jump to navigation

debut book battle. May 11, 2010

Posted by Katie in community.

Alyssa from The Shady Glade is hosting an amazing book battle for debut authors. You can find out more about the debut book battle through this link, if you want to! I was lucky enough to be a judge for Round I and I was assigned the following books:

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas VS. Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich.

I was really excited to read both of these books (and very pleasantly surprised that I hadn’t read either of the books already), so I got them from my library immediately.

First impressions: “Because I Am Furniture” really struck me as a cover image. I loved the use of negative space on the cover and really felt like it was an image that gave me an idea of the book’s themes. “Eight-Grade Superzero” looked immediately like a middle-grade novel to me, rather than YA. (Actually after reading it, from a librarian perspective, the book could be shelved in either section. I chose to shelve it as YA in my library.)

I read “Because I Am Furniture” first, because it had a sooner due date at the library. Anke is a fourteen year old girl whose family is being abused by her father — everyone but her. “Because I Am Furniture” struck me as powerful, both in terms of subject matter and in terms of writing. The story is told as a novel in verse. This style absolutely suited the book, letting me know exactly how Anke was feeling and allowing me little glimpses into her situation.

After I finished, I wasn’t sure how to judge this novel against another, because of the subject matter.

But I launched into “Eighth-Grade Superzero” right after that. Reggie is an eighth-grader striving to be invisible at school after puking at an assembly on the first day — that is until he gets involved volunteering and discovers a reason to be visible again. “Eighth-Grade Superzero” was a hilarious, touching book and I not only fell in love with Reggie, but with the writing of the novel.

I promise to talk more about each book when I review it later on the blog, but when it came time to decide between the two, I was struck at just how similar the books were to one another. Without spoiling either ending, I can safely say that these two books were about teens struggling to find their voices — to speak up for people around them who cannot or do speak up for themselves, for whatever reason.

So, it was with a heavy heart that I chose between them and I chose to pass on “Eighth-Grade Superzero” to the next round. I do believe that both books are fabulous additions to YA literature, and I know that both will find their teen audiences. I just wound up enjoying “Eighth-Grade Superzero” more on a personal and a literary level.

And now I can’t wait to see how the rest of the YA Debut Book Battle turns out. Stay tuned at The Shady Glade for the results of each round!