2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #3

Hub Reading Challenge logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!

Welcome to the fourth week of the 2014 Hub Reading Challenge! We have some good news for you: YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels top ten list has been altered to list each volume of Strobe Edge and Gene Yang’s Boxers & Saints as separate entities, so we’re following suit. If you’ve read any or all of these volumes, they can now be counted separately, making it that much easier for you to reach your goal of 25 titles. These changes are now reflected in the finisher form, and the PDF of eligible titles will also be updated shortly.

How is the challenge going for you all? What book has surprised you? What has been your favorite? Has anyone finished? Tell me in the comments.

I’m not participating in the challenge this year. I know, I know, but I have a good reason! I’m on a selection committee and all the reading I am doing is in support of that; but I am following along on social media by checking the   Goodreads 2014 Hub Challenge Group and  the #hubchallenge hashtag. We’ve collected some tweets from your fellow participants– join the conversation if you haven’t already!

Keep reading, and remember, you have plenty of time to get through this challenge; it ends at 11:59PM EST on June 22nd. Please keep reading and tracking your progress and check back here each Sunday to let us know how you are doing and to see how other folks are doing.

If you are 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.

51 thoughts on “2014 Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #3”

  1. Well, I was going to write that Id read 4 books this week, but, given the news above, I can now say I’ve read 5, bringing me up to 21. This week’s 5 were Etiquette & Espionage , Relish , Boxers, Saints and, Maggot Moon .

    I had started reading Etiquette & Espionage earlier this year, but couldn’t get into it. The audio was excellent and I’ve now downloaded the 2nd book in the series because I enjoyed it so much.

    My favorite this week, though, was Maggot Moon. You can read my blog post about it, and the other books at


  2. This week I read
    Killer of Enemies
    Swim the Fly
    Will & Whit
    Viva Jacquelina!
    The Sea of Tranqulity
    How to Speak Dog
    the six volumes of Strobe Edge
    and Boy Nobody

    I really enjoyed Killer of Enemies, Boy Nobody, andThe Sea of Tranquility.

    I’m down to ten books left to read, then twenty or so to re-read before I’ve conquered the challenge!

  3. I made it through 2 books this week: Charm and Strange, and Will & Whit. I wasn’t a fan of Charm and Strange which was disappointing since most people loved it. I really enjoyed Will & Whit though.

    I’m halfway through In the Shadow of the Blackbirds and I’m kind of struggling. The characters feel a little flat and things are moving so slowly. I hope it picks up the pace through the second half!

  4. I finished book 9 this week: March Book 1. I love graphic novels — this one was okay. An important story not told poorly but not overly exciting either. I’m still in the middle of a few others and hope to move into double digits next week! Even though I’ve read mostly short books and have the non-fic challenge counting, I may be able to exceed my 25 total that I’ve had over the past two challenges. Will see what the spring brings!

  5. Two books this week and neither one a graphic novel.

    Listened to Zombie Baseball Beatdown. I can see the appeal of this book for a certain audience and I think the audio will certainly add to that appeal. There’s something about actually hearing a zombie cow mooing. . .

    Read I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak and definitely enjoyed it. I have somehow managed to not read anything by Zusak before. I’m not sure how that happened. I guess I always knew I should, but never quite got there.

    This week I’m listening to Eleanor & Park. I read the print version in the Fall and loved it. The audio really brings it to life. I think I love these two characters even more now, and I’m only on disc 2! That will probably be the only Challenge Reading I manage this week as I have a stack of other great books waiting for my attention. (The Lightning Dreamer and the impossible knife of memory for starters!)

    I guess I’m easily on track to finish the challenge, even not counting my Nonfiction and Morris progress over the Winter. I can’t imagine being able to finish the larger challenge of reading everything! Even if I had time, I couldn’t get hold of copies of a number of the audio books and graphic novels without buying them myself. Plus there are too many other things I need to read to be able to indulge in revisiting books I was smart enough to have already read. It’s nearly Book Talk season!

    Full update on my blog. Specific reflections on this week’s titles will appear over the next couple of days.

    1. Forgot to mention – yesterday two teen girls came in to the library working on a project about World War II. They wanted books about the internment camps for Japanese Americans. Thanks to the Nonfiction Challenge, I knew they had to read Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II by Martin Sandler. Score one for the Teen Librarian and the Hub Reading Challenge!

  6. So far I have completed 5 books:
    Out of the Easy (interesting, funny, a little sad)
    Relish (hilarious, touching at times)
    Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (very light & entertaining)
    Audrey Wait (didn’t really grab me at first, but I enjoyed it)
    FreakBoy (novels in verse aren’t really my thing, but it moved really fast & I think would open up dialogue on differing gender experiences)

    I am currently reading Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II and hope to swiftly move on to Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design.

    I am keeping my Hub Challenge reads here http://bit.ly/1cF7v6L

    I had to take a little break there to read Cress (yay!) as well as The Waking Dark (creeeeeepy) & The Testing (very Hunger Games-esque, enjoyed it) & a couple other things. I have also been painting this past week (hallway & teen’s bedroom done, now on to the living room!) so I have had less time to read than usual, but getting there!

  7. Wait a minute, I didn’t realize The Testing had been added to the list as part of the Quick Picks! So that brings me up to 6 completed titles. Also, I noticed in a previous post I listed my Twitter handle wrong. It is actually @MHHSELibrary if anyone is interested.

  8. Since the last check-in, I read:

    Carter Finally Gets It. Definitely a book for boys. I liked it, but I don’t think it was as good as Swim the Fly.
    Lexicon. This was an interesting premise. There were a few parts where it started to get a little boring, but the action scenes were spot-on.
    Will & Whit. I just felt kind of meh about this one. I liked the illustrations of the shadows, and the end struck a chord, but it just didn’t seem very realistic to me (more about that in my Goodreads review).
    Far Far Away. I really liked this one. It has a fairy tale-come-to-life feel to it, though it is a bit slow.

    With the rule change and my Morris/Nonfiction books, I’m up to 21. I’m currently reading I Am the Messenger. Whether or not I conquer the challenge will depend on what I can get through ILL.

  9. Well I’m stoked about the new rule as I just read the first 4 STROBE EDGE books! LOVED them, and will definitely read the rest of the series. Also read FREAKBOY which I thought was amazing and MIND MGMT VOL. 1 which I really enjoyed, although it was definitely a mind-bender.

  10. I’m up to 8 books, having read five since the last time I checked in.

    I listened to Dodger. Loved the narrator, enjoyed the story.
    I read The Universe Versus Alex Woods and loved it. I had no expectations for this book,so it was surprisingly wonderful.
    And I’ve been tackling graphic novels: The Adventures of Superhero Girl (awesome!), Will & Whit (sweet), and Dogs of War (Sheba tore my heart out).

    I’ll probably jump on Relish next.

  11. Completed:

    Rose Under Fire (Schneider Best Fiction)–amazing story of Rose Moyer Justice and Ravensbruck; especially liked use of journal/writing and handwriting imprinted on the section pages and use of language and wordplay (French, Polish,Russian, German) and the names of the “rabbits”; definitely my favorite this past week

    Etiquette & Espionage (Amazing Audiobooks) by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quirk–most enjoyable mashup but not an exceptional title for me

    Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets (Morris)–debut novel by Evan Roskos is impressive, and I’m wondering if YAs who are struggling with anxiety, cutting, depression, parental issues, or suicidal thoughts find this kind of story helpful, even empowering (I’d like to do some research about this, so if anyone has recs for articles or resources, I welcome them)

    Zombie Baseball Beatdown (Amazing Audiobooks) by Paolo Bacigalupi, read by Sunil Malhotra–absolutely loved it

    Currently reading:

    In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Morris)
    Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (Great Graphic Novels)
    Chip Kidd’s Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design (Non-fiction)

  12. I’m so happy that we can now count each individual volume of Strobe Edge separate entities! I’ve already finished 5 volumes of Strobe Edge so now my pausing in the challenge to finish Cress doesn’t put me as far behind. :)

    I did manage to sneak in Dogs of War which I liked. I’m still working through Scowler on audio but hope to finish it this week.

    1. I finally figured out what that was in your avatar picture – a flamingo with its head tucked under its wing, right? What I had been seeing was a weird pink marble sculpture but I kept staring at it until I got it!

  13. My first check-in. I completed the Morris Challenge so I have those five books, plus Imprisoned. I have the other four nonfiction titles, thanks to Midwinter, so those will be next up. I started Go, which I’m really enjoying. Who knew nonfiction could be so rewarding? This past week I also read Boxers & Saints, which I liked every bit as much as American Born Chinese.

    I’m recording my reading on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/13804296-sharon-amastae?shelf=2014-hub-challenge

  14. 4 books this week:

    Swim the Fly – cute book 3.5/5

    Maggot Moon – 1.5/5 ICK!!! I had a hard time as I am creeped out by rodents/maggots
    and had to cover up those images on most pages. Didn’t like.

    Help for the Haunted – 4/5 Really good. Not what I expected.

    Out of the Easy – 4.5/5 Also really good. New Orleans and madams

    Up to 25 books. Local libraries are not ordering audio books anymore (just one from
    the list) so I probably will not be doing those. I can go to surrounding areas also from their site and noone else is ordering either.

  15. Finished book 13, Will &Whit. Fun graphic that felt real to the teen experience. Oh, and I baked the cookies; mine were more purple than blue, but they taste great!

  16. I am so impressed with people who read 4, 6, 8 books in a week. Wow! I managed to complete one this week, bringing my grand total to 5.

    #5 – Eleanor & Park – LOVED it! It’s my favorite title so far. I loved the honest romance and felt transported back to the 80s as I read. I sorta wish the ending hadn’t been quite so teen melodramatic, but Eleanor and Park are teenagers. In some ways, the story couldn’t have ended any other way.

  17. Just finished Boxers and Saints and thought they were great. I liked Boxers better than Saints. I am also trying to read all of the books for SLJ’s Battle of the Kids books so I am slowly ticking off books from each list:)

  18. I can now check off Two Boys Kissing, Maggot Moon and March book 1. Coincidentally, I just watched The Butler, which I highly recommend everyone watch only after first reading March book 1. The 2 should be packaged together, such perfect complements.

  19. This week I read Two Boys Kissing and March: Book 1, which brings my total up to 18. I’m still listening to Scowler. My freshman English teachers are doing a research project to the Civil Rights movement and I’ve loaned them March to share with their students.

  20. Still reading Between Shades of Gray and have been really moved by it .. so much in our lives to be thankful for .. any of us who are able to go pick up a book have it really really easy. Hoping to finish it this week and get through some graphic novels to bring up my count.

  21. I only read two books for the challenge this week. Far Far Away and How to Speak Dog. I really enjoyed Far Far Away although I did think it dragged a bit during the imprisonment period. How to Speak Dog would be an excellent reference tool for someone new to dog ownership – and I suppose for many people who think they are totally in the know! I am about 1/2 way finished with Golden Boy (Tarttelin) and so far, I believe it is my favorite book of the challenge. Extremely intense emotionally. This puts me at 23 so I’ll finish the initial challenge this week, I imagine (I’m also listening to Dodger). I’ll keep reading as many books as I can get my hands on – last year I read 65 total. I want to at least read that many this year.

  22. Was out of town last week, so didn’t check in. Since then:
    Scowler 3/5
    Jedi Academy 3.5/5
    Will and Whit 1.5/5
    Midwinterblood 4/5
    March v. 1 4/5
    The Boy on the Wooden Box 4/5
    How to Speak Dog 4/5

    Currently amidst Etiquette & Espionage and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and am sitting on vols. 2-6 of Strobe Edge waiting for the first one to finally show up. My count’s at 21.

  23. Read this week:

    Bray–Beauty Queens. Reality Show contestants fighting for their lives, literally.

    Calame–Swim the Fly. Billed as hilarious, but I’m not a 14 year old boy, so I don’t consider laxatives, dressing in drag, etc. all that funny.

    Crawford–Carter Finally Gets It. I liked this more than Swim the Fly.

    Lynch–Vietnam #4: Casualties of War. A satisfying, disturbing end to the series.

    This brings my total to 9 so far.

  24. I didn’t check in last week because I didn’t complete anything. This week I’ve read Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong and Will and Whit. I also finished Help For the Haunted and The Death of Bees. Currently I’m read Strobe Vol 1 and War Brothers. I’m also listening to Scowler.

    I think my favorite books have been Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, Relish and Sea of Tranquility.

    My total finished books is 18. My reviews are on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1270547-samantha-tai

  25. Seriously light reading week (at least for the HUB challenge):

    Zombie Baseball Beatdown
    Will & Whit (re-read)
    The Adventures of Superhero Gilr (re-read)

  26. This week I finished reading The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell. Wow. This one was rough, but I could not stop reading. It’s a horrifying depiction of poverty and child abuse, and made me want to jump into the book and just shout at every adult involved in the situation.

    Now I’m reading Ash by Malinda Lo. It’s a nice, much lighter read so far, a good palate cleanser after The Death of Bees.

  27. Four titles finished this week for a new total of 10.

    * Scowler–I started with the paperback and then listened to the audiobook. It was even scarier on audio. Very well done horror, but reader beware–strong stomach required.
    * William Shakespeare’s Star Wars was a welcome light-hearted relief after Scowler. Clever and well-done.
    * The Lives of Tao was a fairly good sci-fi page-turner, but I didn’t love it. More careful editing could have streamlined the plot and eliminated some awkward writing.

  28. I’ve finished the “Etiquette & Espionage” audiobook, and I’m halfway through two more audiobooks: The Best Nate Ever and Wm. Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Both very fun!

    I need to listen to fun to counterbalance “Rose Under Fire”, which I’m about one third through.

    So I’m finished with 13 titles, and working on three more. Vacation next week, so hopefully this number will jump!!

  29. This past week I completed Winger and listened to <Zombie Baseball Beatdown. I had problems with Winger but a ton of fun with ZBB! I can see middle school boys eating that one up, er, I mean reading it voraciously, er, I mean, . . . Oh, you know what I mean!

    Total to date: 8

  30. This week-

    Finished: Eleanor and Park (audio)

    I am working on the Dodger audiobook in the car. I just started Rose Under Fire.

  31. Read Will & Whit this weekend, I never read graphic novels and I was so pleasantly surprised by this one (and how fast they read) that I might read a couple more that are on the list! I can see how they are such a good tool to give to reluctant readers, I always recommend them and now I see why!

  32. I didn’t actually read any challenge titles this week. I did read Relish last week and loved it. Glad to hear that the graphic novels count individually now. That’ll make it easier to get to 25!

  33. Finished Beautiful Music for Ugly Children this week and enjoyed it much more than I was expecting at the beginning of the book. I’m currently listening to Zombie Baseball Beatdown.

  34. This week I finished the Eleanor & Park audiobook, and I’m so glad the challenge prompted me to revisit this in a new format; I read it in print last year right when it came out, and absolutely loved it, but then I kept reading and was having a hard time getting my students to pick it up, and moved on to other, easier-to-push titles. But the audiobook was perfectly cast and wonderfully performed, and I kept sitting in my driveway to listed to a few more minutes. I also read some non-challenge ARCs, which felt like cheating on the challenge! This brings my completed total so far to 6.

  35. Forgot to post my update last week, so these are actually from a bit back, but I have read (within the challenge dates) Belle Epoque and Far Far Away. Really enjoyed them both, but not as much as some of the stuff I’ve read off the list before the challenge started. Looking forward to starting Zombie Baseball Beatdown on audio as soon as I finish my current audiobook. It’s one of the few my library owned of the audios, but I ordered some more that had been overlooked (Scowler, Dodger) I’m focusing on the SLJ Battle of the Books titles for print right now since that starts in March and we have ’til June for this, but I hope to pick up Midwinterblood or All the Truth That’s in Me sometime soon since they’re on both lists!

  36. It’s been a slow start as I’m finishing up my ePortfolio for my MLIS, but with my driving to and from work and internship, I listened to the Dodger audio book. I really enjoyed how Pratchett worked in some historical characters and Mr. Sweeney Todd! I have Audrey, Wait! and Boxers & Saints at home, so those will be next on my list.

  37. This week I re-read (and still love) Markus Zusak’s I Am the Messenger, Fighting Ruben Wolf and Getting the Girl. I will be tackling again, The Book Thief, when I get the DVD and then I am going to re-read it before I watch the movie (can’t wait). I also read and enjoyed M. Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood. I have given all of these books a rating of 5:) My grand total is seven books read to date. I am posting my reviews on Goodreads and NearyNotes.

  38. This week I listened to Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi. That one was definitely fun. That brings it up to five so far! I’ve got The Testing and Winger next.

  39. I keep forgetting to check in! So far, I’ve finished Sex & Violence, Charm & Strange, Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, Belle Epoque, and Imprisoned. I really enjoyed all of these titles, each for a different reason. :)

  40. I finished I Am the Messenger and really loved it. I also read Sea of Tranquility. I think I’m almost to the point where I can review it without returning to the feeling of desolation I had when I finished it. As my teens would put it, that book destroyed me.

    That puts me up to 23. I’m taking a break this week to read other things!

  41. Whew, finally made it to the end of The Kingdom of Little Wounds! It picked up for me about halfway, as I started to get to know the two girls better, and I’m glad I read it. Not an easy one to get through, though! I also read Ash, and enjoyed the LGBT slant on Cinderella. Not my favorite remade fairy tale, but an enjoyable quick read.

    Next up, Belle Epoque. This one’s been on my list for a while as well.

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