The following is a reader response from BJ Neary, who participated in and finished the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge.
This is my second year participating and completing The Hub Reading Challenge. I am an avid reader of all things YA- enjoying all genres in YA especially nonfiction, novels in verse, and series books. This year I discovered I had read many books on the list. So I decided to push myself and delve into audiobooks in the Challenge. Below are just a few of the award winning titles I listened to and RECOMMEND in the Amazing Audiobook section of the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira was awesome. Laurel is still reeling from the death and loss of her older sister, May. Laurel has transferred to a new school. In English her first assignment is to write a letter to a dead person. This assignment begins a year- long letter writing campaign from Laurel to Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse, poets and many more…What I liked about these letters is that Laurel researches each subject and the reader learns about the lives of these dead people and we see parallels to May, Laurel, and her family. As Laurel struggles with her guilt, her silence, her own self- image, and her idealization of May…who will she become? As a reader, I savored the New Mexico setting, the flawed (but real) characters, the letters, and Laurel’s journey. Teens will relate to Laurel, Sky, Natalie, and Hannah in their daily lives and interpersonal relationships in high school.
Acid by Emma Pass – I couldn’t stop listening as Jenna Strong is imprisoned by the police (the most barbaric force known as ACID) for murdering her parents when she was 15 years old. But all is not as it seems; if you love action, suspense, and thrillers; you will not soon forget Jenna’s world of lies, espionage, and sinister brutality—what will she do to remember her life as it was and as it is now? This audiobook has riveting plots, characters (nasty and nice) and a dystopian world you won’t forget!
Revolution by Deborah Wiles – What I enjoyed most was the factual speeches from the 1960s and news stories interspersed with white Sunny’s story of civil rights workers coming to her town in Mississippi and getting blacks out to vote. Sunny’s teen viewpoint was key- she did not know about racism and segregation other than what she hears (“they are invaders”) from her family and others in charge. Sunny learns so much more that summer as events unfold, friendships are made and broken, and families are mended.
Define Normal by Julie Ann Peters – LOVED it. Both girls are fantastic protagonists, although the story is told solely from Antonia’s point of view. Antonia is peer counseling Jazz Luther who is her total opposite. As I listened to this compelling audiobook I realized why I love Julie Ann Peters’ books- she gets teens. This book is no different- both Jazz and Antonia have “stuff” going on and teens will be riveted reading or listening to this book; can seeming “opposites” get along, trust each other, and become friends?
Half Bad by Sally Green is an amazing psychological thriller audiobook! I loved Carl Prekopp’s narration; he was gripping and mesmerizing as Nathan. In a future England, Nathan is half white witch and half black witch and it is being the son of notorious black witch, Marcus, that brands him an outsider—even his own sister, Jessica, hates him. Thankfully Nathan has a wonderful and sympathetic brother, Aaron. Aaron is sweet, trusting, and very protective of Nathan. But Aaron is not bullied, beaten up, or branded “BAD” like Nathan. Will Nathan be able to elude the hunters and survive until his 17th birthday and receive his three important powers of magic? Will he be able to survive in a world that does not want him or his father?