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2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #4

Hub Reading Challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 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!

It’s week five of the Hub Reading Challenge and the check marks on my list of books are finally starting add up, though it’s slow going.  Like so many of you, there’s pressure to read so many books for so many reasons (work, pleasure, committee, or, in my case, interview prep) that it’s sometimes difficult to push challenge titles to the top of the pile.  Luckily the list of eligible titles includes a whole bunch of books that tick more than one box for me, as well as a many, many books I’m happy to make time for.  So far Printz winner Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick is my favorite eligible read.

There’s some great discussion happening over on Goodreads so if you haven’t joined the 2014 Hub Challenge Group check it out!  And don’t forget about the #hubchallenge hashtag where you can find and contribute to even more lit-centric conversations.  Check out what your fellow participants have to say about their reading:

So how are you doing?  Are you reading through specific lists or dipping in as titles catch your fancy?  Have you read anything wildly outside your comfort zone?  What book has challenged you the most so far?  Let us know in the comments!

If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles. 

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Julie Bartel

Julie is a writer and librarian living in Salt Lake City, UT.


  1. This week, I read 4 more, bringing me to 25: Killer of Enemies , Viva Jacquelina! , The Adventurees of Superhero Girl, and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Of that group, and to my very great surprise, Viva Jacquelina! was my favorite. You can read my blog post about it at

    Although I’ve hit 25, I’m going to keep going. I’d like to read as many as I can before the Challenge is over.

  2. Kim Farnsworth Kim Farnsworth

    This week I started Saints by Gene Luen Yang and the audiobook of Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. I’ve read Saints before and felt sort of unexcited about it, especially since Boxers was so excellent, so I started this time by reading Saints first and I’m really enjoying it.

  3. This week I read Help for the Haunted, Between Shades of Gray, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, Mind MGMT V. 1, Vietnam #4: Casualties of War, The Testing, and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer.

    I only have two more books to read for the first time, then 22 books to re-read so that I can conquer the challenge!

    My reviews can be found here:

  4. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I finished two since the last check-in, bringing me to 11 total. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass was great–Piddy was a very recognizable character. A good contemporary read about bullying that I would recommend to all. I finished listening to The Boy on the Wooden Box — all of these Holocaust stories break my heart but hearing that he lived so very long and shared his story is inspiring.

    I am almost done with Midwinterblood — an unexpected surprise since I don’t usually do anything supernatural — can’t wait to see where it leads! The different time period chapters really make it move quickly. I do wish it had a better cover though, it would be easier to sell to teens.

  5. Cheryl Gladfelter Cheryl Gladfelter

    I finished my first two last week. I read In the Shadow of Blackbirds and Out of the Easy. Not sure what my next book is going to be. I absolutely loved Out of the Easy and feel like it ruined me for whatever I read next.

  6. I finished I Am the Messenger and really loved it. I also read Sea of Tranquility. I think I’m almost to the point where I can review it without returning to the feeling of desolation I had when I finished it. As my teens would put it, that book destroyed me.

    That puts me up to 23. I’m taking a break this week to read other things!

  7. It was a slow week as I focused on other reading. But I did finish the audio of Eleanor & Park this week. I loved the book when I read it and loved the audio even more! That brings my total to 7. If I end up snowed in tomorrow as predicted, I’ve got several Challenge books waiting. I can’t decide which one to read first. I just finished Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory, and it was so good that I’m afraid what I read next will suffer for the comparison.

  8. Amy Amy

    So far I’ve read Mind MGMT, Midwinterblood, Maggot Moon, and Rose Under Fire, bringing my total (including the Morris finalists that read during that challenge) to nine. Check out my reviews for everything I’ve read so far here:

    I’ve got The Universe Versus Alex Woods next!

  9. charlene.librarian charlene.librarian

    A bit of a slow week for me, but I finished Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine (amazing audiobooks). Farizan touched on many issues facing women especially in Iran.

    Still slogging my way through In the Shadow of Blackbirds and hoping to move on with other Hub Challenge titles. I’ve been engrossed in last year’s Code Name Verity and finding Wein’s creative writing impressive.

  10. Two more this week to hit 10. This week I finally finished the Eleanor & Park audio. Not my favorite, but not nearly as bad as some. And I read Relish, which I loved!

    They’re predicting more snow for the Philly area tomorrow, and already most of the schools have called a snow day (not my school, but most of the districts our students come from have closed, so if we open, we’ll be missing at least half the school) so I’m hoping to maybe finish Maggot Moon or make progress on Mother, Mother. I had to resist the temptation to bring home a pile of books on Friday (when they really started calling this storm).

    This year I really wanted to hit the Alex list and so far they’ve been very satisfying. Not sure I’ll get through all of them, but I’ll definitely keep chipping away at them. I think I have most of them on hold through Overdrive. Knowing my luck, they’ll all come available at the same time.

  11. Meaghan Meaghan

    If only there was more time in a day! Only managed to get through one book from the list this week. #9: March Book 1.

