YALSA recently released its 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers book list. Thoughtfully selected by a committee who read hundreds of titles over the past year, the list suggests books that teens will pick up on their own and read for pleasure — even if they don’t necessarily like to read.
Though this list is officially geared toward “reluctant readers,” the selected titles are likely to appeal to just about anyone. And since half the fun of reading is sharing your love of a good book with someone else, here are a few handy elevator speeches you can use to convince others to read some of these books — in 30 seconds or less, guaranteed!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
When Greg’s old childhood friend, Rachel, is diagnosed with leukemia, his mom insists he should rekindle his friendship with her to show support. I know what you’re thinking — not another depressing cancer book … right? But wait, this one is funny! Seriously. No tissues necessary.
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
In the predecessor to this book, Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost of a beautiful young girl literally went to hell to save the ghost hunter who was supposed to wipe her out — but kind of fell in love with her instead. (Did you get all that?) Now he’s determined to rescue her, because you can’t just leave a nice girl in hell, right? The journey will take him halfway around the world. Oh, and it involves a stroll through a suicide forest, so keep all the lights on while you read, okay?
Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
If you’re in the mood for something raw, gritty, and emotional, you can always count on an Ellen Hopkins book — and this one is no exception. This book tackles a variety of issues head-on: teen pregnancy, love despite HIV, a young girl obsessed with an older guy. It’s written in Ellen Hopkins’s trademark free verse style, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can devour a 600+ page book.
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Are you in the mood for a seriously good scare? Inspired by Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None, Gretchen McNeil takes on the murder mystery genre and updates it for a new audience. Ten teens arrive on an island for a weekend party, and … spoiler? Nah, you can guess … not all of them will go home alive. Prepare to stay up late reading this one, because once you start, you’ll have to know how it ends.
Starters by Lissa Price
In this futuristic society, there are only young people and old people — everyone else has been wiped out by biological warfare. Wealthy old people have developed the technology to take over young people’s bodies (creepy, right?) and teenaged Callie decides it’s worth renting out her body to earn money to save her seriously ill little brother. But the old person who takes over her body isn’t just out for a joy ride — they appear to be plotting murder. If you like fast-paced action and a science fiction premise, this is the book for you.
Awkward Family Pet Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack
The title says it all. I mean, people really love their pets. It’s sweet, right? I dare you not to laugh. Let me just add that people might want to think twice before posing shirtless with their darling pets. Awwwwwkward.
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez and Jenna Glatzer
Do you remember hearing on the news about that girl who faked a pregnancy for her senior project? Do you remember thinking, “Why on earth would someone do that?!” Well, this is her story. Gaby Rodriguez was told all her life she would grow up to be a teen mom. That’s just how it was for the women in her family. But Gaby had other ideas, and decided to fake a pregnancy to see how people would react if it looked like she was giving into the stereotype. Read this book to find out how she did it, what people thought, and how she handled it all.
— Allison Tran, currently reading Mind Games, by Kiersten White
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