While we adore all of the YMAs and the lists produced by YALSA, we occasionally find ourselves overwhelmed by so many lists and so many titles. There is one, list, however, that I find myself referencing throughout the year. That list? Quick Picks.
Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers is an annual list compiled by a selection committee of YALSA members. It was created in 1996, with the implementation of the Top Ten list the following year. It is a great place to start when you encounter someone (or are some one) who doesn’t like to read, for any reason. Quick Picks, like many of YALSA’s lists, has both a fiction and a nonfiction section, since we all know there is that very large, very bizarre group that has no interest in made-up stories.
The fabulous thing about Quick Picks is the very variety of reads. If you look at the list across the fifteen years that it has been produced, you’ll see books that are still going strong, like Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries and Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last; stories that mark a period in popular history (books on N’SYNC and Star Wars come to mind); and hidden gems that sadly, a lot of people might not search for these days.
One issue that can occasionally come up when trying to recommend a book for someone who doesn’t like to read is relevance. Why would I bother reading this book? Why should I read about people who aren’t like me? What do I care about a world in which I don’t exist? The goal of Quick Picks is to counter that with people, places and ideas that can cross experiences, worlds, and situations that anyone might find interesting. Also, anyone can nominate a book for the following year’s Quick Picks, as long as it matches criteria that include attractive physical appearance, clear writing, and emotional appeal for novels, and approachable, objective nonfiction.