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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Vote That Keeps On Voting!

With a few late stragglers voting and a few who never vote (but mathematically cannot change the outcome) we finally have a winner! In second place a tie....at 9 votes each The One and Only Ivan and Counting by 7s.   Cue the tiara and tears that means Bomb wins the Smackdown this year with 14 votes (some more enthusiastic than others). I know I'm not speaking for Arlene, but I am thrilled to see a non-fiction title pull out the win. However, I will say that all the finalists were books that could go immediately into the hands of students and all could be used beautifully in classrooms if a teacher was willing. There were many great reads this year and Arlene and I encourage you to go back in the blogs and look for hidden gems you might want to catch up on this summer.

Smackdown would also like to bid farewell to Robin Knight - we smacked her right into retirement but she graciously hooked another participant from her school to join us next year. Enjoy all of that reading time!

Thank you to all our blogger participants and readers. Those that couldn't make the final meeting - we will contact you about your book orders this week. If you are interested in participating again next year or for the first time next year please leave a comment we would love to have you for Smackdown - The Nickel Edition.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Counting by 7s Hands DOWN!

As I think about all the books that I have read in the last year, the one that stands out from all the others is Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Dia and I had talked about it at the end of the last school year.  I remember going to my summer bookclub and talking about the cover. I could describe it: blue-green fish swimming up; red fish swimming down the centre of the book, against the grain. I couldn't remember the title, other than 7s, and a Google search was fruitless (remember, Gail?). I remember reading it on my front porch, in a lawn chair, enjoying the summer sun.
Some who have read it find it hard to believe that someone can have money and keep it hidden away from those you love when it would make life so much easier. To them I say, you didn't grow up in the country. I know (of) several such individuals. This part of the story was believable to me.   And, unlike Ivan, which never quite caught on with my class, pages 176 and 177 of Counting by 7s led to some of the best writing that my students wrote this year.

For me, Counting by 7s is the best book of the 2014 Mighty Smackdown. 
It is the winner even if Dia tells me otherwise.

Waiting on the Votes Folks

To do a Survivor-like update we are at:

One and Only Ivan 7 votes
Bomb 9 votes
Counting by 7s 8 votes  (with Donna O's recent vote given to me but not blogged)

Too close to call at this point....


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This is the end

At Spruce Avenue we all felt as though the novel that we enjoyed the most and would take into our classrooms to teach was The One and Only Ivan. For us, the Smackdown seemed as though it was a two horse race: Ivan vs. Counting by 7's

We enjoyed Bomb and knew that many students would enjoy its story but overall it lacked that special quality that make us love a novel. 

Counting by 7's was a novel that, against a different opponent, could have won the Smackdown but just wasn't good enough to beat the gorilla. 

In my limited years with the Smackdown I think back to the winners of the past: A Monster Calls and The Fault in our Stars (I'm giddy like a teenage girl waiting in line to catch a passing glimpse of Justin Bieber or One Direction to see TFioS in theatres). In my two years, I think Ivan is the most teachable novel in the Smackdown as well and while Ivan is entirely different from both of those two novels, it can, in my opinion, stand beside either one and be equal in greatness. 

Never A Fan of the Close Call

Ask anyone who knows me, if I'm cheering for a team I like a rout, I like my team to win by thousands, and my opposition flailing to complete a play. I know that makes me a poor sport but I am a loyal fan. As I write this, we still have no clear winner and it would usually be at this point that my stomach would be roiling and I'd be screaming at the screen as the blogs went for and against "my" pick. Not today, though, because all of these are my pick. I love all of these books - I even loved Forgive Me Leonard Peacock that seems to be getting post zombie love. I would pitch all of these books to readers and use all of them in the classroom for various purposes.

 I do want to say, however, that Leonard Peacock and Counting by 7s are two sides of a coin. They both follow the trope of kid lit and YA. I find it surprising, then, that there are groups who love LP and fail to love Counting by 7s. Both books start where we've been before, manage, at times, to rise above and both give us an ultimately satisfying read. Team Sweet? Team Angsty? Maybe we need t-shirts.

