Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Reading Challenge: June 1st–August 31st

This is a reading challenge hosted by the YA Book Club on Good Reads. Participants are to read ten books in three months, from June 1st through August 31st. The books listed below are subject to change.
1) Read a book which is a National Book Award for Young People's Literature winner or nominee.

My Choice: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

In Caitlin's world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That's the stuff Caitlin's older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon's dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger's, she doesn't know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.

I've heard so many great things about this book and it has been on my list for quite some time. Today, I was able to pick up a copy at my local library (where the YA section is horrible!). 

2) Read a book that is a new release published in June, July or August of this year.

My Choice: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

This one comes out tomorrow! I am super excited! I heard great things from Lori over at Pure Imagination. Isn't the cover haunting? Check out the awesome book trailer.

3) Read a book set in summer or has a summery cover (beach and such).

My Choice: Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss? 

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive.... 

Despite the beachy cover, I have heard this is not a beach read at all. It is more about a dysfunctional family and their story. I don't know if I am quite sold on this title right now. If you know of a different summer/beach book that is really good, I am definitely looking for recommendations.

4) Read a book which is a 5-star favorite of one of your Goodreads friends.

My Choice: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

What if you knew exactly when you would die? 

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. 

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home. 

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

This has been on my bookshelf for quite some time! It received a five-star rating from quite a few of my Goodreads friends: Jamie Slack, Lexi, Book Butterfly, and Ashley to name a couple. I really cannot wait to read this! It looks and sounds so good. The cover is amazing.

5) Read a book that from ALA'a 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominations list.

My Choice: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

The story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island. 

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

Love Libba Bray!! Ever since I read Going Bovine I was hooked on this fabulous writer! I received this in the mail last week. However, I'll have to be somewhat patient because I am reading these in order! 

6) Read a book written by a non-American author. Some ideas from Goodreads listopia - UK, Australian, New Zealand.

My Choice: Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

This was recommended by a classmate when I took my YA lit course. It has been in my to-read stack for a couple months. I think it is about time to get to it. Stolen also was nominated for the 2011 Michael Printz Award.

7) Read a book which is a historical fiction novel or a fantasy that has a historical setting (no present day urban fantasy).

My Choice: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break. 

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. 

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. 

I decided to purchase this book because I found a used copy for about five bucks. Cannot beat that! I also think I will enjoy the story line. Haven't we all wished we could experience another place and time?

8) Read a book which has a racial/ethnic minority teen as a secondary or main character.

My Choice: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

true diary
With his first foray into teen literature, acclaimed author Sherman Alexie packs a punch in this absorbing novel about a Native American boy searching for a brighter future. At once humorous and stirring, Alexie's novel follows Junior, a resident of the Spokane reservation who transfers out of the reservation's school -- and into a nearby rich, all-white farm school -- in order to nurture his desire to become a cartoonist. Junior encounters resistance there, a backlash at home, and numerous family problems -- all the while relaying his thoughts and feelings via amusing descriptions and drawings. 

This was mentioned over and over in my YA course. As well as winner of several awards. I am always looking for a good, humorous book to read. 

9) Read one of the 10 books that have been on your to-read list the longest.

My Choice: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

hate list
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Wow. The story line of this novel just seems so awesome. I have had it on my to-read stack for far too long. Each time I walk by this book in the library or book store, I promise that I will read it soon...but here I am. This summer.

10) Read a collection of short stories written either by the same author or a group of authors.

My Choice: Zombies Vs. Unicorns  by Holly Black

It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths—for good and evil—of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

A collection of stories by some of YAs most well-known authors? Yes, please! I have to be quite honest, I am not a fan of short stories. However, I think I could definitely appreciate and enjoy this bunch because of the fantastic group of authors. Plus, how can you go wrong with zombies and unicorns?

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