Skip to content

2018 Hub Reading Challenge May Check-In

Hub readers, I have a confession to make.

I have a really hard time getting into most fantasy.

I understand why people love fantasy. I have the potential to enjoy fantasy; I definitely tore through A Shadow Bright and Burning and A Poison Dark and Drowning earlier this year. But, typically, the conversation goes something like this.

Well-meaning reader:
“Stephen, you have got to read this fantasy book!”

Me trying to look excited even though I’m just thinking about contemporary fiction or magical realism:


But this is the magic of the Hub Reading Challenge! This challenge is designed to encourage people to read outside their comfort zone. So, in the spirit of that, I have decided my next book will be a fantasy book. I’ve looked through the sortable spreadsheet (PS, have you seen the beautiful and amazing sortable spreadsheet!?!?!?!) and I’ve picked out a few options. I’ve heard amazing things about Strange the Dreamer (Printz Honor, #BFYA2018) and Girls Made of Snow and Glass (Bloomer). I’ve also been wanting to dive into the 2018 Alex Award winners, so maybe an urban fantasy like An Unkindness of Magicians would be good?

What do you think? Which fantasy is for me? Have you warmed up to any genres during the challenge you’d written off (no pun intended) in the past? Share in the comments! And be sure to tag any social media posts about the Hub Reading Challenge with #hubchallenge!

We’ll check in one more time towards the end of June, so keep on reading! 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, Hub Member Manager

The following two tabs change content below.

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.


  1. Bethany Miller Bethany Miller

    I have only read nine books so far, but with the school year wrapping up next week, I am still hopeful that I will complete the challenge. My favorite so far was Sparrow followed by A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (audio). I also really liked An Unkindness of Magicians and Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Tash Hearts Tolstoy and Dress Code for Small Towns were just OK. I liked Last Seen Leaving, but I could not get over the repeated mention of college football games happening on Sunday. Did anybody else notice that? I also read the graphic adaptation of Kindred and was not impressed. I love the original novel, but I just didn’t like the artwork in this. I also read Dear Martin and wasn’t too impressed. Next up for me are A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea and Starfish.

  2. I read 10 for first check-in, but only 4 more since. That’s a significant slowing of progress. Admittedly, my book clubs and a few other reading obligations bumped some of my other titles out of the way, and those obligations should all be behind me now as I head into summer as well. Here’s this month’s progress:

    #11 – One of Us is Lying – I really enjoyed this one and it has been SO popular with my students since I started recommending it.
    #12 – Scooby Apocalypse, vol 1 – A grown-up adaptation of Scooby Doo. I tried it, found it a little silly, but also recognize that some of the kids I work with will really appreciate it. Glad I read it, though it didn’t change my life.
    #13 – They Both Die at the End – Cool concept, likeable characters, always glad to have more LGBTQ fiction in my collection.
    #14 – Tash Hearts Tolstoy – Enjoyed it a lot, though it was often unrealistic to me. Appreciate the representation of an asexual character.

    So I guess I’ll be trying to get through 11 books in the next 6 weeks. Whew…every year this challenge presents itself as doable, and each June I find myself not quite making it. Fingers crossed that I break the streak this year!

  3. Kate Randall Kate Randall

    My fantasy suggestion for you is “The Language of Thorns” b y Leigh Bardugo. These rich retellings of fairy tales convey the reader to the “Grishaverse” (though in a completely standalone way). I especially love the the way the women are portrayed as intelligent, powerful, and in charge of their own destiny. Definitely at the top of the list for me.

  4. Whitney jones Whitney jones

    I just finished my 17th for the challenge, which was The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It’s been on my list forever and I’m so glad I finally read (and listened) to it. Fantastic! I’ll be traveling for a few weeks with just my Kindle, so I’m not sure which titles I’ll have access to, but hopefully I won’t fall behind :)

  5. April April

    So far I’ve finished 13 books for the challenge. My favorite is still Gentlemen’s Guide and I’ve got a lot of my fellow librarians reading it – even the ones that don’t normally read YA. I really enjoyed most of the stories in Flying Lessons and it was a great audio. I also finished Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, which was a quick and really interesting snippet of history.
    Currently, I’m working on The Book of Dust and I wish I remembered more about the Amber Spyglass trilogy which I loved in high school. I’m also listening to Scythe which I can already tell I’m going to love. It was hard to get a digital audio copy. It doesn’t seem to be available on Overdrive or Cloud Library, so I had to resort to a free Audible trial. Worth it though!

  6. Since the last update I have finished:

    Flying Lessons (mixed reaction – loved all of the stories, but didn’t love all the narrators)

    You’re Welcome Universe – Most enjoyable read out of this batch of books

    One of Us is Lying – I knew very early whodunnit and the why wasn’t very

    Malagash – Wonderful read for a slow, quiet, reflective day

    Long Way Down – Reread for challenge. Amazing what a great author can do with so few words

    Luck, Broken Girl – Slow start. Great development.

