Book Riot’s Read Harder 2023 Challenge
I started using a book tracker spreadsheet this year, which included the Read Harder 2023 prompts, so I’m giving it a try. Check out my progress below. Updated monthly.
So far, I’ve completed 18 out of 24 prompts.
1. Read a novel about a trans character written by a trans author.
Always the Almost by Edward Underhill
What you need to know: A trans-boy who feels like he’s always almost enough. A piano competition he resolved to win. The ex he needs to win back. And the new boy… who seems to truly see him like no one else does. Miles’s journey as a young trans boy in love and his development as a musician were both super strong parts. Perfect for fans of CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY.
2. Read one of your favorite author’s books.
The Severed Thread (The Bone Spindle #2) by Leslie Vedder
What you need to know: THE BONE SPINDLE was my absolute number one favorite book last year, and I’m desperate to read this sequel. I need more of Red and Shane, and I have to know what happens with Fi and her prince in this gender-flipped Sleeping Beauty reimagining.
4. Recently Challenged/Banned Book In My Area
Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Anne Frank, adapted by Ari Folman, and illustrated by David Polonsky
What you need to know: A graphic adaptation of the diary kept by Anne Frank as a teenager as she lived in hiding during the Nazi occupation of her homeland in World War II. Banned for a scene in which Anne expresses attraction for a female friend.
7. Listen to an audiobook performed or written by a BIPOC.
All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson
What you need to know: This book covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. I loved the storytelling and family relationships in this book.
8. Read a graphic novel/comic/manga if you haven’t before; or read one that is a different genre than you normally read.
9. Read an independently published book by a BIPOC.
10. Read a book you know nothing about based solely on the cover.
Through the Moon (The Dragon Prince Graphic Novel #1) by Peter Wartman and Xanthe Bouma
What you need to know: An exclusive story that takes place between seasons 3 and 4 of the animated series THE DRAGON PRINCE. Super short at 126 pages. I followed it fine without having seen the show. I liked the illustrations, I just wish the story was longer. Felt more episodic as opposed to a full story.
11. Read a cookbook cover to cover.
The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson
What you need to know: Kid-friendly vegetarian recipes with simple ingredients. I got this one to use with my daughter, and the recipes have been hit or miss. Some we would not repeat, but others we now have all the time.
14. Read a book with under 500 Goodreads ratings.
Opening My Eyes Underwater: Essays on Hope, Humanity, and Our Hero Michelle Obama by Ashley Woodfolk
What you need to know: An essay collection covering topics like bullying, heartbreak, racism, and confidence inspired by quotes from first lady Michelle Obama. The quotes are perfectly chosen, and the essays very relatable. I’d consider this one as a graduation gift.
15. Read a book set in an Eastern country.
16. Read a romance with bisexual representation.
The Long Run by James Acker
What you need to know: Two track and field athletes feeling isolated for different reasons find solace in an unexpected connection with each other. The big Italian family is kind of toxic, which was disappointing to me personally, but I enjoyed the romance and connection between Sandro and Bash.
17. Read a YA novel in an indigenous author.
Warrior Girl, Unearthed by Angeline Boulley
What you need to know: When Perry reluctantly accepts a summer job at a local museum, she learns of her people’s ancestral remains in the custody of a state university. Meanwhile, more local girls go missing. A companion to FIREKEEPER’S DAUGHTER, this one was completely engrossing.
19. Read a nonfiction book about intersectional feminism.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
What you need to know: The author compares the caste system of India to Nazi Germany and slavery and race relations in the United States. It’s definitely the kind of thing you can’t unsee afterward, if that makes sense. Definitely worth reading.
20. Read a book of poetry by a BIPOC or queer author.
Dark Testament: Blackout Poems by Crystal Simone Smith
What you need to know: The cover copy calls this “a remarkable reckoning with our present moment, a call to action, and a plea for a more just future.” Includes a photo insert featuring memorials for victims of unlawful killings. Heartbreaking and haunting.
21. Read a book of short stories.
22. Read any book from the Ignyte Awards shortlist/longlist.
Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) B. B. Alston
What you need to know: A girl’s search for her missing older brother leads her to the discovery of a secret society of magic users and regulators. An absolute must-read. I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this one.
23. Read a social horror, mystery, or thriller novel.
24. Past Repeat Challenge: Read a nonfiction YA comic (2022).
Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story by Sarah Myer
What you need to know: A graphic memoir of a girl born in South Korea and adopted by a white rural American family. Sarah uses fan art and drawing to overcome racism and bullying. Super emotive illustrations and a poignant narrative.
- Read a novel about a trans character written by a trans author.
- Read one of your favorite author’s books.
- Read a book about activism.
- Read a book that’s been challenged recently in your school district/library, OR read one of the most challenged/banned books of the year by a queer and/or BIPOC author.
- Read a completed webcomic.
- Read a book you’ve DNF’d.
- Listen to an audiobook performed or written by a BIPOC.
- Read a graphic novel/comic/manga if you haven’t before, or read one that is a different genre than you normally read.
- Read an independently published book by a BIPOC.
- Read a book you know nothing about based solely on the cover.
- Read a cookbook cover to cover.
- Read a nonfiction book about BIPOC and/or queer history.
- Read an author local to you.
- Read a book with under 500 Goodreads ratings.
- Read a historical fiction book set in an Eastern country.
- Read a romance with bisexual representation.
- Read a YA book by an indigenous author.
- Read a comic or graphic novel that features disability representation.
- Read a nonfiction book about intersectional feminism.
- Read a book of poetry by a BIPOC or queer author.
- Read a book of short stories.
- Read any book from the Ignyte Awards shortlist/longlist.
- Read a social horror, mystery, or thriller novel.
- Past Repeat Challenge: Read a nonfiction YA comic (2022).