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Stars, Puppets and More Spies….BOB Matches 5 & 6 March 19, 2013

Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.
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I GOT TWO MORE RIGHT IN A ROW!! Seriously, it feels really weird to have authors picking the books that were my ‘because-I-LOVE-them’ picks. It probably shouldn’t feel this weird–clearly, I’ve had my heart broken following this contest one too many times.

“Because in reading a book closely, in taking the whole novel in your mind and flopping it over and turning it around and trying to chew it and hurl it across the room at your wife, you discover secrets–and not only the books.”

–Adam Gidwitz, on Starry River of the Sky  by Grace Lin and Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh.

Just so you know, I had a really hard time picking an Adam Gidwitz quote. He definitely lived up to my expectations for a fantastic and funny post. I mostly agree with his issues with Jepp, Who Defied the Stars. The style of writing didn’t bother me that much, but I can see how it could put a reader at a distance. The pacing, while again something that didn’t make me put down the book, could have been smoother in the first third of the story. Starry River of the Sky is a book that I loved immediately, which I found interesting because I wasn’t that enchanted with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.  It took reading the book aloud to a class of third graders to make me fall in love with that title, whereas Starry River had me on the edge of my chair from the get-go. Incidentally, these are possibly the top two authors on the list this year that I would really like to have a conversation with about writing.

“The girl dances, the bad guys are buried; the orphans find a home; and wafting over everything are the smells of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.”

–Franny Billingsley, on Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

I’ve never eaten Yorkshire pudding, and yet I have to agree with Franny Billingsley. Not that I didn’t enjoy Liar and Spy, but despite my appreciation for the careful description of the world, the quirkiness of Safer and his family and the realistic (not Guidance Counselor Fiction) struggles of Georges at school, I never went back and re-read it. Splendors and Glooms, on the other hand, I have read so many times that I’ve lost count. If I were creating a rubric for a ‘better’ book, as Gidwitz did in his post, it would definitely include the criteria “stays in my brain, begs to be re-read.” It might be because I want to find the clues to the mystery that I missed the first time, or because I want to take a trip back to that other world, but for me that top book will always be the one that I go back to again and again and find new things to love about it each time. For me, in this round, that book was Splendors and Glooms. 

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1. School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids' Books - March 24, 2013

[…] Card Catalog is on the case with Bullies, Shipwrecks & Spies, Animals, Mysteries, and Romance, Stars, Puppets, and More Spies, and Dragons, Birds, and […]


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