YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #4

yalsa morris nonfiction sealsNot signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. If you’re finished, fill out the form at the bottom of this post to let us know!

Happy New Year!

How many of you lucky souls found time to read–maybe even extra time!–over the holidays?  I emphatically did not, but I snuck in couple chapters here and there and came away with a stack of new books, so I’m calling it a win.  I did read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton which I found kind of amazing and wonderful.

Luckily, the challenge doesn’t end until 7:45AM Central Time February 2nd (when the Youth Media Awards are announced live at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago) so those of us who haven’t started yet still have almost a whole month to tackle either the 2015 finalists for the William C. Morris Award for debut YA authors or the 2015 finalists for YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, or both.  If you got a head start over winter break, I’m jealous.  High five!

Remember, any reading you do as part of this challenge counts towards your total in the Hub Reading Challenge, which starts in February, so crack open a book and get a head start!  We’d love to hear about what you’re reading and hope you’ll leave us a comment below and let us know how the challenge is going so far.  What book has you most excited?  What book are you finding it hard to get your hands on?  (That would be Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero for me–word of mouth on this book is crazy!)  And if you’ve completed the challenge, make sure you fill out the form at the end of this post to let us know and share your favorite title!  As always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email. And if you want to talk about the challenge on Twitter, use the hashtag #hubchallenge.


– Julie Bartel, currently reading and loving Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire and trying to get my hands on Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor before February because I can’t wait that long!

19 thoughts on “YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-In #4”

  1. I have finished Popular and LOVED it! I started Port Chicago 50 and am about 1/3 through. I look forward to the other nonfiction picks! #simsburyct

  2. So far I’ve finished The Story of Owen and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, which I found breathtakingly beautiful. Am in the middle of Gabi now – can’t wait to see where it goes.

  3. Finished Ava Lavendar. Found it to be a quick, enchanting read. Almost done with Gabi. Hopefully will wrap it up today before it’s back to work tomorrow.

  4. I’m up to six books finished, three from each list. This week I finished Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won! , which is, I think, my least favorite of the nonfiction so far. It felt a bit unfocused and never quite brought Ida to life for me. But I did learn a lot. I also read Scar Boys. Again, probably my least favorite from the Morris List. I never really connected with it. I don’t have any real complaints, but no real praise either.

    Next up for me, The Story of Owen. Then probably Gabi. I’m putting off The Port Chicago 50 only because it will be a re-read. The book I’m having trouble getting my hands on is The Family Romanov. I’ve got holds on it at two different libraries and in Overdrive and my fingers crossed that I can get it in time.

  5. This is my first time getting a chance to check in since I joined the challenge in the first week, and I’m a little further behind than I’d like to be. I may not be able to get through all 10 titles as I had originally planned, but I can definitely make it through the Morris nominees.

    This week I’ve finished:

    The Story of Owen (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim #1) by E.K. Johnston 4/5 stars Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1123464434

    Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero 5/5 stars Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1123465125

    Currently reading: The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

  6. Due to sickness, I have only finished one book, The Story of Owen. It looks like I’m only going to be able to finish the Morris books this year. Next up for me is Gabi A Girl in Pieces.

  7. Only 3 to go.

    This week I finished, Popular, Port Chicago 50 and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.

  8. I read the Family Romanov over the break. It kept my interest, but I wasn’t really wowed by it. I am currently reading Popular and absolutely loving it. It’s so much more than what I was expecting, and I probably would never have picked it up if not for the challenge.

  9. Only one book left in the stack – The Carnival at Bray, and I’m on the hold list. :) I’ll get to it eventually, possibly during the Hub Challenge. :)

  10. I will probably not make the nonfiction side of things but am doing the Morris finalists that I haven’t read yet (already read THE STORY OF OWEN); am currently reading THE CARNIVAL AT BRAY…

  11. I finished Popular, which I loved and wished I had in middle school. I’m still waiting on Carnival at Bray and Port Chicago 50 to come in.

  12. I just finished The Family Romanov, my first book on the nonfiction challenge. It was well written and extremely interesting. I have the others ordered and I hope they arrive soon!

  13. This is my first check-in. I finished Port Chicago 50 and really enjoyed learning about this piece of history and the key role it played in the military and civil rights. I am almost done with Laughing at My Nightmare and like how honest Shane is and how humor can help in a plethora of situations.

  14. I finished my first book of the challenge! Laughing at my Nightmare by Shane Burkaw is a smart, witty accounting of his life so far living with a severely debilitating disease. A couple of chapters in, I was thinking of the book’s similarities to The Fault in Our Stars: intelligent, funny, cute person stuck in a body that is conspiring against them, only this is non-fiction. Burkaw bravely shares intimate details about what it’s like to live almost completely dependent on his family, friends and wheelchair, while navigating major life milestones: high school, college, romance, all while remaining positive and finding the humor in tough, sometimes excrutiating situations.

  15. I’m sadly only 1 book into the Nonfiction Challenge, but it was a GREAT book to get started with:

    #1 – The Port Chicago 50 – I took the Nonfiction Challenge as a true challenge because I do not often steer toward nonfiction and I want to push myself. This book was so good, it wasn’t a challenge at all! It may as well have been a captivating, compelling work of fiction, but it’s even better because it’s a true story. Though the story is sad, I’m so glad to know more about this piece of American history.


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