The full slate of winners in all categories is here, but to sum up my little corner of it, Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone was our pick, with Dumplin'; Everything, Everything; Infandous; How it Went Down, All the Rage and The Truth Commission all getting short-list honors.
Being assigned to read these books was such a treat. Not only were they all very good, but they were all very different from each other. There was no feeling of same ol' same ol' despite the fact that they all fit in the same genre and were published in the same year. On top of that, getting to hear the perspectives of several other people who were reading thoughtfully and thinking critically, but also passionately, about the books was so enriching.
There were a few we disagreed on. One person made a persuasive case for a book that really spoke to her; I felt it was less original than the others. I thought the changing POVs in another made it more compelling; others thought it was confusing and the voices weren't distinct enough. Others we agreed more on--this one fun, but not as literary, that one incredibly well written but with a narrow audience. In the end, Every Last Word was an easy decision. All of us liked it a lot. Even if it wasn't every individual's favorite, we all felt it hit the criteria (literary quality and appeal to the target audience) strongly.
For all that, I am happy with our winner (but will also be getting How It Went Down for my classroom.)
I would love to hear your thoughts about all of my (literally) large questions above. Also, have you read any of the final field? Which would you have chosen from them? Or is there another book you think should have made it through the first round? Me, I was a little surprised to not see Made You Up, Challenger Deep, or Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda on the list. (Also, why is there no apostrophe in that last title? It bugs me.)