Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge: Sweet Sixteen

Are you enjoying the BOTY Bracket Challenge so far? I am. This is always one of the high points of the year for me. Not only do I get to reflect on all of the great books I read, I also get to see what I really think of them when I have to compare them to one another. Added bonus this year? Getting able to see what other people think about their 2014 reads!

Today's task is to find the Sweet Sixteen. This is where I'm starting...

Getting to that point wasn't easy. If you remember, I was quite broken up at having to eliminate Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear. This round isn't going to be different. From here forward, it only gets tougher.

There were four match ups that caused hesitation this time around. The majority of the rest of the seeds were determined by star ratings.

1. How to Love by Katie Cotugno vs. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Oh, Katie. I loved this book. Seriously. Like hug it and rock it kind of love. Sawyer is a complete mess, but real. All of the characters are wonderfully written. The back and forth in time periods is well mastered...sometimes the use of this past/future oscillation can wreck a book. Not the case with this one. How to Love is an emotional book, but just. so. good.

And then there's Frankie. Such a smart girl. She knows who she is, but those around here are just stifling her. She's an intensely powerful character and the book is incredibly well done. It was a really enjoyable and easy read.

It was a really tough decision on this one, but I had to follow my heart. I'm such a sucker. How to Love by Katie Cotugno moves on to the next round.

2. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson vs. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I love a good fairy tale retold. Tiger Lily fits the bill. It was a fantastically realistic retelling of the Peter Pan tale. It's smart, imaginative, and just plain amazing.

Eleanor & Park. A book that has been discussed in a pile of literary circles for the past year and change. With good reason. It haunted me. Eleanor made my heart hurt. I worried for Eleanor, hoped for her, cheered her on.

Both of these linger near the top of my list for 2014. This one was one of the toughest face offs in the bracket. Gah. I bounced back and forth a few times before I finally decided. Ultimately, I had to bite the bullet though. Surprisingly for all you fans of Rainbow Rowell, I had to let her go in this match...Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson moves on to the Sweet Sixteen.

3. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart vs. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

A match up of two contenders already hurting from one loss in this round. Brutal. 

E. Lockhart tries to make a comeback with The Boyfriend List, the first in her Ruby Oliver series. Ruby is just plain awesome. She's a neurotic mess, but I love her just the same. E. Lockhart does a good job at writing a teenage girl. The drama...oh, the drama. This one made me giddy happy and I loved it. 

And Rainbow Rowell. Her second entry this round was Landline. I loved the imagination of this one. I loved it more than Eleanor and Park, but less than Fangirl (with the exception of the ending that cost it the 5th star). That's saying something. 

But once again, someone had to go. Bummer. This time, Rowell fans can rejoice. Landline takes the win.

4. Where She Went by Gayle Forman vs. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Now that we've had two brilliant authors square off, only to see one fall away, let's up the ante. Gayle Forman versus herself. Ugh. Whose brilliant idea was this randomized bracket? This woman just has a hold on me. Everything she writes is golden.

Both of these books were amazing. Where She Went is the second in the If I Stay series. Just One Day is the first in its own series.

I adored Where She Went. I loved it more than If I Stay, and that one was just plain amazing. I loved Adam's voice and the book is written so strongly that it could easily be a standalone. Oh...and I loved Adam, just for being Adam. I'd keep him.

Just One Day is just poetic beauty. It's so tragically romantic. The pain is worth it. I loved it. I can't even explain how much. It's a keeper.

So...Ms. Forman...what to do with you. You're breaking my heart all over again. But, I'll have to let you go...just a little. I'm going to have to say goodbye to Where She Went (and hot, hot Adam) so I can keep Just One Day (and equally sexy Willem).

And just to rub a little salt into the wound...also very hard to say goodbye to this round: Just One Year by Gayle Forman, beaten out by Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (4 stars vs. 5 stars). 

After all the pain, here is where I sit. The Sweet Sixteen!

Have you been checking out the other participants? Go on over and take a peek :

I've given up the defunct linky for this year's challenge...Link up to your Sweet Sixteen Bracket in the comments below and I'll see you back Saturday for the Elite Eight!


  1. Some tough decisions there! I lost Where She Went this round too (I also liked it better than If I Stay), but Gayle Forman against herself? Bad luck:/ I have a similar situation coming up next round. Here's my bracket.

    1. It was totally awful luck. I almost felt like crying.

  2. I'm sorry you had some tough choices. Mine doesn't get really hard until next round. This time around, all the really good ones that got left out were up against MUCH better (to me) ones, so they were an easy choice, all but one, which I talked about. It was a close one on that one. The other ones I'm disappointed got left out were up against some of my favorites. Next round is the hardest one for me.

    Of your list, I did love Divergent, but the last book ruined them all for me. I wish I had known it was coming, maybe I wouldn't have gotten so invested and enjoyed it more. Ah well. That series is the only thing I read in your 16.

    Here's my Sweet 16.

    1. Yup. Allegiant killed it a little. Total agreement over here.

    I'll come back and read the post later, but for now I'm just linking up my bracket.

  4. Divergent, Fangirl, Insurgent, Amy and Roger's, Landline, Tiger Lily, Just One Day how will you ever choose? Some of the books I listed I have not read, but I really want to read them and know I will enjoy them. We have similar taste in books.

    1. I had some great choices to work with this year. I like that we have similar tastes...means I can go poach from your TBR list. :)


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