And in another SLJ BoB upset, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball triumphs over The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
Oh Frankie, Frankie, Frankie. Nobody loves you. I'm beginning to think that even if the Bassetts had been open to girls, you wouldn't have been asked to join.
NOBODY LOVES YOU.
Maybe Bod does? Now that's an interesting fanfiction idea…..
Part of why this whole Battle is fun, fun, fun, is that any one of the original sixteen books would make a great winner. Seriously. Which leaves us not saying, "OMG a book was robbed" but rather looking at the whys... why did one Judge decide one thing? How different are the standards being used by the different Judges?
Judge Rachel Cohn states her criteria for her decision up front: "what young readers actually enjoy reading." And goes with We Are the Ship. Because Cohn, as a teen, would have preferred that book. Which shocks all guessers who were thinking, hm, Cohn writes books about teenage girls for teenage girls!
Now, given my defense of Frankie during the Tournament of Books, I bet you all just sat down with your popcorn and put your feet up, expecting me to go to town on this one. Does whether or not ones loves the main character of a book means anything about how well written the book is? Is a book about kids at a prep school automatically less than other books with "more serious" subject matters? Does it change when the main character herself is not the typical preppie, because of her gender and religion? Etc.
Cohn makes it a bit hard for one to counter her arguments by discussing these things; unless, of course, you KNEW teen Rachel and are right now emailing her about her teen reading habits (OMG Rachel you totally would/would not have read x y or z), you really cannot argue with those reading preferences. Teen Rachel wants not just nonfiction, but nonfiction about sports; about the Negro League; with a folksy, kind narrator; and with wonderful artwork. We are the Ship delivers all that.
Cohn, like the other judges, is up front and honest and transparent about why she chose the book she did. We can (and will!) agree or disagree with the standard she used.
And all I can think of is Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone, giving voice to all of Frankie's insecurities and weaknesses, unattractive yet honest: "Isn't there anybody that loves me?"
© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy