'Where Things Come Back' wins 2012 Printz Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/23/2012


Macey Morales

Media Relations Manager

American Library Association



DALLAS– “Where Things Come Back,” written by debut author John Corey Whaley, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing,has won the 2012 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) today announced the winner during the ALA Midwinter Meeting, held January 20 – 24 in Dallas.

Witty, sardonic Cullen Witter agonizes over the disappearance of his beloved brother, Gabriel, while everyone else in his stiflingly dull Arkansas town thrills to the apparent return of a long-extinct woodpecker. Kidnapping, bromance, arcane religious texts, and ornithology collide in this ground-breaking coming-of-age tale.

“Straightforward, yet increasingly complex, this novel masterfully weaves together themes of brotherhood, friendship, loss and religious obsession,” said Printz Award Committee Chair Erin Helmrich.


Four Printz Honor Books also were named: 

“Why We Broke Up,” written by Daniel Handler, art by Maira Kalman and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group.

In this beautiful piece of bookmaking, heartbroken movie obsessive Min Green dumps a box of relationship ephemera on ex-love Ed Slaterton’s porch, each item attached to a raging, loving, insecure and regretful letter explaining how each memento contributed to their breakup.

“The Returning,” written by Christine Hinwoodand publishedby Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group Young Readers Group USA.

A large cast of characters from two fictional kingdoms recover from a drawn-out, brutal war in a portrait both sweeping and specific as it explores the ramifications of the conflict on Cam, the only one who lives to return to his village.

“Jasper Jones,” written by Craig Silvey and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Spurred by the mysterious death of a schoolmate, Charlie confronts racism and his fears as he learns about family, friendship and love in the oppressive heat of small-town 1960s Australia. Silvey weaves themes of freedom and loyalty with moments of humor in this wrenching novel.

“The Scorpio Races,” written by Maggie Stiefvater and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

A bloody, intoxicating horse race on the Island of Thisby is the backdrop for this atmospheric novel. The heart-pounding story pits two teens against death – to win is to survive.


The award, first given in 2000, is named for the late Michael L. Printz, a Topeka, Kan., school librarian known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults. The award is administered annually by YALSA and is sponsored by Booklist magazine.

Members of the 2012 Printz Award Committee are: Chair Erin Helmrich, Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library; Jerene Battisti, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.; Sophie Brookover, LibraryLinkNJ, Piscataway, N.J.; Patty Campbell, Fallbrook, Calif.; Todd Krueger,  Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library; Gregory Lum, Jesuit High School, Portland, Ore.; Joy Millam, Valencia High School, Fountain Valley, Calif.; Elizabeth Saxton, Cleveland Public Library; Drue Wagner-Mees, Los Angeles Public Library; Gail Zachariah, Keene (N.H.) Public Library; and Ilene Cooper, Booklist Magazine, Chicago.


For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists.

For more information on the Michael L. Printz Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.