Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's the Finals Baby!

Here it is folks all the blood, sweat, haikus and words have led to this! A MONSTER CALLS vs OKAY FOR NOW vs your zombie pick....A TALE DARK AND GRIMM.

Now we've heard the murmuring...nothing could beat such and such, how could you think such and such, what is the best book and just what the heck is the criteria for picking anyway? All of this unsureness pleases us because as all good teachers know there is no right answer which is why many of us ended up doing this zany work.Pick your book and support it. Maybe it is the best book for kids to pick up and read, maybe its the best book to work with kids on in the classroom, maybe its the best book for you.

All comments welcome and all of our thanks goes out to our fantastic bloggers who are this close to getting books for work - yeah!

Deadline for your final SMACK of this school year is MAY 31st.


  1. Wow, read the first chapter of monster calls and it's just great! Can't wait to read more of it.

  2. Having now finished all three of the novels that are in the finals, I decided to give my three cents for which novel should be crowned the champion.

    So hidden away in the comments where few are likely to read, I'll give my impressions of each of the novels:

    Okay for Now
    I was captivated by this novel. I was engrossed in the life of Doug quickly, and I flew through Okay for Now.

    There is probably little that I could say that has not already been stated. Okay for Now is great literature. With that said, I was pretty disappointed that Schmidt allowed Doug’s father to suddenly realized that 300 pages of being an abusive a****** was wrong and suddenly all was forgiven. I was saddened with Lily dying in the end – even though he says she gets better, I think it would be too much to for the reader – and Doug - and change the novel entirely. The novel was too fantastic leading up to the ending to allow for it to sour me on the novel as a whole. I loved looking at the painting at the beginning of each chapter and trying to decipher how it would relate to Doug’s life.

    I would gladly recommend students to read Okay for Now.

    A Monster Calls
    To begin, A Monster Calls has one of the most profound Author’s Notes that I’ve read. It sets up the novel as something exceptional and this is continued in to the first chapter. Instantly the reader is pulled in to Conor’s world. I think as the novel went on the ‘Monster’ became less scary and it became obvious that the tree’s role was to help Conor deal with the impending death of his mother. I found a great sadness in Conor’s life as he is unable to control what is happening around him. I’ll admit that it took three attempts to get through the novel as each time I started something came up that halted my progress. Finally it was toward the end that I really started to get excited by this novel: The loneliness of Conor as the world around him continued to change was heart-breaking, the third story in which Conor was finally ‘noticed’, and most obviously Conor living out his nightmare and accepting the truth, were all vivid moments. I’ve already handed off A Monster Calls to numerous students and colleagues that have shared in this experience.

    A Dark Tale and Grimm
    I thought that this was one very underrated tale. I think the difficulty that A Dark Tale came against was the emotional pull of other novels. This novel I found to be the most teachable and Junior High appropriate. I found the story quite whimsical and yet, at times, quite dark and gruesome. I really loved the narrator’s interjections and the use of one-word pages. A Dark Tale and Grimm had me laughing one moment and recoiling the next. It has been a while since I finished this novel but I was please to see it selected as a bonus entry. I think something has to be said for its originality and unique take on fairy tales.

    In conclusion:
    I thought A Dark Tale and Grimm was a great read, but I have a hard time with it winning as it wasn’t even able to beat Beauty Queens. So for me it comes down for me to A Monster Calls vs. Okay for Now. One I loved for 300 pages only for it to frustrate me with the neat bow that is tied around its ending. The other I started on several occasions and while it got my interest early on, it lost me after 60 pages. Had A Monster Calls not contained such a powerful ending I’m not sure it would have the resounding strength that it has.

    If only these two works could have a love child: The exceptional story of Okay for Now with the great conclusion of A Monster Calls.

    (Insert the image of me sitting at my desk incapable of making a decision)

    This is the hardest decision of no consequence I’ve ever made!

    I choose Okay for Now. I'll champion the underdog even though I think the consensus will be A Monster Calls

    While there were definite problems with both, I think I enjoyed reading Okay for Now more. I think I felt much more strongly for this read despite the fury I felt for its ending. Now I guess I wait to see if this will be a decision I regret at 12:07 am.

  3. I would read that love child! I can't agree with your comments more. There has been much written about the Okay for Now ending and that it might have cost it the Newbery.I loved it right up to the end.