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2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #12

reading challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!

Twelve weeks down, eight to go! A big welcome to all of our participants who are joining us after reading about the challenge in the most recent issue of YALS — remember that anything you’ve read since the challenge started in February can count toward your total, even if you didn’t know about the challenge!

For those of you who are reading outside of your comfort zones, how have you enjoyed trying a genre or format you don’t normally read? Any surprisingly delightful finds? Any awards or selected lists you’ll be following more closely from here on out?

How are you choosing your books? I’m sure some of it depends on availability at your library or bookstore, but are you using Goodreads reviews, recommendations from friends, or comments other participants leave on these check-in posts? Or are you maybe just drawn to certain covers?

What’s been your favorite book so far? What are you most looking forward to reading before the challenge ends?

Keep up the good work!

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form (which actually works now!) below. (The information you provide is what we’ll use to send you your Challenge Finisher badge, contact you about your reader’s response, and notify you if you win our grand prize drawing, so be sure to use an email address you actually check!) Do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles.

If you’re not done yet, happy reading and keep us posted on your progress! Tweet your reviews and progress with the #hubchallenge tag, and we’ll see you at next week’s check-in!

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  1. Grey Hautaluoma Grey Hautaluoma

    Passed the halfway mark but should be able to finish even though we’re more than half through. October Mourning made me cry repeatedly and is well worth seeking out. Also read Monstrous Beauty, which I didn’t like as much as I thought I would. Enjoying Wonder Show now and then on to Moonbird — a rarity for me since I don’t usually read nonfiction. The Challenge is pushing me to read more, and that’s great!

  2. Rose Rose

    This week I read After the Snow. I can’t lie… I hated it! I made myself finish it hoping I could find something I liked about it.
    I was surprised by the fact that I couldn’t even like it a little because I have enjoyed almost all of the 16 books I have read. My favorite was The Running Dream! I can’t recommend it enough!

  3. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    So it’s been hard to get into another book after enjoying “Every Day” last week. I’m enjoying what I’m reading but not enough to have time to dedicate to it (read a page, fall asleep, read the same page the following night, fall asleep, repeat)… I hope tomorrow will be a day I can finish my last graphic novel and dedicate true time to the new novel.

    I still look forward to quite a few of the books on the challenge list so I hope they move quickly (5 to go).

    I’ve chosen my books based on availability and what I would like best to read (except for a few that have been a bit out the ordinary but no so much as some others would have been). I’ve definitely hit at least one from each list.

    My fav has been Aristotle and Dante — absolutely beautiful! I thought it was going to be fantasy-ish (but it is contemporary- my fav genre) and only read it because I would have to send it back because it had a hold on it. Now I can’t wait to re-read it when I complete the challenge!

  4. I finished 2 this week: The White Bicycle and Love and Other Perishable Items. I felt both were just OK.

    At first I tried to vary which list I was pulling from, to keep things lively, as long as they were available at the library. I always max out my holds & some have been on hold for a long time. I just got Where’d You Go Bernadette & it’s been on hold almost since the Challenge began. I’m now devoting myself almost exclusively tot he Alex & Morris winners.

    I think my favorite is Code Name Verity. It totally falls into the kind of historical fiction I love. Aristotle & Dante is a close runner up. We’ll see if I still feel the same by the end of the Challenge.

  5. h.vert h.vert

    I’ve passed the halfway mark (tracking my reads on Twiter), and most of these books have been outside of my comfort zone. Lol.

    But most recently, Bomb… by Steve Sheinkin made a huge impact. I really did not realize how much industrial espionage was going on throughout World War II.

  6. I became very busy this week and unfortunately did not read any books. I choose my books o their title and the author. My favorite book has definitely been the Epic Completely True Blue (Almost) Holy Quest Of Debbie Sparks.

  7. Karen Meharg Karen Meharg

    Read Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. A VERY different take to a friend dying of cancer compared to, well, just about any other title with the same concept… It would make a great comparison title with The Fault In Our Stars, that’s for sure!
    I also read The Silence of Our Friends. I found it a tad difficult to read with not much insight to what was really going on. Author’s note probably should be read first, and not last…
    Almost finished with all my SLIS courses! One more assignment (grant/program proposal), and graduation here I come :)

  8. I read Matthew Quick’s “Boy21” this week after learning that he was going to be speaking in the town where I work. It’s not something I ever would have picked up on my own, but I really enjoyed it! I’m glad I branched out of my comfort zone. I’m also listening to “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever.” It’s fun, but I miss the illustrations. Next on my TBR pile are “Putting makeup on the Fat Boy” (couldn’t resist the cover!) and “Beneath a Meth Moon” (because Jacqueline Woodson is amazing). My next listen is “Crusher” (another thing I never would have snagged without this challenge). 14 down, 9 to go!

