Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, October 27 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry
Henry Holt & Co. / Macmillan
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
ISBN: 978-1250157591

Savannah is tired of moving every time her mom finds a new boyfriend and she’s finally happy living in Portland where she attends Kung Fu classes and is making friends. After a fight with her mom’s boyfriend, Savannah is kidnapped from a parking lot and must rely on her wits and self defense skills to try to escape–and help the other girl her kidnapper has also abducted.

This thriller is fast paced and action packed; readers are pulled immediately into the conflicts in Savannah’s life and then the frightening events of her abduction.  Although the book shifts points of view, including chapters from Savannah, Jenny (another kidnapped girl), family members, etc. the point of view changes only heighten the suspense of the book.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, October 27 Edition

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, April 15 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Run, Hide, Fight Back by April Henry; Narrated by Amy McFadden
Tantor Audio
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
ISBN: 978-1977306616
Shooting breaks out in an Oregon mall, and amid the death of many, 6 teens manage to hide in a storage room behind a fashion store.  As others in the mall are killed or taken hostage, the teens need to choose, do they run? hide? fight back? As we learn about each teen’s background story, including addiction, racism, loss, and illness, they come together as a group to survive this deadly nightmare.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, April 15 Edition

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 12 Edition

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.

This is our last post of the year, so please excuse the length, we wanted to fit them all in!

cover art

XL by Scott Brown
Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
ISBN: 978-1524766245
The morning of his sixteenth birthday, four foot and eleven inches tall Will wishes for two things: a girlfriend and to be taller. After he chickens out of telling his good friend Monica how he really feels, he sees his best friend/step brother kissing her. However, one of his wishes does come true: he starts growing and doesn’t stop. As Will’s life begins to change, he soon realizes that your character matters more than your height.
The concept of the story was unique and told in an interesting way. The plot moves quickly. All of the characters are well-developed and well-rounded. The relationship drama, risk-taking and a little bit of humor make this an engaging read for reluctant readers.
Readers of Rainbow Rowell and John Green will enjoy this fun quick read. It will also appeal to those who enjoyed the slight magical realism of The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds.
–Elizabeth Nebeker

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 12 Edition

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition

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.

cover artJackpot by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House Children’s Books
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
ISBN: 978-1984829627

Seventeen-year-old Rico works long hours at the Gas ‘n’ Go to help support her mother and younger brother. When no one comes forward to claim a multi-million-dollar lottery prize, she teams up with Zan, whose wealthy family seems the opposite of hers in every way, in order to find the winning ticket.  

This is a sweet coming of age story featuring a interracial romance. Stone’s writing is very engaging, and the short chapters make this a compelling read. Told mostly from Rico’s point of view, the story includes some quirky chapters narrated by inanimate objects, like the winning lottery ticket.  Rico is a sympathetic and humorous character, and the book is manages to be somewhat lighthearted, even when tackling tough subjects like poverty and illness. 

An excellent choice for readers who enjoy the family-oriented themes in the works of Angie Thomas and Brandy Colbert. This selection will also appeal to fans of “opposites attract” romances, like those by Sandhya Menon, or Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. 

–Kathleen J. Barker Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition

What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

Have you had a chance to take our readers’ survey? We’d love your feedback! 

She wakes up inside a duffle bag in the middle of Times Square. Her body is covered in tattoos and she doesn’t remember who she is or how she got there, but she has amazing fighting skills that hint at special forces training. This is Jane Doe from the television show Blindspot. Jane is spending all of her free time trying to remember her past, but if she wanted a book break, this is what I’d recommend to her.blindspot

thenaturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Cassie is recruited by the FBI to work in a special group of teens with exceptional abilities. The recruits will have to work together to survive and catch the killer before they are killed.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. The girl wakes up in a cabin to hear her captors discussing her execution. She doesn’t know who she is, why she’s there, or how to escape, but she knows that if she wants to live, she must get out now.

