2017 Hub Reading Challenge March Check-in

Hello everyone, how is your Hub Challenge going?

the hub 2017 reading challenge

I am curious to hear how everyone approaches the Challenge. Personally, I start off with good intentions like say, reading through all of the Printz books I haven’t read yet but then get distracted by other books. Look! There’s that comic I’ve been meaning to read! Or, Ooh, I need a new audiobook for my drive home.

I’m easily distracted.

Even though I tend to jump around with my lists and books, I often find that I notice different aspects of the books and pair them together in my mind. In this year’s reading I started to notice a pattern: so many of the books that I really loved focused on female friendships. This is maybe not groundbreaking territory for YA books as friendship is so often a huge part of teens’ lives, but some of the ways in which friendship and the intense bonds between girls stood out to me.

Some of these friendships were of the awesome, ride-or-die, girl gang variety. I love a girl gang so the Paper Girls (Great Graphic Novels) and Giant Days (Great Graphic Novels)comics are great. Even if the titular Paper Girls aren’t the closets of friends, I love that they band together in the face of some seriously weird happenings in Cleveland. Cliff Chiang’s moody art doesn’t hurt either nor the “Stranger Things”-vibe. Side note: I loved “Stranger Things” but can we remake it starring the Paper Girls instead? Also, the hilarious ups and downs of the college lives of Esther, Daisy, and Susan remind me that no matter happens the most important thing is to have your friends by your side.

Other than delightful girl gang escapades, another theme I noticed in my reading was that of the unlikely friendship. Whether it’s between hard, vengeful Alex and social Peekay in The Female of the Species (Best Fiction); worldly Botille and pious Dolssa in The Passion of Dolssa (Printz, Best Fiction); or even shy Katie and her glamorous grandmother Mary in Unbecoming (Stonewall), I loved all these surprising pairs. In all these books one girl or the other sticks their neck for her friend, fighting for her safety. It’s a really nice reminder to all those who think that teen girl-dom is all about cattiness and Mean Girls-style sass that it’s also about being there for your friends.

I know that’s not all of the books in the Hub Challenge that may focus on female friendship but those are some of my favorites. Any suggestions for where I should go from here to find more great lady reads?

Let us know how you are doing with the Challenge and don’t forget about the sortable spreadsheet! Here are the guidelines in case you don’t remember:

  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) since the award winners and selected lists have been released and 11:59pm EST on June 22. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • If you have finished the challenge, let us know here!  The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.

— Anna Tschetter, Hub Advisory Board

22 thoughts on “2017 Hub Reading Challenge March Check-in”

  1. Obviously (maybe not, but to me, yes) I can’t list all of the books I have read so far as we did last year when checking in each week. A list of 44 books would be too long. I can talk a bit about my favorites. As Anna says, everyone goes about choosing which books to read first differently. I pick the ones that I have available at my school or local public library first. I try and read all of the GNs to get them over with as they are definitely not my favorite format. However, Persepolis (GN, but on the popular ppr list) hit home with me. My ex-husband was over there when the shah was deposed. He and the company for which he worked were about the last plane load of Americans out. As he had papers on his person signed by the shah, it was good that no one looked too closely at these things. It was interesting to read, tho the format is not my style. The other GNs I did not enjoy at all. In fact I had to go to Amazon after reading Giant Days to see what I had read. Vol. 2 was very disjointed. I am almost through with Sarah Dessen books which I really like. I had never read her before and know why the girls like her books so much. My favorite was “Along for the Ride”. Other favorites of mine were “Vanishing GIrls” , “Anna and the Swallow Man”, “The Reader”, “Ghost” (good middle school book for guys), “When We Collided”, and “I Dissent” (good book for the under 10 crowd, VERY basic). My least favorites other than the GNs were “Kill the Boy Band” (narrator good , but story pointless – should have been fantasy), “Samurai Rising” (boring and too gory), “Wink Poppy Midnight”, “Orbiting Jupiter” (which I have read and I reread it not liking any better. Story line was too unbelievable and the ending would never happen), Symptoms of Being Human” (far better LBGT books out there) & “When the Moon was Ours”. Am listening to “Salt to the Sea” in the car right now and really liking it. I like the format of each chapter rotating between a number of people. My least favorite character is Alfred, an arrogant Nazi sailor writing to his girlfriend. I have an upstairs and a downstairs book here at home and will take 2 or 3 books with me on Easter break. Love the challenge again as it forces me to read/listen to books I would never pick up. I have included my Goodreads site below.

