We’re in the second week of the 2014 Hub Challenge. If you haven’t picked up a list or viewed it online, you still have plenty of time to get started! Don’t forget to check-in with us and let us know what you’ve read each week. You have until June 22 to read 25 books from the list. Find the check-in form, plus the official rules and book list here.
If you’re looking at the list and thinking you don’t know where to start, here’s a brief synopsis of the ones I’ve read in the past week:
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence. It tells the story of two souls who keep coming back to the same island and finding each other. The story is told backwards from their seventh reincarnation in the not-too-distant future. There are common elements that weave through all of the stories, and that picking up on the connections makes the book very interesting.
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults). Judith and her friend disappeared, and four years later when she finally comes back alone, she can’t tell anyone what happened. She’s a pariah in her village, and it seems that even her mother hates her. When their village is attacked, the truth starts to come out. The story is told in second person in Judith’s mind to the boy she’s loved all her life, and that can be a little hard to get used to, but I definitely recommend it. I compare this book to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; you just need to set it in Puritan times.
Winger by Andrew Smith (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults). I love this book SO MUCH. Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at Pine Mountain boarding school. He’s pretty much a genius, he plays rugby, he’s in love with Annie Altman (who may or may not love him back), and he can’t seem to stay out of fights. Ryan Dean has such a big heart, but he’s very much a typical fourteen-year-old boy. The ending will shock you if you don’t pay close enough attention, and make sure you have a box of tissues handy.
Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd (YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction). If you don’t have any familiarity with graphic design concepts, this is a really good introduction. Everything in the book is visually appealing (of course), and demonstrates the concepts very well. If you’re interested in design, even if it’s just a more interesting report cover, this is a great book to look at and won’t take up a whole lot of your time.
Ash by Malinda Lo (2014 Top Ten Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults). This is a retelling of Cinderella with a twist I’ve never seen anywhere else. Ash’s mother dies, and her father remarries. When her father dies, she becomes a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. There’s a ball, and she has a fairy help her get there and meet a prince. Those are really the only things that stay the same. Fairies are real in this world but are treated as superstitions. Ash’s fairy is a man who appears when she enters the Wood (and often tells her to go away). Ash also meets and becomes close to the King’s Huntress, Kaisa. Without giving anything else away, I’ll say this does not end like the typical Cinderella tale.
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang (2014 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels, 2014 Top Ten Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults). This is actually two books, but they’re treated as one. They can stand alone, but they’re better together. Boxers tells the story of Little Bao who has had enough of the “foreign devils” who have entered his country. He harnesses the power of the Chinese gods to gather his people together and drive the devils out of China. This is a story based on the Boxer Rebellion at the end of the 19th century when Christian missionaries came to China. Saints tells the story of Four-Girl, a Chinese family’s fourth daughter who converts to Christianity. Bao and Four-Girl’s parallel stories occasionally intertwine until they meet in a violent end.