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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

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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

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 9 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 artCreep by Eireann Corrigan
Scholastic Press / Scholastic
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
ISBN: 9781338095081

Olivia is excited to bond with her new neighbor Janie Donahue, not to mention Janie’s sweet older brother Ben. When threatening letters signed by the “Sentry” appear throughout the Donahue home, the trio immerse themselves in local history in order to outsmart the perpetrator and keep the Donahue family together.

This is a quick thriller, as well as a modestly creepy read. Olivia is a quiet and thoughtful protagonist drawn to the loud and dramatic Donahue family, whose members are harboring a wealth of secrets. The Sentry is just threatening enough to keep the tension high, and the mystery moves along quickly, thanks to engaging glimpses into the past of the town and its inhabitants. The story wraps up neatly, and Corrigan sprinkles plenty of clues throughout the narrative to make the ending believable. The interesting setting– a historic home full of secret rooms and hiding places–adds additional excitement. 

A great selection for fans of light horror, especially stories involving stalkers or watchers. Readers who appreciated The Missing Season by Gillian French or The Haunted by Danielle Vega will enjoy this book.  

–Kathleen J. Barker

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 3 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 artWill My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
W. Norton Company
Publication Date: September 10th, 2019
ISBN: 9780393652703

Written by a mortician in question and answer chapters, this book explores some of the more icky and intriguing questions about human corpses. Examples include: Can I keep my parents’ skulls after they die? and What happens if you die in space? With a perfect amount of snark and lighthearted illustrations, this book is a fun (if morbid) read for readers of all ages interested in knowing the facts of death.

Easy to read and funny, with an eye-opening title, this book is a fun book for those who like real life ickiness or simply want to understand more about the processes bodies go through post-mortem. Doughty’s upbeat answers and fast pacing make the read go along quickly even for the most reluctant reader. 

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? is perfect for fans of Mary Roach’s non-fiction, the podcast Sawbones by Justin and Sydnee McElroy, and the podcast Death in the Afternoon by Caitlin Doughty, Sarah Chavez, and Louise Hung.

–Cathy Outten

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 2 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 artUNpregnant  by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
Harper Teen / Harper Collins Publisher
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
ISBN: 9780062876249

Veronica has everything: a great boyfriend, popularity, Ivy League college acceptance. She finds out she’s pregnant after her boyfriend poked holes in a condom without her knowledge. She decides to have an abortion, and must travel nearly 1000 miles from Missouri to New Mexico for the procedure. With her besties away for a study weekend, and her boyfriend/stalker now an unreliable option, Veronica asks former friend Bailey to drive her and nothing goes as planned. 

This is a quick read, moving along with short chapters, comedic dialogue, and absurd adventures. The story focuses not so much on Veronica’s decision, which she is firm in, (though the details of her research, decision-making, and visit to Planned Parenthood will likely be eye-opening for young adult readers) but the challenges she faces along the way. Veronica and Bailey’s friendship rekindles, and hopefully readers will relate to having someone in their own lives who will support them during difficult times. The insane stalker boyfriend adds humor to a heavy topic.

Aftercare Instructions: A Novel by Bonnie Pipkin, As Many Nows As I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl and Belly Up by Eve Darrows are similar in topic, featuring female teenage protagonists facing decisions about unexpected pregnancy. Readers interested in viewing how the issue of abortion is portrayed in film and television can use the online database from the program Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health.

 –Aimee Haslam

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, November 26 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 artChangeling (Sorcery and Society #1) and Fledgeling (Sorcery and Society #2) by Molly Harper
Nancy Yost Literary Agency, Inc
Published August 22nd, 2018 and July 18th, 2019
ISBN: 9781641970457 and ISBN: 9781076160881

14 year-old Sarah Smith has grown up as a “snipe,” a non-magical member of the servant class.  One day, while in a panic, she shows a remarkable feat of magic in front of her employer. A snipe displaying magical powers could shake the foundations of society, so her employer takes her in as a “distant cousin” and introduces her to elite society as such.  Suddenly thrust into the upper class and enrolled at a magic school under a new name, Sarah must protect her secret from mean girls and teachers alike.

In Fledgling, further adventures of Sarah Smith ensue. She is finding her place at school with her friends. However, she feels a strong pull to find the other children like her, those with magic but not born into the elite magical class. Intrigue, romance and exciting action bring this chapter of the series to a satisfying close.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, November 19 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 artNot Even Bones (Market of Monsters #1) by Rebecca Schaeffer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published September 4th, 2018
ISBN: 9781328863591

And 

Only Ashes Remain (Market of Monsters #2) by Rebecca Schaeffer
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published September 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 9781328863553

Nita is an expert at dissection.  She dissects the dead bodies of “unnaturals” that her mother brings to her to sell the pieces on the dark web parts market. But when her mother brings a live specimen home with the intent to sell fresh parts piece by piece, Nita reaches her limit and frees the captive boy.  Within hours she finds herself, with her secret unnatural abilities, in a cage and under threat of torture and the death that her subjects once endured. Now she must find an escape, while still maintaining the fine line of morality she has always tread upon.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, November 5 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.

Teen Titans Raven Book CoverTeen Titans: Raven (Teen Titans #1) by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
DC Ink
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
ISBN: 978-1401286231

An origin story of DC’s Raven, this graphic novel opens on a scene between Raven and her adoptive mother discussing what appears to be a recent shocking revelation when their car is hit.  Her mother dies and Raven is left with amnesia. Raven is taken in by her mother’s estranged sister and cousin. Raven has to re-learn who she is while navigating high school while being pursued by a demon.

Teen Titans: Raven stars a well-known character.  The excellent artwork, and intriguing characters make this a quick read.

Those who like YA DC graphic novels such as Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle will like this.  Also a great entry book for those wanting to check out YA graphic novels starring women.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, October 29 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.

Simon & Louise by Max de Radiguès
Conundrum Press
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
(Originally published 2017 in France, Éditions Sarbacane)
ISBN: 978-1772620351

Young love is tested in this (translated) French graphic novel told from a “his” and “hers” perspective. Louise is heading to Montpelier for the summer with family, and the day after she leaves Simon receives a break-up text from her. In Simon’s story, he sneaks away from home and hitches a ride to Montpelier to find Louise and win her back. Her story reveals that her decision to break up with Simon was less black and white and more about testing out her feelings and what she wants in relationships.

The clean art style makes it easy for young adult readers to visually follow the plot, and the accompanying text is easy to read and often humorous. The dual narrative makes this story interesting and accessible to teens, who will want to learn more about Louise’s perspective after reading Simon’s story. This is a quick, compelling read that deals with common themes in adolescence. Teens will appreciate the honesty in this book: that figuring out who they are in relation to others isn’t usually easy.

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