  2. I haven’t done very well on the challenge this year, in part because of the “Oooh look, shiny other books!” phenomenon you describe. I did use it as an excuse to finally get a Sarah Dessen to the top of TBR pile though, and was quite surprised by what I found, in a good way. Her covers make her difficult to recommend here but I think I’ll have an easier time of it now.

  3. For the month of March, I listened to my 5th & 6th audiobooks & oh were they GREAT! Traffick by Ellen Hopkins was Narrated by: Julia Whelan , Madeleine Maby , Rebekkah Ross , Kirby Heyborne , Jacques Roy and all these teens recovering from some kind of alcohol, drug & sexual abuse (prostitution) and it’s effects on them, family and others made this suspenseful listening. The 2nd audiobook, I am still thinking about- The Beast by Brie Spangler was narrated phenomenally by Andrew Eiden. His voices for Dylan and Jamie were mesmerizing. Dylan’s dad is dead, he is huge for his age and has a jerk for a best friend. Enter Jamie, a girl (transgender) who Dylan meets in a group for teens & self harm. I won’t say too much more, but I could not stop listening to Dylan and you will not be able to either. Both are highly recommended!

  4. I also get pretty distracted during the challenge and I think not checking in each week has made it work. The weekly check-ins keep the Challenge at the front of my mind and motivated me to seek out titles that others kept talking about.

    I’ve only completed 6 books from the list so far (44?! I bow to you.), but I’ve liked them all, so that counts for something. My least favorite has been Dream On, Amber, but it was pretty darn good. I liked it less than the others because in my H.S. library, it’s not the best fit, but I’d love it for middle school. Unbecoming, Girl Mans Up, When We Collided and The Sun is Also a Star were all incredible. Seriously, top notch. I haven’t been on such a good streak in a long time. And Giant Days Vol. 1 was just fun, and made me think longingly of my college years.

    So I’m up to 6 – not amazing, but not horrible. Slow and steady is always my style. I definitely haven’t given up hope for completion.

    1. Bethany – I live alone, watch MINIMAL TV & my house is a mess during the Hub Challenge. And I get a head start on the Morris winners and Non fiction winners which are announced in Dec. or Jan. Keep it up and you’ll get to 25 by mid-June.

  5. Right now I’m at 11 finished. My favorites so far are MIghty Jack which I thought was just magical and Plutona which was not too superheroi-ish (which is a good thing for me). Graphic novels are not normally ones I enjoy but this seems to be the year of the GN!

  6. Working on the Printz’s and the audiobooks, esp. since I have been moving this time. Passion of Dolssa surprised me. The audios have all been fantastic so far.

    I’ve read all the GNs, but that doesn’t count since I was on the Great Graphics committee this past year. Trying to get my hands on all the Amelia Bloomers and the Stonewall and Rainbow books. I can only count 6 so far, but I’m working on it…

  7. I’ve been doing okay actually. Mostly because the first thing I did was go through the spreadsheet and pull all the titles on it that I already had on my shelves…and there were a lot. So having a huge pile of books by my bed really helped kickstart the challenge! The first one I read was Tell Me Three Thing by Julie Buxbaum. While I didn’t find any of the love interests as swoony as I typically like my YA boys, I thought it was a great story and a new twist on the mysterious IM-ing relationship trope.

  8. Hi, there:

    Are you accepting titles that are print titles on the list but get “read” as an audiobook? Last year, it was decided that the overall challenge to expose readers to a wide variety of YA titles would allow unabridged audiobook versions for print titles. Same for this year’s challenge?

    Sorry, I may have missed your previous answer.

    Thanks for your consideration!

  9. I just counted up everything I’ve read and it’s 50 titles. @_@ I hadn’t realized I’d gotten through so many! But I started the second all the lists were announced and basically have been reading mostly from them (not entirely though!), so it’s working out better than last year, when I scrambled to finish on time.

    I’ve liked most of them quite a bit, so I’ll start with least favorites – Dryland (don’t like the style, didn’t think it was all that great as a coming of age thing either), Rani Patel in Full Effect (thought it was a little too scattered in style and focus and pacing), Anna and the Swallow Man (too open and pointless? for my taste). I loved Every Heart a Doorway (so much awesome in so short a time!), Gemina (re-listened, actually, just as awesome the second time), We Are the Ants (wasn’t expecting to like it much, ended up loving it), and I’ll mention Dreamland as my favorite Dessen, pretty much because (so far) it’s not much like the others. Having a blast so far!

