More Books from the Hub Challenge

Need some advice on what to read for the Hub Challenge? Here are a few reviews of some really, really awesome books on the list. Don’t forget to fill out the form as you finish your books. You have until June 22 to turn in your last check-in to be eligible for the grand prize, but don’t wait until the last minute! The more people we see checking in, the better the prize will be, so get your friends to do it. Now on to the reviews…iamthemessenger

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. Zusak is this year’s winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors an author for their exemplary work in young adult literature. This book was also a Printz honor book in 2006 (it lost to Looking for Alaska by John Green. Come on, is anyone surprised?)

The review:

THAT END. I’m still thinking about it.

Ed is a nineteen-year-old cab driver with a stinky dog named the Doorman. He lives in a real shack of a house in the same town that he grew up in while the rest of his siblings left long ago. He has three friends, Ritchie, Marv, and Audrey, and they get together once in a while to play cards. That’s his life until one day when Ed stops a bank robbery. He starts receiving playing cards, just the Aces, with clues that lead him to people who all need something. The things he does for these people are sometimes small and sometimes really huge, but every time he changes their lives.

The messages start getting closer to home, and Ed realizes that whoever is sending these to him knows a lot about his life. Who keeps sending these cards, and why?

The writing and imagery is beautiful, and the story is thought-provoking. And, like I said, THAT END.


Far Far Away by Tom McNeal is on the top ten list for the 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. The review:

Jeremy Johnson Johnson is a little strange. He has a voice in his head that only he can hear (it’s really the ghost of Jacob Grimm). His mother ran off with another man after eating a Prince Cake (you’ll fall in love with the first person you see during your first bite, so the rumor goes). His father hasn’t left the house since his mother left, and their home is about to be foreclosed since their Two-Book Bookstore(literally) isn’t doing very well.

When Jeremy gets involved with Ginger Boultinghouse and is caught breaking into the baker’s house, he’s shunned by most of the town except for a few people, including the baker. This starts Jeremy on a path with Ginger to find a way to save his home.

In true fairy tale fashion, what happens to Jeremy and Ginger becomes a little predictable, but considering that he talks to a ghost, the unfolding events are surprisingly not supernatural.

The end made me cry for a few reasons. My only complaint is that it drags a bit in the middle and a lot of things happen without moving the story very much.


Lexicon by Max Berry is actually in the adult fiction section. It’s on the top ten of the Alex Awards list, which is given to adult books that have young adult appeal. The review:

I was fascinated by this book. It starts with two stories. One is about Wil who is suddenly and violently taken from an airport bathroom. He soon finds that his captor, Eliot, is trying to protect him from those who would cut his head open to get the secret inside. The other takes place a few years before and is the story of teenage runaway Emily. Emily is found by the organization who sees that she has a special aptitude for persuasion. The organization teaches her how segment people into types and use words to persuade them to her bidding. As we discover, this talent was called sorcery and witchcraft in earlier times, but in the modern world, they call it neurolinguistics.

Emily and Wil’s histories collide and result in a bloody event, leaving Eliot to pick up the pieces and put everything to rights.

I like the way the story unfolded. There were some parts where Barry gives an explanation of how it all works that, to me, were both vague and a little boring. The action scenes are where he really excels. This book was on the Alex Award list, which is totally fitting. There is some Mature Content to be aware of, but it’s by no means prevalent.


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