Battle of the Books Round Two!

As of today, Round One of School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books is complete, and today things really heated up! You can tell from the comments, I wasn’t the only one disappointed when Okay for Now was knocked out today.

As far as predicting went, I was feeling cocky when my first five predictions won. Then, alas, my next three lost, so my top bracket looks like I wanted it to (except for the awful fact of two favorites competing against each other next round), but the bottom half is full of books I’m just not as crazy about, especially since the one I got right in the bottom half wasn’t a big favorite, anyway.

But I’m now ready to talk about how I’d like the rest of the Battle to go. Will I get my way? Probably not. I usually don’t. But I’m sure that there will be some eloquent explanations made, even when I think the judges are woefully misguided.

Round Two, Match One: Amelia Lost vs. Between Shades of Gray

For this one, I’m definitely rooting for Between Shades of Gray. Because it made me forget it wasn’t nonfiction, but also caught me up in the plight of the characters.

Now, the judge for this contest is Marc Aronson, who writes excellent Children’s Nonfiction himself. Will that bias him toward picking Amelia Lost? Well, I’m going to go with my old tried and true guess that judges usually pick the book least like the ones they write. Though I strongly suspect Marc Aronson might be an exception to that rule, since the one I really want to win is Between Shades of Gray, I’ll stick with that choice as my prediction.

Round Two, Match Two, my heartbreaker match:
Chime vs. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

When I ranked my 2011 Sonderbooks Stand-outs, I listed Daughter of Smoke and Bone ahead of Chime (just barely), and I’m going to stand by that ranking. Both books feel like innovative, creative, something-new fantasy stories, so I loved both. Some accused Daughter of being just another paranormal romance, but Laini Taylor was writing fantasy tales based on less well-known folklore long before the paranormal rage, so I definitely don’t think she was copying anyone. I didn’t like the love-at-first-sight aspect — until the back story was given and I found out why it wasn’t actually love at first sight. I do know I’m really really looking forward to seeing how the story develops in the next installment. (The worst thing about Daughter of Smoke and Bone was the way it “ended”: “To be continued…”)

Given how I feel about these books, you won’t be surprised at my prediction/hopes for
Round Three, Match One:
I want whichever book wins Round Two, Match Two to defeat whichever book wins Round Two, Match One. Because I like both Chime and Daughter of Smoke and Bone better than Between Shades of Gray or Amelia Lost.

Now, the bottom half, where my favorites are not doing as well:

Round Two, Match Three:
Drawing from Memory vs. Inside Out and Back Again

I definitely want Drawing from Memory to win.

Round Two, Match Four:
Life: An Exploded Diagram vs. Wonderstruck

I definitely want Wonderstruck to win.

I don’t think I need to go over again the things I didn’t like about Life and Inside Out and Back Again. I read all four and only chose to review two. You can read those reviews to see the things I liked about the two I reviewed.

Then, for Round Three, Match Two:
If my predictions are right, and this is Drawing from Memory vs. Wonderstruck, I would be torn, but I think I’d want Drawing from Memory to win.

If either of those books loses in Round Two, I want the other to win Round Three. If both of them lose Round Two, I would probably pick Life over Inside Out and Back Again, but wouldn’t feel strongly about that choice, because I’d want them to lose the next round!

For the Final Round?
Okay, I’m really hoping that Okay for Now wins the Undead Poll. If not, then whichever book loses Round Two, Match Two.

Not considering the Undead, I want whichever book wins Round Three, Match One to defeat whichever book wins Round Three, Match Two. Except maaaaaaybe if it were Amelia Lost vs. Drawing from Memory. In my Sonderbooks Stand-outs, I ranked Drawing from Memory just higher, and I should really stand by that.

Now, throwing the Undead winner in there could change it. I’ll post again after the Undead winner is announced. In general, my top three books in the tournament are Okay for Now, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Chime probably-but-not-necessarily-definitely in that order. So if Okay for Now does win the Undead Poll, I want it to win. Otherwise, I’ll go with the winner of the top half. If we end up with Daughter of Smoke and Bone vs. Chime, I’ll have to go with the opinion expressed above, with Daughter edging out Chime.

Clear as fog? You know I won’t be able to resist further comments as the tournament continues. I am pleased with the set of books left after the first round. And whatever happens, it’s going to be entertaining!

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