Skip to main content

SLJ BoB: The Finals

Sigh. No surprises in Lynne Rae Perkins's decision. I can't say I'm pleased, but I'm also not surprised. Those of  us who haven't drunk the John Green Kool Aid can only shake our heads and mutter. Perkins did at least give a decent reason for her choice and I liked how she pointed out faults she found with both books. Fault laments the prospect of oblivion, of living and dying and leaving no trace.  And then concludes that it might not be such a bad thing.  Bomb tells us about individuals who did leave a trace, and how some came to feel deep regret, or at least ambivalence, about having done so.

I enjoyed reading the decision for this written by James Patterson. Which marks the first time I can say I've enjoyed reading something he's written. This seriously made me like him so much more and will think of him far more fondly in the future. Is it too late for us to redefine who we’re calling heroes in this country? Can’t the booksellers, the librarians, be king?

AND.....

Nicely done all my kindred souls who voted for and lobbied for the amazing Code Name Verity. I can now be emotionally invested in this Final.

My thoughts on these three books have not changed much since I originally read and reviewed them.

In my review of The Fault in Our Stars I talked about how much I enjoyed both Hazel and Augustus as characters. I like how the book gave voice to children with illness and did it in such an intelligent yet snarky tone. I flagged so many pages of the book. It is eminently quotable, like Green always is. This plays into my major problem with this and all Green's books. I can never shut his voice out of them. I hear him every word spoken by the characters and see his hand in every sentence. I suppose this may be the downside of his Internet prevalence. I personally like authors to be not quite so present in their work. Green never manages to give his characters their own voices. I always feel like they are him.

I know the format of No Crystal Stair (my review) is problematic for many. I think it is a great strength of this novel. I love the documentary style and when I was reading it that is how the story played out in my head. I do have qualms about the very thin line between fact and fiction here, but Nelson did a magnificent job of sourcing the book and explaining her vision so I'm able to lay those qualms aside. The uniqueness of the format and the telling of a story I didn't know made this an interesting book for me. However, it wasn't one that I can count as a favorite. I will never reread it. I would probably use it if I taught middle school history or literature (the one level I don't -I teach upper elementary and high school.) I think this is mainly because while the documentary style is a strength of the novel as a whole it made it hard for me to connect with any particular character and that is what will make me love a book.

Code Name Verity has characters I can love. And do. My review for this book is vague (avoiding spoilers-which I will continue to do here) and a little overwrought. I have a difficult time discussing books I love as much as I do this one. It's all too personal. This book is full of strengths. It is constructed brilliantly from beginning to end: plot, pacing, voice, it all works. The characters are rounded and nuanced. The themes are sweeping and complex. The story itself is complex with so many shades of gray. The book is about dark times and terrible truths, but manages to convey a tone of hope at the same time. And I feel completely inadequate to discuss it. Even writing this I feel like I can't begin to the book itself justice.

So I think it's pretty obvious what my choice would be were I the judge. Hopefully Frank Cottrell Boyce will feel the same. 


 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein