As promised: here’s my thoughts on the week’s matchups:
Amelia Lost vs. Anya’s Ghost: The first match, and I was an informed reader. I read them both and really liked Amelia Lost: concise, interesting history in a form everyone would like. Anya’s Ghost, while I thought was neat, just didn’t grab me. Thankfully, judge Matt Phelan agreed: “Amelia Lost succeeds in what it sets out to do, but for this reader it also manages to do more. Thanks to this book, an icon became a living breathing extraordinary human being with ambition, drive, and personality.”
Between Shades of Gray vs. Bootleg: I have to admit that I haven’t read either one. I went with Between Shades of Gray on my bracket solely on the recommendation of my boss (because she loved it), and because I hadn’t heard of Bootleg (shame on me). Well, my boss was right, and I was lucky: Between Shades of Gray for the win. As judge Gayle Forman said, “Between Shades of Gray is a harrowing, page-turner of a novel that shines a light on a piece of history too long shrouded in the darkness.” Time to pick me up a copy and read it.
The Cheshire Cheese Cat vs. Chime: I admit I went with Chime on this one. Partially (shame on me, AGAIN) because I haven’t read The Cheshire Cheese Cat. Possibly because I don’t (shock) love Dickens. But mostly because I really adored Chime, and I wanted to see it move on. Thankfully, I went with my gut: Chime gets the nod with a coin toss. Literally. (“Both are beautiful and perfect—neither is better than the other. I was so frustrated and at sea about this that I actually flipped a coin,” writes judge Sy Montgomery.) Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone vs. Dead End in Norvelt: Argh! Sarah Zarr didn’t do what I expected her to do, so for the first time this round, I was wrong. That said, I’m perfectly happy with her decision to choose Daugher (LOVE that book, LOVE Laini Taylor), and the reason she gave is exactly why I love Taylor’s writing: “Taylor isn’t innocent of occasionally making her presence as an author more known than I’d prefer, but the poetry of her prose lent a mesmerizing quality to the fictional landscape and created a more wholly immersive reading experience.” I am more than happy to be wrong.
Which makes me 3 and 1 so far. Not too shabby a start.