Round 1 Roundup

And then there were eight. What an exciting Round 1 it’s been! Thank you so much to all the wonderful, wonderful judges. I’m just taking a moment to note that either I’ve rigged it, because the books have similar themes, or I’ve made people’s lives more difficult because the books don’t seem similar at all. I CAN’T WIN.

More seriously, I’ve loved seeing the different ways people respond to these books. I love all of these books, but I knew people would disagree with me (I confess to harboring hope everyone would love everything. I know. I KNOW) – and it’s been so thrilling to see people agree and disagree so eloquently! I’ve been enjoying the comments so much. Prose! Aussie YA! How kids might view these same books! Parenting and the Presidency!

I’m also so happy people appreciated books that didn’t move on, like Izzy, Willy Nilly and The President’s Daughter and A Ring of Endless Light. Which segues perfectly into my (probably annoying) refrain to read every book in this battle!

One last point: in the School Library Journal battle, the middle grade titles typically fare less well than the YA. How did the MG books in our battle do? Well, there are eight MG books in this battle. Four books faced each other. Of the four remaining, three advanced – Greenglass House, The Perilous Gard, and Saffy’s Angel. Against very formidable competition, too. That’s pretty cool.

And now the housekeeping notes! First, Round 2 includes a judge who is new to this year’s battle – Jo, who’s one of my oldest online book-talk friends. She didn’t have time to participate last year and I’m so happy she can join the fabulous, dedicated group of judges this year. Please join me in welcoming her and convincing her to get a Goodreads account.

Also: new blog format, and fixed comments! (Mostly fixed, that is. WordPress caps replies at 10 comments to a thread.) Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying that! And the site’s bracket has been updated to show the books that advanced to Round 2.

Thank you all for participating! On to Round 2, which starts this Tuesday! BE EXCITED.


18 thoughts on “Round 1 Roundup

      1. SHEER AGE OF PROTAGONIST, IT ENDS IN BEING A GROWN-UP AND DOING GROWN-UP THINGS, the writing’s denser, it’s just…it’s just a little older than MG. Kate overcomes adolescence, you know? Rather than being caught in the midst of it or the beginning of it and starting to muddle her way through it. And the prose has a little more depth? Depth is not quite the right word, but when I think of say The Giver or The Chronicles of Prydain–they both deal with hefty complicated subjects but the writing isn’t–the paragraphs are shorter, the thoughts a little more direct even in their subtlety? Like, Hemingway writes short paragraphs too, but the stuff he’s writing about is layers on layers on layers, and while those layers exist in MG writing it’s not quite as deep or adult in nature.

        Like I’d put The Chronicles of Prydain (pick any one of them) firmly in MG, Ella Enchanted in the higher edge of MG heading towards YA, and then The Perilous Gard firmly in the middle of YA. Like, above Tamora Pierce (whose writing is pretty MG but thematically is obviously YA) but below say most of Robin McKinley’s stuff. Probably around the same place as The Blue Sword.

        1. It’s funny, I didn’t read it as a coming of age story! It’s kind of Kate-getting-through-bad-stuff-for-her-happy-ending to me, which is part of what makes it a fairy tale to me, and ageless! It’s like – there was a post on the SLJ battle site yesterday that talked about timeliness and timelessness, and books about adolescence strike me as timely, whereas The Perilous Gard strikes me as timeless.

          I WANT TO SAY MORE BUT WE SHOULD WAIT TIL AFTER YOUR DECISION POSTS TOMORROW, I THINK. Because we’re the only people who know it so far šŸ˜€ I will say that I consider The Blue Sword MG, actually! And I promise I don’t consider all fantasy timeless and MG!

            1. THE ONLY THING I HAVE TO SUPPORT MY ARGUMENT IS THE FACT THAT I FOUND IT IN MY LIBRARY’S CHILDREN’S SECTION. Which clearly warped my thinking, because yeah, my instant response is MG, but when I think about it – it’s a pretty classic coming-of-age story, isn’t it?!

              1. WELL WE DIDN’T HAVE A SEPARATE YA SECTION IN THE OLDEN DAYS WHEN I GREW UP. Other than, like, a collection of Sweet Valley High and less well-known packaged stories.

                Which I think speaks to Jo’s point about YA being a new genre. These books don’t belong in the adult section, so there was no other place for them but children’s. I wonder if that means these kind of books were never re-classified then when there was an arguably better fit for them.


                  I wonder if that means these kind of books were never re-classified then when there was an arguably better fit for them.

                  I totally buy this re: The Blue Sword – especially if they have years of records of kids checking them out and reading them.

                  1. Okay, I’m using my library powers to investigate. We have 6 copies of The Blue Sword. 4 list it as Juvenile and 2 as YA! 2 copies of Perilous Gard, both listed as YA.

                    Alanna–since it’s in the same era as Blue Sword–is listed as YA. (I actually find that first book fairly MG, but certainly it gains adult themes fairly quickly!)

                    The Hero and the Crown is only listed as juvenile!

                    1. INTERESTING. I don’t have awesome library powers, but just going by the library sites:

                      One site has two J FIC copies of Perilous Gard, one has one YA and one Juvenile.
                      One site has 8 Juvenile copies of Blue Sword and two adult (shelved as SFF!) copies, one has 9 Juvenile and two YA!

          1. WELL I didn’t either, but there’s bits of it in there (CHANGELING), and so if I HAD to group I would use that as part of my criteria. But I agree with you about the whole timelessness thing, and it goes back to somebody else’s brilliant post here (the round one with Okay For Now?) talking about how MG/YA/etc. can be so limiting because now they’re genre AND marketing tools and so you have to make sure you’re ticking off all the boxes for the shelf and the sales.

            But now mostly I’m wondering what on earth your criteria for MG versus YA is–I know you’ve talked about it before, but I’m with Katie: your sorting methods are clearly insane. :-b I mean if you wanted to argue that YA is a specifically new genre and that before the late nineties let’s say all non-adult fantasy is thus MG fantasy (i.e. not children’s but not adult) then maybe but other than that I cannot figure out how you come to the conclusion that BOTH PG and BS are MG. I CRY NONSENSE.

            1. TRUE. (Also that was Kris PAGING KRIS WHERE ARE YOU) Though in this case I’m less influenced by marketing departments and more by my library shelving, I think! Both Perilous Gard and Blue Sword are in the children’s section.

              In general, hypothetical terms, I categorize anything coming-of-age re: teens or young adults as YA. And that’s my criteria, full stop. MG is more vague than that, I think; I mostly consider it books for kids, but I always qualify that by saying it’s not only books for kids; some books are for everyone, including kids. So I call all children’s classics – L’Engle, Narnia, Lloyd Alexander, etc – MG. I don’t think a middle grade protagonist is actually required, which I DO think YA requires.

              And like I told Katie: CLEARLY MY LIBRARY HAS WARPED ME, because now that I think about it, Blue Sword is a classic coming-of-age story! I still don’t think The Perilous Gard is, though šŸ™‚

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