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2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #6

2015 March 22
by Libby Gorman
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Not signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

2015_reading_challenge_logo

I don’t know about anyone else, but as a slower reader, that June 21 deadline is starting to look awfully close already. I completed the Nonfiction part of the Morris/Nonfiction Challenge (and any reading done for either of those challenges counts, so make sure you include it in your total), but since then, I’ve only finished 3 other books. Yikes, I need to get a move-on!

What are your strategies for getting the reading done? I’m trying to balance books that just interest me with books I think I can read faster (hello, Great Graphic Novels and Quick Picks!). I’m also trying to always have one of the audiobooks going, because then I can read while I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, or driving. My problem then becomes getting immersed enough in any one story to finish it. I’m slowest at the start of a book, while I’m still getting to know the characters and the landscape, then, like a roller coaster, once I reach a certain zenith of interest in the story, I speed up toward the end. Half Bad was especially like this for me–I wasn’t sure what I thought of Nathan for quite awhile, and then I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what was going to happen, but once I got to the action climax, I found myself inventing chores so that I could listen to the ending.

As you are reading, don’t forget to use the hashtag #hubchallenge to share your progress on Twitter, or join the discussion over at the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group.

2015 reading challenge logo - participantRemember, you have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 challenge books (here’s the full list of eligible titles).  These weekly check-in posts are a great place to track your progress, see how your fellow participants are faring, and get feedback on various titles, so don’t forget to read the comments and chime in!  If you haven’t already, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and have already 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.   read more…

Tweets of the Week: March 20

2015 March 20
by Jennifer Rummel
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Spring is just around the corner, it’s time for warmer weather and sunshine. Lots of movie news this week with Insurgent hitting theaters and Paper Towns releasing publicity photos.

Book News:

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Realistically Speaking! New & Upcoming Realistic YA Fiction for Your Spring Reading

2015 March 20
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Vanishing GirlsHappy March, dear Hubbers! I’m trying to think of something fun and pithy to say about March, but, alas, I can think of nothing. So, let’s get to the main topic at hand – ALA Midwinter. Yes, I know Midwinter has been over for a month now, but I had put off so much work at my library preparing for Midwinter (shh – don’t tell my boss!) that when I came back, I was like, “uh, I have a ton of stuff to do.” Well, most of that “ton of stuff” is done, so I was finally able to dive in to a few of the ARCs that I brought home with me from Chicago.

As always, there are some great new and upcoming teen reads that I hope you will check out and recommend to teens! From a finale in a two-book series (a two-book series – I haven’t seen one of those in forever!) to ballerinas at each other’s throats to sisters and the complicated relationship they have, readers will have plenty to choose from in the upcoming months. One thing I will say that’s not related – I just finished Noggin by John Corey Whaley (I know, I know – I’m behind), and wow, did I love that book! I almost thought about sneaking it in this list, but I’m sure I would have been caught! Ha! Anyways…here we go…first up: something I know a lot about – sisters!

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History Comes Alive in Graphic Novels!

2015 March 19
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I am loving all the graphic novels that are being published that focus on moments in history.  They are not just doing a textbook coverage of historical events, but they are personalizing the events and making them more real to readers.  Maybe that is the benefit of reading a graphic novel?  Things seem more real when they are represented both by text and by art.  Check out some of the graphic novels below that will take you on a trip, back in time!

Ancient History/Pre-Industrial Revolution (up to 1800s)

The cover to Evolution.

Evolution: the Story of Life on Earth by Jay Hosler, Kevin Cannon, and others (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Industrial Revolution (1800-1900)

AroundMagical

Around the World by Matt Phelan (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by Ann Marie Fleming (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

American History (1700-1900)

AmHist

Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi

One Dead Spy: the Life, Times, and Last Words of Nathan Hale, America’s Most Famous Spy by Nathan Hale (2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

The United States Constitution: a Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey, Aaron McConnell (2009 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Gettysburg: the Graphic Novel by C.M. Butzer (2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Grant vs. Lee: the Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War by Wayne Vansant

Best Shot in the West: the Adventures of Nat Love by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick L. McKissack Jr., Randy DuBurke

Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale (2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens)

Houdini: the Handcuff King by Jason Lutes, Nick Bertozzi (2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teensread more…

Jukebooks: We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg

2015 March 18
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wecanworkitoutNow that the Lonely Hearts Club has expanded to almost thirty girls, Penny Lane finds her enthusiasm for the club waning. Sure, it would never had happened if Penny had not started the club herself, building on the successful theme of girl empowerment. Who needs a guy to make them happy? Then Penny meets Ryan. Things get awkward. No longer lonely, Penny’s clout with her girls diminishes.

