Eagles Soar at NJ State Battle of the Books Championship


Maninder Dhesi '22

Sanjana Suresh ’22 cheering on the EHS Battle of the Books teams during the final round.

The annual school Battle of the Books competition at Edison High took place on Friday, March 18. Teams of four to six students delegated a total of nine books amongst themselves and answered questions as a group requiring them to identify books based on given details and quotations. The nine books on the official list for this year were as follows: 

  • Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
  • Every Day by David Levithan
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  • Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

“I read all the books so that way I could provide more assistance to our teams. They were all good. I actually listened to Born a Crime, which was amazing to hear Trevor Noah’s voice and his many languages. Probably my favorite, though, surprisingly, was Poet X, which really made you feel something,” said Ms. Doreen Stocker, EHS’s librarian and host of the school Battle of the Books competition. 

The first-place team (which became known as EHS 1 during the final round) consisted of all-senior girls Sanjana Suresh ‘22, Dania Ali ‘22, Marooba Khan ‘22, Krishita Laungani ‘22, Maninder Dhesi ‘22, and Prakrati Kadekar ‘22, who answered all of the school competition questions correctly.

They were followed closely by the second-place team (EHS 2), an all-junior girl team with members Paraskevi Dimitrakopoulos ‘23, Aarohi Pahurkar ‘23, Srihitha Mitta ‘23, Hena Patel ‘23, Rida Jafri ‘23, and Shreeya Malikireddy ‘23, who only got one question incorrect.

The third-place team (EHS 3) consisted of all-junior members Gabriela Engholm ‘23, Abdullah Rizvi ‘23, Maha Mustensir ‘23, Manasvini Saripalli ‘23, Saanvi Bhuteja ‘23, and Shravani Joshi ‘23, who got only two questions incorrect.

These three teams went on to the final round, the state championship consisting of the schools’ top three teams, which was set to take place on Wednesday, March 23, at 8 am. The state championship had five schools participating: Edison High (EHS), J.P. Stevens (JPS), Highland Park (HP), Delaware Valley Regional (DVR), and Passaic County Technical-Vocational (PCTV). 

The EHS 1 team tied for last place in their breakout group, while the EHS 2 and EHS 3 teams emerged in first place in their respective competitions, going on to the finals. They were joined by JPS 1, HP 1, HP 3, and DVR 1. 

“It is a little disappointing news that we didn’t make it to the final round, but, at the end of the day, we had a great time. I got to spend time with my friends, learn new things, and read new books—all of which I liked—so it was a very fruitful experience,” said Suresh following the preliminary rounds.

While EHS 1 stayed back to cheer on the remaining two EHS teams, EHS 2 and 3 were gearing up for the final round. “We feel really confident [going into the finals],” said Malikireddy.

The finals were initially set to be two rounds, each with five questions. At the end of these two rounds, however, JPS 1 led with 50 points, while EHS 3, HP 3, and EHS 2 all had 45 points. HP 3 was eliminated with 30 points. JPS 1 was declared the winner of the NJ State Championship, but a tiebreaker was necessary to determine second place. 

The first tiebreaker was only two questions. While HP 3 and EHS 2 correctly answered their questions, EHS 3 was eliminated. They ended in fourth place. 

The second tiebreaker between HP 3 and EHS 2 was also only two questions. Both teams answered their first question correctly. However, HP 3 was eliminated with the second question, allowing EHS 2 to seize the opportunity and secure their second-place standing, ending with a total of 65 points.

“Though competitive, there is a high comradery of teams that were never displayed before. Competitively, challenges were high, but at the same time, teams were willing to help each other get to the finals,” Stocker said.