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Battle of the Books

And the 2014 Contenders Are…


THE ANIMAL BOOK by Steve Jenkins


A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty

DOLL BONES by Holly Black

ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal

FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo

HOKEY POKEY by Jerry Spinelli

MARCH BOOK ONE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

MIDWINTERBLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick

P.S. BE ELEVEN by Rita Williams-Garcia

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein

THE THING ABOUT LUCK by Cynthia Kadohata




  1. So many great titles. So many misses on my guesses. So much for checking Monica and Roxanne’s GoodReads ratings.

    Thrilled to see ALL THE TRUTH and ROSE. Two books that had me chewing off my fingernails in anxiety. Didn’t expect DOLL BONES but happy it’s there. And my two favorites for Newbery THE THING ABOUT LUCK and TRUE BLUE SCOUTS. Also happy to have dear FLORA.

    One book to actively loathe.

    I’m at a loss as to which book to champion. Both of Rainbow Rowell’s books this year left me unwilling, for a time, to pick up lesser titles. So while FANGIRL was my personal favorite I might be picking up the cause of ELEANOR & PARK.

    Three books to read. Let the games carry on.

    • Haha, yes about Flora, DaNae. (Though I actually like THE THING ABOUT LUCK less. I think. Hmmmm….that may require some rumination.)

      • Oops, Brandy. I guess my paragraph break still confused the antecedent. Flora is dear to me and not to be loathed. I left my despised undeclared. (Although in your list of dislikes we can agree on one.)

        • I see! Equally my fault for reading quickly, then commenting. I was trying to squeeze that in between moments of active teaching when my kids were finishing up assignments. And today is not the best day for that. It’s one of those homeschooling days where I can see us still doing school at four. They’re easily distracted today. And clearly so am I. Sigh.

          I’m glad we can bond over one dislike anyway. 🙂

  2. Yes!!! My reading list, just in time for the three-day-weekend. Thank you for All the Truth and Corner of White – can’t wait to see the discussions on them. Now I’m off to read Flora and Ulysses instead of going to work on time…

  3. Excellent list! And I only need to read six of them. I thought it would be worse than that.

    I don’t know that I have ever actively disliked three books so much on one list before as I do FLORA & ULYSSES, THE THING ABOUT LUCK, and HOKEY POKEY. I have no idea which one I want to see go down more.

    I also have no idea which book I will choose to champion this year because there are so many that I really love.

  4. Battle Commander Battle Commander says:

    Eric and Jen both got THIRTEEN right! So…who will actually receive the prize? Here’s a little game: We have a number picked out between 1 and 20 — the closest (either over or under) guess will win our first little prize. Eric and Jen — just reply with a number.

  5. I’ll be boring and play the odds. 10!

  6. Kristine A says:

    Well, this is the first year I’ve participated actively in reading for the Mock Newbery – I’ve read almost 15 titles there, and only one of them overlaps with this list. I’ve read LOTS of new YA as well, and yet the only one that overlaps here is Midwinterblood (well, Rose Under Fire, but that’s a DNF for me).

    I have 13 BOOKS TO READ! Last year I had read half of the titles, and I hadn’t been active in any Mock groups. Suffice it to say, I’m befuddled at the statistical probability. My library had most, but was missing 5 – we’ll see if they can order in time for the March deadline. So aside from me being a little flummoxed by the list – I look forward to being pleasantly surprised. {hopefully}

  7. Kristine A says:

    p.s. The MG books listed here are one’s I’d avoided either because they aren’t my favorite kind of book or because of mediocre reviews from friends. {sigh} Keeping my chin up, though. 🙂

  8. I got up early this morning to look at the list and have spent the morning thinking about it. I’ve only read one book so far (Doll Bones) but that wasn’t a surprise to me. I only get one big book order a year that comes late in the fall so it always takes me a while to read the books on it. I like having to read them all at one time because they will be fresher on my mind. It takes a lot of reading but what else is winter for?

    I’ve already ordered what I could from the public library and pulled books from my school collection, but I am going to have to purchase three books.

    Surprises for me: I really expected to see The Center of Everything — I thought it would be an interesting book to discuss in this competition. I also expected more nonfiction — I always enjoy comparing those books to the novels we read.

    I haven’t figured out if there will be a book I’ll hate this year but there almost always is one I don’t care for, so I’m sure it’s lurking there somewhere.

    This is my favorite part of winter — let the reading commence!

  9. Sheesh. I’ve only read five of these so far. Makes me wonder what I’ve been reading all year?

  10. Six left to read, mostly YA. I’m so happy to see both MARCH: BOOK ONE and BOXERS AND SAINTS on the list!

  11. I do so very much like this list, you guys. YES to March… thank you so much for including that. Yes also to CORNER OF WHITE, FAR FAR AWAY, P.S. BE ELEVEN, and HOKEY POKEY (that must have been Monica and/or Roxanne… Jonathan, how do you feel about that one? hehe). I was hoping against hope to see LOCOMOTIVE (the very best book of the year, imho) to shore up Team Nonfiction, but I’m just glad to see two here. Kudos, gang!

  12. Where’s The Year of Billy Miller?

  13. Battle Commander Battle Commander says:

    We definitely considered seriously many of those you are mentioning and others. Believe me (us?), tears were shed and teeth gnashed when we had to give up personal favorites. Our objective is always to select 16 books that can hold up against each other whoever the judge may be!

  14. How in the world did I miss this post until now?!? (Answer: I took a January vacation. But still!)

    I have two to read: All the Truth That’s In Me, and March Book One. Though I have to do my Cybils Finals reading first. Oh, wait. The Animal Book I only skimmed.

    Some wonderful choices! With what I’ve read so far, I’m pulling for Far Far Away in the top half, and Midwinterblood in the bottom half. I think I’ll root for Midwinterblood to win it all.

    No!!!! Wait!!! I looked at the list again, and I want Eleanor & Park to take it all.

    But there are going to be some marvelous contests! Kudos to the selectors!

  15. I have only read four of these 🙁 On a happier note–my library has all but four. With any luck. I’ll have most read before the battle begins!

  16. Huzzah! I am thrilled to see many of my favorite reads on the list. I was hoping EVERY DAY by David Levithan to be in the competition. Oh well. I’m betting on ELEANOR & PARK for going the distance. Was truly one of the best books I’ve read this year!


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