  7. Almost halfway there. I’m going to have to step it up!

    Bardugo, Leigh The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
    Behar, Ruth Lucky Broken Girl
    Cartaya, Pablo The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
    Chanani, Nidhi Pashmina
    Chmakova, Svetlana Brave
    Green, Katie Lighter than My Shadow
    Humphries, Sam Jonesy, Volumes 1-3
    McManus, Karen One of Us Is Lying
    Rappaport, Doreen 42 Is Not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero
    Reynolds, Jason Patina
    Westerfeld, Scott Spill Zone

  8. #47 Girls Made of Snow & Glass – 1
    #48 100 Nights of Hero – 3
    #49 Malagash – 4
    #50 Things We Have in Common – 3
    #51 Roughneck – 2
    #52 Clockwork Dynasty – 3
    #53 Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue (audio) – 4
    #54 Inexplicable Logic of My Life (audio) – 3
    #55 Lucky Broken Girl
    #56 1st Rule of Punk – 2
    #57 What GIrls are Made of – 1
    #58 Language of Thorns – 2
    #59 Stars Beneath our Feet – 3
    #60 Looking for Red – 3
    #61 Kindred – 1
    #62 Jonsey 1 – 1
    #63 Jonsey 2 – 1
    #64 Backstagers – 1
    #65 Trombone Shorty – 5
    #66 ABCs of LGBT – 1
    #67 Ramona BLue – 3
    #68 Tash Hearts Tolstoy – 3
    #69 They Both Die at the End – 4
    #70 Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom (audio) – 2
    #71 Honor GIrl – 1

    I have 3 I am reading at the moment (each in a different room of the house). I, too, do not enjoy reading fantasy/science fiction. Taking part in this challenge every year has not made me like them any more that I did before. The same goes for GN. I do read them expanding my little world, but I still do not enjoy them. The audio books are difficult to get where I am currently living, as well as one of the Morris winners, but my daughter lets me listen to them on her device when I am babysitting. Not sure I will get thru the whole list this year because a few of the books are just not available from other libraries if they are too new. Reviews are on my Goodreads page which I have to update today or tomorrow.

  9. Just finished #20 out of 25. I’ve really enjoyed the GNs, the fantasy/sci-fi, and the non-fiction selections. I think some of the audiobooks are excellent, esp. Gentleman’s Guide, Trombone Shorty and La Belle Sauvage.

    Here’s a link to my blog for more in depth reviews:

  10. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I’ve reached 17 titles this week.

    13 – Fantastic Beasts (audio) – Eddie does an amazing job, I could listen to him all day!
    14 – Sparrow – this didn’t stay will me that much to even comment but enjoyed it during the time that I’ve read it.
    15 – Long Way Down (audio) – Jason Reynolds narrates! So well done.
    16 – Jonesy (GN) – so cute!
    17 – Miles Morales – I love Jason Reynolds, not usually into Marvel.

    8 to go! I have a few quicker GNs to look forward to as well as audios I’ve started. I’ll have narrow down the rest this weekend to see which print I’ll read.

  11. Emma Emma

    I read only five books in April, which put my total at 17 books. I’ve read 12 so far in May, and am hoping to have the time for a decent reading marathon this weekend.

    April Books:
    Fantastic Beasts
    Flying Lessons and Other Stories
    Scooby Apocalypse

    My thoughts on the books:

  12. Amy L Rogers Amy L Rogers

    This is my first check in I’m actually responding too. I hit the ground running when the challenge first started and spent the first 2-3 weeks reading or listening non-stop whenever I wasn’t at work or doing schoolwork, but then I kind of hit a wall and it’s been a bit since I’ve really sat down and read. So far I’ve completed:

    1. The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (4/5 stars)
    2. Dear Martin by Nic Stone (5/5 stars)
    3. Jonesy Vol 1 by Sam Humphries (4/5 stars)
    4. Scythe by Neal Shusterman (5/5 stars, my fave by far. I seriously have to resist the temptation to read the sequel before the challenge ends)
    5. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (4/5 stars)
    6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (4/5 Stars)
    7. Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Oh (4/5 stars)

    Ahhhhh, now that I’ve listed them all out I realize that it’s only actually 7 books completed and I have a lot of catching up to do. I’m currently in the middle of:

    The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon and
    One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

    I guess it’s definitely time to dive back in!

  13. 8- Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue- loved this audiobook version!!!
    9- They Both Die At the End – take out the tissues for this Adam Silvera book, I listened to this one bc I read it before
    10-Miles Morales (Spiderman) – I loved this Jason Reynolds book
    11- Starfish- everyone should read this book – so good!
    12- Honor Girl – listened 1st & it was confusing bc characters weren’t identified
    13- Honor Girl – read the graphic novel and so much better a good memoir
    14- Flying Lessons – good diverse collection of short stories
    15- Dreadnought – what a great superhero (transgender) beg to an awesome series!!!

  14. Kelly Kelly

    Being a teacher, the end of the school year is a hard time for me to get to read for me, so I’m still at 11 books. Hopefully now, I’ll have time to explore more titles and genres. I have been enjoying reading more of authors that have come highly recommended.

Comments are closed.