See my quick takes on the Round One Match-ups below (winners in bold)
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nichols v. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II, Kingdom of the Waves by M.T. Anderson
Honestly, I haven't read either of these books, but when folks like John Green are obsessed with Octavian Nothing, declaring it "the greatest accomplishment in the history of children's literature," I figure we've got a blowout on our hands.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman v. The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleischman
Can you spell upset? Wowzers. This choice totally blew some people's brackets (though thankfully not mine!). Based on all of the smothering adoration Graveyard Book had received from kids, bloggers, award committee's, and Stephen Colbert, I thought this was an easy match-up. Leave it to Jon Sciescka to not like fantasy and have an apparent obsession with fun facts about Mark Twain.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson v. Washington at Valley Forge by Russell Freedman
Historical fiction novel Chains makes a revolutionary triumph over narrative non-fiction Washington at Valley Forge (pun intended). Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Freedman's great, and I love his writing style, which makes non-fiction really come to life - but, seriously, how can you not pick Laurie Halse Anderson to win every time? You can't. She's amazing. Her fictional characters are so real and solid that nary a descriptor or turn of phrase is ever out of place.
Here Lies Arthur by Phillip Reeve v. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Seeing as I hadn't read Here Lies Arthur and also hadn't heard too much about it, I picked Tender Morsels to win this one. And still, I was surprised to see Tender Morsels take this one! It's certainly NOT a book for everyone, given, you know, the incest, gang rape, bestiality, and overall bizarreness (?) of the tale. In fact, when I visited my new middle school on Monday and saw that it had been newly purchased for the collection I gave a quick recommendation to the current librarian that she read it and then pass it on to the upper school collection instead of shelving it.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart v. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro Baseball League by Kadir Nelson
Another crushing upset! Frankie was one of my favorite books of 2008, and I was stoked that it received a Printz Honor. I had Frankie winning this one, but the loss actually does me more good than harm, since I feared that John Green would've knocked out Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games in Round Two, to clear the path for Frankie. So, I see Frankie's graceful loss as (hopefully!) a future victory for my bracket. Now let's just hope that Nerdfighter chooses correctly in Round Two!
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins v. The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich
Victory! Victory! Let's Repeat It! I've made it no secret that Hunger Games is my favorite. It's such an amazingly well-told story with action, suspense, and characters who you root for that really, I think, has such broad appeal. Young. Old. Boy. Girl. Fantasy. Adventure. You name it. I love this book.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore v. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
Kaboom! Score another one for feminist fantasy. Having just finished my ARC of Kristin Cashore's upcoming Fire, (and loving every minute of that!) I was pumped for this match-up. I love Cashore's writing style, which judge Tamora Pierce aptly described as "pared to the bone." You learn everything you need to know about the characters while the story moves along, and characters grow and develop, struggle and triumph.
The Lincolns by Candace Fleming v. Nation by Terry Pratchett
I can't say I had a dog in this fight. I read only the first thirty-or-so pages of Nation (not because I didn't like it, but because I had a bunch of books checked out, and by the time I got around to Nation, it was time for it to go back to the library), and while I liked it, I can't say that I'd really gotten into the story. Obviously, it won a Printz Honor and I know many folks loved it, so it was my pick to make it to Round Two. Alas, those feisty Lincolns bested Nation.
In the end, five of my picks made it to Round Two, and my top choice remains in the running, so I'm feeling pretty good about my bracket. We'll see what happens next week though!
Oh, and might I add that I think my favorite part of this whole thing so far are the graphics that start off each post. There's something about books with arms and legs standing in their fight positions that I think is so comical and utterly enjoyable. You can almost hear the books growling at each other over the voice of the referee reminding the contestants about the rules against kidney punches.