Smackdown Books 2019

Piecing Me Together
We Are Okay
Hello, Universe
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
The Marrow Thieves
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives
The Poet X
Children of Blood and Bone
Far from the Tree
Long Way Down
The Goat
Amina's Voice
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess
The First Rule of Punk
24 Hours in Nowhere
The Astonishing Color of After
Obsessed: : A Memoir of My Life with OCD
Train I Ride

Friday, May 31, 2013

Goodbye Smackdown the Third We Now Go Fourth!

John Green mounted his mighty steamroller of a book and flattened the competition. Along the way however, we had the opportunity to read lots of excellent young adult selections. We also had the opportunity to share, argue, implore, rage, marvel, meh and reflect on what will work with the readers we try to inspire on a daily basis.

We always have room for more so if you have been reading along but now want to blog and smack please leave a comment and we will invite you next year. Thank you to all of you who participate, smack or read this blog. We hope to see you back next year when a whole new parcel of books start going Fourth.

Dia the Booktator
Arlene the Book Pusher

Monday, May 27, 2013

       The decision making is done, I am sure, as I cast my little vote, but I can't help but add to the tide that is sweeping The Fault in our Stars.  Without hesitation, one of the best YA books I have read in a long time. And I am grateful to my colleague Andrew for asking if he could teach the book to his grade nine classes, so I would have many excuses to buy more John Greene for our library, and chat with very excited kids about how much they love his work - "did you visit his blog yet, Ms. Wright!!!!"  The excessive use of exclamation marks only begins to reflect the near hysteria I hear in their voices.

      Thank you to Rotters for being a great runner up by giving me an enjoyable read.  The premise was innovative and creative, and the characters kept me interested.  I have a few dark souls I will share this title with.

And with that, I sign off for another year of Smackdown.  It was great reading and writing with everyone!


PS.  Late email from Jacquie, who had to post today, but is out with a bad back - she also supports Stars.

Only a Few Faults in Our Stars

Well, no disagreement here. Although I wish I would have read it earlier in the year, as for me it suffered the curse of too-high expectations, all of us here at TD Baker (Chandra, Shelley, and Brent) think The Fault in Our Stars proved to be the best of the bunch! Raven Boys got good after a plodding and somewhat convoluted start, Rotters started strong and got lost along the way, but The Fault in Our Stars stayed true to course from start to finish. Our students who have read it almost universally love it (which is great, so long as it doesn't "inspire" them to write even more cancer narratives - which, along with stories of orphaned protagonists, are already so often produced from our junior high writers).  Runner-up goes to Raven Boys, even though we voted it out and put Rotters forward in prior rounds, but I guess that's the way it goes with brackets, isn't it?  All part of the fun of Smackdown!

However, while I think The Fault in Our Stars is clearly the "winner," I'm getting a bit tired of the way John Green has become the Aaron Sorkin of YA lit.  Just once I'd like to see him create a teenage character that isn't endearingly precocious and eccentric, wise beyond his or her years, prone to making pity remarks and obscure references around every corner.  I mean, his propensity towards dialogue that is too-clever-by-half can certainly be fun to read, and I appreciated that he talks "up" to his readers rather than down to them, but it would be nice to see him try something new next time around.

Who would have thought...

The winner is definitely The Fault in Our Stars. The novel is an incredible read that outshines all the others.

And with that I am officially no longer a Smackdown rookie. This fantastic year of literature has taken me from the United States of America to Kolkata to Siberia and beyond. To lands real and imaginary. I've read stories of heroes, of villains, of loss and of strength.

Thank you Dia and Arlene. See you all next year (or tonight).


I Told You So Pompous Printz Pickers!

I admit this award season made me foam at the mouth a little. I expected The Fault in Our Stars to clean up and instead a snub. Incase you are wondering, I did read the Printz winner and I'll let those in Smackdown the Fourth make the ultimate decision there. Suffice it to say, for me, it wasn't anywhere close to the I laughed, I cried satisfaction of John Green's work.

I did enjoy The Raven Boys and am definitely in for the sequel. I think her ability to manipulate pace in her novel to match the plot points of time stretching and twisting was masterful. I know others don't necessarily agree but they're wrong....hey a little smack is the point.

Rotters, I have heard others comment, is like two books. I would agree. The first was unique and creepy with a teacher who anyone, including teachers, loves to hate and his just desserts is grossly awesome. The second half seems to be a ripoff of a Terminator movie and I just wanted Baby to die! The audio version of this book had an excellent narrator so along with the first half of the novel I can see why this won the Odyssey prize.

All of this being said....The Fault in Our Stars hands down, ears down (as it won this year's Odyssey). As I've said before, don't just assume the best book wins the awards and earns its place in your library. You need to read the books, read your students and make the best decisions you can.

Wire to Wire

My vote for the winner goes to The Fault in Our Stars. I feel like this book was destined to win from the beginning, and it was nice to see a heavy favorite go wire to wire and take down all the others. There were some good reads this year, but simply put, nothing compares to this book in this competition.

For once I am with the group

I had high hopes for Rotters to be the outside come from behind winner... but not this time.  Fault in Our Stars is a well crafted book that stands above the competition this year.
Sorry-- thought it was such a forgone conclusion that I forgot to post.  Damn it though, I love being forced to read these books.  This is such a fabulous blog.  Thank you!!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

My vote is no Surprise

The Fault in Our Stars is the winner for me!  A great read and a worthy title to pass along to others.


Friday, May 24, 2013

My vote goes for The Fault in Our Stars as well!
Without a doubt, my vote... The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I concur! Fault in Our Stars would likely encourage highest readership.

The Fault in our Stars:
Praised by many students
Empathy rises.

Rotters rots this time
But such odd characters that
Might make Dickens smile.

Raven Boys:  unique
And would appeal to many
Paranormal  tale.