The Rest of Round One
Drawing From Memory
So many of my picks making it to the next round this year. So strange. Maybe reading all the books helps! I am excited to see Drawing From Memory joining them. This is a unique and wonderful autobiography. My favorite line from Judge Barbara O'Connor's decision: "And the experience felt personal, intimate, and casual, as if Say might
whip out a napkin and draw a sketch while talking, or pull out a few
paintings tucked lovingly in a box from long ago." This is exactly what is so appealing about this book.
The alphabet made this first round really hard on me. Again, two books I really enjoyed were pitted against each other. This time the books in question weren't favorites though, just two I found a great deal of merit in. I would have liked to see Heart and Soul get some love since Inside Out and Back Again has gotten so much already, but I did enjoy Inside Out and Back Again more so I'm happy to see it move on. My favorite line from Judge Sarah Weeks' decision: "I felt that I had tasted ripe papaya, and glutinous rice—as well as the salty tears of the endearing main character, Ha"
I suppose I had to be crushingly disappointed in a decision by a judge at some point, but I was really hoping it wouldn't be this one. (Although I suspected it would be.) I loved A Monster Calls. I love how it is tragic and hopeful at the same time. I love how Conor is unlikable and sympathetic at the same time. I love the mixture of dream and reality, and the way the story breaks your heart and then hands it back to you again whole, but in a different shape. Life has beautiful prose, but they left me feeling completely empty and void. And very very annoyed. Annoyed that I had bought it and spent my valuable time reading it when it was so empty. My reactions while reading the book: bored-bored-so bored I think I'll skip a few chapters-whoa, there shouldn't be this much sexual description in a novel that doesn't have half naked dukes or pirates on the cover-skipping the rest of that too-ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? REALLY THAT'S WHERE THIS WAS ALL GOING???? UGH!-wow that end was cynical and hopeless I feel like I need a strong drink. My favorite line from Judge Lauren Myracle's decision: "I wasn’t asked to make a case for whether each or either of the books
was a book for kids. I was asked to pick a winner, in the imagined
scenario of these two books putting on their boxing gloves and going at
it, jabbing and circling, plotting and verbing, creating worlds and
characters and spitting out adjectives from the mouth-guards of their
Wonderstruck was not my favorite going in, I love Okay for Now and Doug and I am sad that they didn't win. However, Wonderstruck is a book I also loved so I am not terribly devastated, which is good as I'm still recovering from yesterday. This one is a brilliant mix of art and prose, with a story that made me feel for the protagonists and experience a little of what they were experiencing. It has become one of my daughter's favorite books. She's read it more than once, and for that it will always be a favorite. My favorite line from Judge Jeff Kinney's decision: "Oh, the delicious irony. A guy who draws stick-figure cartoons gets to judge which book is better on its literary merits…"
Note: I am not telling why the lines I'm picking are my favorites, but I will tell you don't agree with the sentiments in all of them.
Round Two Picks
Remember these are my picks NOT predictions.
Friday, March 23
The Contenders: Amelia Lost (my Goodreads review) vs. Between Shades of Gray (my review)
My Thoughts: Between Shades of Gray is a gut wrenching tale with a heroine who is sympathetic and easy to relate to. Amelia Lost is a nail biting tale with a heroine who is often unlikable but very interesting. The character development in both books is top notch. I feel Amelia Lost has more control of the story being told though and I am still wowed by how it manages to be suspenseful despite knowing the outcome. My choice for this one is Amelia Lost.
Judge: Marc Aronson
Monday, March 26
The Contenders: Chime (my review) vs. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (my review)
My Thoughts: Chime! Chime! Chime! Both of these novels are a celebration of beautiful lyrical language. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a wonderfully written paranormal romance. Chime is something more. I love what Billingsley did with Briony's voice demonstrating how twisted and convoluted a place the human mind can be, how readily it is manipulated and can manipulate. My pick (in case I haven't made it clear) is Chime.
Judge: E. Lockhart
Tuesday, March 27
The Contenders: Drawing From Memory (my Goodreads review) vs. Inside Out and Back Again (my review)
My Thoughts: This is an interesting match up. Here you have two books about young people having to move on and make a new life in a post war world. Allen Say's story is told through a combination of words and pictures. Ha's is told in blank verse poetry. Both books covey the fears, joys, and trials of their protagonists' situations beautifully. In the end it really comes down to which I enjoyed more and that makes my choice: Inside Out and Back Again
Judge: Jewell Parker Rhodes
Wednesday, March 28
The Contenders: Life: An Exploded Diagram (my review) vs. Wonderstruck (my review)
My Thoughts: I think I have made my thoughts on Life known. Wonderstruck is a beautiful book that brilliantly mixes the mediums of illustration and prose to tell a single story. Also a book that references From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler so well gets extra awesome points. My choice is most definitely: Wonderstruck
Judge: Chris Lynch