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
March
Unbecoming
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
OCDaniel
Girl in the Blue Coat
Refugee
Defy the Stars

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rotters Vs The Silence of Murder

No pictures - check out the bookshelf!
 Well, here is what we decided:

Vanessa: Hmm - it was an interesting battle, Rotters vs Silence of Murder - two books about death. I have to say, when I read Rotters I thought to myself (screaming) What the Heck!?!?!? Who could I possibly recommend this book to? Honestly, I thought for the first few chapters it was going to be a zombie novel so imagine my surprise when no one was eating brains..instead they were crawling into a grave with their own mother, snuggling with her in her coffin liquor, and then carrying around her femur. And seriously Baby, die already! It was so gross at times, I was engrossed! I kept thinking, “this can’t get worse” and then...it did. But I couldn’t put it down. I really felt for the main character, I was obsessed that his clothes smelled and he hadn’t had a shower. I felt hungry for him. I would have killed off baby 50 pages earlier and gotten on with it but that’s me. Silence of Murder had the opposite effect for me for the 70% of the book. I had to force myself to read 20 page a night to get ‘r done. At times I hoped the mute brother DID kill coach - wouldn’t that have been a nice surprise? I didn’t like most of the characters - I could have cared less about them, except Jer. The last 30% picked up for me and I really loved the imagery of the air captured in the jars. And then it made me root for Jer. The rest of the story was kind of meh. I definitely have students I could recommend it to without having parents ask questions.... So it comes down to this - am I voting for the book I thought was better or the book I thought could get into the hands of kids? For me - it’s the better book, hands down. Rotters had my vote to move on!

 Travis: Good conversation gang. I am in agreement with the majority of the conversation and to avoid being redundant, I’ll just throw in my vote for Rotters to move ahead in the competition.

 Andrew: Typically, I am not a person who is clever enough to figure out who did it before the book or movie is over. But I had the bad guy pegged in this story the very first time he appeared in The Silence of Murder (even before he threw his cellphone). That is not good for me. I shouldn’t be able to guess that kind of surprise on page 13. After that, it is basically waiting for all the plot points to fall into place. It was an alright book, despite its predictability. But at this point in the Smackdown, I think we should be beyond books that are alright. I agree with everyone that I would recommend this book to certain students, but I don’t know that I am fully behind it. It would be more of a pity recommendation, just because that student may like mysteries. As for Rotters, this book is fantastic. I found it impossible not to feel for the main character. I could understand all of his actions and motivations, which can’t be said for every character I have read so far in this competition. I loved the meeting of the Diggers and their stories, I was appalled by the actions of the science teacher who used “Crotch” as his personal whipping boy; I was happy when the teacher got it handed to him. This book kept me engrossed, and not just because it was gross (but that definitely didn’t hurt!). The vivid descriptions of the bodies sticks with you, and you can taste the grit of dirt in your mouth as he furiously digs in his backyard looking for his homework. I think students would enjoy this book because it is different, it is morbid, and it is just really good. Maybe I am messed up in the brain region, but I wouldn’t have too much of a problem recommending this book to a large number of my students. In my opinion, it has to be Rotters that moves on.

 Laura: See, I actually enjoyed both books quite a bit. Rotters completely captured me in the first half, but I concur with earlier posts that, during the second half of the book, I lost some of my empathy for the characters. I agree also with Vanessa, that Baby just needed to die off. Definitely thought lots of kids would buy into the grossness of this book. I enjoyed Silence of Murder, too, though. I had it figured out (spoiler alert if this gets posted for the masses) when the murderer threw his cell phone in a rage, but I still enjoyed watching the story play out and having the other characters figure it out. It was no Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime, which I think I was hoping for, but still an enjoyable mystery. In the end, as a sleep deprived mom of two week old twins, I am going to cop out and say that I will happily go along with the majority this time, vote for either of the books, and prevent a tie. Lame, I know. I have to go nap now... 

Sandy: I enjoyed both books as well. In terms of the question Vanessa posed, I feel overall “Rotters” was much better written, but also believe that students who like a good whodunnit will enjoy and not be disappointed with “Silence of Murder”. I would not hesitate to add “Silence of Murder” to our collection and would readily recommend it to students who enjoy a good mystery. Because we are a K – 9 school and even with as well-written as “Rotters” is, it is not a book I would necessarily add to our collection and would need to be very selective in terms of who I would recommend it to. I agree with both Vanessa and Laura that there reached a point in “Rotters” that I felt it went on for a bit and not in a way that enriched or enhanced the story or characters; i.e.,” and seriously Baby, die already!” , but simply was exasperating for the reader. However, I felt there were passages in “Silence of Murder” that could have been much better crafted. Of the two novels, I found “Rotters” much harder to put down than “Silence of the Murder.” Therefore and overall, I am leaning towards having “Rotters” move forward, but would support “Silence of Murder” moving to the next round if that is what the majority of people recommended.

So Silence of Murder: pack you knives and go, the tribe has spoken, you are not the biggest loser, etc...
Rotters is moving on!!!

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