  10. I was also more on the check ins when it was weekly (but it did seem excessive too). I’ve read/listened to 9 so far.
    1. Tell Me Something Real – pretty good family-involved story
    2. This Land is Our Land – I learn so much history during this challenge! This was slow at times but overall good.
    3. Girl Mans Up – a very enjoyable story about a transgender Teen trying to fit in and the challenges they face with their immigrant/traditional parents.
    4. Beast (audio) – AMAZING!
    5. Wink Poppy Midnight (audio) – Confusing, weird, but enjoyable
    6. March Book 3 – Such a great GN series and so important
    7. Ghost (audio) – I liked this more than I thought I was going to. It made me cry a bit and is just one of those stories you root for the character to achieve!
    8. Salt By the Sea (audio) – I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction but the different characters made this story so amazing.
    9. Giant Days – I loved this GN series and can’t wait to read Vol 3. Quirky and different.

    I have listened to all the audios I really wanted to and now have to focus on more GNs and novels (of which reading has been slow for me).

  11. I am really enjoying this challenge. It has already gotten me to read titles that weren’t on my radar. So far I have read 16 titles in the list and am confident that I will finish and continue reading from the list.

  12. I am simultaneously finishing up books #6 (Beast by Brie Spangler) and #7 (Exit, Pursued by a Bear). As a mom of three under the age of 5, my strategy is easy reading and listening–start with all the audiobooks (having a 40 minute commute helps), work on graphic novels, and then what I already have in our library. If a book has a lot of buzz to it, I will definitely prioritize to include that one. So far I have read Salt to the Sea, Scythe, and Exit, Pursued by a Bear, and listened to Kill the Boy Band, Anna and the Swallow Man, All American Boys, and Beast. I really loved the audio of Anna and the Swallow Man but did not love the ending. Did anyone else listen to it? I was left feeling confused/not satisfied. LOVED it up until the ending.

    1. I also loved the Odyssey award winner, Anna and the Swallow Man. It was such a powerful and haunting story that I pretty much expected the ending. It actually felt quite satisfying to me. I can also understand why it could make you feel confused and dissatisfied, but, really, I don’t think the story could ever end happily.

  13. I’m off to a very slow and late start this year. I’m even slower getting my reviews done! So far I’ve read Giant Days Vol. 1 & 2 (both good), The Sun is Also a Star (a great book) & Filmish (perfect for photography students and film buffs). I’ve just finished March Book 2 (I’ve already read Book 1), so I’m ready for March Book 3. I’m not really a GN reader so this challenge is a good incentive to get them read. With only 4 books under my belt, I better get moving! I’m about halfway through The Diviners and have Orange ready to go after I finish March Book 3. Once I get my reviews written I’ll post them on Bibliobeat.com. I’m also working on the Hugo finalists (http://www.tor.com/2017/04/04/2017-hugo-award-finalists-announced/) so this might just be my first year I don’t complete the challenge.

  14. I really do enjoy the comments from others participating in the challenge, so I actually miss the weekly check-ins. So far because I’m an audiobook junkie, I first started with the top ten amazing audiobooks and have gotten to quite a few. I’m also still thinking about Beast and Salt to the Sea which was truly amazing. A few others are under my belt, but I’ve yet to get to Gemina. I loved Illuminae last year. Although I read Nimona last year, I want to listen to the audiobook (Odyssey honor). Anna and the Swallow Man was superb. I also enjoyed Ghost (Odyssey honor).

    I liked Paper Girls quite a lot and am currently reading Orange. I’m looking forward to Black Panther and finally getting to the March, series. Since I’m in Atlanta, I am especially proud of Congressman Lewis and these publications.

    My next few titles will include Amelia Bloomer titles and a couple more Morris titles, e.g., Rani Patel in Full Effect. I was really taken with The Smell of Other People’s Houses and look for more from Hitchcock. Then, I’ll tackle one or two non-fiction which I don’t normally read. Thanks to the Challenge!

    1. Hi Charlene,

      We went to monthly this year because many reported that they didn’t make that much progress week to week and we’re balancing transitioning the selected lists to the Hub while continuing our previous content. Perhaps you’d be interested in blogging for The Hub and contributing? All you need is an interest in collections for young adults and to be a current YALSA member. You can email me with questions if you’re interested – yalsahub@gmail.com

  15. I’m 8 in and am trying really hard to stay on track, but I definitely have issues with getting distracted. I know to finish, I need to focus on these books and nothing else, but I find myself wanting to finish a book that I was halfway through when I started, finishing the series that I only have two books left in, or reading a new ARC that’s on my radar. It’s definitely a challenge!

  16. I’m a little late, but I’m almost done with six, and I’ve got a whole stack of books at home to get started on. By the end of April, I’m hoping to have 10 done, so then I can read eight in May and seven in June.

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