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2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #16

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!

Boy21For some reason, despite all of the great feedback I was hearing, I dragged my feet a bit in reading Boy 21 by Matthew Quick. People on listservs were RAVING about how good it was. Boy 21 was even on YALSA’s 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults List. So even though it didn’t really seem like a book that would normally appeal to me, I purposefully checked it out of the library and took it home. I would periodically stare at the cover, consider it for a moment or two, and then time and again put it back on my gigantic “to read” pile while I grabbed another more appealing title. But over this past weekend, I felt the call of Boy 21, so I finally cracked that cover and began reading…

…and I didn’t stop until I had finished the very last sentence! And then I wished it would go on even longer. (And then, if I’m being completely honest, I hugged it a bit before placing it lovingly and regretfully on my “to be returned” pile of library books.)

What makes this book so wonderful? As always, I struggle a bit trying to describe the magic of a really special book. Boy 21 is a book with fantastic male characters who are both typical and atypical for their geographic locations and experiences. It’s about basketball and astronomy, and about discovering there’s more to both then just playing the game or seeing bright lights in the sky. It’s about that one special friend who both embraces you as you are and also helps you to become more. It’s about learning to care about someone else’s life and, well, being more than your own. And it’s about discovering and valuing the things that are most important to you. In short, it’s just a really special book that I think just about any reader would enjoy.

Have any of you made a really special discovery during the reading challenge thus far?

— Nicole Dolat, currently reading Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form 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. I also read Boy21 this week. Like you, I read it in a day. Overall, I really enjoyed it. Definitely exceeded my expectations. I love the movie Silver Linings Playbook which is based on the book by this author, but I was also hesitant to read Boy21. It didn’t sound super intriguing to me, but I was delightfully surprised.

    Only 4 books to go!

    • :) I just finished Boy21 about half an hour ago, and I also enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

      I only have Tell the Wolves I’m Home left until I have conquered this challenge!

  2. I read Girlchild this week. I liked it a lot at times, but tried to picture the kids who would read it and they were a very small crowd.

    I haven’t picked up Boy 21 because it didn;t look interesting to me, but I’ll put it on hold & give it a try.

    I was surprised by My Friend Dahmer. I’m not a huge graphic novel fan and I was worried it would be creepy in a way that I don’t like. But it wasn’t about what Dahmer became famous for.It was a sad tale of a boy who fell through the cracks. I was looking a lot closer at the kids I teach after reading it.

  3. Alison Alison

    Finished 11 & 12 this week.

    I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I liked it and thought Frankie was very funny and clever. The book was entertaining but I just felt like there was something missing.

    Just finished Never Fall Down. I wish I knew at the outset that the book was based on a true story. Looking back I appreciate the novel more than while reading it. At times I felt like I was reading the same pages over and over again. It was a page turner though. I have mixed emotions…I enjoyed it but was frustrated at the same time. I think part of the turn off was the grammar. In my mind I kept correcting his grammar. It just interrupted the experience.

  4. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I FINALLY finished book #23, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore!! It is not something I may have read without the challenge, the “genre” is hard for me to describe and not anywhere near my usually reading habits… and it is also an Adult book, a rarity for me, I really enjoyed the book. You can tell the author’s personality through Clay and there were some awesome character moments that made me smile. With that said, I don’t know if it was genre or my life’s craziness right now but it look me about 4 weeks to read this book. :(

    At least I was ahead of myself for the challenge. I am whipping through a tiny book and then have 2 to chose from for my last book. I’m going to go over the list and maybe put a couple on hold (like Boy 21 lol) and see if I can get a few more in before June 22.

  5. Richard Thornley Richard Thornley

    Slowwwwwwing down but squeaked out books 21 and 22 these past two weeks: Isle of Blood (great story, but toooo many words) and This Is Not A Test (dark, zombie-spiced tale, kinda like The Breakfast Club meets Walking Dead, quite enjoyable). Three more to go and I’m pretty excited that I’ve made it this far (since I don’t normally read a lot of teen lit). I’ve discovered some great books though, including Pure and My Friend Dahmer. And Friends With Boys, and Crusher, and…

  6. Just one book again this week, The Running Dream. It had been sitting on my shelf for ages and I never seemed to get around to starting it. I’m glad I did. It was excellent and another book I would not have read if not for the challenge.

    I will be starting to listen to Inheritance this week. My Friend Dahmer arrived for me this week. So I’ll read that too.

    My total so far is 45. I am hoping to make it to 50. But a stack of Teen Top Ten Nominees arrived this week to distract me.

  7. I finished diviners!!!! What a feat! I listened to it in the car and it was fantastic! One of my favs so far, but I absolutely love Libba Bray and everything she writes. I am almost done with Bomb and boy 21 both are kind of EHHH! for me. I am glad you liked it so much, maybe that is the motivation I need to read the last few pages.

