Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, May 14 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Four Three Two One by Courtney Stevens
Harper Teen
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
ISBN: 978-0062398543

Four teens survive a horrific bus bombing. Golden “Go”, her boyfriend Chandler, Rudy  and Caroline come together a year later and end up on a road trip of healing to New York where the EMT that saved them has created an art instillation dedicated to Bus 21. Post explosion, the four survivors have to embrace their new futures and work through their secrets and feelings in order to move on from this horrific event.

Stevens begins the story with a bang and the plot moves smoothly forward. While the story is told mostly from Go’s point-of-view, each character is diverse and well-developed. Readers really get to know each one and watch them work through difficult issues. Family, relationships, PTSD and romance all play their part in Four Three Two One. Diverse and complex characters, topical themes and stunning writing come together to make a novel that is a must-read.  

Readers who enjoyed Courtney Summers’ Sadie, will find a beautiful story of the different ways we survive and the healing power of love, forgiveness, connection, and friendship.  

–Elizabeth Nebeker

This Book is Not Yet Rated by Peter Bognanni
Penguin Dial Books
April 9, 2019
ISBN: 978-0735228078

Ethan and his dad loved to go to the Green Street Theater and watch movies before he died.  Now, Ethan’s position as default manager makes the Green Street Theater a perfect home for him and a safe place to remember his father, but the university that owns the theater has plans to condemn it. Can Ethan and his “lost boys” band of employees save the theater and keep it running? When Raina (Ethan’s oldest friend and biggest crush turned famous movie star) comes back into town, will her presence help to save the theater or will it merely be a distraction?

This book will be a quick pick for anyone who loves movies, sweetly offbeat characters, and gentle friends-to-romance plot lines.  Readers who are not on a direct path to college after high school will also appreciate Ethan’s story. He is a lovable seventeen year old dealing with and the death of his father, and pining after the unattainable girl. While the plot may sound familiar, but this book is written so well as to make the tried and true story line well worth following to an unusual but satisfying conclusion.  

Readers who enjoy coming of age stories like Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A. E. Kaplan, or Paper Towns by John Green or who loved the movie Empire Records will appreciate this book.

-Cathy Outten

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.