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2018 Hub Reading Challenge April Check-In

It’s time for our first Hub Reading Challenge Check-In!

Now that we’re really into the swing of things, I’m wondering how y’all have gone about choosing books to read for the challenge? One of the best parts about the Hub Reading Challenge is having a giant list (in sortable spreadsheet form!) of amazing, pre-vetted books to choose from. And if you’re looking to expand your reading horizons, you really couldn’t ask for a better list than this year’s.

But, I know for me personally, actually choosing a starting point from such a big list can be overwhelming. I’m quite like the seagulls from Finding Nemo when it comes to grabbing books in my everyday life, so I know it can be easy to end up with an overwhelming to-be-read pile when you have a lot of options.

This year I’m starting with the Morris titles. I was lucky enough to hear the Morris recipients speak at Midwinter and receive copies of their books while I was there, so I’ve been able to dive right in. I know I’m way late to the game here, but The Hate U Give is absolutely stunning and worthy of every award.

But there’s just something very exciting about debut novels. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a long list of favorite authors and I will always be excited to read their work. But it’s so much fun to pick up something by a first-time novelist with no expectations only to be totally blown away. There are some great debuts on this year’s reading list beyond just the Morris honors, like Last Seen Leaving, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, and Dreadnought.

So, how is your challenge going? What are your favorites so far? Be sure to let us know in the comments! And be sure to tag any social media posts with #hubchallenge!

Here’s a quick reminder of the challenge guidelines:

  • The goal of the Hub Reading Challenge is to read 25 books over the next four months from a list of the most recent award winner and honor books and YALSA selected lists.
  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) between the date the award winners and selected lists have been released and June 30, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. If you’ve already read/listened to a title (before the winners/selected lists were announced), you must re-read/listen to it for it to count. The challenge ends on June 30, 2018 at at 11:59pm EST. 
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • If you’ve already finished, let us know here! The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on July 1, 2018. The winner will be notified via email.

–Stephen Ashley, currently reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Stephen Ashley

Stephen Ashley is the Member Manager for the Hub. He has worked in both school and public libraries with youth of all ages. He can currently be found in North Carolina reading, listening to live music, and never finishing a to do lists. He cannot remember where he parked.

27 Comments

  1. Sandra Javier-Santana Sandra Javier-Santana

    I’m on the fifth book

  2. I’m 10 books in and have already encountered a number that I likely wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. Love this Challenge! Particularly enjoyed The 57 Bus, Long Way Down, and Scythe.

  3. Whitney Jones Whitney Jones

    I just finished my 12th book for this challenge, We Are Okay by Nina Lacour. There hasn’t been a single book that I’ve even remotely disliked so far! My favorites have probably been What Girls Are Made Of, Down Among the Sticks and Bones (also read Every Heart is a Doorway to prepare), and Malagash. Thanks for this challenge!

  4. I’m 10 books in! I’ve never made so much progress in one month of The Hub Challenge before, so I’m really proud of myself.

    #1 – Long Way Down – LOVE
    #2 – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life – the narrator was perfect for the emotional story
    #3 – We Are Okay – so captivating
    #4 – Trombone Shorty – felt like cheating b/c it’s so short, but it was really awesome and my 5 year old loves it
    #5 – Honor Girl – the ending was highly unsatisfying, but it’s a true story, and we don’t always get the endings we want, I guess.
    #6 – Saints and Misfits – bought immediately for my library; we need this voice
    #7 – The 57 Bus – my favorite so far!
    #8 – Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation – really well done, but I’m frustrated to see full nudity images. It’s appropriate to the story, completely, but it makes it hard for me to have in my school library.
    #9 – Vincent and Theo – super great, but what a sad story
    #10 – Flying Lessons & Other Stories – great collection; must buy

    Hoping I have another 10 to add next month, but I doubt I’ll be that successful two months in a row.

