In March 2016, this site will host its third 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.

The book bracket and schedule are finalized and linked in the header. The battle starts March 1!


I adore recommending and discussing books I love – especially when those books don’t seem to be discussed very often. Like the past two years, the novels that make up this year’s bracket are great books that most people I meet haven’t heard of, much less read, and often they’re books I wish were recognized by awards committees. This year, though, there’s a new wrinkle: four of the sixteen books in the 2016 bracket are books that were knocked out in the first round in previous battles.

The judges in this battle are Goodreads friends of mine, wonderful volunteers who were given only 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.)

(Who am I, you ask? I’m Beth. You can find me here on Goodreads.)

Battle Parameters:

  • Underappreciated. The books that comprise the bracket are books I too rarely see mentioned and discussed. Most have never been on bestseller lists. Some are out of print. A majority of the titles are not on the shelves of any (!) New York City Barnes and Noble – and this despite critical recognition.
  • Middle grade and young adult fiction. I’m going by publisher designation to determine this.

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