Beginning March 3, 2014, this site will host a March Madness book battle featuring underappreciated young adult and middle grade fiction.

All credit goes to Katie (Goodreads, Twitter) and School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books for the inspiration.

This particular book battle was born out of my disappointment with 2013’s releases and consequently with this year’s SLJ battle bracket. (Who am I, you ask? I’m Beth. You can find me here on Goodreads.) I’m still following SLJ’s battle, of course, but with less of a rooting interest, since there were no books I really loved in 2013. And so Katie suggested that I organize my own battle.

Which turned out to be an inspired suggestion, because I adore recommending and discussing books I love – especially when those books don’t seem to be discussed very often.

I have quite a few all-time favorites. Those are the first books I added to my bracket. But all the novels that comprise the final bracket are books that stayed with me. And for some reason, I don’t see any of them recommended that frequently, and I find that most people I meet have never heard of them.

And so these are the books I want to see discussed, and that’s why they make up this battle’s bracket.

Which brings me to the (obviously subjective) parameters of this book battle:

  • Underappreciated. The books that comprise the bracket are all books I too rarely see mentioned and discussed. Most have never been on bestseller lists. Some are out of print. All but one are not on the shelves of any (!) New York City Barnes and Noble, per the Barnes and Noble website – and this despite critical and in some cases awards recognition.
  • Middle grade and young adult fiction. I’m going by publisher designation to determine this. (Note: there is one novel that doesn’t have a publisher designation – at least on my copy – but I count the novel as YA because it features a young adult protagonist coming of age.)

The judges in this battle are Goodreads friends of mine, wonderful volunteers who were only given this instruction: choose one book to advance and write a response as to why you chose it. Their responses are not meant to be objective statements (if such things exist); they might be a hodgepodge of summaries, quotes, discussion of literary merits or faults, personal biases, or general thoughts on YA and MG fiction. (Read more about the criteria here.)

The full posting schedule can be accessed via the link in the navigation just under the site title.

Thank you all for participating! It means more than I can say.


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