named BFYA Top Ten titles. In Darkness earned a spot on the BFYA, as well. There is no White Bicycle to be found on the BFYA list, but it is eligible for next year’s list.
- White Bicycle is the only paperback original. It’s the third book in a series of stand alone titles. It’s from a small Canadian press.
- None of these books were on the QP list. Only one is eligible next year: The White Bicycle.
- Of the 89 total “best of” titles, 48 went on to earn a spot on BFYA. Now again, some will be eligible next year. Of the books that did not earn a spot on BFYA this year, 15 are eligible next year. Those are Son, Summer of the Mariposas, Love and Other Perishable Items, The Crimson Crown, Assassin’s Curse, Reached, The FitzOsbornes at War, Vessel, Pinned, Stormdancer, Be My Enemy, Broken Lands, This is Not Forgiveness, Passenger, and Passion Blue.
- Of the titles on the “best of” lists and on BFYA, a combined 36 starred reviews were earned and a total of 36 starred reviews were earned and a total of 24 “best of” list spots were earned. Code Name Verity, The Raven Boys, and Seraphina earned six starred reviews each, followed by 4 starred reviews for Never Fall Down, 3 each for The Diviners and Every Day, and 2 starred reviews for the remaining titles, Aristotle and Dante, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Enchanted, and Boy21. In terms of appearances on “best of” lists, Code Name Verity earned 5 spots, followed by four for The Diviners, 3 each for The Raven Boys, Seraphina, and Every Day, 2 for Aristotle and Dante, and one list spot for each of the remaining titles.
- Of the “best of” titles, only three of the 89 made the QP list. Those were Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Beneath a Meth Moon, and Girl of Nightmares (which was absent from BFYA all together).
* Worth noting — Andrew Karre pointed out to me a couple additional things worth noting here. Some of the QP authors may be using pseudonyms, so my numbers here on debuts and gender are based on my looking up the names as they are and my most educated guessing in some instances. Likewise, Orca, Darby Creek, and Saddleback titles come out as “simos,” meaning in paperback and library hardcover editions. I left the data as it is in terms of hardcover and paperback, since library hardcovers aren’t generally sold to the general public (whereas you can more readily purchase the paperback at an online retailer).