Beyond the Story Challenge

Hey everyone! Welcome to the very first “Beyond the Story” challenge! Now, this is my first time ever doing any sort of challenge so please bear with me if things don’t go quite as planned–I am trying my best to make this fun and enjoyable.

Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck the “Beyond the Story” challenge even is, given that I made it up and so you’ve never heard of it before. Here are the short answers for that:

  • What: A reading challenge designed to help you read different books
  • Who: I, Phoenix at Books With Wings, am hosting this challenge
  • When: This challenge will begin on October 25, 2020, and you will post your first post on November 1, 2020
  • Why: I hope this challenge will encourage you to go out of the genre you are used to and explore books that you never thought would be good–but turn out to be!

Now, that probably wasn’t very useful, so here is the longer and more detailed description of this challenge:

The contest is split into four weeks and everyone will read one book per week. Each week there will be prompts that you need to read the book from. But here’s the thing. The prompts won’t be having you look at the actual story….they’ll have you look at things like the cover and the title and the character names. Of course you can look at the summary as well but the main point of this challenge is to get you to read books that you may not normally pick up, just having read the summary, but that you will give a try because of another element. 

Your first post should be posted by Sunday, November 1. Given that you have around a week to read each book, you should begin reading your first book, for the “Judge a book by its cover” challenge, on Sunday, October 25, give or take. This should hopefully give you enough time to plan your reads for this challenge and acquire the books.

Please note: As a teenager and someone who reads almost exclusively YA, the prompts for this challenge will be centered around YA books. However, this does not mean that you have to read exclusively YA. Middle grade, YA, NA and adult books can all be used in this challenge.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Read a book that corresponds to the week’s challenge
  2. Write a blog post about the book, why you chose that specific book for the challenge and what you’ve learned from the book
  3. Make sure to give a shoutout to me, Phoenix @Books With Wings

Don’t have a blog but still want to participate? Read to the bottom to see how to do that.

Here are each of the four week’s challenges:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Scratch that. This challenge is all about doing exactly that. Choose a book for this challenge because you like its cover. Maybe the cover is interesting, or beautiful or strange looking in a good way. Whatever it is, it’s the front that entices you, not what’s inside.

I couldn’t even name how many books there are with the word, ‘star’ in their titles. If you don’t believe me, take a look at any young adult shelf anywhere and you’ll probably find a book with a title that includes the word ‘star’. And so I ask you to read one of these books for challenge week 2. Need help? Check out this goodreads list* of 768 books with the word star in the title (*please note that not all of these books may be Young Adult).

This week we’ll focus on the character names. Read a book in which one of the central characters shares at least a first letter of the first name with you. Don’t want to share your name online? That’s alright, use your online name. Don’t have an online name/it starts with some absurd letter like ‘X’? Use the letter ‘A’. (why ‘A’? It was the first letter I could think of–and the first letter of the alphabet).

Look through the books that you’ve read this year and see what the authors of those books have been reading. Choose a book to read for this fourth challenge based on what your favorite authors have rated this year*. This challenge is a little more open-ended so I suggest you look for a book in a genre you don’t usually read but it is completely your choice. (*Note: If you read in the YA category, remember that not all authors also read in the YA category so be careful what you choose).

Questions I know will be asked if I don’t answer them now:

Q: What if I don’t have a blog?
A: That’s alright! You can participate through somewhere else, for example Instagram, goodreads, or even just commenting how it’s going in the comments of my blog! (please don’t do this in the comments of other people’s blogs unless they say it’s alright).

Q: What if I can’t/don’t want to do all four weeks of the challenge?
A: If you would prefer to only do one or two weeks of the challenge, that’s alright. Obviously it’s preferable to do all four weeks to expand on what you read even more but one or two weeks works as well.

Q: What’s the point of this challenge? Aren’t you supposed to choose books based on what’s inside?
A: That is true, usually. However, I find that oftentimes I won’t pick up a book because of its summary, actually. Here’s an example: The book “The Sound of Stars” has a really odd sounding summary, in my opinion. However, the cover of the book is one of the best covers I have ever seen. (Also it has the word ‘star’ in the title but I’ll be reading it for challenge 1)

Q: My blog is run by multiple people. Can we both participate or split the weeks we do it?
A: Yes to both those questions! You can either both participate and both post about your reads for this challenge or you could each do one week or you could each do two weeks, depending on how many people you have blogging on one blog.

