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.
If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Balzer & Bray; Harper & Collins
March 5, 2019
Zan and Priya have been best friends forever. That’s why Zan thinks it is so strange that after Priya suddenly moves to California it is as though she has dropped off the face of the earth. Priya ghosts her, even though Zan sends her loads of emails, texts and makes tons of phone calls. Priya’s Instagram account has some really weird posts that Zan thinks sound totally off. While Priya’s stepdad assures everyone that all is fine, Zan tries to convince her loved ones that something is seriously wrong with Priya. Why won’t anyone believe her?
This exciting mystery features a very strong heroine, multicultural characters, and a cool romance between Zan and the only guy willing to believe that she might be right about Priya, making this a fun, fast read.
Fans of Sharon Draper, who like culturally and sexually diverse characters and Sarah Dessen, who features fast-paced, realistic fiction, will enjoy this mystery/romance.
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
February 26, 2019
Quadara is ruled by four queens who share a castle, each section of which is totally different, reflecting her part of the nation. 17-year-old Keralie is a master thief. When she steals a box of memory chips from a guy named Varin, she swallows them to hide her crime. By doing so, she gains the memories of each of the queens, who have either been murdered or are about to be. Keralie and Varin must try to stop these horrible crimes before everyone finds out about the murdered queens and Quadarian society fractures.
This thrilling fantasy, reminiscent of “The Hunger Games”, features wonderful main characters and four queens for whom readers will care deeply. There is a truly shocking plot twist that no one will see coming.
Fans of fantasy, adventure, romance, and mystery will find all of those elements in this fast-paced royal dystopian novel.
As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl
Penguin Dial Books
Publication Date: August 20th 2019
From the moment she jumps off the bridge with David, Scarlett’s life takes an unplanned trajectory. Valedictorian in her small Colorado town, she is headed to college in Maine on a full scholarship, but her final months at home are a whirlwind of experiences. Arriving at college pregnant certainly wasn’t her plan and now Scarlett has to make decisions that will hopefully keep her life on track. Told in diary type entries on a nonlinear timeline, Scarlett’s story is an intense and emotional ride.
The opening of this book is playful and fun, but as Scarlett reveals more of her past the story turns dark and real. There is an intense need to find out what has happened that makes this book is hard to put down. The mystery of what happened is well drawn out and even with the interrupted timeline, clear chapter headings keep the reader on track.
Readers who like exploring love and confusion and tough decisions after making mistakes and who enjoy suspense and danger will love this book. Those who loved Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson will like this book, as well books with road trip themes, such as Unpregnant by Jenni Hendricks and Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry.
— Cathy Outten