Now to my vote. Since it is so close, since I loved them all, since Arlene threatened me and I love to scrap with her - I'm crossing the ABM floor and voting for Bomb.


Just Bombing along, Counting by 7`s and trying to determine the One and Only Mighty Smackdown winner

All puns aside, these are 3 very different books that all present their own interesting, unique reading experiences.  I have already recommended these to both teens and adults, with positive feedback received for each.  These books work for a variety of different reading tastes, but which should I choose?

To follow the format of House Hunters, I think I will eliminate one title.  Of the three, the one to go first is “Counting by 7’s” Even though it was a feel-good story that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was a little too coincidental. Life never wraps everything up quite as cleanly.

So now the battle, for me, rages between Bomb and Ivan. I loved Ivan and could see myself including it in Literature Circles in the future. There are some really teachable themes in this quick read. But, if I have to pick a winner – and I never thought I would hear myself say this – I choose “Bomb”.  I am not a science or history geek, but that a book about historical science could hold my interest means it totally deserves my vote.

Bomb is the mightiest for me, this year.

Donna

Final Post

What to choose, What to choose… Last year’s choice was very straightforward for me – this year, not so much. I enjoyed all the books that made it into the final round and keep going back and forth between Counting by 7’s and Bomb. (Must admit that I am surprised that Eleanor and Park, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and Wonder are not part of this conversation.) I have recommended Counting by 7’s and Bomb to different students and students have responded very favourably to both. The discussions have been rich, thoughtful and passionate.
In the end, I am going to vote for Bomb. I feel Bomb is that wonderful combination of non-fiction told in story/narrative form and will have wide appeal. For those who enjoy non-fiction, this particular time in history, science and mysteries, I do not think they will be disappointed. I also feel it is the kind of book that has the potential to attract readers who sometimes shy away from or hesitate to read non-fiction.  

Sandra

Counting by Sevens clearly the winner

I found this choice to be the easiest of all of the rounds as there was clearly one book that stood out above the others.  I had read Bomb in an earlier round and to be honest, it barely made it out of the bracket. The One and Only Ivan, although interesting, is not in the same league as Counting by Sevens which is the clear choice of the finalist list.  Perhaps there is a stronger book waiting in the wings by it didn't make it through the process but it should not be considered in this round or influence the decision making process. Until next year.... that's my Smack.
Signing in officially for the last time here only to give my quick few cents worth. My vote goes to THE BOMB only because I think it's important to recognize non-fiction. I'm even finding myself reading more and more of it these days - although my reading is more usually in the "creative non-fiction" genre (whatever the heck that means). As other Smackers before me have said (much more eloquently and thoughtfully) - I'd have loved to see FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK as our SMACKDOWN choice of the year - I found it compelling and original and thoughtful - but since it's out; it can't. Hopefully the many mentions of FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK in the final round will create some readership, however. Over and out, Smackers... but I'll continue to follow the blog - and to read YA - because it's just that good!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blurgh

I can certainly echo the sentiments of almost every other Smacker - there were novels knocked off in previous rounds that I would have much more enthusiastically endorsed than any of our final three. For me, it was Eleanor & Park. *Sniff*.

But, no use dwelling on could-have-beens. I enjoyed Bomb immensely (particularly because I read it during the Olympics, and it helped me understand why the Norwegians dominated every cross-country skiing event - their forebears had to ski away from Nazis, by George!) But... I'm a bit of a history nerd, and I'm not sure this one would have the wide, enthusiastic audience that a Smackdown winner should.

The One and Only Ivan was a heartwarming little tale that had me thinking a lot about our very own Lucy the Elephant saga here at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.  But... it failed to really capture me. I wish I could be more articulate and thoughtful as to why, but there it is.

And so, that leaves my vote to go to Counting by 7s. There was definitely some implausibility involved, like Jairo's incredible lottery win, but I chalked that up to an "Introduction to Magic Realism" approach, perhaps? And the whole "the mother has been secretly saving for years and is a stealth millionaire" thing doesn't sit super well with me either... But is it a major flaw in the resolution, or just a revelation of a major flaw in a character, who has up until that point seemed a little too perfect?  Ultimately, it was the characters that sealed it for me in this battle. All of them had flaws and deficiencies, but all of them also made attempts to improve themselves and mitigate their failings. (Sure, Dell's attempts at personal growth were superficial at first, but he eventually got with the proverbial program.) Even with its limitations, I feel like Counting by 7s has the most substance to offer to the most readers.

