It's coming down to the end. Today I bring the playing field down to two. I have no wise words here. I just have anticipation. So...let's just get right to it. As a reminder, here are the final four along with the roads that brought them to this stage in the game.
Both of these books were ARCs that I received from publishers and both were complete surprises in how much I enjoyed them.
Everything, Everything is a cute love story that made me reminiscent of a few things in my past to a small degree of heartache. There were sections of the book that were just email messages between Maddy and Olly. I loved them. They, in part, reminded me of the ephemera that I loved so much in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. Beyond that, I just loved Maddy and Olly.
The Library at Mount Char was not at all what I expected. It is a paranormal fantasy -- generally outside of my wheelhouse, but I LOVED it. The premise was creepy, but brilliant. I loved the slow and deliberate development of the plot and the characters. I appreciated how smart the subtle pieces of detail were. It was a powerhouse of creativity. Just impressive. I cannot express how much I need there to be a sequel.
Obviously, this one was a tough choice. How about this...just do yourself a favor and read them both. In the meantime though, I'm sorry...I have to let one of them go.
Moving into the finals...
2. Nothing Like Looking by Chris Van Hakes vs. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Nothing Like Looking is a cute and quirky novel by a very smart and quirky woman. She's a great person and a wonderful writer. I love the amount of snark and sassiness that comes through on the page. Her characters are unique in a way that I could never have imagined and they are real, three-dimensional, and highly developed. The plot deals with teenage angst and social stigmas in a new and fascinating way. When I initially reviewed this book, I called it "something of a cross between E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series and Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl." That analogy still holds true. I loved both of those and I loved this book.
Looking for Alaska didn't wow me as much as I had hoped, but it did drag me out of a reading slump and set me back on the right path. It did make me fall in love with reading again. It's a great novel. It's a wonderful read. Yes...it's not John Green's finest, but it is a pretty darned good book regardless. It's very much worth picking up. And the fact that it made it this far in the bracket is pretty impressive considering the competition.
But let's be honest...this one wasn't really a challenge to pick. Nothing Like Looking was rated at 5 stars while Looking for Alaska only garnered 4 stars. Thus...the obvious win goes to...
And there you have it. One step closer. Only two remain. Like many years prior, this bracket has continued to be a surprise even for me...the one who actually makes these crazy decisions.
Hold on to your seats. Tomorrow the big win is revealed and I'll share with you my 2015 Book of the Year.