Skip to content

Tag: 2013 hub reading challenge

Reader Response: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.

MyFriendDahmerIn my check-in posts for this year’s Hub Reading Challenge, I found myself repeatedly stating that I had read something I would not otherwise have picked up and was glad I did. One of the best things about the Challenge is how it encourages me to read outside my comfort zone. Taking the risk to read something you normally wouldn’t is easier when you know that a group of professionals you trust has pronounced it an excellent book.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf is the story of Jeffrey Dahmer before he became a killer. It is the story of a troubled young man told through the eyes of his junior high and high school classmates. It is a chilling tale of a teen in crisis who never received the help he needed. And it is a book that was never going to make it to my To Read pile for two reasons: I don’t self-select graphic novels because I’m not confident about choosing them, and, as a recovering horror-phobe, I usually avoid creepy stories. But this title was on not one, not two, but three lists for the Challenge. Maybe I really did need to read this book. Boy, am I glad I did.

Reader Response: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.

MrPenumbrasIt’s summer and I’ve been procrastinating with my reader’s response for the Hub Reading Challenge. I’ve been shuttling from camp to swimming lessons at the beach and letting the warm sun and relaxed schedule erase my memory of the school year — except for all the good bits, of course. But the time is nigh, and I must pull myself temporarily out of my summer reverie and focus on one of favorite books from my challenge list, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan.

This book really resonated with me. It’s clever and witty and any time a story explores the interconnectedness of books and technology and includes romps with dungeon masters, computer hackers, and publications akin to the Gutenberg Bible, you really can’t go wrong, in my opinion. It even mentions the NSA!

Reader Response: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.

Putting Makeup on the Fat BoyI read a lot of YA literature for my job, and the Hub Reading Challenge helped me focus on books that have won critical acclaim. The one book that really stood out was Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright. My thoughts frequently went back to it as I tried to figure out just what it was about this book that resonated with me. I finally realized that the main character’s eternal optimism and positive spin on events charmed me. With so many dystopias popular these days, this young man was a breath of fresh air.

Like many YA characters, Carlos Durate, an overweight, Hispanic, gay teen who lives in NYC with his sister and single mother and no father in in the picture faces life with several strikes against him. He goes to school and has to work in a preschool to help his family. His amazing talent is to use makeup to make people beautiful, and he is eager to share his ability with the world. He has never covered his light — in fact he makes it very plain for all to see. “I decided to always walk into a room like I was deciding if I wanted to stay, not if I’d be allowed to.” Throughout the book he is harassed by his sister’s violent boyfriend and his cohorts, but Carlos never avoids them.

Reader Response: The Diviners by Libba Bray

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.

I was going to write about Code Name Verity. I wanted to write about how wonderful the two main characters and their friendship are, how well-plotted it is, how long it stayed with me after I finished listening to one of the best audiobook presentations I’ve heard. I wanted, and still want, to praise Elizabeth Wein’s amazing book because I feel like it should have been the book that affected me the most. It definitely deserves all the accolades it gets.

DivinersBut instead, I’m going to write about The Diviners by Libba Bray.

When I first started it, I wasn’t expecting to love it. I wasn’t expecting to finish the book only to pick up the audio and listen to that, only to buy the book and read it again (and again, and again…). I wasn’t expecting to grow to love the characters so much they would move me to tears even on the third and fourth time through the book. As a whole, I love everything about the book, from the characters to the full immersion in the Roaring Twenties setting, from the creepy moments to the fun ones. Even when the book is scaring me, it’s still making me smile.

Reader Response: October Mourning by Lesléa Newman

This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.

october mourning leslea newman coverI am the Head of Children’s and Young Adult Services at the Vineland Public Library in Vineland, NJ. We have a population of about 60,000 people in a city that is both urban and rural, as Vineland is geographically the largest city in the state of New Jersey. I love reading YA, but I don’t always make the time for it. Completing this challenge forced me to read some fantastic literature that I can now recommend to our local middle and high schoolers.

Two of my colleagues read this collection of poems telling the story of the murder of Matthew Shepard and recommended that I read it for the Hub Reading Challenge. My colleagues and I had all decided we were going to complete the challenge.

I was a little apprehensive because all I knew about Newman was that she was the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, a book that, though groundbreaking at its time, was not really on the same level of subject matter as the Matthew Shepard story. I remember when it happened and the media coverage that it got, but it was during a time before the Internet was widespread and news was easily accessible, so there were a lot of details that I didn’t remember.