  8. I finished books #17, 18, 19, and 20 this week. Whew!

    Book #17, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, was a slow read for me. Not sure why, except that I didn’t exactly love the time period it was set in.

    Books #18 – 20 were very fast reads. Loved Prom and Prejudice. Made me want to go back and reread all my Jane Austen novels. Beneath a Meth Moon was a wonderfully told story about a girl’s struggle with meth addiction. And The Night She Disappeared was a quick read mystery. Made up for some slow weeks. I think I’m going to finish this year!

  9. Polished off Alanna: The First Adventure this week. It was my first foray into the world of Tamora Pierce and though I am not normally a huge fantasy reader I really enjoyed it. I also finished October Mourning which I was hugely disappointed in. I thought the poetry was heavy-handed, cliched and overall eye-roll inducing.

    Next up is My Friend Dahmer, and possibly the next Alanna book. Only 4 more to go!

  10. Debbie Debbie

    Several of the graphic novels were finally available at my local library this week, so I was able to make good progress. Nothing I read this week was awesome. While I do see the appeal of graphic novels, and regularly buy them for my classroom library, it’s not my favorite genre. My new total is 39 books read. This week, I read Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, Drama (perfect for middle grades), The Silence of our Friends, A Flight of Angels (beautiful artwork), and My Friend Dahmer. I’m hoping for a better week of reading next week. I just started Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore and am enjoying it so far.

  11. MindyE MindyE

    This week I finished Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. How great would it be to pair this book with the graphic novel Trinity! and I finished all the nonfiction! whew!

  12. Katie Katie

    It’s been a busy couple weeks, so I’ve only finished the Cabin Fever audiobook, bringing my total to 19. I’m currently reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post and loving it – if only this weekend wasn’t so busy I would be done with that, too! =) With only a few weeks left, I can see the end and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to meet the challenge. I have The Silence of Our Friends and Spider-man Vol 1 waiting for me at the library, so that’ll definitely help!

  13. I have officially conquered the list! 83 books later, I am officially done with the entire Hub Challenge list. I loved some of the books, especially Juvenile in Justice, which I was the first patron to check out at my library (because I requested it once I realized they didn’t have a copy).

  14. Well, I finished #28 and #29 this week, which now doesn’t seem like such an accomplishment compared to Jenni up above.

    #28…Trinity. I really enjoyed this, and probably largely because of having read Bomb. Trinity comes at the same story from the scientific angle. And now I’m looking forward to reading The Girls of Atomic City.

    #29…Code Name Verity, audio. It worked out well, that this is the June book for my (adult) book club, and I’m the discussion leader this month. Really enjoyed it. The narrators were phenomenal. I may read the paper version, just to see how the story goes when you know what you know.

  15. Julie Julie

    Finished some more this week:

    #30 Friends With Boys (would have liked it better if it were written like a “real” book)
    #31 The Silence of Our Friends (not so much),
    #32 Drama (would have been enjoyable as a “real” book),
    #33 In Darkness (okay, but dialect made it slow going)
    #34 Every Day – great book

  16. Kristie Bartlett Kristie Bartlett

    I finished, “This is not a test,” this week and started, “Code Named Verity.”

  17. I’m forgetting what I’ve listed out and what I haven’t. I’ve been reading a mix of challenge books, books for school visits, and a few adult thrillers as well. The stack of “read” books on my desk contain:
    #16 Trinity
    #17 Prom & Prejudice
    #18 Ultimate Comics Spider-man
    #19 Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller
    #20 The Round House – Wow, this was a fascinating read. It makes me want to read more of Erdrich’s work.
    #21 Juvenile in Justice – heartbreaking.

  18. Read “Dodger” and just loved it! Such a delight. Almost done. Should breeze through number 25 this week.

  19. Martha Boksenbaum Martha Boksenbaum

    I’m reading the White Bicycle, which is actually a bit difficult to read. It’s not difficult to read in that it’s not interesting, it’s difficult because of the writing style which actually makes the book a better portrait of the main character. The main character has Asperger’s, and the writing style matches the way she thinks. So the reader has to decode the text, decode how the main character sees the situation, and then decode how the other characters see the situation. For example, this character spends a whole afternoon trying to figure out how her mother could say that she had her mind on her suitcase, because she didn’t understand the figurative language. Every page of this book feels earned, and I feel I’ve learned a lot with the experience.

  20. This week I both listened and read Code Name Verity. I had somehow gotten my hands on both formats of the book (Thank you public library) and I was so engrossed in the story that when I wasn’t listening in my car, I opened up the book and read as well. It’s interesting to experience a book that way, listening gives you the power of the actors emotions, and seeing the words on the page, the spelling, the layout, illustrates it. I loved it and am putting it on our suggested summer reading list for 11th grade.
    I also read Drama, an adorable graphic novel about middle-school aged theater geeks. That brings me up to 21! I think I’ll read Boy 21 next, thanks for recommending!

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