Match 7: Rose Under Fire v The Thing About Luck, Judge Malinda Lo
My prediction: “Rose Under Fire because Lo writes young adult books.”
And NOOOOOOO. Lo totally let me down by not being Team YA!
What I liked best about Lo’s decision is the analytic approach she took.
“I’ve decided that making this judgement call requires me to think like a writer (which isn’t much of a stretch since that’s what I am). Both are first-person novels. Which does it better?”
Lo steps back as a writer, as an examiner of the craft. “But though the shape is appropriate, I felt that the means by which the shape is formed — Rose’s journal entries — did not quite work. Rather than bringing me closer to Rose’s experience, I felt distanced from it because I knew, due to the journal entry dates, that Rose survived. Writing a novel in journal form is a complicated task for many reasons, and while I admire Elizabeth Wein for doing it, I think Rose’s story might have been better served in a more straightforward first-person narrative. For that reason, I choose Cynthia Kadohata’s The Thing About Luck, and Summer’s pitch-perfect first-person voice, to win this round.“
It doesn’t matter whether or not I agree with Lo — I’m not the judge here, and as we’ve seen, anything goes with these decisions! — but I do appreciate being able to understand, and see, where Lo comes from in making this decision.
Even if this totally destroys my brackets.