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Battle of the Books

Round 2, Match 4: Life: An Exploded Diagram vs Wonderstruck

  Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet Candlewick Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick Scholastic Judged by Chris Lynch School Library Journal, being the efficient operation that it is, had all four of the books from the previous round in this bracket sent to me before I got started. All four were still in play, and they […]

Round 2, Match 2: Chime vs Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  Chime by Franny Billingsley Dial Books Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Little, Brown Judged by E. Lockhart There is a romantic fantasy common to both adult and YA fiction in which a man who is impossibly beautiful, wildly powerful, possibly evil, and deeply damaged is tamed by the love of a good […]

Round 2, Match 1: Amelia Lost vs Between Shades of Gray

    Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming Schwartz & Wade/Random House Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys Philomel/Penguin Judged by Marc Aronson Last year Sugar Changed the World, which I co-wrote with my wife, Marina Budhos, was entered into this battle, and Adam Rex struggled to evaluate it against Jonathan Stroud’s compelling Ring of […]

Round 2, Match 4: A Tale Dark and Grimm vs. Trash

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz Dutton/Penguin Trash by Andy Mulligan David Fickling/Random House Judged by Pete Hautman Two tales, dark and grim: one, a retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s “brother and sister” stories, the other a thriller sent in shameful, hellacious underbelly of a third world city. I felt a little uncomfortable […]

Round 2, Match 3: The Odyssey vs. The Ring of Solomon

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds Candlewick The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud Hyperion Books Judged by Patricia Reilly Giff I read THE ODYSSEY by Gareth Hinds first. Based on Homer’s epic poem, it tells of the terrible efforts King Odysseus must make to return home to Ithaca.Even holding the book is a joy, the […]

Round 2, Match 2: The Good, The Bad, and the Barbie vs. Keeper

The Good, The Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Stone Viking/Penguin Keeper by Kathi Appelt Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Judged by Naomi Shihab Nye Forgive the personal note, but if one is going to read something for a contest, being thunderstruck by illness right beforehand may not be the worst occurrence. It’s reminiscent of some beloved […]

Round 2, Match 1: The Cardturner vs. Countdown

The Card Turner by Louis Sachar Delacorte Books/Random House Countdown by Deborah Wiles Scholastic Press Judged by Laura Amy Schlitz THE JUDGE Let me make one thing clear: I’m not going to be dispassionate about this. I agreed to be a judge, but I refuse to be judicious; I’m not going to nitpick and split […]

Round 2 Match 4: The Storm in the Barn vs Tales from Outer Suburbia

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan Candlewick Press Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan Arthur A. Levine Books Judged by Shannon Hale First up: Matt Phelan’s graphic novel Storm in the Barn. I loved the feel of this book. It’s 200 pages, and they flow effortlessly. The washed out blues, grays, and […]

Round 2 Match 3: Marching for Freedom vs A Season of Gifts

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge Viking A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck Dial Books Judged by Christopher Paul Curtis Richard Peck gives readers another glimpse into the life of Grandma Dowdel, the wonderfully quirky heroine of his Newbery recognized novels A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago.  In this story […]

Round 2 Match 2: The Last Olympian vs The Lost Conspiracy

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan Hyperion Press The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge HarperCollins Judged by Angela Johnson Okay, I have to admit I didn’t have a stellar beginning with all of this. Sometimes I actually wonder how I get myself into these predicaments. I don’t of course mean the fun predicament of reading […]