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YALSA’s 2013 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check In #4

2013 January 6
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Not signed up for YALSA’s 2013 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

True to my own personal method of reading, I can’t bring myself to read all the books from one list and then move onto the other list. So I’ve been reading selections from both the Morris Award finalists and the Nonfiction Award finalists based on what strikes my fancy. I think I’ve made solid progress. Here’s my quick take on what I’ve been reading so far…

Morris Award (2.5/5)

Copy of MiseducationI liked The Miseducation of Cameron Post, but I did not love it as much as I expected to given other reader responses. Right out of the gate I gave it two thumbs up for featuring a lesbian teen (seems like so much of the LGBTQ literature focuses on gay men). And I thought the way Cameron discovers her sexual preferences is very organic and well done, and I enjoyed her journey.

Copy of WonderShowLoved, loved, LOVED Wonder Show. I had never even heard of this one before I joined this challenge, and I’m so glad I discovered it. The writing has almost a fairytale quality and flows beautifully. Portia is an extremely likeable character, and her personal journey is captivating … particularly due to the characters she encounters when she literally runs away with the traveling “freak” show. The book “had” me from start to finish.

Copy of SeraphinaI’m only about a third of the way into Seraphina, but I’ve really loving this one as well. I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy, and I was ready for a fresh take on dragon lore. Magnificent world-building in this one, and another heroine I really enjoy.

Nonfiction Award (3/5)

Copy of WeveGotAJobWe’ve Got a Job was a very good read and really gave me some better insight about the daily struggles of Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. I expected the writing vehicle of focusing on the stories of four young adults to be more prevalent, and was a little disappointed that the discussion edged more toward a broader/generic perspective. But interesting history to explore for sure.

Copy of BombAs I suspected, Bomb really surprised me in a very good way. It’s not subject matter I would normally be interested in reading about, but this book was beyond fascinating — the people, the making of the bomb, the espionage! Really amazing storytelling.

Copy of TitanicTitanic: Voices from the Disaster was just as engaging as I imagined it would be. I’ll have more of a review on this on a post later this month.

What are your picks/favorites at this point?

–Nicole Dolat, currently reading both Seraphina and Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

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20 Responses
  1. Erin Daly permalink
    January 6, 2013

    I’ve been dodging the Morris/Nonfiction Challenge like a kid with a paper due. Seraphina left me in that wistful space that lovely books do, so I didn’t want to read anything for awhile. Finally getting into Wonder Show. I read about 100 pages of it yesterday. I don’t love it the way you do, Nicole, but I am intrigued.

    • Nicole Dolat permalink
      January 6, 2013

      I just finished Seraphina last night, Erin, and like you I was left with the happy glow that only the best books can give you. I think Seraphina edged out Wonder Show in my estimation…*happy sigh*

  2. January 6, 2013

    I’m finished with Wonder Show and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. (Reviewed on my friends-only Goodreads account.)

    Now I’m on After the Snow.

  3. Jenna permalink
    January 6, 2013

    Finished my re-read of Seraphina (Rating: 5/5) which means I just have to read Bomb and re-read of The Miseducation of Cameron Post to finish both challenges!

  4. Kim permalink
    January 6, 2013

    Finished Love and Other Perishable Items (5/5) and The Miseducation of Cameron Post (5/5) this week. I’m half way through Seraphina and started Bomb.

  5. Shanna permalink
    January 6, 2013

    The whole time I was reading Wonder Show, I was thinking, “Someone has to make a movie out of this.” I thought it was so engaging. I also finished Love and Other Perishable Items, which I thought was really well-written. I’m now about halfway through After the Snow, I just started the Steve Jobs book, and I’m downloading We’ve Got a Job as an audio book because my library lost their only physical copy :( Progress!

  6. Lois permalink
    January 6, 2013

    I’m reading Steve Jobs – my 4th of the nonfiction – then I’ll wrap up with Titanic. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being exposed to some nonfiction I can recommend to my HS nonfiction reading students. A co-worker and I challenged our faculty to participate in the nonfiction challenge. Over 40 teachers have taken the challenge to read at least one of the books. We’ve had a great time discussing the books.

  7. January 6, 2013

    I had a nice long winter break and have done a ton of reading in the past 10 days.

