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