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.
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) by Trevor Noah
April 9th 2019
Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show, recounts his childhood growing up in South Africa, shortly after the end of Apartheid. He was born of a black mother and white father, which was an illegal relationship under Apartheid. He grows up not really fitting in anywhere. With his usual combination of humor and deep insight into humanity’s senseless behavior, Noah gives an uncomfortable piece of history a human face.
From the first line of this book (where he is pushed out of a moving car by his mom) the reader is drawn into Noah’s life. (Readers already familiar with Trevor Noah on T.V. will certainly pick this up.) At times funny and at other times heartbreaking, this look into a life in a fractured, racist society will engross readers. Noah’s story is told in small vignettes that young readers will identify with even if they are occurring in a society different from their own.
Readers who enjoy memoirs and comedy such as Cece Bell’s El Deafo or Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare, or those with an interest in South African politics who read The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, will appreciate this book.
Cathy Outten – currently reading On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
G.P. Putnam Son’s Books for Young Readers/Penguin Group
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Lou loves her small town, especially the amusement park that she and her best friend Seeley work in every summer. She also loves Nick, a lifeguard at the park, who she’s sure would fall in love with her if only he stopped dating Jessa, the park’s resident princess. When a fake-dating plan with Seeley to make Nick notice Lou goes awry, she’ll have to figure out who she really has feelings for, all while trying to save her beloved amusement park from closing.
Lou is an impossibly frustrating and flawed but relatable protagonist, and Seeley and Nick are both charming and likeable dating options. Dugan’s writing is funny and fast-paced, and the story is an ideal summer read. While the plot does not hold many surprises, it is a satisfying LGBT teen romance with just the right amount of angst.
Hot Dog Girl will appeal to fans of Becky Albertali’s Leah on the Offbeat, Ashley Posner’s The Princess and The Fangirl, and Rachel Hawkins’ The Royals.