The Printz award, being one of the newer awards given by ALA, is often overshadowed by its more well-known counterparts the Caldecott and the Newbery. The award, named for Michael L. Printz, honors excellence in literature written for young adults.
The 2009 Printz award was given to Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at the age of eleven, high school student Taylor Markham struggles with her identity and family history at a boarding school in Australia.
The honor books were The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, volume II, the Kingdom on the Waves by M. T. Anderson, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Nation by Terry Pratchett, and Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan.
Another award for teens that I often keep my eye on is the Alex Awards. The Alex Award is given to ten outstanding books that are written for adults but might have appeal for teens ages 12 – 18.
While the awards committees and I don’t always agree about what is the best in teen (or children’s!) literature, if you are looking for something to read, the award winners are definitely a good place to start.