Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Chime v Smoke

School Library Journal Battle of the Books Round 2, Match 2. Chime v Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Judge: E. Lockhart

Lockhart on Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone:The heroine, blue-haired and covered in tattoos, is satisfyingly violent and smart-mouthed.” “Satisfyingly violent.” Love that!

And then — and then — Lockhart totally goes against the crowd! Pretty much, judges hold their selection to the end. They talk about the two books and then share the winner.

Lockhart puts the end in the middle: “Still, I am tipping the battle in favor of Chime by Franny Billingsley, largely because of my probably idiosyncratic inability to fall in love with that foxy, murderous angel.”


Because Lockhart knows that the important thing is not what book is selected, but why.* The “why” is the reveal people are reading for. It also goes to the power of knowing the so-called ending when reading a book: one gets to appreciate why that is the ending. Here, knowing the battle is tipped for Chime, I can sit back in comfort and enjoy the why. And the why — the why — is Lockhart saying, so eloquently, what I loved about Chime:And so for me, the incredibly romantic ending of Chime had great strength, because it wasn’t a fantasy of a bad man tamed—it was the fantasy of loving a deeply good man, and how healing that can be.”

I really should have had more faith in Chime and the judges!

*Perhaps if my bracket was anything other than a shambles I’d feel differently.

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