    I started out thinking I would read the Morris Award books and checked Wonder Show out. But it was the same day I got Ask the Passengers, so I put that aside. Then Seraphina was available for download, so I jumped to that. Loved it! (4/5)

    Then, on the last day of school before break, a box arrived with all of the Non-Fiction Award books in it. So, I brought those home and have plowed through them. And the wonderful thing has been that they are all topics about which I didn’t know much, so it’s been very educational.

    We’ve Got a Job (4/5)
    Bomb (5/5) – And I can’t believe I didn’t read Benedict Arnold last year
    Titanic Voices from the Disaster (4/5)
    Moonbird (3/5)

    I’ve started Steve Jobs, it’s interesting. I’m going to have to hide it when I go back or a few students may tackle me for it.

    Wonder Show is still sitting upstairs so I may move on and see if I can get all of ten by the end of the month. Although now that school is back and I can’t just sit on my butt and read all day, that may be stretching it.

  8. January 7, 2013

    I’ve read all but Seraphina for the Morris awards. Seraphina is going to be a reread as I read and reviewed it a while ago and I am not looking forward to it as I didn’t really enjoy it first time around. I’m not a reader who enjoys dragons much.
    I’ve just finished the Steve Jobs book and have Moodbird and the Titanic left to read for the non fiction. I’m looking forward to the titanic one – it hasn’t arrived yet but should any day!
    I’ve been posting reviews slowly on my website – I have also been rating them on my good reads account (

  9. Sara Ray permalink
    January 7, 2013

    I am about a third of the way through Bomb, putting me with only Moonbird to go. I still hope to get in one of the Morris finalists but knowing me and non-fiction, I do not expect myself to whip through these last two books. I am very thankful for the exposure to stuff I wouldn’t normally read :)

  10. Marcia Stiller permalink
    January 7, 2013

    Not yet even started. I’ve had so much else going on, I have Seraphina and Wondershow at home, so I’ll be getting started soon.

  11. Elizabeth Rafferty permalink
    January 7, 2013

    Last week I finished Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, Bomb, and We’ve Got a Job. Reviews here:

  12. January 7, 2013

    So, re-read “Seraphina” this week. Loved it again! For full review, see this link to my blog:

    Total read:

    Morris: 2/5
    Seraphina and Wonder Show done!
    Started After the Snow, but it is slow reading…

    Non-fiction: 2/5
    Moonbird and Titanic done!
    But I’ve started We’ve got a Job and Bomb. Excited to read more teen non-fiction!

  13. Margaret permalink
    January 7, 2013

    Nonfiction: 3.5/5
    Almost halfway through Bomb right now, and enjoying it tremendously — it’s like one of those classic WWII movies with a really great soundtrack. It’s probably going to replace Moonbird as my favorite on the shortlist.

  14. January 7, 2013

    I had a slow week and the only book I finished was Bomb. I really enjoyed it. What a great combination of stories – the race to make the bomb, the sabotage efforts to keep the Nazi’s from building one, and the Soviet spies stealing the secrets of its construction. I agree with Margaret that it felt like a classic WWII movie.

    That means I have finished the Nonfiction Challenge. But I still have three books to go for the Morris Challenge. I’ve started Love and Other Perishable Items. I’ve not gotten very far, but it’s not grabbing me. I’m not a fan of romance and especially not angsty teenage love stories. Here’s hoping I enjoy it more once I get a bit farther in.

  15. Penny Johnson permalink
    January 7, 2013

    I finished Bomb today, so I have now finished all five nonfiction titles! Titanic was my favorite, Moonbird my least favorite. We watched the movie “Titanic” a few days ago. It was interesting to see details portrayed in the film that were discussed in the book.

    Bomb and We’ve Got a Job stirred up a lot of emotions. I grew up in the 60′s when the civil rights movement and the possibility of the Soviets blowing us up were huge issues. Reading about the history and details of these issues affected me more than I had anticipated.

    I am going to start the Morris list now. I’m not sure I will get them all done in three weeks, but I will try!

  16. Adrienne Gillespie permalink
    January 9, 2013

    I finished Moonbird last night & will start Bomb tomorrow (too much going on today). Although I can see why it is on the list, it is the least favorite of the 3 I’ve read so far. It has more to do with the author’s style than the content.

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