Very different approaches here from Kathi Appelt (Three Times Lucky v. Endangered) and Deb Caletti (Temple Grandin v. The Fault in Our Stars). Appelt’s voice is very . . . considered, placing her contenders in literary context and braiding her observations on one book with her thoughts about the other and bringing them into contention on theme: “Mo and Sophie [the respective heroines] make us think of the human spirit as a treasure.” One wins: “But at the end of the day, it’s Sophie who does this best.”
We don’t need the immediately following caveat: “At least for this reader.” We didn’t think you were speaking for anyone else.
Caletti is practically hyper-ventilating as she begins, having “a moment of panic” (understandable, but still) about comparing a book she had never heard of to the ubiquitous and multi-laurelled John Green (“What about CARNEGIE HALL?”). And I wish I never knew AND NOW I CAN’T UNLEARN IT that Laurie Halse Anderson called John Green “a holy man.” As Richard observed to me about Bette Midler in Gypsy, the problem with starting big is that the only place to go is frantic, and Caletti’s enthusiasm doesn’t leave enough room for our own. (This is something like the point Kenneth Oppel made about Wonder.) But she identifies respective and common strengths and ultimately her context and criteria: “I am a novelist. I love a perfect sentence and a just-right image.” She chooses Green because she thinks the writing is richer. I’m inferring because she starts going on about birthday cakes then and I had to look away.