  12. Brittney Reed Brittney Reed

    This week I finished Ash by Malinda Lo and Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, bringing my total to four. I loved Ash in the beginning, but found myself wanting more action as the book progressed. Midwinterblood, on the other hand, was amazing through and through. I wasn’t expecting much of it, and probably would have never read it if not for the Challenge, but I adored it and want to read more of Sedgwick’s work. I have to say, though, it didn’t feel very YA at all…

  13. I read LEXICON this week! What a terrific book! I just loved it.

  14. Jen Jazwinski Jen Jazwinski

    Listening to Bacigalupi’s Zombie Baseball Beatdown and greatly enjoying it. I’ve read both Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, so when I read the blurbs about this I was expecting the huge change of pace to wacky gross-out humor. I was not expecting (and totally should have been) that Bacigalupi would still be giving thoughtful treatment to very serious issues – in this case bullying, immigration, and corporate corruption/excess – there’s just zombies walking through lakes of poop mixed in there as well. I only have a disc and a half left and I cannot wait for the bullies to get their comeuppance – it will be so very satisfying.

  15. Shannon Krug Shannon Krug

    Yes, I finished two this week. Between Shades of Gray – excellent! and Superhero Girl – entertaining. Started Relish and have a stack at my bedside. So, 3 total .. not so great, but I’m trying and not giving up!

  16. Julie T Julie T

    4 more this week: Carter Finally Gets It – 3/5 Eh
    Ash 3.5/5 Predictable take-off on Cinderella
    Vietnam #4 4.5/5 Need to read the 1st 3 for this to make sense.
    The Testing 5/5 Really enjoyed this one

    Snow days = more reading this week.

  17. I have read and re-read books to take me up to 12 books so far. I loved re-reading Ash by Malinda Lo, and both of Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy and Meg Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. I read the nonfiction book about the Triple Nickels during WWII by Tanya Lee Stone and it was so compelling, I had no idea about the history of these first black paratroopers!

  18. Mindy Engler Mindy Engler

    I had a great week! I read: Maggot Moon, Star Wars Jedi Academy, Dogs of War, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, Midwinter Blood, and The Adventures of Superhero Girl. Quite the variety of books! This brings my total to 24!

  19. Beth Beth

    I only finished one book this week, but at least I haven’t had a zero week yet. That’s my goal!

    #6 – Navigating Early – I ended up feeling very satisfied by the end of the story. I think this is one of those books where you really need to read all the way to the end to appreciate the power of the extended metaphors and the interplay between reality and Early’s story about Pi. There were a few times mid-story that I wasn’t sure I really understood what was so exceptional about this novel, but having finished, I see it completely! And I think I might adopt Early’s sweetest rule – “When it’s raining, it’s always Billie Holiday.”

  20. Mary Mary

    I have read 6 books and am almost done Far Far Away and have just started All the Truth That’s in Me.

    Far Far Away was pretty slow at first and now it is getting really really good. Trying to sneak it in every chance I get!

    All the Truth That’s in Me is written in a style that is taking me a little while to get in to. Kind of reminds me of Stolen by Lucy Christopher. I am hoping that it starts to pick up.

    Looking forward to listening to some of the Odyssey award winners. Love a good audio book and with a two year old at home, sometimes the audios make me feel that much more productive during the day:)

  21. Brenda Schwarz Brenda Schwarz

    I am slow to getting books read. I have read 2 books and am working on my 3rd. I have read Branded by the Pink Triangle. I found it not only informative but kinda sad. I also read Out of the Easy and I really loved that book. I have already read Between Shades of Grey but I think I will reread it because I really like this author’s writing. I am now reading Mother, Mother and I think that this will also be a good one but I have just started it so we will see.

  22. Just finished MIDWINTERBLOOD to bring my total up to 8 books! AUDREY, WAIT by Robin Benway will be number 9!

  23. I finished 5 this week, bringing me to 26:

    Etiquette & Espionage 3/5
    Better Nate Than Ever (audiobook) 4/5
    Strobe Edge v. 1-3 4.5/5, 3/5, 4/5

    Still in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and still enjoying it. I’m dry on Alex and Edwards books though: I need to remedy that.

  24. Colette C. Colette C.

    I only finished one book this week, Scowler which was really, really rough. I had to actually stop reading it during lunch! I’m working on Maggot Moon and listening to Dodger .

  25. I’ve read 13 books for the challenge now. I finished Courage has no color, The audiobook of Eleanor and Park, Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass, and Beautiful music for ugly children this week. I started The kingdom of little wounds this weekend.

    Out of this group I loved Beautiful Music and Eleanor and Park (I’ve read it before but the audio made me fall in love with it again). I found Yaqui and Courage has no color to be the difficult ones. I was not a huge fan of Piddy and found the non-fiction selection to read like a term paper. It was an interesting topic but I didn’t find it an interesting read.

  26. Jennie Evans Jennie Evans

    I just finished Lexicon which was a struggle for me. It all started to come together towards the end, but that just wasn’t soon enough for me.

    I breezed right through Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, which I really truly enjoyed. It was definitely a nice change of pace after Lexicon.

    I also FINALLY finished Scowler. Boy, I felt like it took me forever to get through, maybe because it is such an intense listening experience. I think I gave up on the challenge last year after listening to Rotter (which, in retrospect wasn’t bad–it was just so MUCH) so I decided to give the listening a little break for now. Up next on the listening list is Zombie Baseball Beatdown–a different take on scary stuff, I hope!

