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

Round 1, Match 6

Match 6: Midwinterblood v P.S. Be Eleven, Judge Mac Barnett

My prediction: “While I read and love Midwinterblood, I think it isn’t for everyone. Plus, I realized I kept on picking based on what I’d read, so this time, I went with what I haven’t read – P.S. Be Eleven.”

And wow, did I turn out to be right!

BoB2014 MG R1 M6 Round 1, Match 6

I know that Midwinterblood isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, wowza, Barnett’s decision illustrated that beyond my wildest predictions.

It also shows how something being “wrong” in a book can color the entire reading experience. It’s something that has been talked about often, especially in historical fiction: how accurate does the history have to be? How many of the “facts” contained in a work of fiction must be correct? Or, as I sometimes think of it — the “we don’t pump our own gas in Jersey” test. Once a book makes that mistake, can I trust anything else in it? Will I be open to anything good at all in that book?

Keep in mind, that Midwinterblood is this year’s Printz Award book.

So, the two starts of Barnett’s decision about Midwinterblood that sets the tone:

The jacket copy of Marcus Sedgwick’s unfortunately named Midwinterblood promises “a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking,” which sounds like the start of a joke my uncle tells that makes everyone uncomfortable.

perhaps it is stony-hearted fate that delivered this novel to a BoB judge who spent four years studying premodern Scandinavian literature.

Needless to say, it’s a blood bath. (Midwinterblood? Blood bath? Get it?)

And P.S. Be Eleven moves on. Since that’s what I chose for the brackets, that’s good for me!

And of course, the Battle of the Books is about picking one book. And not picking another. And the reasons being personal.

Still and all, in this, I agree with the kid judge, about Midwinterblood: “I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s not my favorite book in the competition, but it’s inventive, it’s interesting, it made me think and appreciate things in a different way. The writing and the characterization may not be altogether clear, but I got past it. Besides, it’s fantasy.

I’m quite interested in what other people think about this!

 

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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. Amy S says:

    I loved P.S. Be Eleven so I’m very happy it won.

  2. Elizabeth Burns says:

    I loved the first book so I have to read it. It’s one of the few unread 2013 books that survived my weeding purge.

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