Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

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.


Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre. By Alverne Ball. Art by Stacey Robinson. Abrams/Megascope, $15.99 (9781419755170).

Greenwood—also known as Black Wall Street—was a bustling district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with many successful Black-owned businesses. In 1921, a white mob descended on Greenwood, destroying businesses and devastating the community. One hundred years later, Across the Tracks pays homage to Greenwood.

Alone. By Megan E. Freeman. 2020. Penguin Random House/Crown, $17.99 (9780593176399).

Maddie finds herself completely, totally alone when she wakes up from a secret sleepover and discovers that everyone was evacuated overnight from her town, her state, and maybe her whole half of the country. She has to survive natural disasters, the elements, looters, wild animals, and her own crushing loneliness.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Playing With Fire by April Henry

Playing with Fire Cover Art

Playing With Fire by April Henry
Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co. 
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250234063 

When a fast-moving wildfire traps Natalia, Wyatt, and a group of other hikers, they must do whatever it takes to make it out alive, which means hiking farther into the forest and potential danger. During this treacherous journey, the group must use their survival skills to help each other as they encounter wild animals, injuries, and very rough terrain. This is not what Natalia had in mind for her and Wyatt’s first date. 

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Playing With Fire by April Henry

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Starfish Cover Art

Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
ISBN: 9781984814500 

Ellie is tired of people fat-shaming her. She’s tired of bullies at school making fun of her. She’s tired of her siblings’ negative comments, and she’s tired of her mother scrutinizing her weight and her eating habits. Most of all, Ellie is tired of living by the Fat Girl Rules. So, with the support of her friends, her dad, and her therapist, Ellie decides to do something about it.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

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The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593353806

Nora O’Malley is a seventeen-year-old trying to have a normal life in a small town with her older sister, a private detective. Nobody knows that she spent her childhood helping her mother con wealthy men all over the country and is in hiding from the worst of them all – the dangerous man her mother attempted to con and wound up marrying. When an awkward morning at the bank with her ex-boyfriend Wes and current girlfriend Iris is interrupted by a bank heist going terribly wrong, Nora will have to use her skills from her past life to get herself and others out alive.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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