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Judging a Book by Its Cover: The Sylvia Game

We have started offering internships for aspiring judges here at the Institution of Judging Books by their Covers, and our first intern is a jubilant Young Adult patron of the New Dorp Library, Stacey.

Today we will attempt to judge the book The Sylvia Game by Vivien Alcock.

Let's pass judgment... shall we?

Rob says:

Johnny always sat on the park bench behind the tall hedges... but only on Tuesdays.
Billy always sat on the park bench behind the tall hedges... but only on Wednesdays.
One day they both showed up on a Thursday with the intention of sitting on their favorite park bench. A resolution to this seating engagement could not be reached. They were ready to come to blows when a red haired girl showed up and said "We can settle this with a game....a SYLVIA game."

2 Boys Enter... 1 Boy Sits.

Is there a winner in the Sylvia game? Or are there only losers?

Stacey says:

The Sylvia Game is about two boys that really like this red-haired girl. The blonde painted a picture of her and the brunette is angry because he didn't think to do that. She sees that it would be to her advantage to pit the two boys against each other. So she creates a game of basic 'show off to me what you got and then I'll see if I like you.' The boys try their best but they don't realize she is just a nasty girl out to humiliate them and break their hearts.

Jen says:

Sam was a good, but troubled kid. He only found comfort in his favorite book, The Bell Jar. He's been teased in school for not keeping up with the times and liking something that was more current, like Pokemon. One day everything changed, when Mrs. Johnson assigned the 5th grade English class to read The Bell Jar. The children began to understand what Sam saw in the book and they began to listen to what Sam had to say. Sam took his homework to a new level when he created a portrait of what he envisioned Sylvia Plath to look like. Drunk with power of his peers' respect Sam decided that whoever was being too emotional that day would have to wear his Sylvia Plath painting hanging from their back. Will this game ever end? Is anyone really a winner?

So what is The Sylvia Game actually about?

They say...

"'Whom do I look like? I mean, whom do you take me for? . . . Who is Sylvia?'" "He was silent for so long she thought he wasn't going to answer. An odd expression came into his face. He turned away as if to hide it, then, looking back over his shoulder, said, 'My sister. But she's dead.'" Emily hadn't meant to get tangled up with the likes of Oliver Mallerton and his dead sister. She had only been tailing her artist father to find out why he had been acting so mysterious lately. She certainly never meant to get mixed up in the Sylvia Game, a game that sounded harmless, not like a game that would nearly cause the death of one boy and lead to the banishment of another.

Hmmmmmm I think we were quite successful in judging The Sylvia Game by its cover, but that shouldn't come as a surprise as our past record has proven that we are clearly beyond reproach when it comes to judging books by their covers. Book covers beware, for we shall not rest until all ye spines have been realigned.


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