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#QP2018 Nominees Round Up

Warcross by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
ISBN: 9780399547966

Bounty hunter by day and hacker by night, Emika Chen launches herself into accidental overnight viral fame by projecting herself into the Warcross Championship, a global virtual reality/video game sensation. Emika’s luck finally seems to be looking up when game creator Hideo Tanaka invites her to join the championship as a spy for him, but the answers she finds may cost her everything.

Warcross covers a lot of territory very quickly but easily–the world-building and game descriptions are succinct but detailed, and the characters have depth without being over-explained. The twist at the end of the story ensures that readers will be back for the second volume of this fantastic series.

–Allie Stevens

 

Jumped In by William Kowalski
Orca Book Publishers
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
ISBN: 9781459816275 

Rasheed’s life is pretty rough. He lives in a dangerous neighborhood. School isn’t something he likes, but the E Street Locals (the gang that runs his street) isn’t something he likes, either. He manages to avoid both by hiding between the dumpsters at the 7-Eleven and shuts the world out with earbuds and his music. It’s not that he’s disconnected; he knows what the world is like.  With a disabled sister, paralyzed by a gang shooting, and a mother who has escaped through drugs, he’s pretty sure that the police are no protection either since he’s a “brown kid.”

His outlook on life begins to change when he meets a campus cop who feeds him rather than frisks him. The tentative relationship is one that changes the course of Rasheed’s life–and possibly even his neighborhood.

Kowalski effectively captures the disenfranchised voice of a teen in poverty. Though not as intricately plotted as Jason Reynolds’ work, it will appeal to the same kind of reader.  The end, like many hi-lo books, wraps up perhaps a little too quickly and doesn’t delve quite as deeply, but there’s no question that it has appeal and offers the promise of deep discussion points.  Reluctant readers will be attracted to the cover and and will likely find points of identification with Rasheed’s world view.

–Jodi Kruse

 

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older
Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
ISBN: 9780545952828

Sierra and her friends love making art in their new lives as Shadowshapers.  But now they have to deal with police harassment and brutality on the streets of Brooklyn and at school.  Shadowshapers are fighting against oppressive systems of racism and white supremacy.

When Sierra receives a card with an image from the Deck of Worlds she knows that this is the Shadowshapers next fight. It is an ancient struggle between enemies, and Sierra must defeat the master of the Deck of Worlds.

Teens will be drawn to this gripping and magical world.

–Kay Hones

 

Trell by Dick Lehr
Candlewick
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
ISBN: 9780763692759

On a hot summer night in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, a twelve-year-old African-American girl is the innocent victim of gang-related gunfire. During the manhunt, an African-American man was quickly caught, charged, and convicted of the crime. Dick Lehr reported on the actual crime as a journalist for the Boston Globe in the late 1980s. 

Trell is the fictionalized story of this real crime. Trell is the daughter who seeks to prove her father’s innocence. She asks a reporter and a lawyer to help find pieces of evidence that were not considered.

Readers will learn many important details about this crime and find parallels between the failures of public policy and the court system to uphold justice 30 years ago as well as today.

–Kay Hones

 

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton
Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 4, 2017
ISBN: 97800399550881 

Adam knows that some of the people he sees aren’t real because he’s got schizophrenia, so of course he says yes when he gets a chance to try a new experimental treatment for his condition. It seems like he might get a chance at the kind of life he wants, including the love of brilliant, beautiful Maya. But when the drug begins to fail, Adam’s newfound happiness begins to disappear and he must come to terms with the fact that his condition will never truly go away.

Words on Bathroom Walls follows a similar storyline to the classic Flowers for Algernon and is a gripping, gritty trek through the reality of being a teenager with a severe mental illness. Despite heavy subject matter, Adam is hilarious and infinitely lovable, and the ending is hopeful and realistic rather than happily-ever-after and contrived.

–Allie Stevens