Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney, Illustrated by Robyn Smith DC Comics Publication Date: February 23, 2021 ISBN: 978-1401296407
Nubia has Amazonian strength, but after using her strength to stop a robbery, she is the one who ends up in handcuffs. Even a superhero is not immune to racist police brutality, and sadly, this is not the first time something like that has happened to her. When her best friend is repeatedly harassed by a white boy who will not take no for an answer and a protest turns deadly, Nubia must decide whether she is going to potentially reveal her secret identity to protect the ones that she loves.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.
Becoming Muhammad Ali. By James Patterson and Kwame Alexander.Art by Dawud Anyabwile. 2020. Little, Brown/JIMMY Patterson. $16.99 (9780316498166).
James Patterson and Kwame Alexander tackle the life of Cassius Clay before he became Muhammad Ali in this novel that mixes prose and verse.
Chlorine Sky. By Mahogany L. Browne. Penguin Random House/Crown. $17.99 (9780593176399).
In this novel in verse, Mahogany Browne explores what it’s like to lose a best friend but find yourself.
The Truth Project by Dante Medema Quill Tree Books / Harper Collins Publication Date: October 30, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062954404
High school senior Cordelia has her senior writing project all planned: she’ll take a DNA test just like her sister did, and write about identity and her family history. She also manages to get paired with her childhood crush, Kodiak, on the project. But when her genealogy results come in, Cordelia learns her father is not who she thought — which sends her spiraling as her plan for her senior year completely changes.
This free verse novel has a lot of white space on the page and reads quickly. Poems are short and spaced out. Additional storytelling comes in the form of text messages and emails, adding some variety while keeping things fast-paced. The writing is clear, and the plot is straightforward. The search for identity is a familiar theme with strong emotional appeal to teens, and many teens will relate to Delia’s sense of being out-of-place even among the people who know her best.
Every Single Lie by Rachel Vincent Bloomsbury Publication Date: January 12, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5476-0523-1
Sixteen-year-old Beckett Bergen’s life completely changes the moment she discovers a dead baby in a duffel bag stashed in the girl’s locker room at school. After an anonymous Twitter account reveals that Beckett made the discovery, she is targeted with violent threats and rumors that she’s the #BabyKiller. Hunting for the truth only uncovers more secrets but none so shattering as discovering what really happened.
Teen Killers Club, by Lily Sparks Crooked Lane / Penguin Random House Publication Date: November 10, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-64385-229-4
Signal Deere was once an ordinary girl, a misfit goth with concerns like where to sit at lunch and when she’d get her first kiss. That all changed the day she was convicted of the gruesome murder of her best friend. She is just getting used to life in prison when she gets an offer that seems too good to be true: if she joins a top-secret program based out of an abandoned summer camp, she won’t have to serve another day of her sentence. For once, she should fit right in — the camp is full of “Class A” killers like her, the most dangerous type of criminal. There’s just one problem: she was framed. She has no idea who actually killed her friend. And, in Teen Killers Club, being innocent makes her prey.
Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson, Kwame Alexander, and Dawud Anyabwile (illustrator) Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company Publication Date: October 5, 2020 ISBN: 978-0399547966
Cassius Clay Jr. was always the greatest—even if everyone didn’t know it yet. Before the world knew him as Muhammad Ali, Cassius hung out with friends, loved his family, and struggled with school, all against the backdrop of 1950s Louisville, Kentucky. In this fictionalized biography, writers James Patterson and Kwame Alexander show the reader Cassius’ life with a mix of prose and poetry.
The book is engaging and full of heart, with fully realized characters and a well-paced plot. The cover draws you in, and Dawud Anyabwile’s art throughout adds to the book’s appeal. The mix of prose and poetry adds interest. Students will be able to see themselves in Cassius and his best friend, Lucky.
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.
This is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes HarperTeen / Harper Collins Publication Date: November 17, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062422446
Daffodil doesn’t have a typical plan for the summer before her Freshman year of college. Instead of hanging out with friends or traveling, she agrees to house-sit all alone in a creepy mansion. As the summer progresses, things in the house get progressively stranger and more sinister, and Daffodil can’t ignore that there is something evil about the house. Will she be able to discover the house’s secret before it’s too late?
This is Not a Ghost Story is a quick-paced read that delves into the action of the story quickly with short chapters that keep the story moving. Told from a first-person, stream-of-consciousness point of view, teens will appreciate that the voice actually sounds like a teenager. The mystery of the story is compelling and will keep teens guessing until the twist ending.