  9. Alison Alison

    Just finished Seraphina. I got off to a slow start with the challenge. Only 7 down. Looks like I have a lot of reading to do!

    I thought Seraphina was just okay. Parts of the book I really enjoyed like when she was tending to her garden. I’m not big into dragon books so perhaps it wasn’t the best fit for me. Sections of the book just dragged. Am I the only one who wasn’t thrilled with the book??

  10. I’ve been very bad about reading for the Challenge over the last 2 weeks. I had a bunch of non-Challenge requests come in at once. So I’ve read those and not a single book for the Challenge. Since I have actually finished the Challenge and am just reading more for the fun of it, I don’t feel guilty. I am getting back on track with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks which I will probably finish tonight. Then it’s on to The Round House.

  11. Didn’t get around to checking in last week, but only ready Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson that week. I am not hugely interested in the Titanic, but I did enjoy the book and thought it had a good balance of factual information about the ship itself, stories of specific passengers, and photos.

    This past week I read Pure by Julianna Baggott, which I have described to students as “super-weird, but in an interesting way”, which I think is an appropriate description. I had already ordered this and the sequel for our school library, and I believe I will read it soon, right after I finish Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta!

    I also read Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal. Steve Jobs was a very interesting person who definitely made a huge impact on our current culture, but I am glad he was never my boss.

    Now I’m done! I will probably read a few more from the list, once a few more become available at our local public library. I’ve run out of funds to buy for our school library for the year :( I chose the books I read for the challenge based both on what was available either at our school library or local public library that I had not already read. I do have The Running Dream at our library, and definitely mean to read that at some point, as I have heard that it is really good. I will probably read more from the Alex list in the future after participating in this challenge. I enjoyed both books I read from the Alex titles (Pure & Mr. Penumbra). I think my favorite reads from this list were Seraphina (read pre-challenge period) & Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (read during the challenge period).

    I did not successfully listen to any audiobooks for the challenge, and probably won’t, as my commute is only 10 minutes and my mind tends to wander when listening & then I don’t know what is going on!

    Good luck to all the other participants! I look forward to reading your thoughts as you progress!

  12. Three books this week bring me to 24 (last week’s count should have been 21, not 22). Could have been 25, but I finally encountered a challenge book I couldn’t finish.

    My three finished entries for the week are the audio of Wonder, The Night She Disappeared, and The Silence of Our Friends. I had read Wonder over the summer and loved it. Listening to it worked well, since I successfully lobbied to have it be the summer read for the 5th and 6th graders this year, so I needed to revisit it. I enjoyed the audio with one exception. I didn’t like how Auggie was narrated. He sounded much more babyish than the other characters, including Jack and Summer, who would be the same age. It didn’t bother me at first…only after I had heard the others and then Auggie was back. Still a powerful story.

    The Night She Disappeared was a fun book. And it contrasted very nicely with what I didn’t like about Personal Effects–here was a guy who was being a teen guy, who wanted a girl, but wasn’t skeevy about it.

    Also really liked The Silence of Our Friends. I booktalked it the other day and had one kid take it right away, a teacher ask to be put on the hold list for it, and a visiting parent stop me before she left for the day so she could write down all of the relevant information.

    Book 25 was the failure. I was listening to Personal Effects and just got to a point where I couldn’t stand it any longer. I only have two discs left, but I will be miserable through it all if I try to finish. I like the concept of the story a whole lot. Unfortunately, for me, it got lost in an over abundance of “I’m a straight guy!” inner monologue. My go to phrase on this is that if I heard the word “tits” one more time or a description of how the crotch of his jeans was fighting physics, I was going to drive my car off the road. Judging by the reviews for it, this is totally my issue and I am the only person who doesn’t love this book.

    Finishing up First Test, which I’m really enjoying. And I started Running Dream while covering a class last week. Wow.

  13. Beth Beth

    My first post in two weeks. Still working slow but steady.

    #9 – Code Name Verity – I have to say, I didn’t love this one as much as I thought I would. I did appreciate the plot twists and the historical perspective, but I felt like there was almost too much flight and plane talk; lots of jargon and references that I didn’t understand or appreciate. But I’m still glad that I read it.