Mind Games by Kiersten White. Fia has perfect intuition. She always, always knows how to react. Fia is going to need to use all of her powers to rescue her sister, Annie, who is being held captive so that Fia will do her captors’ bidding. Annie is blind, but has visions of the future. Can Fia manage to overcome her captors and rescue her sister?

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. Meg has a new name, a new look, and a new address. Her family is in witness protection, and she’s tired of constantly hiding and running. She can’t figure out why they are in hiding and she doesn’t want to follow the rules she’s been given. Meg will need to use all of her ingenuity to ensure her survival – and that of her family as well.

killer of enemiesKiller of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Lozen is a monster hunter, and the privileged Ones she serves keep her family hostage to guarantee Lozen’s compliance. But as Lozen’s power grows, she wonders if she is fated for something more. Does she have the courage and cunning to rescue her family?

Enclave by Ann Aguirre. Deuce has lived her whole live underground battling the freaks, but when she is exiled from her people, she must rely on Fade and his memories of the topside world.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). Cia is thrilled to be chosen for the elite testing program, where applicants compete for slots in the university program. However, her father warns her that all is not as it seems. Will Cia be able to keep her wits (and her memories) and use them to survive the rigorous test?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Em is trapped in prison. She finds a list, written in her own handwriting, hidden inside the drain in the middle of the room. She doesn’t remember writing this list, but she knows that it is up to her to escape and stop horrible things from happening.

i am the weaponI Am the Weapon by Allan Zadoff (2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). The boy was taken from his family and trained as an assassin. Now he goes from mission to mission, always the new kid in school and in the neighborhood, until his mission is complete and he disappears to a new town to start over again. What would happen, though, if the Boy wanted out of this program?

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Cassie is certain she’s being followed, but she has to locate and rescue her brother before the final alien invasion occurs. The first four waves wiped out most of the planet and Cassie is determined to reunite with her brother before it is too late.

 

— Jenni Frencham, currently reading Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert Continue reading What Would They Read?: Jane from Blindspot

YA Literary Trope: The A-Hole Friend(s)

Welcome back to another exploration of common themes found in young adult literature.  We have already discussed some fun literary tropes including The Old Clunker I Drive, The I Already Know You Introduction, The I Have to Take Care of my Parents, and The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy.)  Today we will examine a not-so-nice trope: the A-hole friend(s).  Let’s talk about those jerks who steer our protagonists astray.  Those bullies who taunt, tease, and torture others.  This trope can be hard to read– a good writer (such as those I mention below) make these a-holes so true to life we palpably hate them.

YA Literary Tropes A Hole Friends

  • Before I Fall (2011 Best Fiction For Young Adults, 2011 Teens Top Ten) by Lauren Oliver: Elody, Ally, and (most of all) Lindsay.  Actually Sam, the narrator of this extraordinary book, is also kind of an a-hole.  The foursome are your typical High School popular mean girls.  They are beautiful. They laugh loudly. They target an innocent girl and bully her for years. They drink and drive fast (and pay for it.)  Sam seems to consider herself a bystander in a lot of this a-hole behavior, but as the book goes on she learns more and more how her behavior affects others.

Continue reading YA Literary Trope: The A-Hole Friend(s)

Genre Guide: Action Novels

Books with lots of action are often a home run with readers, especially those who like a plot-driven story. They can cross a wide-range of genres, from spy fiction to murder mysteries.

Definition:
Action books are often very heavy on the plot with danger pulling the story forward, leaving readers on the edge of their seat desperate to know what happens next. Elements of risk and surprise are key factors in action stories. The events that trigger the action or danger are typically outside the protagonist’s day to day life. Often, at the end of the story, the hero or heroine is never the same.

Characteristics:
* Fast-paced
* Conflict
* Danger
* Risk
* Double-crossings
* Betrayal
* Villains
* Violence
* Survival
* Plot twists
* Underdogs

Appeal:
With action novels, readers quickly turn the pages – often reading these novels in a single setting. In a series, there is often an overall arc that ties all the books together, even though the primary plot of the book is resolved.

