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SLJ BoB Predictions

While in the past I have made SLJ BoB predictions, I have never shared them publicly.

This year, I am going to show you just how bad I am at “guess the winner.” For full information on all titles and judges, check out the School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books webpage. If I’ve read a book, I’ll look to the review the initial time I mention the book.

Round 1, March 12 – 21

Bomb v. Wonder, Judge Kenneth Oppel. Prediction: Bomb. I have not read Wonder, and since Oppel has written historical fiction, I thought, hey, he might like the history book.

Code Name Verity v. Titanic, Judge Margarita Engle. Prediction: Code Name Verity. I adore Verity, and hope that Engle does, also. I mean, she writes historical fiction, right?

Endangered v. Three Times Lucky, Judge Kathi Appelt. Prediction: Endangered. Appelt has written about animals. Endangered has animals.

The Fault in Our Stars v. Temple Gradin, Judge Deb Caletti. Prediction: The Fault in Our Stars. I have read neither book, but Caletti is a young adult author and Fault is a young adult book, plus everyone who reads it loves.

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars v. Starry River of the Sky, Judge Adam Gidwitz. Prediction: Starry River of the Sky. I’ve read neither book and am quite stumped, to be honest. Because I picked the first book in the pairs, above, I went with Starry River of the Sky because it’s the second title.

Liar and Spy v. Splendors and Glooms, Judge Franny Billingsley. Prediction: Splendors and Glooms just seems more like Billlingsley’s type of book, for some reason. We’ll see!

Moonbird v. Seraphina, Judge Marie Lu. Prediction: Seraphina. Lu has written fantasy, Seraphina is fantasy.

No Crystal Stair v. The One and Only Ivan, Judge Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Prediction: The One and Only Ivan, because Mr. Schu likes Ivan so much and that’s as good a reason as any.

Round Two, March 22 – 27

Bomb v. Code Name Verity, Judge Donna Jo Napoli. Prediction: The power of Code Name Verity compels me to say it will be selected.

Endangered v. The Fault in our Stars, Judge Martine Leavitt. Prediction: The Fault in Our Stars, because, well, John Green.

Starry River of the Sky v. Splendors and Glooms, Judge Thanhha Lai. Prediction: No idea, coin toss gives it to Splendors and Glooms.

Seraphina v. The One and Only Ivan, Judge Paul Griffin. Prediction: Griffin likes animals, right? So he’ll select The One and Only Ivan.

Round Three, March 28 – 29

Code Name Verity v The Fault in our Stars, Judge Lynne Rae Perkins. Much as I adore Verity, I think Perkins will be swayed by The Fault in our Stars.

Splendors and Glooms v The One and Only Ivan, Judge James Patterson. Neither seems like Patterson’s books, but I’m going to go with The One and Only Ivan. Call it intuition. (Edited to add: I kept going back and forth on this one, which is why I originally had this with one title…. while a different one appeared in Round Four. Fixed.)

Round Four, April 1

The Fault in our Stars v. The One and Only Ivan v. the Undead Winner (my prediction, Code Name Verity), Judge Frank Cottrell Boyce. Prediction: Code Name Verity.

So, that’s me! Have you posted your predictions? Any thoughts?


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


  1. If it goes exactly like this I will be a happy girl. Though I do think CODE NAME VERITY is far far better than THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I agree with you that that’s probably how it will go down.

    I do think Ivan is going to be the first Newbery to go the distance to the final. I like your reasoning too.

    Also in Round One you typed Liar & Spy vs Shadows and Glooms-I know you know it’s Splendors because it is right in round two. 🙂

  2. Brandy pointed out that we’re predicting the same final three, just getting there in a different way!

    I have to warn you. The first year I predicted SLJ’s BoB winners, I did it based on the book most similar to the ones the judge wrote — and got them ALL wrong! This year, I just went with the ones I WANT to win, but when it’s in doubt, I go with the one least like what the judges write. My theory is either that they see flaws more clearly in books like their own or that they’re impressed more by books that are nothing like what they write. But we’ll see….

    Anyway, it’s going to be a fun battle to follow, there’s NO doubt whatsoever about that!

  3. Oops! Except now I see that you put One and Only Ivan as losing Round 3, but competing in Round 4. Is that a typo, or a way to hedge your bets? 🙂

    • Elizabeth Burns says

      So not only did I have broccoli in my teeth, I have salad dressing on my shirt. This actually reflects that for some of these I had such a hard time and kept changing my mind!

  4. 🙂 No worries! I kind of figured that was the case! (But go with One and Only Ivan! Your subconscious mind has the right idea!)

  5. I’d choose Code Name Verity over The Fault in Our Stars. I enjoyed FIOS well enough but CNV was truly original, totally suspenseful, legitimately heartbreaking and, well, my favorite book of the year. My 2 cents.


    • Elizabeth Burns says

      CNV is the one I want to go all the way — the match up against FIOS will be interesting.

  6. So, you’re on a roll after the first half! I’m all the more glad you decided to go with One & Only Ivan… 🙂 Though our picks are preeeeeetty close. I predict Code Name Verity over Fault in Our Stars, but then I’m pretty sure whichever of those two goes under will then come back from the dead, so it’s a mere quibble which will fall first. What counts is CNV for the win, right? 🙂

    • Elizabeth Burns says

      I’m not going to be too upset if CNV falls to TFIOS because I’m convinced CNV will have won the zombie round, which may just be wishful thinking!

      • I’m pretty convinced if CNV didn’t win the Undead Poll, then it was TFiOS. So either way, I’m expecting those two in the Big Kahuna. Bummer if they both get knocked out first…. But, no, that couldn’t happen…. I hope!