Checking in with our challenge participants!


Tracking her reading: at Goodreads
Read so far: 11 of 25

aristotleanddanteComments: I finally finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and loved it.  I sat down yesterday to read another 25 pages and ended up finishing the last 200 in one sitting.  It was a really sweet story with realistic voices and, while I did cry (because I’m sappy like that), it wasn’t as sad as I was expecting.

Up next: I’m working on Every Day and Dodger now, with I Hunt Killers, and Code Name Verity coming up.


Tracking her reading: at Goodreads

Read so far: 26 of 25 (flourish!  Our first finisher!)
Comments:struts and FretsI’ve read 26 and, even with rereading a couple things, had a hard time reaching that number. There’s nothing else I want to read or reread.
Favorites?  I really liked Bomb which is not one I would have picked up on my own. Although I think I liked it more for having read Trinity first. They complemented each other well.
I was really happy to have an excuse to read The Name of the Star and even more happy to read it right before the sequel came out, so I didn’t have to wait.
And Struts and Frets I’d never even heard of and just loved, particularly a realistic portrayal of a guy and that guys think and feel things too, something I think is often not shown.
Dislikes? I didn’t really like Girlchild. Well written but a little to unrelentingly depressing for me.  I also didn’t enjoy Dodger that much. Maybe it was just not the Discworld I was expecting?  It just seemed to lack Pratchett’s usual clever turns of phrase.


Tracking her reading: at Goodreads

Read so far: 10 of 25

stargazing dogComments:

I have quite a few titles coming from my library system so should have more read next week. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store (so much so that we are reading it in both of my book clubs: Young Adult and Adult) and shed a tear when I finished Stargazing Dog. It was melancholy but quite poetic for me. I enjoyed the illustrations as well.

I also finished In Darkness. I appreciated the read but I did not like it for reasons that I can not fathom. It has many elements that I like in books but it did not pull together for me in the least.

Up next: Dodger, Enchanted, A Flight of Angels, The Round House, and Every Day awaiting my reading pleasure.


Tracking her reading: here at NFNT

Read so far: 12 of 25

MeandEarlandtheDyingGirlComments: I enjoyed Me and Earl & the Dying Girl a lot.  I was fascinated by how nominally this book and The Fault In Our Stars share the same narrative base, but went in such such different directions with the idea.  I liked this more than I liked TFioS – but I think I was also just kind of underwhelmed by TFioS after of all the hype that it got.  Again though, this is not a book I would ever have picked up to read without the challenge, and I’m glad I read this, so kudos to the challenge for expanding my horizons.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: Font geeks of the world unite, this is your book (although, that said, for a book where the grand reveal is all about being a font geek, the book – at least my copy – didn’t tell me what type face it was printed in; I was disappointed). I enjoyed it – it works better than a lot of books of it’s ilk (it’s ilk being the grand mystical adventure type books of which The Eight is a silly but good example, and The Da Vinci Code is a wildly popular but kind of terrible example – see also The Rule of Four, and Book of Blood & Shadows).  However, it suffers from the same problem that all books like that suffer from, which is that it is basically impossible to make the reveal as cool as the centuries long quest (Alias is a good example of an epic level of fail on the final reveal – this is better, but not as good as the reveal in The Eight).

I’m not entirely sure about it’s teen appeal – but I am also judging it based on what I would have enjoyed as a teen, not on any actual current acquaintance with real live teens.  So, in the final analysis:  I really enjoyed it, not sure what teens will think of it.

I’m also about 50 pages from the end of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (which again, I’m enjoying, but cannot picture appealing to teens).

Up next:  I have Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie sitting on my bookshelf, so maybe that.


Tracking her reading: at her library tumblr

Read so far: 9 of 25


I ended up listening to all of Libba Bray’s The Diviners, even though I have already read it, because everyone was talking about how excellent the audio recording was and I ran out of books to listen to, so…It was excellent!  January LaVoy did an outstanding job.  I got to see a little bit of an insider look while attending ALA Annual in how they created the audio for The Diviners, and it was fascinating to me how they chose to use one reader rather than many for a book that, obviously, has so many distinct voices in it.  LaVoy just knocks it out of the park.  (And since I also had to listen to The Scorpio Races for my teen lit book club, I was in audio heaven, really.)

I zoomed through Me & Earl & the Dying Girl this week in about a day, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  I agree with Petra that it’s a similar but very different take on the teen-with-cancer trope, and I loved the voices of all the characters.  There are various issues floating around, but none of them are treated as so weighty as to disrupt everyday life, nor are grand lessons learned — just small, but no less, important ones.

I’m a bit more than half-way through listening to R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, and then I only have one title left to listen to (woe!)

Up next: I’m still struggling to finish both Trinity and A Flight of Angels (that’s never a good sign, especially with graphic novels, and they keep staring at me accusingly from the stack in my house.)  I’ve also got I’m a bit more than half-way through listening to R. J. Palacio’s Wonder.Boy21, Dodger, and The White Bicycle checked out at the moment, so we’ll see which grabs my attention next.


Tracking her reading: at Goodreads

Read so far: 3 1/3 of 25

Comments: I read the first Vietnam book (I Pledge Allegiance) yesterday. It was a fast read and I definitely see why it’s a Quick Pick — lots of action, a good guy perspective, sharp focus on the plot. I appreciate that Chris Lynch highlights both the horrors of war and the ambivalence of the military members, as well as the camaraderie and connection that the boys find in the service. He also points out the fascination of war and the power it gives warriors to control life and death, which is an important and realistic point to include. (And, as a Navy brat, I must admit, I enjoyed revisiting Navy life through Morris’ eyes — there’s nothing like the smell of the sea surrounding a steel ship and Lynch does a good job of capturing the feel of the deck rolling under your feet.) The only thing I wish was that Lynch had set things a little more firmly in time. I couldn’t get a clear grasp of when the story was taking place, which is something I look for in a historical title.

I’m going to pick up book 2 tonight, with some reluctance. My father doesn’t talk about Vietnam much, so I don’t know much about his experiences. Like Ivan in book 2, Dad was in the Army in Vietnam (he joined the Navy later) and was pretty young. On the one hand, I’m interested to see some of what Dad might have seen, but I’m also not sure I want to know much more about what my sweet, funny, creative father went through that was bad enough that he only occasionally mentions a story from that time, many of which are especially horrifying when related in the matter-of-fact tone that comes with distance and time and my family’s black sense of humor.

Up next: The Vietnam books are quick reads, so I’ll get those read this week. Additionally The White Bicycle and October Mourning both came in at the library and they are short too, so I’ll get started on them next.

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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