Q: Am I allowed to reread a book for this challenge?
A: No. This challenge is all about discovering new books that you may not have chosen to read if not for this challenge. If you’ve already read the book, you know that it’s good already (or not good but you also cannot reread a book hoping it’s better the second time around)

Q: Can I read a book I’ve already started for a challenge?
A: It depends. If you’re halfway through the story or almost done and you’re super hooked then no, you cannot read it. However, if you’ve just started a book and are one, two, three chapters in and not entirely hooked, and the book fits the challenge, then yes you may read it.

Q: Can I read an ARC for this challenge?
A: If the ARC fits the prompt and you requested it because of this challenge–not because you thought it looked interesting beforehand–then yes, you may read it for the challenges.

Participating? Give this post a like! Plus, to spread the word about the challenge and let others know about what you’re doing ahead of time, put a post on your own blog about the challenge and who’s running it! Follow my blog, Books with Wings, to stay up to date on the contest and to see my book reviews for the contest as well. 

Questions? You’re probably not the only one who has them! Post them in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer!


15 thoughts on “Beyond the Story Challenge

  1. Ooh! I might join in! (I’d have to finish setting up my blog first, though) it depends on what milkshake access to, though. Because I don’t have the money to buy new books so I’m depending on the library and the books I own but haven’t read yet. So if I can find any available (or going to be available in time) books that for the first challenge, than I’ll join in!

    (I now realize that there was probably no point in commenting this… XD -_-)


    1. Yay! I hope that you can join! You don’t need a blog to join of course–just might make it a little easier and more…I don’t know. But yeah that’s the thing, acquiring books is sometimes hard for some people. I hope that you can get them in time! Could you get libby and read books on a screen? I know that that’s obviously not preferable for most people but it could help for at least the first challenge or so.


      1. Me too! And, I actually have Libby! I adore it! I’m currently reading Winter by Marissa Meyer on it. The only problem with Libby is that all the people in my library branch use it verses only the people in my area using my library locations, and more people = more copies being used/on hold, so it can take months for a popular book verses a few days to a couple of weeks. Does that make sense? XD


      2. Ooh, yeah, that makes sense. That’s too bad. Well I hope you have time to get the books! (because there’s so few people participating and it’s making me sad D=)


      3. Me too! Once I finish Winter, if it’s not too late to get the books and start, I’ll join in!

        ((However I can’t promise that If I’m not enjoying a book that I’ll finish it… 😅))


  2. Question; For the fourth challenge, I have absolutely no idea what my favorite authors have been reading. BUT I have a list of books that Marissa Meyer (even though she’s not one of my favorite author) has recommended. So I was curious if I could pick a book from that list for the challenge?


    1. You can pick from that list. Maybe a way to see what your favorite authors are reading are checking goodreads or their websites? Like maybe not what they’re currently reading but what they just read? I don’t know, you choose.


      1. Okay! For the most part, I’ve found my favorite authors don’t use Goodreads too much, because it’s not one of the big social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram are well known, but the people I’ve talked to about it don’t know what Goodreads is, by they’d know Facebook or Twitter or stuff like that…
        Anywho, thanks! I’ll probably choose from that list because I’ve checked author websites and didn’t see anything like that, so I think I’m going to stick with that list.


  3. What I’m reading for this challenge;

    1: Pick a book with a cover you like
    (To Best The Boys)

    2: Book with star in it’s name
    (All the Stars and Teeth)

    3:  Character who’s name starts with S (my first initial)
    (Bone Crier’s Moon)

    4: Book a author your read this year enjoyed
    (Six of Crows)


  4. Another question; when should I post my TBR for this? Is there a specific date?
    Also, because it’s one week per book, do I start each new book on Sunday? Or do I start it on a specific date?

    Basically, what’s the schedule for this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay so I made this purposely really loose because I understand that people have lives so they may not be able to follow such a strict schedule. So you can post your TBR any time between, well last sunday and this coming sunday (though obviously most of those days have passed). Yes, ideally you would start each new book on Sunday but you don’t have to. If you finish one book before sunday you can start the next one right after. It’s more just when you post the reviews of the books–those should each be posted on sunday.
      Hope that helped and if you have any more questions feel free to ask 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s