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2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #6

Not signed up yet for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm EST on June 23, so sign up now!

We are six weeks into the 2016 Hub Reading Challenge, with over 150 (and counting!) participants. I have already had some really satisfying reading experiences from the list of eligible titles. If you, like me, are still only a few titles in, do not fret! We have fifteen weeks left to read, so it’s definitely not too late to jump on board if you’re just joining us! Let us know what you’ve been reading or listening to in the comments below, and find us with the #hubchallenge hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and the 2016 Hub Challenge Goodreads group.


the hub 2016 reading challenge


This past week I finally tackled a title that’s been on my to-read list for months; Laura Ruby’s mesmerizing Bone Gap, winner of this year’s Printz Award. I’d heard only awesome things about it from sources I totally trust, but I’d been putting off reading it – something about the jacket blurb wasn’t quite hooking me, and it just never seemed like exactly what I was in the mood for. My to-read list (like yours, I’m sure!) is long enough that it can take months – or years – for me to get to those books. But this is why I love the Hub Challenge; it’s that extra little incentive to pick up a title I’ve been intending to get to but haven’t started yet. And once I did start reading Bone Gap, it only took a page for the writing to reel me in, and I couldn’t put it down, so I’m grateful for the extra push to read it now.

Also this week, I read the first three volumes of A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima, the only manga on the 2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten list. I promptly brought it back to work the following day, book-talked it, and had a student take it immediately. The premise has strong appeal for a lot of my students – one main character on the margins, another lashing out, the long-lasting repercussions of bullying and ugly behavior, the question of redemption, and motive, and forgiveness. I found myself troubled by the pivotal role suicide plays in the plot (both in the volumes recognized for the list, and later volumes), and curious to see what other readers thought of how that was portrayed. Even though I was frequently quite frustrated by many of the characters’ behavior, it’s really stayed on my mind since I finished reading, and I’m planning on finishing the series.

What have you been reading for the challenge this week?

If you’ve completed or conquered the challenge, fill out the form. Happy reading, everyone!

-Carly Pansulla, currently (re)reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

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Carly Pansulla

Carly Pansulla is currently a high school librarian at the Carlyle Fraser Library in Atlanta, GA. She reads across genres, but has a soft spot for urban fantasy, character-driven sci-fi, historical fiction, and mysteries.


  1. This is an update for both week 5 and 6. It’s cookie booth time, which means my life is utterly crazy. :)

    *Awkward – I really enjoyed this one. I liked the dynamics of the characters and the challenges they dealt with. It did a good job capturing middle school angst. I plan on passing it on to my daughter to read.

    *Cinder – I read this when it first came out, and it is still an amazing book the second time around. The political world building as the series progresses is one of my favorite parts.

    *Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – I’ve heard about this book for a while, but it isn’t one I would have picked up on my own. It was a fairly quick read, engaging, and the angst, issues, consequences, and outcomes are relatable.

    *Charm & Strange – I don’t know what I was expecting when I started this book, but it wasn’t what happened. Kuehn did a good job creating tension about what was actually going on. Aspects of it reminded me of We Are the Ants, specifically the main character’s grappling with reality and the lack of concrete closure. That being said, I enjoyed it.

  2. I only completed one book for the Challenge this week- Bone Gap. Is magical realism now becoming a think in YA? Recently I read The Weight of Feathers and The Accident Season and they both fit into this subgenre of fantasy. I need to reread Bone Gap to fully appreciate how Laura Ruby wove mythological references to Persiphone into the story and also to pick out some of the less noticeable motifs in the book. What, if anything did the cat and kittens signify?

  3. Cindy Cindy

    I finished 3 books this week:
    In Undocumented (#12) the author tells of his family’s struggles as undocumented residents in the US.
    Audacity (#13) was written in verse and is a story based on the life of Clara Lemlich, an immigrant who fought for better working conditions for the factory girls of NYC.
    The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy (#14) has all sorts of tips and advice for girl geeks and nerds.
    I enjoyed all 3 of the books!

  4. charlene.librarian charlene.librarian

    Started Lumberjanes and got The Born Frees for the “next one” pile. I finished The Bane Chronicles (audiobook) but now realize it’s not on the eligible list. Have loved Cassandra Clare, so I was happy to get this under my belt anyway. I doubt I will make much progress this week since I’ve got a lot on my plate.

    Happy reading/listening!

  5. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I’ve only finished one for this week, a re-read, Roller Girl, putting me at 15. Most of what I want to read now are novels (and a few more graphics) so my numbers will be slower until June.

    I agree with Carly about having books that I’ve been intending to read – this Challenge has helped me read those books for years now. This year I look forward most to: Bone Gap and Challenger Deep (as well as many others)!

  6. Allison Allison

    I finished two this week. Waistcoats & Weaponry: Such a fun book with a really great narrator and now I am eager to read the next book and find out where the author takes the characters next.

