Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Nala has always avoided spending time with members of Inspire Harlem, a community service organization that her cousin-sister-friend Imani is involved in, finding them judgmental and not very fun. But when Imani asks Nala to go to one of their events on her birthday, Nala reluctantly agrees. There, she meets Tye, an incredibly cute and passionate activist. Nala finds herself telling a few little white lies to try and impress him, and it works. But as their relationship gains steam, Nala starts to wish that Tye knew and liked the real her.
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Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Sunny Song is an aspiring influencer, but those plans come derailed when she accidentally makes an inappropriate livestream, AKA #BrownieGate. Her parents respond by sending Sunny to a technology detox camp at a working farm. There Sunny is supposed to be learning how to live without technology. She still tries to boost her social media following and win a coveted spot on a team of content creators, thanks to a secret illegal phone that she snuck in with her. However, Sunny feels conflicted as she grows close to the son of the camp owner and may just be convinced to take the whole digital detox camp more seriously.
Sunny’s story feels very relevant to a world full of distraction due to technology and social media. She is a likable character but has her flaws and makes mistakes, which makes her more relatable. The plot is nicely paced, with a fun hook right at the beginning that pulls the reader into the story.
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In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years after the 9/11 Attacks by Don Brown
Etch/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: August 10. 2021
Award winning author and illustrator Don Brown takes a look at the infamous 9/11 attacks and explores the tragic events of that day and its far-reaching, worldwide effects. This graphic novel encompasses the story of that day and beyond, incorporating personal stories with compelling illustrations.
Brown has managed to tell a complex story in a simplified and focused way that has the reader turning the pages quickly. The emotion of the day and the immediate aftermath is felt deeply, while moving on to the hope of recovery and the investigation into the attack’s origins. This is an easily accessible way for the reader to satisfy any curiosity surrounding that fateful day in our recent American history.
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Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
When Lara returns to her hometown after spending the summer in the Outer Banks, she’s shocked that the most popular guy in school, Chase Harding, is suddenly interested in her. Everyone expects her to be interested in him too, but Lara has a secret. She can’t forget about her summer fling with Jasmine. Before Jasmine, Lara had never considered that she might be interested in girls and guys. When Jasmine unexpectedly shows up at Lara’s school on the first day, Lara has to decide whether she wants to be with Chase or give her summer romance a chance to become something more.
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The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Fifteen year-old Morgan is looking forward to finishing high school and leaving the small Canadian island where she lives. Her friends seem to not understand her, and she struggles relating to her angry little brother and divorced mom. When a mysterious girl named Keltie saves Morgan from drowning, they become friends– and eventually more– even though they both have secrets that threaten everything.
This graphic novel has colorful artwork with clean lines. Emotion is conveyed well through intimate character moments and expertly drawn facial expressions. Sparse text propels the reader through the story.
Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Prom House by Chelsea Mueller
Underlined/Random House/Penguin Random House, LLC
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
To celebrate prom weekend, Kylie and her friends rent an incredible beach house on the Jersey Shore where they plan the most epic post-prom pool party on record. It’s roomy, well-appointed, and remote. But, perhaps too remote. Because when Kylie and her friends lose their cell signal to the incoming hurricane, are surrounded by an electrified moat of storm water, and are being picked off one by one by a vicious killer they realize the only ones who can keep them alive are themselves…but what if one of them is the murderer? How will they survive what was meant to be the perfect party weekend?
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Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ZT has the perfect life. He has a group of friends he’s super tight with. His family is loving and supportive, and his dad is a football superstar. But this idyllic life begins to unravel when his father starts getting debilitating migraines, ending his football career. As his father begins to lose his memory, ZT learns that not all success stories have happy endings. And sometimes supporting the people we love most can be incredibly difficult.
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Poison Ivy: Thorns by Kody Keplinger, Art by Sara Kipin
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
This original graphic novel offers a gothic take on the origin story of DC’s antihero/sometimes villain Poison Ivy. Teenager Pamela Isley’s father has taught her to keep her head down to avoid drawing attention to the horrible things going on in their mansion at night. Without any real friends and facing bullying and harassment at school, Pamela finds comfort in plants — her true passion. It often feels like no one else cares about plants like she does, and she finds herself turning to dangerous methods to save a nearby park. One day, a cute goth girl shows interest in her, and Pamela has to decide whether it’s worth the risk of being found out, both for her family’s secrets and her own.
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Rivals by Tommy Greenwald
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Things are heating up in Walthorne as rivaling North and South middle school boys’ basketball teams are set to compete. Austin and Carter are the stars of their respective teams, but their relationship complicates when they find themselves playing on the same travel team outside of school. Off the court, student-reporter Alfie Jenks interviews players and coaches to get the scoop, and the impact of her stories ripples farther than expected. The story veers from basketball to greater gender and economic inequality issues and wraps with an optimistic bow.
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My Epic Spring Break (Up) by Kristin Rockaway
Underlined/Random House Publishers, Inc.
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Ashley lives and breathes coding, is focused on college (definitely not boys), and her biggest desire is to get an internship at ZigZag, a social media platform and win the marathon hackathon competition – a giant coding event. But, all of a sudden, things fall apart when Ashley doesn’t get the internship that she had her heart set upon. So now she has to figure out a brand new path while also figuring out which boy is the unexpected guy of her dreams.
Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of My Epic Spring Break (Up) by Kristin Rockaway