Tuscarora High School took home the coveted Golden Book Trophy Award after winning Loudoun County’s 2013 Battle of the Books Wednesday.
The day of intense competition was the culmination of eight months worth of preparation—reading 10 selected books—for students from all of Loudoun’s public high schools.
Six teams fared well enough in last month’s semi-finals to make it to the final competition, held in the Briar Woods High School auditorium Wednesday. Students from those six teams—Briar Woods, Dominion, Potomac Falls, Stone Bridge, Loudoun Valley and Tuscarora—fielded questions about the books, including some of their more easily forgotten details.
Books featured in this year’s battle were: "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys; "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary E. Pearson; "Oogy" by Larry Levin; "Divergent" by Veronica Roth; "Pinned" by Alfred C. Martino; "Shine" by Lauren Myracle; "Shipbreaker" by Paolo Bacigalupi; "Trapped" by Michael Northro; "Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walls; and "Fat Cat" by Robin Brande.
Tuscarora beat out the competition with 605 points, and Briar Woods placed second with 545 points. The other teams scored as follows: Dominion, 500 points; Potomac Falls, 490 points; Stone Bridge, 445 points; and Loudoun Valley, 315.
During a lunch reception, the students got a surprise visit from author Levin and the star of his book, "Oogy, an Argentine Mastiff." Students, and teachers, lined up to greet Oogy and get Levin’s autograph.
As the day of competition wrapped up, Marilyn Clerkin, Briar Woods reading specialist who helped start Battle of the Books eight years ago, said she never imagined it would become a countywide event that gets hundreds of students excited about reading.
“Seeing how intense and serious they are about it, it’s what keeps me doing this every year,” she said, adding that she thinks literature for teens has been neglected as most authors write for children and adults. “I want to see literature encouraged at the adolescent level…because reading is really the foundation of everything.”