    • I just finished book #8. Each year I try to read 1 book from each category and then go back and read books that look like books of interest. I have generally enjoyed each of the books I have read so far.
      1. Dear Martin (Morris, Quick Books)
      2. As the Crow Flies (Stonewall) most problematic and unsatisfying hence #8
      3.Piecing Me Together (Best Fiction, Amelia Bloomer, Coretta Scott King)
      4. I am Alfonso Jones (Great Graphic Novels)
      5. Saints and Misfits (Morris, Amelia Bloomer)
      6. We are Okay (Printz, Rainbow List)
      7. The Stars Beneath Our Feet (Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe)
      8. Little & Lion (Stonewall)

      Piecing Me Together is my favorite at this time. As a former gifted and talented student in the first International Baccalaureate program at my high school, so much of this book rings true. I was especially impacted by the examination of why so many programs, volunteers, and organizations seek to “support” underrepresented students of color, but never consider the gifts, talents, and passion that these same children of color have to offer the wider community.

  5. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    Yay the first check-in! I started off strong with 12 and will slowly approach the remaining titles. I am always suprised by the books I never would have picked up without the challenge!

    1 – Not Your Princess (NF)
    2 – Lighter Than My Shadow (GN)
    3 – Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom (Audio)
    4 – What Girls Are Made Of – unexpectedly loved this!
    5 – The Backstagers (GN)
    6 – The Stars Beneath Our Feet
    7 – My Brother’s Husband (GN) – how adorable!
    8 – Ramona Blue – unexpectedly LOVED this!
    9 – Roughneck (GN)
    10 – The Hate U Give (Audio) – I read this last summer and the audio is Amazing!
    11 – Patina
    12 – We are Okay – This was good but I feel like I missed part of the story.

    What’s next? I may reread Little & Lion – it was that good! I’m going to try Electric Arches as an ebook (available via Hoopla and my first ebook), finish Jonesy (GN), and try a couple of Angela Johnson books I haven’t already read. I have about a dozen more books checked out so I’ll see where the mood takes me.

    Happy reading all!

  6. I’m starting this challenge slowly and have only completed three books.
    1. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Linda Blackmon Lowery
    2. I am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
    3. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adapation by Octavia Butler

  7. I’ve finished five so far, all rereads/listens, as I’m waiting on library holds.

    1. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
    2. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
    3. Scythe by Neal Shusterman (My favorite so far and I’ve got Thunderhead in my TBR.)
    4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    5. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

    I’ve enjoyed all of my picks so far. Scythe is my favorite, followed by The Hate U Give.

    I’m currently listening to, and loving, Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Oh (ed.).

    Next up will probably be One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, unless one of my library holds come in.

  8. Lisa B. Lisa B.

    I’ve only managed to get through three books so far. It’s a pity so many were read before the Challenge period!
    1. PASHMINA – Nidhi Chanani
    2. ONE OF US IS LYING – Karen McManus
    3. PATINA – Jason Reynolds – Enjoyed this one just as much as GHOST. Can’t wait for LU and SUNNY!

  9. Kuulei Vaughan Kuulei Vaughan

    I’ve read just 5, reading #5 Piecing Me Together now. My faves so far is Hate U Give & Scythe. I still find it worthwhile to read titles from this list, as I’m unsure if i’ll hit the 25 books by June.
    1 – Scythe / Shusterman.
    2 – Pashmina / Chanani.
    3 – The Hate U Give / Thomas.
    4 – We are okay / LaCour.
    5 – Piecing me together. (reading)

  10. Margaret Margaret

    Was there ever an official ruling as to whether it is permissible this year (as it has been for past challenges) to count the Nonfiction and Morris nominees read after the shortlists were announced?

