YALSA’s The Hub Reading Challenge has crossed my radar in the past, but I never did anything more than note its existence. My foray into reading challenges last year with Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, brought The Hub’s challenge to the forefront when it scrolled across my Facebook page in January. Like Read Harder, it pushed my reading boundries, but The Hub pushed them further because there were specific books that needed to be read instead of categories. The vast majority of the books listed never even crossed my radar as potential reads.
There were two levels to this challenge: read 25 titles or read them all. I contented myself with reading 25 titles, earning the Finisher Badge. I ended up reading 36 books across 11 categories. I double-dipped several of those categories because some of the books were listed multiple times (e.g. Echo was listed in both Odyssey Award and Top Ten Audiobooks). I fell in love with several books, listed below under “favorites”. Others I had a hard time finishing – Six of Crows and Trashed. And yet others still I found oddly compelling even if I still don’t know exactly what I think of them – Bones & All and The Ghosts of Heaven.
(Yes the descriptions are lifted from previous posts. There’s only so many times you can write a blurb about a book.)
*Lumberjanes, Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy & Lumberjames, Vol 2: Friendship to the Max – Lumberjanes is now one of my new favorite graphic novel series. It’s geeky and weird and has a skewed sense of humor. I want to be a Lumberjane. I want to go to camp and have Indiana Jones-like adventures. I like Girl Scouts, but we don’t have awesome badges like Pungeon Master (“The best kind of punishment”) and Jail Break (“Run as fast as you can”), and we never had crazy camp adventures. Well…I never did at least. My daughter swears there is a 6 foot tall turkey wandering around her Girl Scout camp.
Riley is by far my favorite character. Her sanity is on the far side of left, which makes her great as comic relief. She reminds me of Betty from Rat Queens (another graphic novel series), but with a lot less drugs and candy.
*Echo – This is hands down one of my favorite books of the year. I have recommended it to anyone half willing to listen to my shill. The story is beautiful and haunting, with a bittersweet ending. I cried multiple times. It absolutely must be listened to as an audiobook. Each sub-story has a different narrator, all very good at creating their characters. And given that a harmonica is what ties everything together, music is incorporated, which enhances the magical/fairy tale-like aspects.
*Illuminae – I freaking LOVE Illuminae. Flaws are easily overlooked once the story gets rolling. And hoo boy, does it roll. Aden (the ship’s AI) is amazingly creepy as a riff on Hal9000, if Hal9000 started to develop emotional sentience. And had access to Reavers. This is definitely a book that needs to be listened to. There is a full cast along with sound effects, and both are used exceedingly well to enhance the tension. The “little birdy” scenes later in the book gave me the heebie-jeebies.
List of Read Books
- Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
- Lumberjanes , Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
- Lumberjanes, Vol 2: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
- What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Monroe
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
- Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee
- Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown
- Ms. Marvel, Vol 2: Generation Why by Willow G. Wilson
- Ms. Marvel, Vol 3: Crushed by Willow G. Wilson
- Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Trollhunters by Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro
- Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- Charm & Strange by Steaphanie Kuehn
- Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
- SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jilliam Tamaki
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis
- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz
- Trashed by Derf Backderf
- The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
- March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
- A Silent Voice, Vol 1 by Yoshitoki Ooima
- A Silent Voice, Vol 2 by Yoshitoki Ooima
- A Silent Voice, Vol 3 by Yoshitoki Ooima
- The Boy in the Black Suit by Jasyon Reynolds
- Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
- Challenger Deep by Neal Schusterman
- The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
- The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore