2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #10

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, and the challenge runs until 11:59pm on June 23, so sign up now!

the hub 2016 reading challenge

My Challenge reading has slowed down in recent weeks due to other titles demanding my attention (book club picks, adult nonfiction, and recommendations from patrons), but we’ve got over two months still to read, so I’m feeling good about my progress. The most recent titles I’ve finished are Mike Mullin’s Ashfall, and Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max.

Ashfall, from the 2016 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Top Ten list, is an awesome example of how the Challenge helps me improve my Reader’s Advisory game. The first in a completed trilogy, Ashfall is a survival thriller, told in first-person by regular-guy Alex. It opens with the first fiery indications of the eruption of the super-volcano under Yellowstone and continues in an unrelenting march of action and human ingenuity – and desperation – in the face of drastically altered and unpredictable circumstances. This book is all about what happens next, with the answers generally including some suspense, some gore (probably not a great match for anyone uncomfortable with butchering scenes), and some seriously ethically-appalling human behavior. Stylistically, this was pretty far from my personal reading preferences. But it’s a perfect match for tons of my students who want to read about stuff happening, and it’s always exciting to know I’ve added another title to my arsenal of recommendations for patrons whose reading tastes are really different from my own. And it’s always great to have a completed series to recommend, especially with summer vacation for students just visible on the horizon.

I’d read the first collected Lumberjanes volume before the Challenge started, so I already knew I loved the world and its characters when I picked up volume two (Volumes 1 & 2 are on the 2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten list). Summer camp stories will always have a strong appeal for this former Girl Scout, and I have been thoroughly enjoying the multi-faceted characterizations of each Lumberjane. The series pokes gentle fun at its own strong-role-model presentation with earnest excerpts from the Lumberjane Handbook opening each chapter/issue, and then delivers honest-to-goodness role models in hilarious, high-action scenarios, all without getting too preachy in tone. Several of the panels have made me laugh out loud, and I am always grateful for storytelling that celebrates a broad spectrum of ways to be a brave, caring, conscientious person in our world while challenging the notion that certain attributes or skills are inherently gendered. The Lumberjanes are exactly the sort of girls I wish I’d had more representations of in the media when I was still an adolescent.

Next up for me will probably be Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the YA titles from the Amelia Bloomer Project’s 2016 Top Ten list. I’m always looking to add in some nonfiction, and this looks fun and inspiring.

What have you been reading for the Challenge lately? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media; look for the #hubchallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and our Goodreads group. If you’ve finished the Challenge, a) bravo! and b) fill out this form.

-Carly Pansulla, currently reading SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

13 thoughts on “2016 Hub Challenge Check-in #10”

  1. Girl at War – Once I started it was difficult to put down. Takes place in Croatia/Bosnia and tells the story of Ana and begins at the eve of the war in 1991. The book’s timeline is not linear. It begins when Ana is 10 and then moves to Ana telling her story to the UN when she is in her early 20s. Dealing with the pain of war and loss she decides it is time to go back to Croatia so she can begin healing.

    The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy – a how to guide on being a fangirl. The message is clear – embrace your geek hood, embrace your voice and embrace who you are! Not knowing very little about fandoms I found the book easily accessible and fun to read. I also love that the author, gives tips about staying safe online, without sounding preachy. The books also gives practical tips on how to survive a con and resources for blogs, cons, fandoms….This book will be come part of the school’s collections.

  2. This week I read Cinder (#21). It’s popular at my library and doesn’t need any help from me to “sell” it, which is why I didn’t have it at the top of my TBR pile. This futuristic retelling of the Cinderella story is a light read and appeals to a wide age-range of readers from upper elementary through adult. I’m hoping to get a few more of the “popular” books under my belt by the end of the challenge.

  3. I have reached #17 this week by reading Challenger Deep. Sad and weird. I think the author did a great job on describing the mental illness through the Deep experiences. It came off, to me, at fantasy/sci-fi-ish which was confusing but once I finished the book, it made a bit more sense. I feel glad to have more insight into teen mental illness.

    What’s next? I’ve started Sacred Heart and look forward to Bone Gap!

  4. I finished my 23rd book, Sacred Heart and I wish I could say I really enjoyed this graphic novel but I was disappointed by the plot, characters. I am going to be listening to Conviction this week

  5. I have 15 completed, with the most recent being Humans of New York: Stories, Between the World and Me, and Rad American Women A-Z. I would highly recommend all of these titles! I’ve nearly completed listening to Illuminae, which is really interesting and the voice actors are so good!

  6. Was on vacation for last week’s check-in.
    #80 Rad American women A-Z – 2 – Eh!
    #81 Iron Trial – 3 – Pretty good
    #82 Darkest Minds – 3.5
    #83 Super Mutant Magic Academy – 1 – Really?
    #84 Trollhunters (audiobook) – 2.5 – Started out okay, but went downhill. Got to be too much/drawn out. How did the Shakespeare turn out?

    Read 3 off list also. This is Where it Ends (Nijkamp) was excellent; The 1st Time She Drowned (Klitter) was pretty good; Exit, Pursued by a Bear (Johnston) was also very good. Dealt with a rape at cheerleading camp.
    Starting Half Wild audio tomorrow.

  7. Just two books read this week for the challenge:
    – The Realm of Possibility. Although I have enjoyed David Levithan’s books in the past, this one didn’t grab me. Appreciate the concept but just meh.
    – The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. My new favorite of the challenge. Red vs Silver, good vs evil.

    Currently reading two books not on the list: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and Crucial Conversation: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson (the latter particularly relevant in my job right now)

  8. I finished Awkward and The Porcupine of Truth this past week. I really enjoyed both. The diversity in Awkward was excellent. I am almost done with the Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Very informative book about Ginsburg and I’m enjoying it a lot!

  9. I tackled some graphic novels the past couple weeks. LOVED Roller Girl, Awkward, and Drowned City. Did NOT understand Silent Voice Vol. 1 or Sacred Heart. Didn’t get such a kick out of Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel as others did.

  10. Half of the world. It was really hard to put this book down. It switches perspectives of Thorn, a tough girl with an attitude problem, and Brand, a thoughtful warrior. They’re stuck together on a long and difficult journey but along the way they grow and develop.

    Boston Girl is also a good book. It follows the life of Addie Baum during a time of change in women’s role in society. She struggles with the fact that she will never be what her mother wants but she finds acceptance in the friends she finds.

    I think I lost my post from a couple of weeks ago. That week I read Book of Thousand Days and Girl at War. So I’m up to 8 books.

  11. *I really liked Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray but felt it was a little long and wordy. If I had been reading it I think I would have gotten bored. The narrator is so wonderful int eh audiobook though that I was hooked. She is very talented!

    * Squirrel Girl is hands down my new favorite heroine. She is so upbeat, relatable, and funny. I’m really enjoying recommending this to my teens at the library. So far every one of them have loved her as much as I have.

    * Ms Marvel is a close second. I love that she is Pakistani-American and how they parallel that with being inhuman. I do think her excitement about being a superhero can come off a bit annoying.

  12. I haven’t checked in for a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. :) I finished a few more from the list: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez, Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, and The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten. I liked all of them though I didn’t LOVE any of them. I thought the real history behind Out of Darkness was fascinating, but I knew the end was going to be so sad and it was kind of hard to keep reading. Shadowshaper was a little strange; I liked the idea and the setting though, so hopefully now that I’ve read it I will be able to get more students to give it a chance. Roller Girl doesn’t need any help from me; I was lucky to get my hands on it for an afternoon to read it! My students, young and old, really love the graphic novels. I actually listened to The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, and this was another book I knew was going to be sad. I could tell what was coming with the main character’s mother (no spoilers!). As I type this, I realize I am failing at reading more non-fiction.

  13. I haven’t checked in in a while, but I’m up to 12! (Preparing booktalks in French really cut into my reading time. Most recent titles:

    Drowned City: This book did a really great job of portraying the scope of the disaster without losing the stories of individuals on the ground. It really cemented my belief that graphic novels are a great way to convey complex, emotionally difficult situations in accessible ways.

    The Boy in the Black Suit: I loved the voice here! Especially all of the parts about trying to be cool when he just wants to explode with emotion. I also really love it when novels are so rooted in a place. I could definitely feel Brooklyn.

    Awkward: I love, love love comics and graphic novels,but I think I’m reaching my saturation point with realistic middle-grade girls coming-of-age GNs. Maybe if I hadn’t read Roller Girl and Drama right before, I would have liked Awkward better?

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