I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am a judge in the 2011 YA Blogger’s Best Overlooked Book Battle (phew, what a title!) over at the Shady Glade. My co-judge for our bracket is Erika at Moonlight Book Reviews, who I am pretty sure is me in high school with her nose always stuck in a book!
We were to read two books. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher and Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner. To make a long, slightly embarrassing story short, I only read Whale Talk. (Threads and Flames was checked out of my local library right before I was assigned to it and still has not been returned.) How, then, could I fairly judge the two books if I had only read one? I asked Erika which one should win and she didn’t hesitate. Here’s an excerpt from her decision:
“We decided on Threads and Flames for it had the most emotional intensity and a story we thought needed to be told. I actually cried during the novel and as we know that doesn’t happen often. I wish it was required that everyone read this book! Whale Talk was a great concept that was done incredibly well but I kept thinking it was missing something.”
(Erika kindly didn’t reveal in her decision that I had only read Whale Talk. Thank you, Erika, for saving some of my dignity!) Threads and Flames is a story culminating in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (link is to Wikipedia). Whale Talk is about a multiracial boy who deals with stuff, like athletic competition, small-town prejudices, and child abuse. (That’s Chris Crutcher’s MO.) I didn’t think Whale Talk was missing anything, personally. It had been on my TBR for a long time. I even owned it!
So how could I pick a book I didn’t read? Well, ultimately, for two reasons. The first was that I trusted Erika’s judgment about the emotional intensity of Threads and Flame. The second is that this is a tournament for Overlooked Books. While Whale Talk might be under-appreciated when compared to the Twilights and Hunger Games of the blogging world, I had heard and read about it in multiple blogs. It also has its own Wikipedia page. Threads and Flames, on the other hand, I had never even heard of! Though I can’t compare the two based on content, I can say which one seems to me to be more overlooked. And that’s why Threads and Flames will be moving on the Battle.