As a follow-up to Eulberg’s The Lonely Hearts Club, this novel is also brimming with references to Beatles songs. Sections are introduced with a Beatles lyric, such as, “If I love you, please don’t hurt my pride,” from “If I Fell,” a beautiful example of Fab Four harmony. But the Beatles went in so many interesting directions with their music that I was reluctant to highlight one more pretty song. So instead, we’ll go with a song from Abbey Road, “Carry That Weight.”

The song is part of a long medley that constitutes the flip side of Abbey Road. The songs, bits and pieces that have little relation to each other, are melded together wonderfully by the Beatles’ long time producer, George Martin. “Carry That Weight” was recorded along with the song that precedes it on the album, “Golden Slumbers.”

Below is a recording of “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and the final song on that side of Abbey Road, “The End,” set to a photographic montage of the Beatles.

Diane Colson, currently reading an advance readers copy of Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge.

YA Lit with an Irish Connection

2015 March 17
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Slemish Mountain, the legendary home of St. Patrick. Photo by Flickr user Identity Chris Is

Slemish Mountain, the legendary home of St. Patrick. Photo by Flickr user Identity Chris Is

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It is the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick was not born in Ireland, but was taken captive by Irish pirates and made a slave. Although he eventually made his way home to Britain, he return to Ireland as a Christian missionary and is thought to have converted thousands of people. Using a shamrock as an illustration of the Christian Holy Trinity, “banishing” all snakes from the island, having his walking stick turned into a tree; the folklore and tales surrounding him forever tie Saint Patrick to Ireland. So on this, his celebratory day, how about considering some excellent Irish YA fiction? These books are set on The Emerald Isle and most are by Irish authors; try one or two to get a taste of great Irish literature.

Long Story Short by Siobhan ParkinsonLongStoryShortcover
Jono and Julie’s alcoholic mother is mostly useless when it comes to actually parenting, but Jono feels he and Julie are not doing too badly all in all. But when their mother hits Julie one day, Jono knows he must get the two of them out of there, away from the abuse and neglect, and far from child services who will separate them. Parkinson was Ireland’s first laureate for children’s literature. Her writing is exquisite and her storytelling masterful. Jono is not the most reliable of narrators; as he spins his tale, readers will be kept on their toes, and not just with worry for these two vulnerable kids.

NewPolicemancoverThe New Policeman by Kate Thompson (Best Books for Young Adults 2008)
There never seems to be enough time to do all the things you want to do. This seems especially true in Kinvara, Ireland where JJ lives with his family. After his mother wishes for more time, JJ learns about a portal to Tír na n’Óg, the Land of Youth, where time stands still. Could this be where all the lost time goes? JJ wants to make the journey there, but he learns that venturing into the faerie realms can be fantastic, but also dangerous. This novel is drenched in Irish culture and folklore. Pro tip: listen to the audio book if you can. The chapters are interspersed with bits of music from Irish folk songs! read more…

Is This Just Fantasy?: Celebrating The Hub’s Favorite Women In Fantasy Fiction

2015 March 16
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Just Fantasy women in fantasyMarch is Women’s History Month. Woohoo! In that spirit, I wanted to dedicate this edition of Is This Just Fantasy? to the fabulous women of fantasy fiction and I asked my fellow Hub bloggers to join in the fun.  Here are some of The Hub’s favorite female characters in young adult fantasy fiction.

alannaAlanna of Trebond from Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce (2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award)

“The heroine who comes immediately to my mind (and no doubt others as well!) is Alanna.  So strong, brave, courageous and while in the first novel she must hide her sex and pretend to be a boy, I really loved how ultimately she embraced being a woman as the series evolved.” – Sarah Debraski

Dealing-with-dragons-first-editionPrincess Cimorene from Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

“After first encountering Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons, I was hooked. She is a princess who is bored with everything that goes with being a princess. She wants nothing to do with the not-very-bright princes she encounters and is so eager for more excitement in her life that she leaves her home to find a dragon to ‘capture’ her – the only acceptable alternative for a princess. Once she finds her dragon, she becomes the dragon’s chef and librarian (a fact I had forgotten until I recently reread this book). With Cimorene, Wrede turns princess stereotypes on their head and creates a funny, compelling, and exciting protagonist.” – Carli Spina  read more…

The Monday Poll: Alarming First Lines in YA Lit

2015 March 16
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

In celebration of Teen Tech Week, last week’s poll asked you to choose your favorite YA lit title featuring current technology. 45% of you voted for TTYL by Lauren Myracle, and 19% of you voted for The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, we want you to tell us which first line from YA lit has you on edge– which one grabs you and makes you feel absolutely compelled to read on? Choose from the options below, or suggest another title in the comments!