  14. Kym Kym

    Just finished reading Friends with Boys. It just made me wish I was closer with my brother, but at 16 if it’s not a basketball or on TV then he’s not that interested. lol.

  15. This week I finally finished the audio of THE DIVINERS. Excellent production. Now listening to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (the first time I’ve revisited this book since it was published and completely broke my heart). I think I’m about half finished, so I’ll have to pick up my reading to get it finished before the end of the challenge.

  16. Richard Thornley Richard Thornley

    #16 = Drama and #17 = Struts and Frets. A couple of weeks spinning wheels with some other titles that I didn’t finish. But I liked both of these greatly and I feel like I’m back on track. In a sense, both books are mining the same teen themes. They worked well together. Next? Juvenile in justice, possibly.

  17. Jenn Jenn

    I haven’t checked in for ages, but this weekend I finished books 17 & 18 – The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I really liked Cameron Post, but the lengthy passages describing the Montana landscape and its early 90s setting made me question how appealing it would be to teens (at least the teens I know). Bernadette was a blast! I couldn’t put it down. It reminded me of Douglas Coupland’s books in a lot of ways.

    I’ve been choosing books largely based on their availability from the library, but I left the Alex books until the end. I haven’t read adult novels in awhile, so I’m pretty excited. Next on my list is Tell the Wolves I’m Home.

  18. Anna Anna

    I finished Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, bringing my total to 26! However, I am going to keep reading because I’d already read four of the books before (the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce) and reread them for the challenge, and I’d like to read at least 25 new ones. :)

    I’ve mostly been choosing due to availability, though a couple I’ve picked up because I heard good things about them through the Yalsa listserv. My favorites so far are The Diviners and Code Name Verity, I think, but I loved Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, and nonfiction isn’t usually my thing. I’ll definitely keep an eye on the nonfiction awards a little more closely now.

    Of the six left that I’ve chosen (I guess I’m going for 32!), I’m most looking forward to finishing The Round House, which is outside of my usual comfort zone, and Moonbird. I also am looking forward to Enchanted, which is very much inside of it. :)

    It’s been fun! I’ll keep checking in as I read these last six. :)

  19. Brenda Schwarz Brenda Schwarz

    I am going slow this month because of wedding plans for my daughter. Hopefully it will pick up speed after the initial work for the wedding.

  20. Joanna Joanna

    I’m still trucking — just a bit slower since I started. Still enjoying the books!

  21. MindyE MindyE

    This week I read Enchanted and Titanic: Voices from the Disaster. I can’t recommend enough listening to The Watch that Ends the Night, then reading Titanic. wow!! both of these together make the events and people come alive! I’m branching out from my comfort zone by reading the nonfiction titles. And I would like to read all the books that I use for Literacy and Literature workshops for next school year.

  22. So I finished the challenge! Yay! But I’m not stopping, I read Heist Society, and listened to Crusher. I thought Heist Society was pretty fun, and I’m tempted to read the rest of them. Crusher surprised me, although it was too violent for me, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I’m not sure what to read next, but I’m going to see how many I can do before June!

  23. Debbie Debbie

    I am choosing my books randomly, mainly based on library availability. I have enjoyed almost all of the books I’ve read so far and am especially looking forward to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and Girlchild based on others’ positive reviews.

    This week I added three to my total, bringing me to 30 books.

    The Diviners (audiobook) – Loved it!
    One Shot at Forever – One of those inspiring baseball stories that’s about way more than baseball.
    The Isle of Blood – This series is extremely well-written gothic horror. I am recommending it to people I know who are snobby about YA lit to show them that not all YA lit is Twilight.

  24. This week I read Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I am and finished listening to href=”″>Wonder. Honestly, I didn’t like either, and think that Wonder is meant for a lower age group.

    I am at 31 total now. I want to read more, but may need to recharge first on some other books.

  25. I finished three more books this past week bringing my challenge total up to 5! (This was only my second week of participating.) I finished Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg which I enjoyed (to my surprise). It was also a quick Friday night read for me. I also read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks which was okay once I got into it. Then I switched over to non-fiction and read Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. It was a fascinating account, and Sheinkin is a genious when it comes to writing engaging non-fiction!

  26. I found out late last week that I am no longer going to be the librarian at my school starting in September. That day I received a number of books in the mail, including my number 21 for the challenge ‘Aristotle and Dante….”. What a beautiful book. Reminded me that even if I’m not in the library, I can still enjoy YA lit. I have four left to (re) read and am hoping they are returned asap so I can read them!

