Mock Printz booktalk: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Susan Smallsreed of Multnomah County Library.

Starr Carter wasn’t supposed to be at Big D’s annual party. If mom or dad knew, she’d be grounded for life … or worse. But she hadn’t hung out with Kenya for months ’cause Starr moves between two worlds: the fancy Williamson prep, a mostly white, rich, suburban school, and Starr’s neighborhood, Garden Heights, where gangs fight over turf and drug dealing is a way of life. Anyway, with basketball practice, school work, and parents that won’t let her near the gangs, Starr doesn’t hang out much in the neighborhood anymore.

But Kenya begged, so Starr went to the party and it was HUGE. Starr hardly knew anyone and felt totally out of place until Khalil, her best friend from childhood, found her. And a couple of minutes later they had picked up where they left off, laughing and talking. But then shots rang out. Khalil got her out of the crowd and into his car to drive her home. But halfway there, a cop … badge number 115 … Starr made a point to remember that … pulled them over. And before she knew it, Khalil was dying in her arms and she had a gun pointing at her.

One white cop, one dead young black man, one witness. Should Starr talk? To whom? The gangs don’t want the police sniffing around and the police don’t want anyone to know that Khalil was unarmed. So it’s dangerous, no matter what. But what about justice for Khalil? What should Starr do? What would you do?

Booktalk: Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

This booktalk was written by Susan Smallsreed of the Northwest Library, part of the Multnomah County Library system.

The book cover for A.J. Hartley's SteeplejackIn an alternate South Africa, steeplejacks climb the highest chimneys & buildings to repair the bricks & mortar that hold them up. And the faster they work, the more money they make for their gang and themselves.

Anglet Sutonga has made a name and living for herself as the best steeplejack in the city. She works more quickly and more efficiently than anyone else. That status provides some protection from the brutality of her gangleader because he doesn’t want to risk losing one of his best sources of income. But if Ang doesn’t perform, all bets are off. And at 17, Ang could also be used for prostitution, a fate she wants to avoid at all costs.

So when she’s told to train a new apprentice, she agrees, even though she knows that this one is afraid of heights. When he doesn’t show at the right time, Ang goes looking for him. Unfortunately, the reason he didn’t show up? He’s dead.

The authorities think he slipped and fell. And since he’s just another one of those poor, lower caste Lani kids, why bother to investigate? Ang thinks he was murdered and that he deserves justice, the same as if he’d been a white Feldish kid. But what to do about it?

And then the Beacon, the source of energy and light for the entire city, is stolen. And it had to have involved a steeplejack … a really good steeplejack … someone as good or even better than Ang.

Are the theft and murder related? How will she keep the gang happy, protect herself AND solve two crimes? Read Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley.

Mock Printz booktalk: Railhead by Philip Reeve

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Susan Smallsreed of Multnomah County Library.

The cover for the book Railhead by Philip ReeveZen Starling is a thief. He’s pretty good at it too. Until the day a red head dressed in a trench coat follows him across the galaxy to his home. He had hopped the rails as usual and zipped across the cosmos on the Interstellar Express, a sentient train that travels planet to planet using wormholes that only the Guardians understand. He was sure that he had lost her when the train passed through the first gate. Everyone knows that nothing can follow through a dark hole. But, surprise, surprise, the redhead is soon standing outside his crummy apartment on his home world. Zen may be a thief, but he will do anything to protect his disabled mother and bossy older sister, including leaving home. But can he run far enough and fast enough to evade the trench coat? Who, or what, is she? The police? A rival thief? More importantly, if she’s not police, what does she want?

It’s the latest adventure by Philip Reeve, author of Fever Crumb and the Mortal Engines trilogy, and the start of a new action-packed, interstellar chase across space in a far future world filled with rebels and robots.

Mock Printz booktalk: The Reader by Traci Chee

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Susan Smallsreed of Multnomah County Library.

The cover of the book The Reader by Traci CheeFifteen year old Sefia has been on the run for years, ever since her father was brutally murdered. The only clue to the assassin was the heavy smell of copper in the air. When Sefia found him, she automatically followed the instructions that he had drilled into her: Run to her room in the basement, dig out the heavy, cloth-covered square hidden behind a wall and run to “Aunt Nin.” She and Aunt Nin had been moving ever since. Aunt Nin taught her how to hide, pick locks and live in the wild. But one day, Sefia returned to camp and smelled copper … again. And from the bushes, she watched as Aunt Nin was taken away. Vowing to follow and free her, Sefia lost the trail in a heavy rain. Alone, now Sefia wonders, “What is it that is worth killing over?” And finally, she opens the package buried deep in her pack and finds … a book. Knowing that your parents were killed over this, would you teach yourself to read? Would you still try to rescue Aunt Nin? Would you try to find out why someone wants it? Who knew that reading was such a dangerous act? The Reader, the first in the new series: Sea of Ink and Gold.

Mock Printz booktalk: Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Tasha Forester Campbell, Cathy Camper, and Susan Smallsreed of Multnomah County Library.

The cover of Meg Medina's Burn Baby BurnIt’s 1977, and summer in the city means heat. Everyone’s on edge, not just because of the heat, but because no ones knows when the serial killer “Son of Sam” will strike again. He’s been targeting couples out on dates, shooting them and then sending taunting notes to the police. But Nora’s got other things to worry about. She’s about to graduate and there are decisions to be made. Her teachers are pushing her to go to college, but she just wants to get away from her violent younger brother. And get away from the mother who doesn’t try to stop him, even though mom wears the bruises he inflicts. One thing she does want to deal with is Pablo, the new guy at work. But with a serial killer on the loose, is it safe to date? This summer Nora has to grow up fast. Will she decide that growing up means you suffer in silence or that you can choose your own future?