Which first line from YA lit compels you to find out what's coming next?

  • “As my bare feet sank into the wet earth, I tried not to think about the dead bodies buried beneath me.” (Unbreakable by Kami Garcia) (21%, 34 Votes)
  • “The P-38 WWII Nazi handgun looks comical lying on the breakfast table next to a bowl of oatmeal.” (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick) (19%, 31 Votes)
  • “They took me in my nightgown.” (Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys) (19%, 31 Votes)
  • “Here is the boy, drowning.” (More Than This by Patrick Ness) (11%, 17 Votes)
  • “They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.” (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver) (10%, 16 Votes)
  • “‘If I was going to kill the Prophet,” I say, not even keeping my voice low, “I’d do it in Africa.’” (The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams) (8%, 13 Votes)
  • “There is one mirror in my house.” (Divergent by Veronica Roth) (6%, 9 Votes)
  • “I don’t feel the presence of God here.” (Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn) (5%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 159

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2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #5

2015 March 15
by Julie Bartel
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Not signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

2015_reading_challenge_logoI was searching for something in WordPress, clicked on the wrong tag, and found myself reading a 2014 Hub Reading Challenge check-in post I wrote from just about this time last year.  In it I mostly talked about how much I’d loved the Marcus Sedgwick book I’d just finished, which is funny because I was totally going to use this post to explain how reading Sedgwick’s Ghosts of Heaven had pulled me away from challenge titles completely this week, in between gushing about how brilliant I think it is.  I’m not even sorry I picked it up, though it’s not on the list, of course.  Maybe next year?

In any case, the check marks on my list have not multiplied by much since my last check-in, but I’m up to 9 so I’m not too worried.  I did re-read Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer so that I could argue about it on the Internet with the details fresh in my mind, and I liked it even more this time around.  I’m not the only one who does that, right?

Speaking of social media, don’t forget to use the hashtag #hubchallenge, and please join us over at the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group if you’d like to talk (or argue, or whatever!) about what you’re reading.

2015 reading challenge logo - participantRemember, you have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 challenge books.  These weekly check-in posts are a great place to track your progress, see how your fellow participants are faring, and get feedback on various titles, so don’t forget to read the comments and chime in!  If you haven’t already, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and have already 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. 
read more…

Ultimate Pi Day Eve

2015 March 13
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Image via flickr user koka_sexton

Image via flickr user koka_sexton

Happy day-before-Pi-Day! You may be familiar with Pi Day (March 14 or 3.14) from the internet or from Carli Spina’s 2013 post. But did you know that tomorrow is an extra-special version? Math fans, it is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to revel in Ultimate Pi Day — that is, the day, the year, and even the second can align to the first few numbers of our favorite constant. Be alert at 9:26 a.m. and 53 seconds for the collective squee.

Book lovers can celebrate Pi Day in a couple of different ways. The most obvious, of course, is via math-related books. I’ve written a couple posts on some favorite titles, and the good news is, there are even more to check out! The latest ones I’ve found have an interesting theme: the math prodigy.

  • In Nearly Gone, by Elle Cosimano, it’s Nearly Boswell trying to stay one step ahead of a serial killer by solving cryptic math- and science-themed clues.
  • In On A Clear Day, by Walter Dean Myers, it’s Dahlia Grillo joining a group to resist multinational corporations in the year 2035.
  • In In Real Life, by Lawrence Tabak, it’s Seth Gordon, who is so good at videogaming that he’s invited to play professionally — which means a move to Korea for training.
  • In Running Scared, by Beverley Terrell-Deutsch, it’s Gregory using numbers and equations to avoid thinking about the car accident that killed his father.
  • In The Cipher, by John C. Ford, it’s Ben as the geeky best friend of the charismatic protagonist, Smiles — but Ben has the genius code-cracking ability that sets the plot in motion.

The other way to celebrate Pi Day? Pie, of course! My search for teen books about pie came up with precious few, other than the peach pies in Chasing Jupiter and the “dangerous pie” in Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie (although I’ll leave it up to the jury if we really want to count a pie made from a “zesty blend of coffee grounds, raw eggs and their smashed shells, Coke, uncooked bacon, and three Matchbox racing cars”). Previous Hub posts have covered the plethora of baking fiction in terms of sweet treats and delicious desserts, and no one can argue with the trending cupcake.

Since baking really is a form of math, and math-related books seem to be on the upswing, perhaps more teen fiction about pies is a trend that’s just around the corner. Happy Ultimate Pi(e) Day to one and all!

–Becky O’Neil, currently reading Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel