Novel Madness FAll 2015 FINALS

ribbonI’ve been remiss in updating this contest! On Monday, September 21, my students voted on the remaining novels. As a result, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Hobbit were sent into the finals. Yesterday, the final round of speeches and the final vote took place. This year, the title of favorite novel was awarded to

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit joins the ranks of past winners:

Spring 2015: Holes by Louis Sachar

2014: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2013: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

2012: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

I find it interesting that in five years the winner has never been duplicated even though all of these books have appeared in the list more than once. Super favorites like Riordan’s Percy Jackson books or Roald Dahl’s Matilda haven’t won either. I am proud of the variety shown in my students’ reading over the years, and proud that every winner is a book I believe to be worthy of the title. I wonder what they’ll be reading next year?


Novel Madness 2015 ROUND TWO

2Novel Madness is the annual tournament my students conduct to determine their favorite novels of all time. For the beginning of this year’s contest, go here. Students tweaked their speeches to reflect their new opponents and delivered them in class. Then everyone voted. The winners of Round Two will match up like this for Monday’s (September 21) Semifinal Match:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling


Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney


The Maze Runner by James Dashner


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I was quite surprised that The Hobbit beat the perennial favorite Lightning Thief, but the contest between Divergent and The Maze Runner could have gone either way. Diary of a Wimpy Kid beat Hatchet to make it to the semifinals. I wonder if that vote would have come out differently had I waited until after we read Hatchet in class? One thing is for sure. Every year my class has its own reading preferences even though a few books make the list consistently. Stay tuned for semifinal results next week!


2014 YA/NA Blogfest!

blogfest2October is the month for discovering fantastic new adult and young adult books! Click the banner to get to My Crazzy Corner where blog host Apryl Baker lists all the authors participating (including me!) There’s a hottest guy contest and a giveaway. Make sure you check back here on October 18 for the brand new first of its kind unveiling…no, you’ll have to wait.


Win a Free Copy of My Book!

final coverToday UNDER THE ALMOND TREES is featured on the historical fiction blog Novel Pastimes.

There’s  an interview with yours truly then a question. Answer the question (it’s an easy one–your opinion) and you’re entered to win a free copy of the book. Pass it on!

DAY TWO interview is up on Novel Pastimes. Check it out. You know you want to.


Novel Madness Winner 2014!

ribbonHunger Games takes the top spot!

The final round of voting in this year’s Novel Madness pitted Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins against The Candyshop War by Brandon Mull. My students listened carefully to both persuasive speeches and cast their votes. Hunger Games won with two-thirds of the ballots.



Novel Madness Finals 2014

booksToday my class debated the four remaining titles in our Novel Madness contest. Then they voted! The finalists for this year’s Novel Madness competition are:

Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins


The Candy Shop War

by Brandon Mull

Collins’ book has been nominated every year (this is the third year of Novel Madness) and never won. This is the first nomination for Mull’s book. I find it an interesting pairing. Hunger Games is much more Young Adult, but maybe more popular because of the movie. The Candy Shop War is middle grade. In order for it to be represented here, a lot of students had to have read it. The final debate will happen on Tuesday, and we’ll crown the winner shortly afterwards.



Novel Madness 2013


Novel Madness 2013

First Round Winners!

After a day of spirited persuasive speeches, my class voted and here are the results of the first round. I have logged them here already lined up for their second round match. Round two voting takes place on March 19. Care to sway the vote? Post a comment extoling the virtues of your favorites!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire            vs.             Mathilda
by J.K. Rowling                                                                            by Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach   vs. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by Roald Dahl                                           by J.K. Rowling
Red Pyramid           vs.        Lightning Thief
                    both by Rick Riordan
Hunger Games         vs.    The Hobbit
by Suzanne Collins               by J.R.R. Tolkien
For the full list of Novel Madness titles and links to the students’ persuasive essays, slick here.
For the winners of these matches, click here.