Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nerds Heart YA Decision Time!


Ali and I both read ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK by Daphne Grab and STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE by David Yoo for the Nerds Heart YA tournament (click on the titles to read my reviews). Read Ali's post with reviews of both.

As I mentioned in both of my reviews, these are titles which are solid YA offerings, deserving of a wider audience. But we could only choose one to move on.

Though they might not seem that similar on the surface – ALIVE AND WELL is a sober novel about dealing with a parent’s illness and STOP ME is a comedic look at a doomed first love – they actually have a few things in common. Both are realistic fiction set in small town high schools and poke fun at the high school social order, the minefield which is school lunch, and the sheer absurdity of pep rallies. Both have outsiders as narrators (who are alternately annoying and endearing). And both have some well drawn supporting characters (Hal, Marco, Violet and Matisse’s parents in ALIVE AND WELL and cancer-stricken Ryan, pitch-perfect in his vain villainy, in STOP ME).

I thought ALIVE AND WELL had a much tighter narrative and the predictably of the plot didn’t bother me as it did Ali. I had a hard time choosing a favorite, but if the choice were solely up to me, I’d give ALIVE AND WELL a slight edge just because I thought STOP ME dragged on way too long. Since Ali chose STOP ME as a clear favorite, due to its “excellent voice and characterization, and less predictable plot”, STOP ME will be the one that moves on to be read by My Friend Amy in the second stage of voting (up against FEATHERED by Laura Kasischke).

So far we know that the following books will also move on to the quarterfinal round:
Stephanie will be judging between THE CITY IN THE LAKE by Rachel Neumeier and THE LATENT POWERS OF DYLAN FONTAINE by April Lurie.

Heather will have to choose between MY MOST EXCELLENT YEAR by Steve Kluger and THE LAST EXIT TO NORMAL by Michael Harmon.

Laza will decide if she prefers CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers or TBD.

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I was sure you would pick Alive and Well. Shows what I know.

Lenore said...

Haha! I probably would have if I were judging alone.

Melanie said...

I've never heard about Nerds Heart YA before reading the reviews you've posted about the books. What's it all about?

Lenore said...

Melanie - It's a tournament put together by Renay to showcase some "underdog" YA books from last year and hopefully garner them more readers!

cupcakewitch said...

This is interesting- I have never heard of Nerds Heart YA either!

Chris said...

Awesome!! We'll see if it makes it all the way to the finals! Although, at this rate, with all of these wonderful reviews I'm going to be just reading all of the books :p

PJ Hoover said...

This is a really fun contest! I'm loving reading and comparing the reviews!

Staci said...

This is an interesting way to choose books and I really like reading the differing view points from each reader. I've only read Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine...loved it. So I will be curious to see how the next round pans out!

thekoolaidmom said...

Yay! I was hoping for Stop Me, mostly because you said Matisse was a whiny brat for a long while, but also because I prefer the humorous look, even if it breaks your heart :-)

a flight of minds said...

Nerds Heart YA tournament... XD Never heard of it, but great idea! Haven't read either of them, but STOP ME is now moving up my TBR pile. I've been wanting to read it for ages but never has... I will now though. :P

- Alex

Heather said...

I can't wait to get started on my picks. I'm afraid it's going to be very hard to pick!!

Amy said...

Thanks, I'm so excited it's now my turn! I just bought both books though, because your review of Alive and Well really sold me.