Fort Collins Teen Smashes the 40 Book Challenge

Fort Collins’ Ashley Morris describes herself as “more of a math person,” yet for her recent 8th grade Gifted & Talented project at Webber Middle School, she chose to complete the 40 Book Challenge.

“Numbers work better for me,” Ashley explains. “But I also love to read and experience another person’s life or escape into another realm.”

When you take a look at Ashley’s final project it’s pretty clear that she’s quite successful with both numbers and words. What began as a goal of reading 40 books quickly turned into an even more amazing accomplishment: Ashley read, reviewed, and rated 112 different books!


Harmony Library featured a display of Ashley’s project and the books she recommends.

She blazed through 40 books in just the first quarter of school, and reached 50 soon after.

“Trying to read 40 books isn’t daunting to me. I had really planned to go for 100. I knew I could do it,” Ashley admits. “I spend a lot of my free time reading, especially fantasy and sci-fi. I prefer that to staring at a screen.”

Favorite Reads

Ashley worked with Harmony Library librarian Jennifer Zachman to identify potential authors and book titles for her project. In addition to her poster board presentation, Ashley created a bookmark that highlights her favorite books and series from her reading challenge. Many of these stories feature her favorite type of protagonist: “strong women characters.”

You can check out all of these titles through the Library!

Favorite Series

Reawakened series by Colleen Houck
Rebel Belle series by Rachel Hawkins
The Tapestry series by Henry H. Neff


Favorite Stand-Alone Books

Gunslinger Girl by Lindsey Ely
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon
Geekerella by Ashley Poston


Favorite Authors

Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase series)
Michael Scott (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series)
Julie Kagawa (Talon saga)


While Ashley’s favorite books tend to fall into the fantasy, mythology, and science fiction camps, she did push outside of those genres to include books and authors from other areas. Here are her favorites.

Favorite Books by Genre

Fiction Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Realistic Fiction Airman by Eoin Colfer
Historical Fiction Battle Dress by Amy Efaw
Romance The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Nonfiction The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Mystery The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Mythology Secret of the Sirens by Julia Golding
Drama Paper Towns by John Green


Interested in doing a 40 Book Challenge?

Take a look at our blog post “Is Your Reader Taking the 40 Book Challenge?” which includes information about how to get started and how the Library can help you with book recommendations.