  11. OK, so I have retired from the work force (32 years in a high school library), moved to a new state and have soooo much more time to read. My list so far:
    #1 Saints and Misfits – 3
    #2 Dreadnought – 2
    #3 Noteworthy – 3
    #4 Girl Rising – 3
    #5 Down Among…Bones – 2
    #6 Piecing Me Together – 3
    #7 Hope More Powerful..Sea – 4.5
    #8 She Rides Shotgun – 4
    #9 An Unkindness of Magicians – 2
    #10 All Systems Red – 2
    #11 Fantastic Beasts – 1 (audio)
    #12 The Pearl Thief – 4 (audio)
    #13 Sparrow – 4.5
    #14 Long Way Down – 3
    #15 Eliza & Her Monsters – 2.3
    #16 Goodbye Days – 5
    #17 Bird – 2
    #18 Heaven – 3
    #19 Sweet Hereafter – 3
    #20 First Part Last – 5
    #21 Toning the Sweep – 2
    #22 Pashmina – 2
    #23 Brave – 2
    #24 Lighter than My Shadow – 2.5
    #25 Black Hammer – 1
    #26 I am Alfonso Jones – 1
    #27 My Brother’s Husband – 1
    #28 Spill Zone – 2
    #29 Starfish – 5
    #30 Dear Martin – 2
    #31 Eyes of the World – 3
    #32 Vincent and Theo – 3
    #33 The Whydah – 3
    #34 57 Bus – 1
    #35 Boy Called Christmas – 2.5
    #36 Book of Dust – 4
    #37 Scooby Apocolypse – 1
    #38 One of us is Lying – 5 (reread)
    #39 42 is not Just a Number – 5
    #40 Patina – 3
    #41 We are Okay – 4
    #42 Last Seen Leaving – 3 (reread)
    #43 Dress Codes…Towns – 4
    #44 You’re Welcome, Universe – 3
    #45 Little and Lion – 3
    #46 #Not Your Princess – 3

    Long list, I know, but reading is my “job” now. I review them on my Goodreads account. Also, Mr. Ashley, I moved to NC and am having a devil of a time accessing some of these titles – especially the audio books and one of the Morris books.

  12. For February & March I read and loved
    1-Dear Martin by Nic Stone (read & listened to this ripped from the headlines debut)
    2- I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina (Graphic novel about racial violence)
    3- An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard (Magic, revenge & retribution)
    4-Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali (Muslim girl’s family friends & school in US)
    5-Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (gorgeous multicultural graphic novel)
    6- Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld (series/graphic novel about a toxic spill)
    7- Roughneck by Jeff Lemire (indigenous people, fractured families, ice hockey, & violence) Graphic Novel

  13. I read 11 books, and DNF’d 1, in March. My favorites are asteriked.

    1. A Boy Called Christmas
    2. The Wizards of Once
    3. All Systems Red*
    4. My Brother’s Husband, omnibus vol 1
    5. The Backstagers, vol 1*
    6. Black Hammer, vol 1
    7. Down Among the Sticks and Bones*
    8. Scythe*
    9. The Clockwork Dynasty
    10. Lighter Than My Shadow
    11. Jonesy, vol 1

    DNF. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

    My thoughts on them here: https://booksandbibliotheks.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/the-hub-march-2/

  14. I guess I need to pick up the pace! I’m only 4 books in, although I’m *almost* done with my fifth.
    1. They Both Die at the End – 4 stars
    2. Saints and Misfits – 4 stars
    3. Jonesy volumes 1-3 – 5 stars
    4. Dreadnought – 5 stars

  15. April April

    I’ve finished 8 books so far and reading/listening to numbers 9 and 10. So far, my favorite is A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I listened to the audio and it was so fun and insightful. I’ve recommended it to everyone who will listen. I also really liked Down Among the Sticks and Bones. I read the first book in the series too, but preferred the second book. Honor Girl was an interesting audio too. I’d never listened to an audio of a graphic novel before.

    Teen services is only a part of my job so I often get behind on reading YA. So glad this is giving me an opportunity to catch up.

  16. Jessica VB Jessica VB

    Dear Martin
    Flying Lessons and Other Stories
    Long Way Down
    The 57 Bus

  17. Isaac Isaac

    I have only read two books so far…

    I really liked the first one, “Goodbye Days” by Jeff Zentner. However, I just finished my second book, “Eliza and Her Monsters” by Francesca Zappia, and it was not my favorite. It was okay, though.

    Also, I am working my way through the list backwards (but skipping audiobooks). So, next, I plan on starting “The Clockwork Dynasty” by Daniel H. Wilson.

