Monday, March 19, 2018

2017 Book of the Year: Final Four

Well...the good news is that I'm ahead of the bracket status for March Madness. Don't worry. I promise we'll get through the remaining brackets before the end of the month.

We've whittled the field down to eight books...and they are all really good reads. But now, it's time to get that down to four.

Admittedly, the pairings at this point get far more difficult. However, there are substantially fewer to deal that works out well.


I really enjoyed both of these books. The YA fantasy genre just seemed to be right up my alley last year. I felt like I just sped through anything I picked up from that section. Always a good thing to have happen when you've had a recent reading slump.

Deciding between these two was a little bit challenging, but I really knew in my gut right off which one was going to move forward. The Paper Magician was a very good read that led to a really good series, but it just didn't wow me as much as The Weight of Feathers. McLemore's novel just feel a bit more warm and fuzzy.

Welcome to the Final Four, The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore.


Every pairing that Slade House has ended up in thus far has been odd. I guess that was inevitable given the fact that it's the only book of it's genre that made the reading list at all in 2017. This time, it got paired up against the one book from the group that could be considered "Chick Lit". So yes...the oddness continues.

Again, both books were good reads. They both went quickly and smoothly for me. But I was just more substantially wowed by Slade House. I really didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. And sure...the fact that it did surprise me probably gives it a bit of an unfair advantage, but The Bookshop on the Corner, while good, just felt a bit more...and I somewhat cringe to use this word, but I suppose it explains it...common. Slade House stuck out more. It stayed with me longer. such...I have to give the win to Slade House by David Mitchell. And I have to admit that I am still surprised that it has made it this far. Onward to the Final Four it is!


This was a good pairing. Both challengers are very good books. Both books kept me up, obsessed with continuing to read. And I will admit that choosing this one hit me a bit in the gut. John Green has historically produced novels that I have adored...or at least very much enjoyed. Turtles All the Way Down was no exception. In fact, it was right up there amongst his best. So, it should have been a slam dunk, right? Ah...not so quick.

Library of Souls is the finale in the Miss Peregrine trilogy. And it was powerful and gripping through to the end. It's definitely a worthy foe. Interestingly enough, Green and Riggs are also actually friends in real life. Both have been writers for Mental Floss. It's unfortunate that they have to face off in this way. But such is the nature of the bracket.

This should have taken me more deliberation, but it didn't. Two really great books and yet one was just so clearly the winner. I knew which one wowed me more. Riggs takes down the formidable Green and Riggs's Library of Souls moves to the next round.


It's now inevitable that Ransom Riggs will have two books competing in the final four. Not only that, but two of his books will face off against each other for two rounds in a row. Now it's just a matter of deciding which of these two will take on Library of Souls.

Both of these books read extremely well. Hollow City was very impressive as a second novel in the trilogy. In most cases, the second book winds up being less impressive than the initial read. Indeed, a lot of the time, it simply holds the ground and lays a bit of detail to hold out for the third book. That was not the case with Hollow City. It could have stood mostly on its own. And it kept the interest throughout...cover to cover.

And then there's Miss Peregrine. The book that started it all. I had been wanting to read this book for quite a long time, but somehow never got myself around to it. And then, I picked it up and I was sucked in. I flew through the entire series in a matter of days.

** Edit ** This was the original paragraph here: Much like when the books in The Paper Magician series faced off against one another, I had to give credit for the instigation of interest in the series. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children moves forward to face the remaining competition. 

And yet...if you're paying attention, you'll notice that Miss Peregrine is NOT the book that shows as the winner in the bracket. This is the result of my continued internal struggle with determining a winner with this faceoff. The back and forth resulted in a serious conflict that didn't shake out all the way. When I realized what I had done, I had to take stock. And...I realized that Hollow City really did deserve the win. It was every bit as good as Miss Peregrine, but it the additional oomph of being an impressive sophomore novel. Because it bucked that oh so common trend of being lackluster, I had to give it a bit of a tip of the hat. So, when it all was said and done...Hollow City really was the winner in this batch. (Oh...and it didn't hurt that I really didn't want to have to redo the graphic.) ** End Edit **
And there it is. We're down to four. The Weight of Feathers, Slade House, Library of Souls, and Hollow City are the best of the best and they continue to compete to see who will be the ultimate champion.

Which of these four would you choose as the winner? Who should be the 2017 Book of the Year?


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