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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Family Romanov vs Only Ever Yours -

Another round of Smackdown and it's time to choose a winner. The opponents in this round are Louise O'Neill author of Only Ever Yours versus Candace Fleming, author of The Family Romanov .
The problem , yet again, is I am not in love with either book. Why? Well, when I discuss literature with my students, I tell them that the really good books are those that make us feel deeply. I sermonize that the great novels become friends to us as we travel through the lives of the characters , as we experience and learn what is it to be human .  
And there the problem lies; neither book evoked any journey I want to be on. Only Ever Yours , was a good book but in the end the characters lived in a dystopian society where no woman could escape or be redeemed. Women were doomed and the main character had to choose between death or eternal servitude to men. Interesting but too depressing and by the way - can we have a novel without a lead character with an eating disorder?
The Family Romanov was semi -interesting and well written for a high school text on government systems. I teach history and enjoyed the use of primary source information and the introduction of our youth to Rasputin but let`s face it, it wasn't interesting enough to captivate my interest or to recommend as a must read book. The Smackdown victor, I believe should be a MUST READ.
Thus, reluctantly, I will choose Candace Fleming as the winner but PLEASE send me a book that I think my students absolutely will love!

I reluctantly supported Only Ever Yours way back in another round (was it really round one?) but could not engage with the characters even remotely.. yet another dystopian novel that highlights the worst of the worst of high school girls, and never redeems itself. Upon receiving this round of books, I predicted that it would not be difficult for Family Romanoff to win this round, even though I'm not a big non  fiction reader.

Romanoffs was well written and engaging as it enlightened the reader on the lives, backgrounds and social circumstances around the ill-fated dynasty.  It purveyed background knowledge clearly and with a fluid writing style and I did find myself enjoying the read.  I personally would have enjoyed a more story format as it does read a bit like a well written text, however I was hooked.  As a young reader looking for historical information, I imagine I would prefer a more concise format; as a reader for pleasure and information, it may just hit the right mark.  It is my choice as well  to proceed on in the Smackdown!  And Tammy, I agree... give me a whopper of a book!

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