I was rooting for Jepp, Who Defied the Stars but I truly loved both books and don't think either one has received enough recognition. It is also nice to see a MG pick move on to Round Two. Adam Gidwitz's decision went on and on and on. (I skimmed a lot and found myself wishing he would get to the point sooner rather than later. I have this feeling when reading his books too. His style of writing and my style of reading are just not meant for each other.) Still, gems like this one can be found: So the sentence-level work is very effective. Her chapters, and the stories that interrupt them, are also expertly crafted; Lin manages her pacing and our expectations so that each chapter break makes us smile or sigh.
Battle Six Winner:
reading the decision because Franny Billingsley wrote it, and I will love anything she writes. Neither of you “out-counts” the other. You are both terrific. I have to go on my gut, choose what I would have loved most as a kid—that kid who was an unabashed lover of the gothic. That kid who loved rough winds and intemperance and doors that really lock.
Battle Seven Winner:
Marie Lu discussed both books together comparing their strengths and pointing out how similar they actually are. In the end she went wit the one she loved most and for the same reasons I chose it. But Seraphina. Oh, Seraphina. My heart is soft for this high fantasy of lyrical, musical proportions that soars with strong female characters and a wonderful overall cast.
Battle Eight Winner
excellently balanced decision minus the egocentrism and hand wringing we have seen from so many judges. Young readers will delight in Ivan’s triumph. I, however, delighted more in the triumph of a self-made grocer’s son who spread the joy of books to hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged souls.
Round Two Hopes and Predictions
(My judge predictions are in parentheses following their name.)
Match One: Friday, March 22
Bomb: the Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin VS Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The first match where two favorites face off. Both of these were 5 star reads for me. I'm not even going to pretend like I'm torn about this though. Code Name Verity all the way!!!!
Judge: Donna Jo Napoli (Code Name Verity)
Match Two: Monday, March 25
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer VS The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Two books that force their readers to face hard realities head on are up against each other in this match. I have to go with Engangered as the one I would pick were I the judge, because I never felt once like I was being manipulated into feeling what I was. I can't say the same for The Fault in Our Stars.
Judge: Martine Leavitt (The Fault in Our Stars)
Match Three: Tuesday, March 26
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz VS Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
Very little thinking has to go into this choice for me. Starry River of the Sky is the one I want to see move on because it never bored me and had no characters that made me want to roll my eyes and tell them to get over themselves. (Looking at you here Lizzie Rose.)
Judge: Tanhha Lai (I have no idea what she'll pick. Really. I'm stumped. Since I'm predicting this year I'll do what I do when I get stumped and go with the opposite of what I want. Splendors and Glooms)
Match Four: Wednesday, March 27
No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson VS Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This will be interesting. These books have more in common than you would think at first glance. Which do I want to see move on? Seraphina of course. Why? Dragons. Kingdom politics. Music. Excellent world building. Doesn't get any better than that.
Judge: Paul Griffin (No Crystal Stair)
Anyone else have thoughts they want to share? Feel free to join me in complaining about the lack of MG love. Please. I'm not alone right? Though I suppose I can't really complain as I was quite happy with the results of several of the battles MG lost in. I'm a conflicted book lover.