professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Good Better Best

It is not even award season, but already we have contests to select best books from Goodreads and now from EW (Entertainmnet Weekly). Yes, that bastion of knowledge about all things YA (yes, this is my sarcastic font) has set up a bracket competition to select the all time best YA book EVAH! You can see the brackets and vote here: http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/04/best-ya-novel-round-one/.

Allow me to give you some highlights and warnings (whyich I should have heeded as soon as I saw it was EW. Alas, I just had to see and now cannot ever unsee.

1. Not all these books are YA. Some are classics from centuries ago (Huck Finn and Little Women).

2. Some are children's books which, admittedly, could be read by teens (HUGO CABRET, THE ARRIVAL).

3. Some were pubbed as adult books but have found a teen audience 9ENDER'S GAME, PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER).

4. I am not sure why some are even in the competition for best YA ever (too many to note here).

5. And then there are the brackets themselves. OK, I get pitting LITTLE WOMEN against HUCK FINN if we are talking about an old classic taking on another old classic. But how about these pairings: ANNE OF GREEN GABLES versus THE HOBBIT. WTW? How about FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON up against THE OUTSIDERS? I am still trying to string those two together. Or THE CHOSEN paired with THE EARTHSEA QUARTET. Really? There are so many egregious pairings that I admitted defeat and simply exited the site.

As much as some folks grumble about the awards annoucements from ALA, I know the folks on the committees read the books multiple tiomes, know the age group for the award, and do not idiotically set up one book against another in brackets. This type of poll demonstrates a lack of real knowledge about what is YA and what makes for a quality piece of YA. I would rather EW stick to its own areas of "expertise" and ask which book was turned intot he best movie or some such competition.

As for me, I try to read as widely as I can. I read from starred review lists. But i also read from the bestseller lists. And I read books suggested by colleagues, friends, and teens, and kids as well. What book is the best ever? It tends to be one of the books I have read most recently. I cannot even tell you which of my books is the best. It all DEPENDS.......
Tags: competitions, contests
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