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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Life v Monster

School Library Journal Battle of the Books, Round 1, Match 7. Life: An Exploded Diagram v A Monster Calls. Judge: Lauren Myracle

I. can’t. even. (Which, by the way, is this year’s “awesome” or “literally” in terms of phrases I use way too much and for every occasion.)

Really?

Really?

Myracle picked one of my few DNF books of the year as the winner of this round.

The only thing worse than not liking a book . . . . is when, then, you see your friends and people you like falling all over with love and affection for the book. It’s like standing on the other side of the window, in the rain, looking in at the birthday party with cake and ice cream asking yourself, “why don’t I get it? What is wrong with me that this book doesn’t work for me? Why can’t I have ice cream?”

Oh. Myracle selected Life: An Exploded Diagram.

My brackets are so. screwed. up. right now I may redo them this Sunday, just to see if my second round of guessing is just as off as the first round.

Oh, and another thing. For some reason I keep wanting to call it Life: An Unexploded Diagram. Go figure.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. lalibrarylady86 says:

    I often I find myself on the other side of the window. Sometimes I feel like I need a support group – “Hi, I’m a librarian and I did not like this book”. Or “Can I please have an explanation from the committee that selected this as the award winner?”

  2. Jen B. says:

    My brackets are also all askew – I had Dead End in Norvelt going all the way on the top and A Monster Calls going all the way on the bottom. Big old belly flop there. Only one of the second round matchups actually matches what I had guessed so over on the BOB post, I posted my original 2nd round guesses and then my new predictions given the actual winners. I was 5 out of 8 in the first round which doesn’t feel too bad to me, but it’s all downhill from here on my original guesses.

  3. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    lalibraryland86: this is one where I just don’t get it. we’ll see how it advances.

    Jen: I had A MONSTER CALLS going all the way, so yes, this messes me up.

  4. Paige Y. says:

    I too had A Monster Calls going all the way. I like your idea of throwing out the old brackets — mine are a shambles.

    I too understand what you mean about feeling left out when you don’t like a book. While I loved Life: An Exploded Diagram, I hated Chime. It made me feel stupid and I really had to struggle to finish it (actually, I didn’t finish it last year but made myself this year).

  5. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Paige, how funny that we had the opposite reaction with books! Tho, all joking aside, I actually get a bit uncomfortable about a book “everyone” likes — no one likes everything — and even for books I like, I like seeing why others didn’t (as long as its along the lines of “this character didn’t work for me,” etc). Some of my favorite reviews at the Book Smugglers, for instance, are of books that I like that they didn’t.

    Perhaps the party thru the window bit would make more sense if those on the other side were having frozen yogurt and enjoying it, not ice cream, as I am not a fan of frozen yogurt.

  6. :paula says:

    I kind of adored the Mal Peet book, but I didn’t pick it to win over the tree book either – it’s on my short list of “YA books for very specific kids.”

    But I think one of the byproducts of having creators as judges (instead of say, critics or educators or editors or librarians) is that ‘broad appeal’ is extremely NOT a judging criteria. I suspect that people who write books have a soft spot for the book that reaches just that one kid. Hence, Drawing from Memory over sweet Dini; girlie Daughter of Smoke and Bone over Dead End in Norvelt, which appeals to kids on both sides of the aisle; and Life over Monster.

    Of course, that explains Chime’s win NOT AT ALL. :)

  7. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    :paula, it is interesting to see how an author judges a book as opposed to a librarian, or reader, or blogger, etc. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy the Nat’l Book Awards.

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