Tournament of Books Round 1: Sword and Verse vs. Holding Up the Universe

07 Feb

tournamentofbooks2017Contains Spoilers: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan features Raisa who is a child who is stolen into slavery. She is forced to work for the royal family of Oilara. When the former apprentice to learning the language of the gods is executed for treason, the prince who has once saved her life appoints Raisa to learn to read. Raisa is excited because she has longed to read her whole life. Raisa develops a crush on Prince Mati, the royal prince who saved her. Mati seems gentler to compared to his father who is very as a tough ruler who executes all who oppose him. The crush leads to a relationship. Raisa and Mati become a secret couple and have sex. Remember reader he owns her. Their relationship ends because she finds out he has a fiancée. Prince Mati will be married soon. Raisa is upset but when the resistance approaches her she refused to help them out of her feelings for Prince Mati.  She eventually helps save a child of the rebellion. When the king is assassinated Mati becomes King and looks to Raisa again as a companion. Raisa tries to help the new King and she still has feelings for him.

Opinion: I liked the world building in this book. That is the only thing I liked about this book. I hated the relationship between Prince Mati and Raisa. His father’s army killed her family. She is a slave the whole book. He has a chance to free her, which he never does. It felt like Mati was grooming her to be his mistress from when she was a child. On top of the horribleness of this they have no chemistry during the whole book. I hated this book. I feel like Mati does not really care about her and cares more about his ideal of Raisa.

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven is about Libby, a teenage girl, who is heading back to public school after being homebound. When she was ten her mother died, and she gained a lot of weight and went up to 653 pounds by the age of 13 and had to be removed from her house by a crane. Yep, a crane. You read that right. She has a lost most of the weight. She meets Jack who has prosopagnosia, which is facial blindness. He cannot tell people apart when looking at their faces. They meet when he hugs her without her permission because he and his friends are hugging fat people to see how long it takes for them to be knocked off like the rodeo. She punches him. They both get called into the office. Jack takes the full responsibility for his actions. They start to hang out and fall in love.

Opinion: This book is terrible. First of all, I do not think it is even possible for Libby to gain that much weight in such a short amount of time. I would not recommend this book to any of the teens I work with. It was so negative. There was so much fat shaming in the book. It pretended to be positive but felt phony the whole time. It is so slow moving. There was another fat character teen named Iris that I wanted to know about. She seemed cool. Jack has never told anyone that he has prosopagnosia. It seems odd that his family never realized it. He is dealing with his dad having cancer and also having an affair. This book just seems so unrealistic. It is boring and offensive which is a hard combination to achieve. This is honestly the worst book I have read in years.

I pick Sword and Verse because it has decent world building.

Cindy Shutts is the Teen Librarian at White Oak Library District in Crest Hill, IL.

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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in Tournament of Books


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