After I arrived in San Antonio this afternoon, I picked the book back up, started over, and began the read. Confusion, puzzlement: not about why it had won the Printz but about why I had ever been able to put it down and some confusion, of course, about what is happening at the outset. Well, my eyes are so tired from the reading and the copious weeping that I can barely see the screen right now. What a reading experience. BRAVO, Printz Committee.
Taylor is the leader of the Houses, six of them that stand outside of the city and house the students at the Jellicoe School. The Cadets (students on a six week outdoor education outing), the Townies, and Taylor's charges are at war, a war that resumes every summer when the cadets return to camp outside of town. There are negotiations to plan, battles waged, losses, gains, and within it all a mystery. How did Taylor get left behind on that Jellicoe Road all those years ago? How is her story somehow tied to this annual battle among the three factions? Why does a boy haunt her dreams.
Slowly, agonizingly slowly, the pieces begin to fall into place in this exquisitely wrought story of a group of friends. Intricate, melodic, perfectly pitched: here is a book that delivers to those readers patient enough to let the story tell itself at its own pace.