Hello! My name is Molly Dettmann, and I am currently serving as the Coordinator for the 2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team. I’ve served on several YALSA committees in the past. During the day, I work as a high school librarian at Norman North High School in Norman, OK (Follow us on IG and FB @normannorthlibrary). I live in Norman with my husband, who teaches at the rival high school in town, and our dog Coco.
The 2022 Quick Picks team has a goal to curate a worthy list of titles that will reignite reluctant readers, young adults (ages 12-18) that, for whatever reasons, do not like to read. We read young adult fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels, looking for works that meet criteria such as having a high interest hook, catchy titles and covers, clear writing, and sufficient plot to sustain interest.
Anyone can nominate titles for committee review by filling out this form. To be eligible, titles must be published from September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021.(Please note: publishers and authors cannot nominate their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation).
To become an officially nominated Quick Pick title, two QP blogging team members have to read and vote yes for its inclusion. In our work to produce the final list, team members read and nominate titles, read field nominations, create blog posts, and attend monthly virtual meetings to discuss titles. In December, the team will meet to vote on the final list. To make the list, a title must be read and approved by a majority of team members. We also compile a top ten list. Quick Picks typically considers upwards of 100-150 titles a year with about 50-75% making the final list.
The #QP2022 team is made up of 12 YALSA members from different types of library settings and backgrounds all over the country. They are:
Megan Baird, AZ
Diana Ford, MD
Laura Indick, NY
Jayna Ramsey, CO
Ness Shortley, NC
Sarah Sullivan, NH
Jennifer Sutton, IL
Carolyn Vidmar, MD
Emily Williams, OK
Molly Moore, Admin Assistant, GA
We are excited to get started in our work and again, we welcome field nominations from all! If you have a title you think would make a great fit for this list, please fill out this form.
-Molly Dettmann (she/her)
2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team
The list of 64 titles is drawn from 81 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The list identifies titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read. Criteria for these titles include those with a high interest “hook”, a catchy title/cover, sufficient plot to sustain interest, humor when appropriate, and more. View the full list.
In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062561626.
Found by Joseph Bruchac. 7th Generation. 2020. $9.95. ISBN: 9781939053237.
Golden Arm by Carl Deuker. HMH Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780358012429.
Heartstopper Vol. 1. by Alice Oseman. Graphix. 2020. $14.00. ISBN: 9781338617443.
Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds. Illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781534444959.
The Loop by Ben Oliver. Chicken House. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781338589306.
#NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil. Freeform. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781368026260.
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Blazer + Bray. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062996480.
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second Books. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. ISBN: 9781250171115.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Scholastic. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781338503265.
The suggestion form for the 2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.
YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.
A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team for all the great work they put into curating this list. The members are:
Coordinator Molly Dettmann, Norman North High School, Norman, OK Megan Baird, Main Library-Yuma County Library District, Yuma, AZ Kathleen J. Barker, History UnErased, Plymouth, MI Sarah Carnahan, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock, AR Barbara Dinan, Plymouth District Library, Plymouth, MI Elizabeth Giles, Kansas City Public Library, MO Aimee Haslam, Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, VA Marie LeJeune, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR Jessica Levy, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA Kat Reynolds, University of Southern California, South Pasadena, CA Maryjean Riou, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ Lorraine Roussin, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX Jennifer Sutton, Lake Park High School-East Campus, Roselle, IL Jade Valenzuela, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM Emily Williams, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City, OK Administrative assistant Dana Hutchins, Jackson Middle School, San Antonio, TX
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Hachette / Little, Brown and Company Publication Date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 978-1368052405
Shocked and confused, Avery Kylie Grambs is pulled from class and whisked away to the reading of billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s will-a man whom she’s never met-and inherits his fortune. Abruptly moving into his mansion filled with secret passageways and disinherited family members, Avery tries to solve the puzzle of why she is Tobias’ heir rather than his four brilliant, handsome teen grandsons and their families.
The Inheritance Games is built on short, dialogue-driven chapters and the promise of puzzles, passageways, and mysteries to uncover in every page turn. Avery is clever, likeable, and well-developed as she navigates the treacherous waters of her newfound fame and fortune after a lifetime of financial struggle. Equally likeable (albeit each in their own ways) are the competitive Hawthorne grandsons, who set aside their discontent at disinheritance to work with (and sometimes against) Avery to try and solve the riddle of her inheritance. While there are many characters to follow throughout, each is distinct and developed enough that they are not difficult to track. In true Barnes fashion, clues are interwoven throughout the story and, if the reader is clever enough, they might be able to take a guess at the final big reveal, which both solves the question of Avery’s inheritance and sets up neatly for an upcoming sequel reluctant readers can look forward to devouring.