Tough Call

Well, I guess this is what we hope that any finale comes down to: some tough choices and an ongoing element of surprise. I echo some of the previous posts in that I am surprised that some books, notably, More Than This, did not make it into the final bracket, but I also think that we have three fine finalists. If that “fine” seems like an indictment, rather than an endorsement, that is probably a testament to the fact that we have arrived at three books that each could be enjoyed by very diverse segments of that seemingly ever expanding demographic known as YA.

Of the three, Bomb is probably the most polarizing in that some may find the idea of the book a bit . . . heavy(?) – historically, scientifically, and maybe even morally –but I think those who push past these initial perceptions will be pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the book overall and I thought that Sheinken did a very good job of weaving together many complex elements into a fairly coherent narrative. It wasn’t as tightly woven as Trinity, but I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison. Though the books deal with same time period and, ostensibly, the same topic, I think the respective authors are trying to achieve very different ends, using very different mediums. What I like most about Bomb is that it offers many different entry points, and I was sometimes surprised by the aspects that I was most intrigued by. In that sense I could see it being an excellent teaching text, but I wonder if every reader who picks up the book independently sticks with it long enough to find his/her discrete entry point.

Counting By Sevens certainly offers more traditional YA elements and may be more immediately accessible to those with a more limited reading history, but I think it will also offer something substantial to those who may begin the book thinking – as I did –“Ok, been there, done that.” Both the characterizations and the narrative form seem to fly perilously close to too many YA tropes, but it is a testament to the writer’s skill that she allows the narrative to unfold in such a way that it problematizes our reading, but still does so in a satisfying way. (I’ll just note that this seemed to serve as the counterpoint to More Than This where many of us – although, I’ll exclude myself from this – found the continual problematizing so dominant that it limited the sense of satisfaction we could walk away with at the end.)


And, finally, there is The One and Only Ivan and believe me when I say that I am surprised that this is my choice for our Smackdown winner. I’ll go back to my original contention that in a triumvirate of accessible texts, this book is one that sets the standard for a book that can both provoke and inspire almost irrespective of age. I was a guest reader in one of the grade two classes at Stratford, whose teacher is reading Ivan to them, and I was able to see these kids grapple with some big ideas, even if they were not always able to articulate exactly what those ideas were. This cuts to the heart of my argument for the book. It is a novel that shows us that a relatively straightforward story with clear and plain spoken language can powerfully express complex ideas. It is a refutation of those grad school arguments about complex ideas requiring dense – to the point of obfuscation – explication and it’s also a reminder that life-altering thoughts are not just the domain of those with big vocabularies and/or big shoe sizes. I’ll ultimately argue for The One and Only Ivan because it has the potential to teach us all  about the possibilities of the reading and writing enterprise that is such a big part of all of our lives. I think it is a book that can add something to all of our lives irrespective of age or experience.
BOMB'S AWAY!

By far, this book of our remaining three is the one I plump for as the winner of this year's Smackdown.

I cannot endorse any book that celebrates the anthropomorphism of animals.  I read about five pages of these books and I want to stab my eyes out.  So Bye Bye Ivan.  A gorilla.  Not THE gorilla.

I read Counting By Sevens earlier in the season and it is so memorable I forgot about it about two days after reading it. Eleanor and Park and definitely Leonard Peacock were much more interesting, entertaining and thoughtful.  And having given my previous allegiance to Leonard Peacock, I cannot betray his story for a ho-hum read.

That leaves Bomb.  While not the favourite for me of the season, what I really appreciate is that it is a non-fiction book, and it is a book I think kids will enjoy reading.  Too often the humble little non-fic gets over-looked in my world, as I prefer to view those stories on screen rather than read them.  I am hard-wired for fiction.  Bomb told a great story; it was interesting meeting all the players who I have only heard about, and getting to know them beyond being simple players in a game that was played out long before I was a thought in someonès head.

