Reading Challenge

For reasons I cannot disclose because my Geek Card has been threatened, I’m reading. A lot.
In fact, before April, I’m to read 160 young adult books, all published within only this year.
If you divide 160 by the alarmingly small number of months between today and then, that’s a whole lotta readin’. Weekly average: like what, 4 or 5? I’m no mathematician; that’s why I’ve been self-actualized enough to jump ship on numbers and swim toward words, which aren’t mean to me. Numbers are evil.
And 160 seems like a real villain.
BUT!
Challenge accepted; books are stacked in two piles, one being “To Read” and the oh-so-much-smaller-one dubbed “Read!” And yes, the exclamation point is imperative.
Because oh my, I’m earning it, people. Earning that exclamation point.
I love reading, don’t get me wrong, but the innocent duress I feel when I’m turning pages is suffocating. There’s always that bigger pile, looming, daring me to take one from the stack.
I didn’t realize how much YA novels have in common, either, until I saddled myself with a load of them.
I LIKE YA, don’t get me wrong. I really do. But suddenly new releases in the Adult category that I never would have given the time of day are appealing to me. Only because they can’t have me; that’s why they chant. And I don’t want them, not really.
Ours is a freaky relationship.
Anyway, now that you know the whip goading me on, I’ll be sharing in book chat form, so that you, too, might read one or two of these and share your opinion with me.
I need the chat, the back and forth, the sharing. Because I’m knee deep in this rabbit hole and it feels lonely. And the sides are caving in. And I have no food…aw, who am I kidding?
Me? Without food??
Bah. Never gonna happen.

Zentner’s “Days”

I’ve been writing a lot lately, therefore I’ve also been reading a lot lately. My characters sit in my head and chat until I absolutely must write down what they are saying or face a York Peppermint Patty binge, a shield from their words that, while delicious, does not actually fend off the need to write.
Therefore, I write. Until I can’t.
Then I read.
Reading comes in waves, one I’ve crested and I’ll ride until I can’t.
One or twice a year, I tend to eschew reading for Netflix binging, but only on occasion, and books always bring me home.
A librarian at a meeting last week told me to read “Goodbye Days,” by Jeff Zentner, because…well, just because. She was effusive in her praise, all the “because” I really needed.
She shared the basic premise: 3 boys are killed in an auto accident, seemingly because a 4th boy, their best friend, texted the driver at an inopportune time.
So what did I do? Hello, Target Book Section.
And after putting the milk in the fridge and assuring myself my Bubs was content with his video games, I opened the novel, releasing its New Book Smell to dive right in.
This story is timely, gut-wrenching, and beautifully told. I couldn’t put it down except, oh, when I had to. Two words: Nana Betsy. Oh, who wouldn’t want a Nana Betsy in the their life? After I realized her part of the story was finished, and that she was in fact moving to another state…well, I took a moment to fully ingest her wonder. Such a great character.
But persist I did, and many times, I read, re-read. I even wrote a few quotes to share with my book club next month. Such beautiful imagery and heart breaking truths.
The main voice is a boy — boys can be crude, and weird, and fascinating. Then weird again. And everything they did or said, in their weird-boy-ways, rang true. I could see it all.
I finished the book. I’m asking you to start it. And then come back here, so we can chat.
P.S. The voices in my head have added Nana Betsy to the mix. But borrowing characters form other books is a no-no, so…I’ll just enjoy their conversations.