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.
Teen Titans: Raven (Teen Titans #1) by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
An origin story of DC’s Raven, this graphic novel opens on a scene between Raven and her adoptive mother discussing what appears to be a recent shocking revelation when their car is hit. Her mother dies and Raven is left with amnesia. Raven is taken in by her mother’s estranged sister and cousin. Raven has to re-learn who she is while navigating high school while being pursued by a demon.
Teen Titans: Raven stars a well-known character. The excellent artwork, and intriguing characters make this a quick read.
Those who like YA DC graphic novels such as Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle will like this. Also a great entry book for those wanting to check out YA graphic novels starring women.
Love from A-Z by S.K. Ali
Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Adam and Zayneb, two Muslim teens, meet on a flight to Qatar. Adam is going home from college to tell his father that he has been diagnosed with MS (the disease his mother died from). Zayneb is visiting her aunt in Doha after being suspended for confronting an Islamophobic teacher at school. The fact that they meet at all is both a marvel and an oddity. The fact that they keep meeting again? Neither one is sure of what to make of it, but it might just be love.
It’s a fast-moving and very sweet Muslim romance that really celebrates both teens and their beliefs. Adam’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis and his struggles in dealing with it is high-stakes and compelling, and Zayneb’s struggles with her teacher are especially timely–her description of searching the web for his profiles is very real for 2019. This is a beautiful and quick book that would also serve as a great clean read.
Give to fans of Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan, or Frankly in Love by David Yoon.
The Me I Meant To Be by Sophie Jordan
Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Willa and Flor are best friends struggling to figure out who they are as they navigate the waters of dating and relationships. Willa realizes she has feelings for her other best friend–Zach, who up until recently was dating Flor. Meanwhile, Flor struggles to move on from the break-up, deal with her dad’s new partner, and explore romantic feelings for someone new. The girl code between the female friends is tested as they drift away from each other to explore their newfound feelings.
The angsty characters are easy for teens to relate to: Willa struggles to be forward about her feelings towards Zach, and is afraid, as many would be, of rupturing her friendship with Flor as a result of pursuing this relationship. In Flor teens will identify with the difficulties in dealing with romantic rejection, as well as dealing with new step-parents. The story captures adolescents where they are and with realistic characters. The pacing is steady and the first person narrative of the two protagonists (told in alternating chapters) makes for an easy page turner that teens will find accessible.
For fans of realistic teen romantic dramas, such as Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty and romances by Sarah Dessen, Emily Wibberley, and Nicola Yoon.
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