Tracy, Vimy Ridge

Monday, May 19, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Literally)

Final round: Bomb vs. Counting by 7s vs. Ivan.

Oh dear. I feel like I am stuck voting between books that were all second (or in some cases, third) best in some sort of twisted delusional knock-out-all-the-best-books statistical phenomenon.

I chose Bomb over Silence of our Friends, and Ivan over Goblin Secrets and I only chose them because in those brackets they were the better book. I figured somehow, someway they would meet their match later down the line and fall into the pit of zombie babies with the false hope of being able to rise again. Bomb was only okay, and I mostly enjoyed poring over the images in the book as I have always had this obsession with historical pictures. I was most startled by the picture of Oppenheimer, and at first could not place who he reminded me of. His frenetic obsession with physics, his odd childhood.



 Then it hit me:


The part when he went on a date with a girl and left her sitting in the car while he got some air, never to return because he walked the whole way home processing some scientific theory screamed SHELDON COOPER'S TWIN to me. I smell some sort of great conspiracy fan-fic right about now.

In the second last round I voted as a complete loner for Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock over Counting by 7s. At first I was shocked that I was the only vote in favor for it, and then immediately wondered if my fellow Smackers at ABM would now worry about my mental health because I chose an angst-filled teen with a mission for payback over a g&t girl who is trying to maneuver through life after the loss of her parents. The scenes with Herr Silvermann is where Quick had me by the heart.  YES I KNOW, totally cliche as a teacher, but those passages rocked me to the center of my over-emotional core. I wondered if I was the only person who felt Forgive Me was more deserved of its fate. But in reading these posts I feel like I found my people; there were many who felt the same. I tried Leonard Peacock friends, I tried.

This year as the battle progressed I watched over some of my favorites titles like a helicopter parent hoping that they would not be mistreated, and as each title fell I ran home and hugged my own copy and stroked their spines telling them that people just did not understand. Then when it came time for the zombie pick I felt like I was choosing between my own children.  I stared longingly at the beautiful covers of Wonder, Eleanor & Park, and Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and pondered which was most deserved in being resurrected. I could not decide. It came down to strategy as if I were a contestant on Survivor.  I knew that lots of people would vote for Wonder.  I had a hunch that not as many would vote for Ari & Dante, so I threw caution to the wind and voted for Eleanor & Park. When the results for the zombie picks came out I was bereft.  Ivan refused to die. Yes it is a great book, yes I shed many a tear while reading it, yes any grade could appreciate it, but I personally feel like its ship sailed a long time ago (see 2012).

So, after all of this bantering one can see how it is difficult to choose between second best choices in this final round.  I already voted once half-heartedly for both Bomb and Ivan and I can't will not do it again. My final vote will be cast for Counting by 7s. I read it this fall pre-Smackdown and loved it. Forgive me Leonard Peacock for voting for the very book that took you down. He knows I tried to save him, but I couldn't.

Happy that sweet was not overlooked...

Teen readers are bombarded by adult messaging and there are many times when I have questioned whether a teen read was a good "fit" for my own teenager.  I am pleasantly surprised that a few books that didn't have the typical teen "wow" factor are in the running.  I think messages of kindness and celebration of differences are important for teen literature and so my vote is Counting by 7's.

The Bomb was the Bomb...

I adored all three of these books.  The One and Only Ivan was a tear-jerker.  It was a beautiful story, with a wide appeal.  It was simple, yet elegant, and definitely memorable.  Counting by 7's was another tear-jerker.  It was also a story that has rich characters and a contemporary set of circumstances.  It was a story that was believable and realistic and so endearing.  But the Bomb was the Bomb...and that surprised me.  I was initially not excited to read it.  Once I did, maybe it is the social studies lover in me, but from the first page, I was hooked.  I love stories that are historical and that make history come alive for students.  This story was a page turner, and it was brilliantly written.  I loved that I struggled to not relate to the "bad guys", but that is realistic in history.  I think it lends itself to fabulous conversations in the classroom.  But I am casting my vote because I think it is a story that will be the most appealing to secondary students. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hmm... this is tougher than I thought it would be