Actions books are perfect escapism reads; this type of story rarely happens in real life.

Readers like rooting for the underdogs. Often times these teen characters go against supposedly smarter more savvy adults and yet, they are victorious in their quest. It’s hard not to root for the underdog.

YA Action Adventure

Continue reading Genre Guide: Action Novels

Romance Awareness Month

The month of August is designated Romance Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to spotlight romance titles.

Honeycomb

Not everyone knows what a romance novel really means – I talk to tons of people who aren’t sure.

There’s a fool proof definition: A romance ends with a happily ever after.

In adult romances, books end with the couples married or engaged or together for the rest of their lives. For teens, it’s more likely happily ever after for now. Most teen books don’t end with marriage or the acknowledgement that they found their soul mate (although a few do.). Even in teen romances, the couple falls in love and are together at the end of the book.

It doesn’t matter if you fall in love in the book if the book doesn’t end happily. Nicholas Sparks doesn’t usually write romance. The Fault in Our Stars isn’t a romance. Romeo and Juliet isn’t a romance. Sure those books have elements of romance in them, but they are not romance books; they’re missing that one key ingredient of happily ever after.

Continue reading Romance Awareness Month

Book/Life Pairings

MultitaskingFinalHow do you fit reading into life? Everywhere of course! Here are some fun suggestions of how to incorporate books into (almost) all parts of your life. I guess there are some events where books don’t belong… But you may be surprised by these multitasking opportunities.

Running/Vigorous Exercise

Some fast paced audio that will make you want to work out every day and never stop!

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Knife of Never Letting Go

 

The Knife Of Never Letting Go
(and Chaos Walking series)

(2011 Odyssey Honor Audiobook, 2011 Top Ten Audio Books for Young Adults, 2009 Best Books for Young Adult)

by Patrick Ness and Nick Podehl

The action-packed audio book will help you keep up an energetic pace and be thoroughly entertained all the while.  Podehl’s amazing narration enhances Ness’ Sci-fi world which consists of only men whose thoughts are audible. Bonus: best talking dog voice ever.

Girl, Stolen

by April Henry and Kate Rudd

(2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Here is a thrill ride of a book that will keep you on your toes.  Follow Cheyenne, a sixteen year old girl who is blind, as she gets kidnapped accidentally by a car thief.  Clever Cheyenne methodically and systematically plans her escape while poor mistreated wannabe criminal Griffin tries to do the right thing in spite of his horrendous family.

Divergent (and sequels)

(2012 Quick Picks for Young Adults , 2012 Teens Top Ten )

Divergent Audio
Divergent Audio

by Veronica Roth and Emma Galvin

This nail-biting gritty tale is perfect to listen to and get in shape!  You will run like a Dauntless trying to catch a train as you join Tris on her epic search for the truth in post-apocalyptic Chicago.

 

Continue reading Book/Life Pairings

Genre Guide: Mysteries for Teens

Definition

Image by Wikimedia Commons user Alterego
Image by Wikimedia Commons user Alterego

The definition for teen mysteries seems to be slightly less strictly defined as in comparison to their adult counterparts.  First, there is usually “something” to solve.  Generally, it is a crime, but in some cases it can be a secret that is not necessarily illegal or punishable by law.  For example, why someone killed themselves or discovering that someone is cheating in a contest or academic endeavor.  Also, while adult mystery novels usually have detectives at work at solving mysteries, in teen novels it is often an average teen with an inquisitive nature–someone who is a true amateur.

Teen mysteries are similar to their adult counterparts, however, when it comes to the plot unfolding.  The clues are presented to the main character(s) and to the reader, and steps are taken as to get more information to discover the how, what, why, who, and sometimes even the where and when.  Ultimately, we are given the final reveal at the end of the novel.

Authors to Know