Battle of the Books

Battle of the Books

The Manitowoc-Calumet Library System’s annual book trivia challenge for grades 7-12


So, what is Battle of the Books?

Well, it is way more than just reading books: it is a competition for some serious bragging rights. Battle of the Books is a system-wide trivia competition among library teams that has been held for 15-plus years.

Each library in the Manitowoc-Calumet System assembles teams of teens hungry for good books who test their knowledge for the chance to win the coveted Battle Trophy Plaque to hang in their library. The tournament always ends with a pizza party for all players — all for reading great books! 

If you are interested in joining the team contact Teen Associate Carrie Bruce at mplteen@manitowoc.org starting in May for the upcoming summer.

2020 Books

Aurora Rising by Aime Kaufman

The graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch, from a sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates to an alien warrior with anger management issues. But Ty’s biggest problem is Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, who he just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time– but she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making.
Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the summer of 1977, when New York is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam. Meg Medina transports us to a time when tempers and temperatures ran high to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

Curse so Dark and Lonely, A by Brigid Kemmerer

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

Evan goes from being a nobody to everyone’s hero and a social media superstar after a chance encounter with Connor just before his suicide leads others to believe Evan was his only friend.

Evan is shy, lonely, and bullied for it. He has a chance encounter with Connor Murphy–just before Connor commits suicide. Evan’s life suddenly gets turned around, and suddenly he isn’t invisible anymore to the girl of his dreams–Connor’s sister, Zoe, who believes Evan was Connor’s only friend. As Evan goes from being a nobody to everyone’s hero and a social media superstar, Evan is filled with confidence … until things start unraveling.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

Dreams Come to Life by Adrienne Kress

Seventeen-year-old Buddy has spent most of his life trying to escape the Lower East Side slums of New York City. Working as a delivery boy to support his family, Buddy wants to become an artist, a dream he’s sure will never be realized. But that all changes when a delivery job puts him face-to-face with Mister Joey Drew, the eccentric owner of an animation studio. Mister Drew takes Buddy under his wing as an apprentice, thrusting him into a world unlike anything Buddy has ever seen before. There’s the colorful cast of the studio, from the cranky, yet driven composer Sammy Lawrence to Dot, the writing intern and Buddy’s counterpart. Working for Mister Drew, Buddy starts to think that maybe it’s really as simple as Mister Drew says: Dreams do come true. But not everything at the studio is as picture-perfect as it seems… Something is going bump in the night at Joey Drew Studios, something that leaves behind trails of thick, dark ink. While the studio frantically works toward their latest deadline, Buddy and Dot team up to find out just what is tormenting the studio after-hours, even if it means tracking the trail to Mister Drew himself.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the world’s best pumpkin patch. They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1. But this Halloween is different. Josiah and Deja are finally seniors. It’s their last season at the Patch, their last shift together–their last good-bye. Josie’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. (He’s the melancholy type.) But Deja has a plan: What if, instead of moping and instead of the usual–slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut–they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! Maybe Josie could even talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years… What if their last shift was an adventure?

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon — and America itself — in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten ‘relocation centers’, hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous—and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2020

2019 Books

Diabolic, The by S. J. Kincaid

Nemesis has been raised to be a living weapon, totally committed to the safety of Sidonia, the teen daughter of a galactic Senator. When Sidonia is summoned by the insane Emperor to appear at his court, Nemesis must take her place to protect her. Practically invincible in battle, Nemesis still miscalculates the treachery of the Emperor and his family. In order to save herself and her beloved, she must learn to temper her killer instincts with kindness and empathy.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

A shape-shifting fox spirit, 13-year old Min has Charm powers that allow her to influence the thinking and behavior of people around her. She smuggles herself aboard a spaceship and pretends to be a Cadet to find her missing brother. She also looks for clues as to the location of the Dragon Pearl, a mystical jewel capable of transforming entire planets. Thanks in part to her fellow Cadets — a troll and a dragon — she moves steadily closer to a revelation that could affect the entire galaxy

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

Grenade by Alan Gratz

When WWII arrives at Okinawa, Japan, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed a grenade and a set of instructions: Don’t come back until you’ve killed an American soldier. Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa for his first battle. Then, the two of them collide in the middle of the battle…and the choices they make in that single instant will change everything.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka

Jarrett lives with his troubled single mom. When she’s caught shoplifting and the two of them end up at the police station, his grandparents push for custody and raise Jarrett. His unreliable mom occasionally appears in his life unexpectedly, but she’s largely absent. Though Jarrett craves her love, his grandparents eventually reveal to him that she’s a heroin addict and often in jail. Despite his challenges, Jarrett actively develops his talent as an artist, and makes the most of the cards he’s been dealt.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

Illegal by Eoin Colfer

Ebo’s brother Kwame has disappeared, and he knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life―the same journey their sister set out on months ago. But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after him and joins him on his quest across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

Poet X, The by Elizabeth Acevedo

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side. So when Riley and mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s easy explanation. Instead, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

We Regret to Inform You by A. E. Kaplan

Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. She questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and a group of eccentric techies, she launches an investigation that will shake the community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.

Genre: Battle of the Books 2019

2018 Books

Americanized: Rebel Without A Green Card by Sara Saedi

At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn’t learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn’t because she didn’t have a Social Security number. Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn’t keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend.

Genre: Battle of the Books

Bull by David Elliott

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers re-evaluating one of history’s most infamous monsters.

Genre: Battle of the Books

Dream Fall by Amy Plum

Seven teenagers who suffer from debilitating insomnia agree to take part in an experimental new procedure to cure it because they think it can’t get any worse. But they couldn’t be more wrong. When the lab equipment malfunctions, the patients are plunged into a terrifying dream world where their worst nightmares have come to life—and they have no memory of how they got there. Hunted by monsters from their darkest imaginations, these seven strangers will be forced to band together  and if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Genre: Battle of the Books

Marrow Thieves, The by Cherie Dimaline

In a future world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s indigenous population – and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow – and dreams – means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a 15-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones, and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing ‘factories.

Genre: Battle of the Books

Midnight at the Electric

Adri’s, Catherine’s, and Lenore’s lives are intertwined but not in the way that one would think. Adri lives in 2065 Kansas, Catherine lives in 1930s Kansas, and Lenore lives in England in 1919. As Adri is preparing to go to Mars, she stays with her cousin in Kansas, where the training takes place. Upon settling in, she comes across letters written from Lenore to Beth. Through journals and, later, letters, Catherine narrates her own story of being in Kansas during the Dust Bowl.

Genre: Battle of the Books

Slider by Pete Hautman

Hoping to win a cash prize in a pizza eating contest after racking up a tab on his mother’s credit card, David must juggle his competitive eating training with the responsibility of looking after his autistic younger brother.

Genre: Battle of the Books

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural. Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up. Out in the ‘burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Genre: Battle of the Books