Okay, considering that I had Nation winning in both the "What I Think Will Win" bracket and the "What I Want To Win" Bracket, though they took different paths to get there... Nation's loss to The Lincolns was shocking. To be honest, it's almost enough to suck the enthusiasm out of the contest for me. (But it's not!)
I'm trying to decide how mean-spirited it's OK to be here. I already had doubts about the idea of this author being a judge for this contest. I don't think her writing is the same caliber as that of the other judges, and issues have been raised about traveling pants and appropriation of another author's work.
So when she wrote the following, I was not impressed:
"My instinct was to base my choice on apparent effort, I guess, and The Lincolns represents a remarkable amount of it. The volume of research both in the text and pictures is admirable. And this is where one of Mr. Pratchett's great gifts caused the loss. His book feels effervescent, ebullient, exciting and . . . almost effortless."
What on earth? She based her decision, not just on effort--which seems odd in the first place--but on APPARENT effort? Is she a writer at all? Does she somehow think it takes less skill to write a book that seems effortless?
The Lincolns is good, though I thought it suffered from giving too much information--I say this about most books, but it was really too long and too much, in my opinion--but I just can't imagine choosing it as a winner in any kind of contest, serious or not, over Nation, which is wise, funny, entertaining, and very well-suited to its audience.
It was sort of a surprise when Graceling was chosen over The Underneath, but I had a difficult time judging that one--as I mentioned before, Graceling is really not my thing. I disagreed with the judge's comment that the violence and alcoholism of The Underneath belonged in a YA book, not a middle grade book; I could give her lots of examples in classic middle grade literature, and I really think this is a case where that stuff in this book bothers adults more than kids; but it's not a match I was really invested in.
Until today, things had gone pretty well my way. But now I must restructure my brackets.
What I think will win:
Round 2: Kingdom on the Waves, Tender Morsels, The Hunger Games, The Lincolns.
Round 3: Kingdom on the Waves, The Hunger Games
Ultimate winner: The Hunger Games
What I want to win:
Round 2: Kingdom on the Waves, Tender Morsels, The Hunger Games, The Lincolns
Round 3: Tender Morsels, The Hunger Games
Ultimate winner: yeah, that's another hard one, but I'm going to go with The Hunger Games. Tender Morsels has better writing, but The Hunger Games is tighter and more compelling.