  27. Amy Amy

    Okay, so I’ve been horrible at posting. Here’s what I’ve read so far (only 5! boooo):
    I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
    Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (which was a re-read, but I don’t care because I love this book so, so much)
    Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
    The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

    Currently reading: After the Snow by S.D. Crockett. I’m about halfway through, and I like it, but I really want to know more about how the society is set up, but I have a feeling I’m not going to get that info. :\

    In my current to-be-read pile: Heist Society by Ally Carter and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – really looking forward to Code Name Verity!

    I’ve been using library availability to determine what I read, but I’ve found that I’ve picked a lot of contemporary titles to read, which is not a genre I usually read a lot. I’ve been enjoying the change (it was especially nice to have something different as I was reading the A Song of Ice and Fire books for the first time), but I think I’m ready to get back to more fantastical fiction.

  28. Donna Siebold Donna Siebold

    Haven’t posted recently – since I finished the challenge I have read: Alanna, The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess and The Woman who Rides Like a Man (still have to get my hands on the Lioness Rampant to finish this series). I preferred Protector of the Small to Alanna’s story, though. I did like the Woman who Rides Like a Man better than the first two. I also read Heist Society and Prom and Prejudice. I thoroughly enjoyed Prom and Prejudice and am hoping this makes me more receptive to Pride and Prejudice when my book club reads it in a few months! I also finished listening to the Diviners – I can’t speak highly enough of January LaVoy’s presentation of this book. Her performance was outstanding. I enjoyed the book very much and am looking forward to the remainder of the series – but I am a bit tired of the incessant use of 1920’s slang. Give it a rest Libba!

  29. Glenda Harlow Glenda Harlow

    This past week I only completed one book for this challenge. I read This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. This is another zombie apocalypse book that is fairly fast-paced. It was okay. I haven’t really fallen for any of the last few books I’ve read. I did some reading that was not on the challenge list this week and am going to try to get back on track this next week. I only have nine more to go!

  30. Katie Katie

    When first making my list for the challenge, I mostly stuck to goodreads opinions for those I hadn’t heard much about and so far it’s been treating me well! I just finished my 15th title this week, Every Day, and I absolutely loved it. As I got closer to the end I just couldn’t put it down. I’m also listening to Code Name Verity on my drive and I’m about halfway through. I’ve heard there are some twists and turns in it, so I’m excited to find out what’s going on! :)

  31. My new trend is to read ALL of the graphic novels so that I make a bigger dent in my long reading list for this challenge. And that is how I came to read My Friend Dahmer and Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, back-to-back. I really enjoyed Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, a book presented by the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, which I didn’t know existed, and now I may go track down some of their other works! We all learn who Helen Keller is in elementary school, but this graphic novel provides a unique perspective and the expressive illustrations add a new facet to the story. And who accuses Helen Keller of PLAGIARISM? Oh no they didn’t! Yes, they did.
    My Friend Dahmer is the author’s recollections of growing up and attending middle school and high school with Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killer. It’s a sad and desperate tale of a lonely and estranged young Dahmer and we follow him as he develops from exhibiting odd social behaviors, experimenting with road kill, alcohol addiction and on to worse. Don’t read before going to sleep, as I did.
    Still chugging along with the Diviners on audio, and am so into the story that I find myself wishing I had the book as well, so I can pick up and read from where I left off listening to it in the car.
    I do value the opinions of the bloggers here, and I’ve been tracking down the books people have raved about. I’m also trying to read the Alex Awards and experiment with audio books which I typically don’t use. Graphic novels, are my current focus, of course, but I’m thinking I need to switch to something with more substance soon. I’m on to Moonbird next, I need to get some more non-fiction in. That will bring me up to 17!

  32. Lois Lois

    I’ve missed checking in for a couple of weeks, but I’m nearing the end. I just finished listening to Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. The reader, Katherine Kellgren is wonderful! I expected a fairly predictable supernatural/paranormal romance. I got a good bit more in the bargain. I finished reading Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman and enjoyed it – though enjoy is not really a good word for how I felt about this one. Very different books, but both worth reading.

    I’m reading “In Darkness” by Nick Lake now. I think that is number 24 for me!

  33. This week: “Raven Boys” (AWESOME! LOVE!) and “Heist Society” (Fun! Kinda liked!) and now I am refreshing my mind with “One Shot At Forever” Whew! Almost there!

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