Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler VS. The Season by Sarah MacLean
Judged by Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century and Jasmyn of Jasmyn's Stuff
As we get closer and closer to the ending round in this battle, the decisions get harder and harder. Here we have two books that have been clearly been judging favorites since the beginning. But alas, only one can move on. So which will it be? Here's what Judge Kristen had to say:
"So, it was a tough decision - I loved both of these books, but Jasmyn and I decided we both were leaning towards one."And so without further ado, the winner is... The Season by Sarah MacLean!
Certainly not the expected winner, at least for me anyway. If someone had asked me when the battle started if I thought The Season would make it this far I would have said no. But there you go!
And here's what Judge Jasmyn had to say about her reasoning:
"While I enjoyed the story of Twenty Boy Summer, I could not relate to or really get behind any of the characters. They seemed a little too extreme, their actions a little too predictable, and much of the dialog seemed forced. The storyline couldn't find it's focus. At first it seemed about grief, then about moving on, then about best friends, then it was all about forgiveness. I know these have a lot to do with each other, but they weren't linked or tied together very well in the book.
The Season had several very typical characters to historical fiction, the ahead of her times females, the overly chivalrous males that try to hold her back, the somewhat oblivious parents, but there was something about the way these characters interacted that had me falling into their world while I was reading. I was glad to see the three girls didn't succeed at everything on their own, but did end up working with their male counterparts to save the day, solve the mystery, and move on with their lives. The romance in the book was at a perfect level. It was there, it was nice to read about, but it wasn't shoved in your face and down your throat."
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Revived) VS. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Judged by Jan from Eating YA Books and Elizabeth from Thinking of Thinking
In this bracket, the Revived title came head to head once again with Before I Fall for a second chance at redemption. Did it beat out it's opponent this time? Here's what Judge Jan had to say about both books:
"Needless to say it was a very difficult decision to choose between these phenomenal debut novels. Both have uniquely original plots, but being from different genres (fantasy vs contemporary fiction) made a decision much harder. While I love Kagawa evocative and poetic prose, and characters, Oliver's realistic setting and authentic YA issues are very appealing too."And Judge Elizabeth had this to add:
"Before I Fall grabbed my attention immediately with it's interesting topic and twist on the usual story line of popular and unpopular kids in high school. I felt that the characters were well crafted and interesting to read about and I looked forward to see what was going to happen next.I have been a long time fan of fantasy books and fantasy world so The Iron King was right up my alley. I thoroughly enjoyed the twist of the usual fey/faery story line with the addition of a modern take and an environmental concept."So what was the final result? The winner of this bracket is... Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver!
So once again The Iron King gets left behind, but kudos to it for being revived for this round! If a fan favorite had to be named for this battle, The Iron King would be it, so it certainly receives the popularity award!
So who are the ultimate contenders for the final round? Before I Fall will meet The Season head on in the next round to determine who the judges pick as the Best Debut Book from 2009 (and a little of 2010)! Stay tuned to find out who wins!