Saturday, January 8, 2011

Coffee For The Brain Book Tournament - Round 1 Decision - The first book moves on

This morning I checked my email and my excitement has peaked for my Coffee For The Brain Book Tournament. I have had my first pair of judges make a decision. You can check the bracket on my blog to see the match-ups and results, but I wanted to share with you the rationale from the judges. Very insightful and honest.

I love this stuff people! I cannot wait to have all Round 1 judges submit their decisions by the 14th. Keep checking back as I will continue to post here on the blog and then keeping a running post the decisions on the page "Book Tournament Reviews"

Here was the book pairing


Here is their rationale for their decision

From this CPA with very limited time from January to April, but committed to participation in the tournament with my daughter, here are summaries of our books and our decision.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. ... -Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH  

Petey by Ben Mikalesen
It is based on a true, tragic situation in which Petey, born with cerebral palsy in 1920, is misdiagnosed as mentally retarded. Unable to care for him at home, his parents relinquish him to the care of the state, where he languishes in a mental institution for the next five decades. Step by institutional step, readers see how this tragedy could happen. More importantly, readers feel Petey's pain, boredom, hope, fear, and occasional joy. A handful of people grow to know and love him over the course of his long and mostly difficult life, but few are able to effect much change. In 1977, statewide reorganization and a new, correct diagnosis result in Petey being moved to a local nursing home. There, the final, triumphant chapters of his life are entwined with an eighth-grade student named Trevor, who finds his own life transformed by love and caring in ways he never could have imagined. ... -Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA

And the winner is...
These were two very different stories with very different merits to advance to the next level. I have to admit we unfortunately didn't love either one of these. I thought The Maze Runner was slow to start, but it did pick up, but then ended abruptly. Petey was good, but unfortunately I didn't become as emotionally connected to Petey as I expected to be. It did bring a tear at the end, but given the subject, (and my sappy nature), I expected a more profound emotional response. It let me down a bit.

We've decided to advance The Maze Runner to the next round. While I didn't love it, I will read the remaining books to see how the story unfolds. I hope in the end I'm glad I did.

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