The CBC Extreme Trivia Challenge

Because I seem like a relatively smart person, people are often surprised to learn this about me, but: I am TERRIBLE at trivia. Terrible. I don’t know the capitals of anywhere, and I can’t tell you which actor appeared in that movie with that other actor, and I would be hard-pressed to name five baseball players, let alone to name which one hit the most home runs. The one time I remember getting a question right in a game of bar trivia, it was about Dawson’s Creek.

The one exception to this rule is the Children’s Book Council’s annual Extreme Trivia Challenge. I am terrible at trivia. But I am actually really good at children’s book trivia.

I have two second-pace trophies from CBC Trivia in 2007 and 2009. But I REALLY wanted a first-place trophy. (Or at least not NO trophy, a la 2008 and 2010.)

I spent the entire walk over to Scholastic rehearsing the five factions from Divergent with two of my colleagues. (“Abnegation. Amity. Candor. Erudite. Dauntless. Abnegation. Amity. Candor….”) When we arrived we were split into twelve teams of five. It was immediately apparent that my team was playing to win. Which is good, because that is how I like to play. As my mother has always said to me, “If you’re going to play, why would you play to lose?”

Some personal/team highlights:

– Remembering the name of the Batchelder Award. (Two years in School and Library Marketing pays off!)

– Getting the book title mashup whose clue was phrased something like “Four mystery-solving children turn out not to be such ideal companions.” (Answer: The Boxcar Children Make Terrible Pets.)

– Also getting the book title mashup The Chocolate War Horse, even though I personally have read neither The Chocolate War nor War Horse.

– Correctly answering the Phantom Tollbooth question because I totally just reread that book before Halloween because I thought I might want to dress up as Tock the Watchdog!

– Remembering the full names and titles of five of the seven Babysitters Club members. (I forgot Jessi’s last name—it’s Ramsey, if you were curious—and Dawn. How could I forget DAWN? What is wrong with me?)

– Remembering which play Anya appears in, in Gabrielle Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done. (Answer: Macbeth.)

– The final in-round question was—I swear this is true—“Name all five factions in Divergent.” I was like, “Guys, I’ve got this.”

We won. It was amazing. Even the hosts (Gabrielle Zevin and Carolyn Mackler) were impressed. Even their husbands were impressed. I tried to act like I’m not such a competitive person that this totally made my week, but it totally made my week.

Then I took my bunny trophy down to Brooklyn, where I had dinner at Lauren Oliver’s house. Lexa Hillyer, Jess Rothenberg, Courtney Sheinmel, and some guys were there, as well. I bragged about being a winner, and then we wrote songs together and roasted s’mores in Lauren’s fireplace. It was a magical night.