    The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B: a gripping story about life with OCD dealing with family and relationships and I thought it was really well done.

  7. I just finished All Involved by Gattis to bring my total up to 20. I took a break before this one to read Morning Star by Brown & wish I hadn’t :/
    I really enjoyed All Involved. I loved the multiple perspectives, which I thought was very effective for revealing the plot while emphasizing the interconnectedness of all the characters, as they were all affected by events, even if they are not all “involved” in the gang life.
    I’m moving on to Wonders of the Invisible World by Barzak next.
    If anyone is interested, we’ve started a Youtube Channel for our school library & some of my booktalks will feature Hub Challenge titles. or just search for MHHSE Library.

  8. Julie T. Julie T.

    #61 Ashfall – 2.5 – not thriller for me
    #62 Between the World & Me – 1
    #63 Born Frees – 2.5 – good story, but all of her work could have been useful in the USA – why ignore our own needy.
    #64 Gabi – 2 – a potty mouthed teen – narrator was just so-so
    #65 Lair of Dreams – 2
    #66 Cut Both Ways – 1 – crude & disgusting; there are far better LGBT books out there
    #67 Six of Crows – 3 – okay, but too many odd names to keep track of; not into characters & their special abilities.

    Reading Boston Girl and really liking it.

  9. I’ve got three to go!

    Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before,
    Red Queen (I’ve been on hold for this one for FOREVER),
    and African-American Women, which my library system still doesn’t have.

    Looks like I’ll either be buying that book and donating it or just waiting on the last one for a really long time. :)

  10. Joanna Joanna

    I am still reading…getting through some! Right now, I’m on The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. Really liking it a lot! I finished Book of a Thousand Days — wasn’t that big of a fan of it. Also read the Unlikely Hero of Room 13B — really liked that one!

  11. This week I read Ghost Heaven by Sedgwick. The book is a series of 4 short stories that are all connected. The stories span time from pre-history to a future when Earth is overpopulated and humans are exploring deep space. The stories can be read in any order, it would be interesting to re-read the book in a different order. The stories were dark and compelling. The Ghost Heaven would be a great book to read with a group so it can be discussed, especially the last story and the significance of the spiral throughout.

    Next book on the list is Out of the Darnkess by Perez. Currently I am about 1/4 through the book – and I am sensing that the explosion is not going to be the only tragedy :-(

  12. Anna Chappell Anna Chappell

    This week:
    * The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (amazing book)
    * Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong (pretty violent and silly but I really enjoyed it, far more than the other book of his I’ve read)
    * The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu by Kimberly Burge (really good look at the girls and how writing can bring together people)
    * Lumberjanes 1 and 2 (enjoyed but didn’t like the art style much, partly because I thought Noelle Stevenson had illustrated it too)

  13. I read Most Dangerous & could not put it down! Shienkin really knows how to make nonfiction read like a riveting mystery!!! I also enjoyed ShadowShaper, a great diverse read about a Puerto Rican girl who paints murals in Bed-Stuy finds out there is a battle being waged against her family of Shadowshapers—such a spine tingling GREAT read. Listening to Challenger Deep on Audible (cause I already read the book when it came out). I have read 16 books toward the Challenge.

  14. Maria Kramer Maria Kramer

    I have not been updating, but I have been reading!

    The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volumes 1 and 2 – excellent, fun graphic novel. can’t wait to see more of this series!

    Supermutant Magic Academy – Another excellent graphic novel from the author of Skim and This One Summer. Funny and unique. I really enjoyed it.

    Enchanted Air – This one’s a case of “right book, wrong reader”. It’s well-written, but I just am not a huge fan of historical novels in prose.

    Zeroboxer – Horrible. Did not finish.

  15. Kendra Kendra

    I just started the challenge last week, but between audio books and reading I’ve managed to read three so far: Nimona, Conviction, and Bone Gap.

    I don’t read many graphic novels, but I really enjoyed Nimona and had fun discussing it with some of my high school book club members. Conviction I was less enamored with. Maybe it was because the characters were not especially likable. I also felt like the storyline with the older brother was predictable. Of the three, Bone Gap was definitely my favorite. I loved pretty much everything about it and have had fun “selling” it to my students. When I book talk I sometimes label one table “Really Awesome Books that are Difficult to Describe” and I think Bone Gap might belong there: it’s realistic, romantic, mysterious, and fantastical, all in one book.. I just read Laura Ruby’s interview in Booklist magazine, and I loved her story about reading the article about the woman who lost her child but couldn’t describe what her child looked like. That will make sense to anyone who has read the book. :) It’s great!

  16. Aaron Volner Aaron Volner

    I don’t have my list in front of me so let me see if I can remember them all. So far I’ve got: Echo, Shadowshaper, Calvin, Illuminae, Half the World…and I think that’s all. All have been awesome so far. :)

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