Newbery Project – 2012 Analysis

In 2012 the winner of the Newbery Award was Dead End in Norvelt, with Honors for Inside Out and Back Again and Breaking Stalin’s Nose.  Looking just at those three books, I think that I would have given the award to Inside Out and Back Again. Dead End in Norvelt simply had too many problems with pacing (the history vignettes were interesting, but could have been more effectively integrated into the general themes of the book), and characterization (the villain of the piece never rang true for me.) Breaking Stalin’s Nose would probably have been my personal clear winner if not for the surreal hallucination scene. The characters were well drawn and the book remained true to its child perspective while also giving clues to a larger picture. But that scene felt strangely out of place and didn’t fit with the rest of the book, drawing me out of the story very abruptly. Inside Out and Back Again, while not a perfect book, at least didn’t have any outrageous flaws compared to the others.
Left completely to my own devices, I think I would have given A Monster Calls an award, though there is some debate about whether the book was even eligible. I also agree with Jonathan Hunt from the Heavy Medal blog that Amelia Lost would have been a fabulous addition to the canon as well.

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