  27. Finished Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Shen for this week. Am loving the graphic novels, I am going to try and read them all. Have not picked up a new book for this week yet, but I have Dogs of War on hold, so hoping that will get in this week. My total right now is 10, 15 more to go!

  28. Kristi Kristi

    I finished listening to Scowler this week. Not my favorite, but I understand why the recording was good. I also read Audrey, Wait!

  29. Library.Lil Library.Lil

    I’ve been reading since the challenge started but this is my first check-in. I’m up to 7.

    #1 The president has been shot–enjoyed it and learned a lot. It was especially interesting to think of the shooting as the first major news event to reach the people quickly.

    #2 Belle Epoque–didn’t love the premise and I found it to be just okay.

    #3 Beautiful Music for Ugly Children–Loved it

    #4 Navigating Early–I’m predisposed to like Clare Vanderpool. I enjoyed it. I agree with Beth in that I may adapt Early’s “if it’s raining, it’s always Billie Holiday.”

    #5 Two Boys Kissing–it took me a while to adjust to the “Greek Chorus” of men who died of AIDS, but David Levithan always wins me over.

    #6 Will & Whit–liked it, didn’t love it. My favorite screen is when she gets inspired and you see her thought process for making a new lamp. It’s a great visual.

    #7 Go a Kidd’s guide to graphic design–learned a whole lot.

  30. Allison Allison

    I am going really slow. I have read 3 books so far and I’m on my 4th (I’ll probably finish it tonight). Since I last checked in, I finished Lexicon and Belle Epoque. I loved Lexicon until it got really chaotic and confusing at the end. Belle Epoque was alright but I didn’t love it.

    I am currently reading Beautiful Music for Ugly Children and It is amazing! I had to force myself to put it down so I wouldn’t be late to work this morning. I also started Branded by the Pink Triangle but it isn’t holding my interest, so I’m going to have to force my way through it soon.

  31. Kelly Kelly

    Finished listening to Zombie Baseball Beatdown this week and I didn’t love it. Next up I think I’m going to try Will & Whit

  32. Lisa Lisa

    Slow progress right now… This week I finished March Book One and I’m about to finish More Than This by Patrick Ness. I had also finished the four Morris nominees back when we were reading those together. Working on it!

  33. Samantha Tai Samantha Tai

    This week I read Volumes 1-4 of Strobe Edge. I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels. I do well with words or pictures, but feel overwhelmed when I’m bombarded with both. However, I’ve really enjoyed this series and am working on Volumes 5 & 6. I thought I’d have some trouble reading the manga because you have to read it backwards and from right to left, but I’ve had no trouble reading it at all. I think I’m addicted to this series!

    I also read War Brothers by Sharon McKay.

    Last week I also read Navigating Early. I thought this was a sweet book and I enjoyed reading about Jack’s and Early’s adventure. I tried reading All the Truth That’s In Me but I had a hard time getting into it. I’ve put it aside for now and may try it again before the challenge ends.

    I’m still listening to Scowler and should finish it this week. I also started The Universe Versus Alex Woods which I’m really enjoying.

    My total read is 24. I’m keeping track and reviewing my books on Goodreads.

  34. Debbie Debbie

    I added another five books this week, for a total of 15. Yay for graphic novels!

    Dogs of War – graphic novel/short stories about service dogs in wartime. The third story broke my heart.
    Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass – great title, pretty engaging bullying story, some Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text
    Will & Whit – beautifully drawn graphic novel, will probably appeal more to girls
    March (Book 1) – Loved it! Book one of a planned trilogy about the life of Congressman John Lewis and his experiences fighting for Civil Rights. A must read.
    The Adventures of Superhero Girl – I loved this one too. An angsty young superhero struggles to pay the rent.

  35. Robin Brandt Robin Brandt

    Read this week:

    Cokal–The Kingdom of Little Wounds

    Cronn-Mills–Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.

    Medina–Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

    Wein–Rose Under Fire

    This brings my total to 13.

  36. Anna Chappell Anna Chappell

    This week I read Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington, which was a sobering look at not only how gays were treated by the Nazis, but mostly about how they were treated afterward. I wish it had had even more information, but definitely good.

    I also read Winger by Andrew Smith. I liked the first part, but ultimately was very disappointed and a little angry at the end.

    The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau was my favorite of the week by far. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, but something about it really grabbed me. Looking forward to the next one!

  37. Andrea Egbert Andrea Egbert

    Had a great week of reading! Not only did I make it through Belle Epoque as planned, I also had a copy of Between Shades of Gray come in, so I snagged that as well. Somehow, Between Shades of Gray had slipped through the cracks, and I hadn’t realized that it was such a great read-alike for fans of Code Name Verity. Seems like a lot of my coworkers also didn’t know about it, so I’ve been spreading the love.

    Next I’ll be catering to my sci-fi fantasy roots with Lives of Tao, which looks really interesting, and then picking up the audio book for Etiquette and Espionage, which I read last year and enjoyed immensely.

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