It’s time for more selected lists nominees! Stay tuned to the Hub as we reveal the nominees for 2019’s Quick Picks, Amazing Audiobooks, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and Best Fiction for Young Adults!
Today you can see our first three Quick Picks 2019 (#QP2019) nominees.
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Dutton Books/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Jess Wong is a comic writer with a serious crush on her BFF, Angie. However, Angie has other plans…like her popular new girlfriend, Margot, and Margot’s circle of privileged boarding school friends. When Jess and these friends find a box of black satin holding an ornate golden gun, things change forever for all of them.
From the darkly designed, stark cover of a dripping hand to the attention-grabbing first page, readers will be instantly drawn into Jess’ world. When one of the girls in the group goes missing and is found shot and killed, the curving plot twists are plentiful. The side story of Jess’ comic keeps readers guessing as to what is part of the comic, and what is real. Varied writing formats including prose, scripted police scenes, and social media keep things fresh and engrossing. Cultural and LGBTQ diversity adds to the compelling mix and broad appeal. The intensifying pace and creepy, suspenseful plot will keep readers engaged through the jaw-dropping epilogue.
Hand this twisty thriller to fans of Little Monsters by Kara Thomas, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, and viewers of the television show How to Get Away With Murder.
Alone by Cyn Balog
Sourcebooks Fire/Sourcebooks, Inc.
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Seda’s mom inherits a creepy old mansion that once featured a live murder mystery show. Hanging out there while her parents prepare to sell it sounds like a fun adventure for the summer…until her mom doesn’t want to leave and return to their home in Boston. When a twenty-inch snowstorm strands a group of teens there, live murder mystery takes on new meanings.
The door on the cover image just looks like it sounds excessively creaky, while the title Alone seems somewhat skeptical in the crumbling, eerie old house. The atmospheric tone raises both hairs and interest right from the beginning. Seda continues hearing and seeing the presence of Sawyer, her imaginary friend from childhood, the one she told her mother was gone years ago. Her two sets of younger twin siblings have found amusement in some ghoulish old props from the haunted shows, lending humor to the sinister atmosphere as the teens are stranded during the storm. A scavenger hunt to pass the time during the storm results in disturbing and unexpected events for the participants. When the teens are dressing up in old costumes, one of them claims to be Robert E. Lee in his military attire. Given the events in Charlottesville, this could easily have been adjusted to a generic military costume, or left out altogether. Otherwise, the menacing, suspenseful hunt through the old home is spot-on, leaving horror lovers frantically turning pages.
Obviously a nod to Stephen King’s The Shining, horror fans will eat this up. Aficionados of Jonathan Maberry, Stephen King, and American Horror Story are ideal readers.
The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves
Harper Teen / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
It’s tough being broke in the Maesta, a group of low income apartments in Tampa, and Marcos Rivas is just trying to survive. He’s trying to survive school, his mother’s boyfriend, and the rough neighborhood he lives in. If he’s lucky, he’ll be okay. If he’s really lucky, he might even find a girlfriend.
Marcos is a likable character in a difficult living situation. He’s jaded, but his environment hasn’t entirely killed his hope. Readers will be pulling for him as he and his friends struggle with temptations and situations that are universally recognizable like finding first love, getting a job, escaping through drugs, and navigating abusive family relationships. Teens who are struggling with life and school will immediately relate to challenges in Marcos’s world.
This is a title that is reminiscent of LouAnne Johnson’s Muchacho with the added benefit that it is written by a man of color who experienced the world. The emphasis on pick-up basketball games will appeal to readers of Matt de la Peña’s Ball Don’t Lie while the gritty life experiences will appeal to fans of Coe Booth’s Tyrell and Swati Avashti’s Split.