Checking in with our challenge participants!


Tracking her reading: at Goodreads
Read so far: 13 of 25

InTheHandoftheGoddessComments: I am finally tackling the Alanna books.  I read books 2 (In the Hand of the Goddess) and 3 (The Woman Who Rides Like a Man) and loved them.  I didn’t love the first book, which I read about a year ago, but these two were both so compelling, I read them in nearly one sitting.  I am working on Lioness Rampant tonight.  I love seeing a female protagonist who doesn’t take any crap from any of the men in her life, including the crowned prince.  While I definitely want to see her remain her own woman, I’m rooting for George.




Tracking her reading: at Goodreads

Read so far: 12 of 25

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen KellerComments: I just finished Dodger which I enjoyed immensely. I loved the language, the winks and nudges from Pratchett, the sly humour, the involvement of key historical figures, and some folkloric ones as well. 5/5

I also just finished Anne Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. Not a new story for me but it was intriguing to see how the graphic novel married Anne’s past with her tribulations with Helen. This was definitely Anne’s story rather than the usual focus on her student. I was not all that excited with some of the illustrations — the blobs did not work for me at all. I gave it a 3/5.



Tracking her reading: here at NFNT

Read so far: 14 of 25

DodgerComments: Ha!  I just finished Dodger tonight more out of a sense of duty than real enjoyment.  It’s not that I don’t think that it’s a good book, or that I don’t understand why other people really liked it, it just didn’t work for me.

I think I finally tracked my lack of enthusiasm for the book down to the fact that Pratchett is very consciously recalling a Dickensian style, and if you like Dickens that’s really going to work for you…unfortunately Dickens has never been one of my favorite authors so it mostly didn’t work for me.  Although, that said, I loved the character of Solomon – I could have read an entire book just about him and his past and perambulations around Europe.

I enjoyed Terry Pratchett’s other recent foray into non-Discworld writing, Nation, a lot more.  But, as I said, this was really just a book that didn’t work for me.  I understand why everyone else really liked it, because it was very well written, and the random historical figures who kept popping up were entertaining.

I also finished Where’d You Go Bernadette? last week, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Up next:  Next up, Pure, I think?  Possibly also Wonder on audiobook.



Tracking her reading: at her library tumblr

Read so far: 10 of 25

Wonder by RJ PalacioComments: I have not done as much reading as I might this week because I’ve been reading for my book club (reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the very first time, which horrifies many of my colleagues that it’s taken me this long, and yes, I love it just as much as everyone said I would.)

However, I have been listening to Wonder, which I was worried would be overly preachy and determined to teach me a lesson, but it’s turned out to be less that and more just a well-done portrait of a young man, family, and school.  It’s younger than many teen books I read, and thus borderline kids and teen, but I’m glad I’m listening.  The audio is also multiple voices, which is very good (although they do pull the animated movie trick and have a grown woman voicing the ten year old boy, which is just slightly distracting to me.)

Up next: Trinity I have to finish for our ongoing conversations about the Great Graphic Novels Top Ten at Good Comics for Kids, and then I’ve got the same stack staring at me from last week.  Not sure which I’ll pick up first — perhaps I’ll give Dodger a go since folks have been discussing it this week and I’m wondering how I’ll react to it.



Tracking her reading: at Goodreads

Read so far: 6 of 25

I Hunt KillersComments: I did a couple of my re-reads for my overall goal, but I don’t want to count those in my 25.  So, I only read 2 new titles.

However, I enjoyed Prom and Prejudice.  It was full of whimsy and fun.  I always like adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, and this one was pretty well suited for the teen audience.  However, like the cover, the whole book actually felt pink.  But, that was exactly what I needed because I had just finished:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Creepy, creepy, creepy!!  I spent the whole second half of this book shrieking at every disturbance and hiding under the covers.  Some of the more graphic moments made me feel a little woozy, but I couldn’t put it down.  I don’t know if I can handle the second one, but if I feel the desire to be terrified, I’ll definitely pick it up.

Also, I reread the first 2 of the Alanna books by Tamora Pierce, and they were just as good as I remember.  Whoo!  Girl Power!



Tracking her reading: here at NFNT

Read so far: 3 of 25

Comments: I’ve been mum (and will continue to be) because maybe….maybe I’ve been reading books that aren’t on the list…

Up next: Once I’m done my current book, I’ll get back on the YALSA reading track with Pierce and some Daredevil. They’re staring at me judgmentally.



Tracking her reading: at Goodreads

Read so far: 6 of 25

Comments: I finished the Vietnam series, including the fourth book, though it isn’t one that’s mentioned in the challenge. I like that the series worked sort of like manga series do — basically one story in four volumes. Books 2 and 3 can be read on their own, but to understand book 4 and to get the full impact of the series finale, you really need to have read the first three. It wasn’t a cheery ending, not that I was expecting one, but it was a fitting ending.

To continue the depression spiral, I also read October Mourning, which was…okay. I actually wish Newman had made it more about her. The final poem, where she talks about visiting the fence where Matthew died, was very personal and powerful. The others were interesting, but many of them lacked the gut-punch of emotion that I think would have made the book blow me away. I do love that she included not only a great intro and afterword, but also source notes for quotes and ideas and a guide to poetic forms used.

Last night I picked up The White Bicycle, figuring I’d read for a bit and then finish it today, but I ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting. Brenna’s story is an excellent look at an older teen’s need for independence, something all teens — not just those in the spectrum — can identify with. She has a good way of balancing musical descriptive language with the blunt way Taylor has of looking at the world around her. Unlike other books I’ve read featuring autistic or Asperger’s teens, I didn’t feel like the reader was being encouraged to think, “Oh, the poor dear, she just doesn’t understand.” I was able to see things through Taylor’s eyes and her confusion was my confusion. Well done and, imo, deserving of the honor.

Up next:  I’ve got Moonbird and We’ve Got a Job checked out at home and Enchanted, The Name of the Star, and My Friend Dahmer waiting for me at the library, so one of those will likely be what I pick up 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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