Can I just say that it's all been said?  Out of all the amazing books in the Smackdown this year, I feel that we do not have the top 3 to vote for.  However, rather than dwelling on those that should still be here (Eleanor & Park!  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock!) I will say that each of the remaining three have something to offer readers, adult and youth alike.  That makes me happy.  And of the three remaining titles, I must go with The One and Only Ivan.  It's a heart vote.  While Bomb was interesting and Counting by 7s uplifting, Ivan is memorable.  That being said, do I think it will win?  Who knows at this point with so many votes left to be cast, but it would be cool to see the zombie pick take first place.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Counting by 7s

Hard to believe another year of Smackdown is done! This was certainly an interesting round, given the strong opinions about what made it through and what didn't. Although the final three weren't particularly mind-blowing, and I wasn't staying up til the wee hours trying to find out what happens next (which always seems worth it until your alarm goes off the next morning), I appreciated what each of the books had to offer.

Bomb would be great for lit circles as a non-fiction choice for those who don't get excited about picking up a novel. Ivan would definitely be well-suited for a younger audience, but there are a lot of kids who really love animals and would find this book loveable too. I wouldn't use it as a class read-aloud, but it has its place. There are some wonderfully crafted sentences in there as well, as others have mentioned. I didn't find it boring, and I don't regret giving it my zombie vote!! So there.

Counting by 7s was the last book I read out of the three, and it's the one I'm giving my vote to. It sort of reminded me of Okay for Now, which I also loved. Neither were very action-driven, and both wrapped up very neatly in the end for the main character, but sometimes it's nice to read a good story about someone who goes through hardships and still gets the happy ending, however contrived. Sort of like Leonard Peacock, except without the gun and pieces of hair left in a box in the fridge for mom to find. Or maybe not.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Counting By 7s

What a tumultuous Smackdown year, so many ties and so many broken dreams.  I'm not going to lie; "Eleanor and Park" and "Wonder" were my personal Smackdown favorites.  But due to the fact that neither crawled their way to the finale, I'll have to go with "Counting By 7s".  I seem to be all about first person perspective this ear.  All three of these novels had some pretty incredible main characters, whose voices were engaging and original.  Willow is an interesting kid, if you can all her that.  She seems to have more maturity than I or any person I know.  Maybe it's the fact that I love the Big Bang Theory and I imagine Sheldon and Willow understanding each other at a deep intellectual level, but she's the most endearing character from the final book contenders.  In modern society there doesn't seem to be many nuclear families left.  Even the family Willow came from wasn't, she being adopted.  So I think it's an important book to see that these people chose each other, each person bringing some crazy quality that seems to fit in their jigsaw of a family.  Another reason for my vote being thrown to "Counting by 7s" is the fact that it seems to fly through my grade 7 girls’ hands.  And for me that's what Smackdown is about: finding books that make it to my shelf but never stay there because students keep recommending the book to their peers.  "Counting by 7s" did just that.  It may not be the book I wish had won, but we don't always get what we want.

Tristin

Most difficult choice yet...

There were lots of great books in this version of MS and there were books that were left in the dust early, and rightfully so.  I found at times I was comparing apples to toenails because the voice was so different, written for completely different audiences.  I really liked all the books that made it to the end but I didn't have one standout that I was blown away by.  I have recommended all three to many others and some people LOVED Ivan  and other LOVED Counting by 7's.  I LOVED Bomb.  But I am a scientist and I liked the storyline.  I know you can teach Ivan at a variety of levels but it doesn't have the broader appeal that the other two have, I don't know anyone in my junior high who would just pick it up unless I told them to.  Counting by 7's was a harder sell to my boys but the girls loved it.  For me, Counting by 7's was lovely but in the back of my head I kept thinking that this would never, ever happen in the real world.  I just got stuck on it for better or worse.
I would have loved to pick Leonard Peacock but it didn't make it so, instead of picking what is good for girls or good for boys or what is most teachable, I am picking the book that I like best of the three: BOMB. Yup, one for the nerds!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reluctant Choice

I finished reading the finalists a while ago, but I didn't want to be the first to post (and risk the wrathful smack of others for my choice!) Thanks, Laura for blazing the trail for me.

This was my first Smackdown and it was a most enjoyable experience. Many of my students were eager to hear about my reads and were happy for the recommendations that followed. Even my friends kept asking what I was reading at the moment! So way to go team - the entire YA genre owes us a debt of gratitude.

Now for my vote. I admit, I've been a fickle reader. I kicked out Wonder in the first round because it seemed too simple and in retrospect, I'd probably say that it was one of my favorites of the tournament (is this a tournament? Sports were never my thing. The bracketed competition threw me off...) Others kicked out Forgive Me, Leaonard Peacock, and like Laura, I think that is the winner in my heart. Then when I compare More Than This to ALL the finalists, I think: how could it be gone? I advanced it because I needed more opinions! But you people gave the wrong opinion! Then I advanced Bomb, which was OK (but let's be honest - the competition was weak). I'd rank Bomb beneath the three previously mentioned books.

So I started with Ivan, because it was short and I was pressed for time. I read it. Then I read the posts about it. Then I re-read it, thinking perhaps I had first read the wrong book. Not so. I don't get it! 8 or 9 votes as the Zombie pick? What?! Ivan was a definite no for me. I felt like it was a weird cross between Dumbo and Charlotte's Web - sentimental drivel. Sure, it had a definitive gorilla voice and a couple nice sentences, but it was so boring. There. I said it. (Smack that!)

I was expecting to be blown away by Counting by 7s. Many of my students had read and loved it before I got around to reading it. So I had high expectations (higher, still, because Ivan was such a letdown). And then I read it and it was just meh. Typical quirky-outsider-protagonist-with-dead-parents-discovers-true-meaning-of-friendship-and-belonging-through-the-course-of-a-random-project-with-the-help-of-a-bizarre-cast-of-new-friends kinda novel. Was it enjoyable? Sure. Did it have the same effect on me as Leonard? Not even close.

But I have to choose. So I cast a reluctant vote for Counting by 7s. While it didn't move me profoundly in any way, it was enjoyable and cute and I found myself wanting to keep reading. Willow is endearing and I like to think in some alternative literary shipping (to use a word my students taught me) universe, she would get together with Auggie from Wonder.

So there it is. My fourth favorite book I read wins my vote. Of course, I'll eventually get around to reading some of the other books and, fickle as I am, probably change my mind about everything. But for now, I choose 7s.




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leonard is still this year's winner in my heart

I really couldn't believe Leonard Peacock didn't make it through to the final round.  And I fear it got eliminated too late for people to realize we'd have to resurrect it as a zombie in order for it to win.  In my heart, Leonard is this year's winner.  Not having it as a choice is a travesty.  For your summer reading pleasure, I recommend Matthew Quick's newest adult offering:  The Good Luck of Right Now.  Enjoyable.

What to do with my vote that counts?  This is a tough one.

Bomb:  I enjoyed.  I don't usually gravitate to non-fiction, but this read, to me, like a narrative.  I bought into the intrigue.  I also appreciated that, while we had stories of American and Soviet spies, there was no feeling of "good guys" and "bad guys."  I haven't read Trinity yet, so I guess I'll put it on my summer reading list and just say I enjoyed Bomb.

Counting by 7's:  It was OK.  Sweet.  Ties up in a neat little package at the end.  Maybe a bit boring?  (I am prepared for your Mighty Smack now).  My major problem is this:  my students and I who have read both preferred Wonder, which I cut much earlier.  I'll put this in my library to use in a Lit Kit unit for sure, as well as Wonder, but it's not been my favourite book this year.

The One and Only Ivan:  Really?  This is popular enough to be the zombie pick?  I acknowledge that many of the descriptions are creative and interesting.  I did think I would use some phrases as examples of descriptive language being done well, but the idea of reading the whole thing to my classes seemed unexciting to me, which means it will surely fail as a class novel in my hands.

So, I vote only to exercise my democratic responsibilities.  Leonard Peacock was my "I just read the winner" moment this year, but, for what it's worth, I throw my official vote to Bomb.