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The Sequoyah Challenge Pt. 1
Hello loyal Buzzreaders! It’s that time of year again. Summer is almost upon us. Soon the kiddos will be out of school and the pools will be opening up. And most importantly, the new 2018 Sequoyah lists have just been announced.
In case you are out of the know on what Sequoyah is, every year, a group of selected Oklahoma school and public librarians get together to read through all the latest and greatest titles that have come out in Children’s and Young Adult publishing. The group picks their top choices and releases the new lists every year at the Oklahoma Library Association Annual Conference and students from all over the state can read at least three titles and vote. The winners of the previous year are announced at the conference and sometimes, the author will even make a visit! It’s like the local Oscars of book awards.
Well, I’ve shamefully fallen behind on my Sequoyah reading as of late. Busy librarian and all that! So I have challenged myself to read all of the 2018 Intermediate and High School Sequoyah titles. I challenge you to join me, or at the very least, keep me on task here! Each post, I will review one Intermediate and one High School title. I will not be going in any sort of order. It will mostly rely on ebook availability seeing as that’s my format of choice!
So, here goes…
First up on the Intermediate list:
12 year old Astrid has been inseparable from her best friend Nicole for all of her life… that is, until this summer. With her recent discovery of roller derby, Astrid has decided to enroll herself in Derby Camp. However, Nicole has chosen to go to Dance Camp instead, with Astrid’s arch nemesis. As Astrid struggles to keep up with the older girls at Derby Camp, she feels her friendship with Nicole slipping out from under her. Is Astrid strong enough to be a Derby Girl and survive the bout, as well as her changing friendship with Nicole?
Astrid’s mom takes her on “Cultural Experience Field Trips” where they go to museums, restaurants, and places out of the norm for them. That’s how Astrid discovers roller derby. She’s also really cool about letting Astrid dye her hair blue.
Astrid enrolls in Derby Camp at the beginning of the book. If you know nothing about Roller Derby, her experience takes you through all the rules of the game. It’s fantastic! And FYI, OKC has it’s own Roller Derby Team, The Oklahoma Victory Dolls. So check them out!
This graphic novel written by a real-life derby girl was a fun, quick read! This was a great choice by the Intermediate Sequoyah Committee for it’s true-to-life depiction of growing up and evolving friendships. Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and anyone who is into roller derby!
First up on the High School List:
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. After her sister’s murder three years ago, Alex has lived a very controlled life in order not to cause attention. However, when she begins working at the local animal shelter, she befriends Peekay (the Preacher’s kid), a girl in the midst of a breakup who’s looking in search of a new identity. Rounding out our trio of narrators is Jack, the hometown golden boy. Star athlete, on his way to being valedictorian, and boy toy of the head cheerleader, Jack takes notice of Alex, but harbors a secret that could ruin their fragile relationship. This page-turning thriller will keep you on your toes!
I love how well-rounded a lot of these characters are! From Peekay’s church-going parents who are the coolest parents in the book (one character goes so far as to say this verbatim!) to the beautiful head cheerleader whose tragic self-awareness will bring you to tears, these characters come to life on the page.
I can’t give too much away on this without spoiling some things in the book, but seriously! Who doesn’t love an Irish Wolfhound!
Animal Cruelty (limited)
Underage Drinking and Drug Use
This was a powerful read to start the list with! I was familiar with McGinnis’ writing from her YA dystopian series, so this was a little out of left field for me, but so worth it. This read really brings home how normalized rape culture is today, especially after watching Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Definitely a read for older teens! I loved the honesty and realizations made in this novel. And the well-rounded characters were fantastic! I’m really glad I picked this one as my first title off the High School list!
And there you have it! If you’ve read these titles, let me know what you think in the comments. And if you decide to launch your own reading challenge, give me a shout out! Strength in numbers and all that! :)