Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 YALSA Hub Reading Challenge - Update #10

Got a lot of reading done this week, thanks to the need to avoid writing my own novel. Well, at least I was productive on one front.

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Beautiful artwork accompanied by an engaging story.

After being homeschooled for most of her life, Maggie is ready to start her first day at the local public high school. She's kind of a tomboy, since she's used to roughhousing with her three older brothers. Maggie gradually comes to terms with her mother's abandonment and makes a couple of good friends. In the meantime, she tries to solve the mystery of the ghost who follows her around.

Ultimate Comics Spider-man, v.1 by Brian Michael Bendis

Though I enjoyed both the artwork and the storyline, some of the panels were confusing. Most of the time, the panels moved from top to bottom on one page before moving to the next page, but sometimes they stretched across two pages. 

Miles Morales gets bitten by a spider and soon finds that he is developing powers reminiscent of Spiderman. After Miles witnesses Peter Parker's death, he decides to take up where Peter left off, despite the fact that his father will most definitely not approve.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I am old enough to remember when AIDS began to enter the public consciousness. No one really understood what it was or how it spread and that freaked everyone out. Tell the Wolves I'm Home, set in 1987, is a coming of age story of a teenager named June Elbus. She is kind of a square peg and the only person who really "gets" her is her uncle and godfather, Finn. Unfortunately, Finn dies of AIDS and June is feels alone.

After Finn's death, she meets his partner, Toby. Despite the fact that her parents blame Toby for Finn's death, June befriends him, if reluctantly at first. That friendship may be what they both need in order to make peace with Finn's death.

This was a beautiful, heart-wrenching story from the first word to the last. Highly recommended and one to savor.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

Having already read Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, I didn't really learn anything new about him in this one, but I did enjoy the way Blumenthal used his 2005 commencement address at Stanford to frame the story of Jobs' life.

This biography is accessible to younger readers and is, overall, inspiring. Despite his idiosyncrasies and his difficulties relating to other people, Jobs certainly provided an innovative spark that revolutionized the way we communicate today.

As a person who is old enough to remember life before computers, internet, and iAnything, it was fun for me to reminisce about where I was when each of Apple's new gadgets became a part of my world. I'll never forget the day my husband came home with a first generation iPod and explained what it was. My response..."You spent HOW MUCH on a music player when we have a perfectly good walkman?" 

These days, Apple products are an integral part of my daily life and I appreciate the genius of the man who not only pushed great ideas forward, but who also cared about making them simple and elegant.

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