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.
Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl
Page Street Kids
Publication Date: September 3rd 2019
Cece has a plan: follow her ex-boyfriend to a Christian summer camp to get him back. He broke up with her to return to his (abstinent) faith, so what better way to show him she is worthy than participating in his Jesus camp? Her plan goes sideways when she realizes she doesn’t want him back, and perhaps the one she does want has been by her side all along.
Snarky and irreverent, Have a Little Faith keeps a light tone while dealing with serious subjects. Starting with Cece throwing water filled condoms out her window at her best friend next door and going though her adventures at camp, it includes lots of real consent and teen sex talk. This sweet friends to lovers romance moves along at a rolling pace to keep readers engaged.
Readers who enjoy funny irreverent such as Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry with find similar tone in this book. Those who are interested in exploring sex and consent in a fun and positive way such as in What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera will enjoy this book.
— Cathy Outten
Testimony From Your Perfect Girl by Kaui Hart Hemmings
G.P. Putnam’s Sons/ Random House
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Annie Tripp’s privileged world of European vacations, fancy clothes and expensive hobbies is turned upside-down when her father is set to stand trial for real estate fraud. Both Annie and her older brother Jay move in with her estranged aunt and uncle’s suburban home in Breckenridge, Colorado while their parents go to prepare their legal defense. During this time, Annie is forced to acknowledge truths about her family and ultimately herself.
Testimony is subtlety humorous, conveying Annie’s relatable teen experiences in a snarky and often laugh-out-loud way, especially when she clashes with authority figures like her aunt. Young adult readers may not all relate to Annie’s immense privilege, but they will relate to her awkward firsts, including a kiss, working her first job, and losing her virginity. Teens will feel rewarded by watching Annie develop from an isolated rich kid to one who learns to interact with her more “normal” peers. The strong character will draw readers in and the character’s growth will appeal to readers who like realistic fiction and prefer a more balanced ending.
This is a good read for fans of books like If I’m Being Honest which depicts privileged youth coming to grips with reality in a humorous way or Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemerer which also stars a teen whose parent’s fall plunges them out of a world of privilege. Also for fans of light romantic reads filled with protagonists who also search for personal growth such as in Don’t Date Rosa Santos. Those who enjoy awkward adolescent “firsts” on TV shows like Pen15 may also find this title relatable.
Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Rasmira, daughter of the village leader, has trained hard her whole life to be her father’s successor. However, when her warrior trial is sabotaged by the village bullies, she is given one year to complete an undoable task. She has to kill the god who has plagued the village for as long as anyone can remember. Rasmira teams up with two other outcasts to complete their impossible tasks, and learns that she is stronger than she thought.
Levenseller creates believable characters who undergo many trials. The story is action packed with descriptive monster fighting. There are also LGBT characters. The setting is loosely based on the Vikings, which is unique. The fast pace of the plot will highly appeal to reluctant readers.
Readers who enjoyed Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King duology will enjoy this quick read. It will also appeal to readers of Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom.