Battle of the Books


Madison Arthur

The Battle of the Books team meets to discuss the Truman Award books to prepare for the competition.

Every year, SPS puts together a competition called “Battle of the Books” in which people compete on their knowledge of the Truman Award books. The books this year are Falling Over Sideways, Imposter Queen, Zero Day, Ruined, Things too Huge to Fix by saying Sorry, Wolf Hollow, The Forgetting, Hour of the Bees, Lily and Dunkin, Mayday, Projekt 1065, and The Girl I Used to be.

Cherokee has five members on the team, me being one of them. So far we’ve been talking about the books and reviewing them. Ruined and Mayday seems to be the definite favorites, with The Forgetting seeming to fall into the pool of unlikeability. In our next few meetings, we’ll be competing on who knows what about each book. Our competition will be at Hickory Hills on March 21st.

We’ve been set at a diverse group of books, and the opinions on them are scattered. None of us have finished all of the books, but we’ve all read over four of them and we plan to read them all. For some of the members, they started a book but it was so bad they couldn’t finish it. That happens more often then people think.

Last year, Jared Middle School won first place. There were teams of six people, which has been narrowed down this year. The team has been talking about the books for a few weeks, and so far many of us have read the same books. We have different opinions on the books, but we all seem to like the same ones and dislike other ones.

Hopefully, this year we’ll win!

  Falling Over Sideways – Claire hates her life, and everything gets worse when her father has a stroke. She learns about the important things in life and not to take anything for granted. She watches herself grow, and she starts to notice the world around her in a different view as she helps her dad recover. – I highly suggest this book to anyone. It was a realistic novel, and it was well written through the eyes of a preteen/teenager, and she has a view on life just as many have. 

  Imposter Queen – The Queen has a perfect balance between fire and ice magic. When one died, another takes their place, and they have to have the trait of red hair and blue eyes, and because that’s the rarest combination of all, finding the next Queen is certainly easy. The Queens can’t have children, because the next queen is picked due to their magic. No one else has magic as the next queen does, and you’d think finding the next true queen would be easy, seeing as their birthday would align perfectly with the stars, but this isn’t the case for Elli. She has no magic, and she is planned to be killed after the queen before she has died. If she cannot prove her magic, she will be executed. She runs off in order to save her life, and everything changes for Elli. – I wasn’t crazy about this book, and I think it would’ve been better if the author had written it in a different style. The plot was good and all, but the writing was poor.

  Zero Day – When a politicians daughter is stolen as a little girl, everything changes for Darrow, seeing as they were best friends. But when Addy is found years later, her father elected president, he noticed that Addy isn’t exactly…right. Addy herself hides secrets about how she came back and about what’s she doing. She even hides her secrets about the people who stole her and why she’s acting so shady. – I’m not into political books, but I think this was a well-written book. It certainly wasn’t my favorite, but I liked it more than I did some others.

  Ruined – Em is the princess of Ruina, a country of uselessness. Prince Cas is Prince of Lera, and he is seen as an idol to anyone in his country. Cas is to marry Princess Mary, and instead, Em decides to kill her and pose as the princess, hoping to marry Cas. But why does she want to marry Cas? Well, she doesn’t. Her father was killed by his family, and so was her mother. Her sister, Olivia, has Ruina magic and was stolen, and the only way to find her sister is by getting close to that family. Em soon finds herself swooning over Cas after they get married, but Em knows what she must do in order to find her sister. – This is probably the best book this year. I LOVED Amy Tintera’s writing and  I was not disappointed at all!

  Things too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry – Dani is a preteen and her friend Mac says they can’t be friends. Mac’s grandmother and Dani’s grandmother has a bit of an incident when they were younger, which led them to shun each other. As time went by, Dani learns that her grandma has some secrets about Mac’s grandma, which could rewrite many things in their life. – I did like this book quite a bit, and I would advise someone to read it. Some things about it are very interesting, but I think it could be better.

  Wolf Hollow – Annabelle lives in post WW2 and people are still dealing with the thought after the war. A new girl named Betty arrives and she changes the lives of everyone there. By acting on violent pranks to Annabelle’s family, Betty is making things much, much worse than she meant to. – I wasn’t crazy about this book, but it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. I thought there were much better books written, but it wasn’t too terrible.

  The Forgetting – Every twelve years, people forget things automatically, and no one knows why. But Nadia remembers everything, even when everyone has forgotten. Why does this happen? How does she remember? How do people know it comes? All they do is write in their books to remember things, but who told them they should do that, and who knew the forgetting was coming in the first place? – I did not like this book whatsoever. It was a complete waste of my time and it was awful.

  Hour of the Bees – Caroleena, or Carol as she prefers, is visiting her grandpa’s ranch for the summer. He has a disease and forgets almost everything and things are made up in his head as he ages. But he’s always mentioning his late wife and he always says something about bees and a drought. What will the bees bring, and what does her grandpa have to do with it? Is there a reason he doesn’t want to leave his home or is it just an emotional attachment? – I liked this one a lot, actually. I didn’t expect much from it, but I enjoyed it. I think it was entertaining and I liked reading it a great amount.

  Lily and Dunkin –  Being the transgender kid in school is never easy. It’s a battle of “will someone say something rude or not,” and you almost always lose. What about the new kid who has a secret of his own? Well, when Norbert moves to Florida, he meets Timothy. Norbert hates his name, and Tim calls him Dunkin from then on. Timothy is a transgender boy who wants to be accepted as a female. Tim is Lily, in and out, but her dad refuses to let her be that way. As Dunkin gains popularity in school and Lily is the target for snide remarks, how will things last? Can Dunkin keep hold of his secret and can Lily handle it anymore? – This book was AMAZING! I loved it SO much! I cried at the end! It shows you all about love and acceptance and I am so glad I read it! This book is incredible and all of you should read it!

  Mayday – Wayne’s uncle, grandpa, and every other male in his family has been in the military except for his dad. His dad is rarely round and doesn’t care much for the boy, but his uncle is the best person in his life. When his uncle dies in battle, Wayne is supposed to keep the flag the military gave him. But when the plane crashes down and he injured his throat, his life completely changes. He is forced to be with his grandpa, and man whose brain is embedded with soldier commands. He lived with his mom all his life, and as the family of three get to know each other, things begin to change for Wayne. –  This book was incredible. I loved the writing and the amazing way the author portrayed her characters. I advise everyone to read this book!

  Projekt 1065 – As WW2 continues, Michael is a spy. His father works for the embassy and his Irish family is a group of spies who are supposed to help take down the Nazi’s. The catch? Michael has to attend a Nazi school and is accepted into one of the highest programs for future Nazi’s. His friend, Fritz, had a dad who works for the Nazi’s, and their newest piece of Warcraft named Projekt 1065, could change the history of the war forever. – I haven’t finished it, but so far, I’m pleased with it. Alan Gratz is a great writer and he’s done a phenomenal job writing these books. He’s such a talented writer and all of his works are amazing, and this book proves that.

  The Girl I Used to be – Ariel was only three when her mother died, and people assumed her father was the killer. She was taken to a Walmart three hours away, and she doesn’t remember the face of the person who took her there. But, at the age of seventeen, she learns her father is dead, and they don’t know when he died, or even if he killed Ariel’s mother, seeing as his jawbone was found near where her mother had died. Who is the killer, are they still out there, and do they want Ariel? – I haven’t finished this book yet either, but April Henry is a very talented writer. She’s an incredible author and I love what she’s written so far. I think this will be a good read, and I’m excited.

So, that’s what Battle of the Books is about, and there is some detail on the books we’ll be competing on!