The 2014 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge continues! There are some really good books in play this year (and not only in my own bracket - some of the other participants have some great reads in theirs).
Last time, I got everything randomly entered into a 64-slot bracket.
This time, half of the initial entries will be removed from the challenge.
Some match ups were easy to decide. To make my life easier, I default to the star ratings first. If a 3-star goes up against a 4-star rating, I let the 4-star book take the seed. Not everyone works their brackets this way (which is totally fine), but I like to make my decisions less difficult. This doesn't mean that choosing all of the winners is easy. With randomization comes heartbreak. I nearly cried when I realized that Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear was matched up against Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (both 5 star books) in the very first round.
In addition to the Kear/Matson dilemma (which I'll return to in a moment), two other positions posed particular trouble in the first elimination round.
1. This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales vs. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Both of these books were ranked with 4 stars. This Song Will Save Your Life was a really quick read with good characters, but it just didn't have the wow factor to propel it to a 5-star rating. Allegiant really only gained 4 stars out of my love for the series as a whole. It was my least favorite book in the trilogy. Still a good read, but not good enough.
Ultimately, my love for Elise's character won out. She was just the right amount of awkward outcast mixed with lovable character. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales moves on to the next round.
2. Acts of Contrition by Jennifer Handford vs. Divergent by Veronica Roth
An ARC takes on a second entry from Veronica Roth. Acts of Contrition surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. Not many ARCs get a 5-star rating. Divergent is a tough challenger, a powerhouse of a book. Both books have great characters, but they are very different genres. That really make picking a winner difficult.
In all honesty, at a different point in the year I may have chosen differently. A lot of influence may have been made simply by my preference in genres at the moment. Though either would have been a good choice, Divergent takes the win here and two of Veronica Roth's novels (Insurgent was also a winner in this round) will survive until next time.
Now...back to the big match up of this round.
This one still tears at me. I think I chose the right winner in the long run, but both of these books have high merit. Now I See You was the best memoir I read all year. Ms. Kear is hilarious and I couldn't praise her novel enough when I reviewed it. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was a fabulous read and I effused about it several times throughout the year.
I debated about this one for quite a while. In fact, I made my decision on all of the other seeds before coming back and mulling this pairing one more time. I really didn't want to let either of these books go so soon. But it had to happen...
Moving on? Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
After eliminating 32 of the 64 initial entries, the pool is now a lot more competitive. Remaining in the challenge: three 3-star books, three 3 1/2 star books, eight 4-star books, four 4 1/2 star books, and a whopping fourteen 5 star books.
Here's my bracket after the first round of playoffs:
Next up? Finding the Sweet Sixteen.
The linky tool I was using decided to have a small seizure, so we're going old school for the rest of this challenge. Link up to your initial elimination brackets in the comments below!