Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet Candlewick A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Candlewick Judged by Lauren Myracle
Oh, Lordy. When I was approached about being a judge for this year’s Battle of the Kids’ Books, I said “Sure! Sounds fun!” And the reading part—hell yeah, tons of fun. Although I cried while I read the books I was assigned, too. That’s okay. I actually love it when a book makes me cry. And for the record? Both of these babies did.
When it came to selecting a winner, however… ag. I have, of late, come to not like the word “winner” all that much, and along with many author friends, I’ve decided that awards suck (unless you’re the winner, that is). But! A woman is only as good as her word, and I did indeed say I’d pick a winner. So—in the spirit of loving critical dialogue, and with a HUGE dose of “omigosh, both of these books blew me away”—I’ll tell you which book I chose.
In a moment.
The first of the two books I read was A Monster Calls. I flipped it open eagerly, already salivating, because I’d previously had the pleasure of reading Patrick’s Chaos Walking trilogy. Holy Flaming Hot Chee*to, I adore those books, in large part due to their inventiveness, their language, their edge-of-the-seat-ness. I expected to be delighted by those same elements in Monster, and I was! Wh-hoo! Conor, who is dealing (or not) with the imminent death of his mother, …