Alone by Megan E. Freeman Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Publication Date: January 12, 2021 ISBN: 978-1534467583
Taking advantage of her divorced parents, Maddie convinces her mom she is staying with her dad and vice versa in order to pull off a sleepover at her grandparents’ empty apartment. In the morning, she awakes to find she is alone. The entire town, including her family, have been evacuated and stripped of all forms of communication. Maddie has no other option but to fend for herself, living off what the town left behind. With only George the Rottweiler for companionship, Maddie survives a fire, flood, tornado, and several harsh winters in her quest to stay alive and one day see her family again.
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.
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Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).
Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough.
Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.
When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris; Narrated by Preston Butler III Quill Tree Books Publication date: January 5, 2021 ISBN: 9780063064317
Looking like they do, with brown skin, Jay, his friends and neighbors live knowing they are already one step behind. Living in their neighborhood presents its own challenges where drug deals, violence, and both police interference AND ignorance are day to day problems. But now Jay’s sister Nic has disappeared and going missing in their neighborhood isn’t enough to warrant police investigation. Not wanting to worry his grandmother, Jay strikes out on his own to find her leading him into danger and into finding an unlikely friend.
Light It Up by Kekla Magoon Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers / Macmillan Publication Date: October 22, 2019 ISBN: 978-1250128898
community of Underhill reacts after an unarmed thirteen-year-old girl is shot
and killed by a police officer while walking home. Tensions mount even more
upon the arrival of White supremacist demonstrators. The citizens of Underhill
prepare for possible havoc as they
protest and await the announcement of the officer’s verdict.
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.
Belly Up by Eva Darrows Harlequin Inkyard Press Publication Date: April 30, 2019 ISBN: 978-1335012357
Serendipity (Sara) spends one drunk post-breakup night with a boy she meets at a party. She can’t find the boy, but does discover soon after that she’s pregnant. As a high-achieving 17 year old, Sara is faced with unexpected and challenging choices, as well as a brand new school and town. When Sara decides to keep the baby, she has to figure out how to balance her priorities, navigate dating, and finish her senior year, all in maternity jeans. Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, August 20 Edition
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman Simon and Schuster BFYR / Simon and Schuster Publication Date: January 9, 2018 ISBN: 9781442472457
This thrilling sequel to Scythe finds Citra and Rowan both gleaning in hopes of preserving the Scythedom. However, there is an increasing divide between the new and old orders of scythes putting both Citra and Rowan’s lives in danger. Will the Thunderhead be forced to intervene to save them and all of humanity?
As library workers, especially those of us who work with teens, our role can shift to “social worker” in an instant. Our teen patrons visit the library everyday and they begin to trust and confide in us. Because most of us don’t have the training to work with at-risk youth, we can feel a little helpless but we don’t have to because we have the power of a good book.
About a year ago, a member of my book discussion group seemed to be questioning his sexuality and he never talked about it. I gave him Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith to read because I thought the ending was perfect for his situation. He loved the book and now he’s very open with his sexuality and he accepts who he is. Did my recommendation help him? I don’t really know but I like to think it gave him some perspective. When I see a teen who I think or know is struggling with a personal problem, I’ll strike up a book conversation on their next library visit asking them what they like to read. If they are a reader, I’ll find a book from their favorite genre that deals with the subject they are struggling with.
In my library, I see homeless teens, teens with alcoholic parents, teens living with a dying parent, and teens dealing with gender identity and body image. I used to feel powerless but after I recommended Grasshopper Jungle, I realized that I could be an effective adult in the lives of teens. Below are a list of good books that blend popular genres with social issues. Gone are the days of feeling helpless. Say goodbye to sifting through numerous Google results. You now possess the power of reader’s advisory in a flash. You are the newest member of the Social Justice League!
I was lucky enough to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco last week and attended the YALSA YA Author Coffee Klatch sponsored by BLINK on Sunday, June 28th from 9 – 10 am. Allison Tran was there too and included some great photos in her post from the event.
I had the opportunity to have coffee while I met many of YALSA’s award winning authors, many of whom have appeared on one of YALSA’s six annual selected lists or have received one of YALSA’s five literary awards. In this speed-dating-like event, we sat at the tables and every five minutes or so the authors would come to our table to talk with us.
Participating authors included: M. T. Anderson, Leigh Bardugo, Deborah Biancotti, Virginia Boecker, Erin Bow, Martha Brockenbrough, Rae Carson, Selene Castrovilla, Carey Corp, Zak Ebrahim, Jack Gantos, Gail Giles, Amalie Howard, Jenny Hubbard, Bill Konigsberg, Michael Koryta, Daniel Kraus, Stephanie Kuehn, Susan Kuklin, Margo Lanagan, Lorie Langdon, Eric Lindstrom, Sophie Maletsky, Marissa Meyer, Jandy Nelson, Patrick Ness, Mitali Perkins, Kate Racculia, Luke Reynolds, William Ritter, Ginny Rorby, John Scalzi, Neal Shusterman, Andrew Smith, Allan Stratton, Nova Ren Suma, Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki, Scott Westerfeld, Carol Lynch Williams, and Suzanne Young.
These were the YA Authors who came to my table and a little of what they said (any inaccuracies are solely my fault):
Mitali Perkins talked about her latest middle grade book called Tiger Boy.
She said that publishers didn’t think young people wanted to read about teen characters from other countries but that hasn’t been the case. Perkins wants young people to read across borders. She said she’s gotten letters from kids from all over the US – like rural Kansas. They connect with her books and there’s a power that readers have over the story. She said that one of her previous books, Bamboo People (2011 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults), is on twelve state reading lists. It has two boys as the main characters and lots of action and it’s still a popular read, even though it came out in 2010 and is set in Burma. The fact that it’s a coming of age story is universal. Perkins has drawn inspiration for her writing because she said she’s traveled a lot and lived in Thailand, Boston and in the Bay Area. Tiger Boy is a tribute to her dad. He became a talented civil engineer and traveled all over the world. She said she “writes to the boy who doesn’t think he is a reader.”
It’s a psychological mystery, set in Sonoma, CA and it has a lot of darkness to it. It features a female anti-hero. The girl was sent down from boarding school for almost killing another girl. She is cruel. She becomes reacquainted with a boy named Emerson she knew as a kid & they both have a connection with Emerson’s younger brother who sees visions of people dying. It’s told from a third person point-of-view because it’s easier to tell that way as it shifts from the different perspectives of the characters. Kuehn says her main character is a psychopath but there’s a humanity to her too. “We share common experiences – they’re human monsters.”