For the first time ever, I was a judge for a book tournament, Nerds Heart YA. It was super fun and I'd like to give a shout out to my co-reader, Nicole over at Booked Up!
For Nerds Heart YA Round 2, we (Book Nest and Booked Up) had to decide between The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk and Dark Water by Laura McNeal. We could say something clever and witty about the coincidence of title names handed down to us from Round 1, but we’ll leave the writing to the writers today. Instead, please read our reviews to get a summary of each book and what we thought of them:
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (Booked Up’s review / Book Nest’s review)
Dark Water by Laura McNeal (Booked Up’s review / Book Nest’s review)
Overall, we both felt that Will, the deaf and overweight high school student in The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, was a stronger and more well-defined main character (especially in terms of underrepresented groups in young adult fiction) than Pearl of Dark Water. However, we decided that Dark Water was the stronger book when viewed as a whole story - that her relationship with the migrant worker Amiel and their experiences created a deeper, more literary and more viable plot.
SO! Dark Water moves on to Round 3! Good luck to the next round of judges!