    I am keeping track of this Reading Challenge on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/71061511-isaac-isaacthebookkeeper?shelf=2018-hub-reading-challenge

  18. Anna Chappell Anna Chappell

    I’ve finished 44 so far (though 10 were the Morris/Nonfiction as soon as they were announced). Keeping track here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/13324287-anna-chappell?order=a&shelf=hub-challenge&sort=title

    My surprise favorite is Long Way Down (both read and listened to) – I love Jason Reynolds but don’t like poetry books (almost universally – this one is probably the only one I do love). I also loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue but I fully expected to love that one!

  19. Kelly Kelly

    I have finished 11 books so far! So I feel like I’m off to a good start. My strategy was to read all the graphic novels first because they are quick and I really really love graphic novels. My favorite ones were Awkward and Brave, such relatable and loveable characters. I picked up every title by Jason Reynolds. Listened to ghost which was wonderful and long way down was inspired. Follow me @kellylynnin on twitter!

  20. Edith LaChac Edith LaChac

    I’m 10 books into my first challenge, so feel confident I’ll get to 25 at this pace! I’ve read:

    • The Hate U Give – So far, this may be my favorite YA title from 2017.
    • The Sun Is Also A Star – I read this last year and quite enjoyed it; since “format matters,” I looked forward to revisiting the story and listening to the audiobook. I’m just glad that I read the book first, and am surprised the audiobook received an award. I found the narration painfully slow, and after adjusting it all the way up to 1 ½ speed, it still didn’t improve. I felt like I forced my way through it just to get it done.
    • Flying Lessons & Other Stories – Loved, loved, loved this diverse collection on diversity! The stories and narration were fantastic and I’ve since purchased the book for our library.
    • You’re Welcome, Universe – Another excellent diversity selection, it gives the reader insight into the world of the deaf that is too infrequently explored in popular literature.
    • What Girls Are Made Of – I respected the book for its brutal honesty, but for my own tastes did not particularly enjoy it. It touches on important subjects of interest to teen readers, but Nina, the main character, frustrated me in her relationship to her boyfriend. Girls are not always the best self-advocates, especially when it comes to love, but here are other characters out there that are better written than Nina.
    • Long Way Down – I don’t normally think of myself as enjoying novels written in verse, but this book has made me rethink that position. The story and characters were compelling, and the white spaces on the page spoke as loudly as the words. This is high on my list.
    • We Are Okay – I enjoyed this book, but found it somewhat unmemorable; twice I picked up the book to read it, only to realize that I had already read it. That said, I will be recommending the book to students who like to see LGBTQ+ characters in their books.
    • You Bring the Distant Near – This is another good book to diversify the collection (this time with Bengali characters), and I enjoyed the writing style, forcing the reader had to interpret what had happened in the intervening time between chapters. I will also recommend this to my students who want a YA book without explicit sex, violence, or language.
    • My Brother’s Husband – This manga is notable for addressing a complex issue – homosexuality in Japanese culture, and for that I applaud it. However, I felt that there was not enough conflict or climax to move the story along. It may be because it is the first in a series, but it left me wanting something more.
    • The 57 Bus – This might be nonfiction, but it read like fiction. I will recommend this to students looking for LGBTQ+ books; even if they think they’re looking for a fiction book.

  21. Carrie Carrie

    Only 2 so far.
    1. Miles Morales: Spider-Man
    2. The Hate U Give

    I really enjoyed both these reads. Jason Reynolds does it again and I’m anxiously awaiting Thomas’s next title.

  22. Lonnie E Lonnie E

    I read two in April: The Hate U Give and Pashmina. The Hate U Give is awesome! (I listened to the audiobook.)

  23. I’ve read/listened to 11 titles so far. I think so far my favorites are Eliza and Her Monsters and The 57 Bus. I listened to Honor Girl (and the audio was fun to listen to with all the extra sound effects added in) but I think you miss something on this one without the text and pictures to go along with the story.

  24. Tiffany Tiffany

    I’ve finished my first 10! Here they are in order of how much I liked them:

    1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
    2. An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
    3. The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (read by David Tennant)
    4. Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone
    5. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
    6. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
    7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling, read by Eddie Redmayne
    8. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
    9. The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
    10. As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

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