2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers

2021 Quick Picks Top Ten

The 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list is now available!

The list of 64 titles is drawn from 81 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The list identifies titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read. View the full list.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:

  • Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062561626.
  • Found by Joseph Bruchac. 7th Generation. 2020. $9.95. ISBN: 9781939053237.
  • Golden Arm by Carl Deuker. HMH Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780358012429.
  • Heartstopper Vol. 1. by Alice Oseman. Graphix. 2020. $14.00. ISBN: 9781338617443.
  • Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds. Illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781534444959.
  • The Loop by Ben Oliver. Chicken House. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781338589306.
  • #NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil. Freeform. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781368026260.
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Blazer + Bray. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062996480.
  • Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second Books. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. ISBN: 9781250171115.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Scholastic. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781338503265.

The suggestion form for the 2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team for all the great work they put into curating this list. The members are:

Coordinator Molly Dettmann, Norman North High School, Norman, OK
Megan Baird, Main Library-Yuma County Library District, Yuma, AZ
Kathleen J. Barker, History UnErased, Plymouth, MI
Sarah Carnahan, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock, AR
Barbara Dinan, Plymouth District Library, Plymouth, MI
Elizabeth Giles, Kansas City Public Library, MO
Aimee Haslam, Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, VA
Marie LeJeune, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR
Jessica Levy, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Kat Reynolds, University of Southern California, South Pasadena, CA
Maryjean Riou, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ 
Lorraine Roussin, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX
Jennifer Sutton, Lake Park High School-East Campus, Roselle, IL
Jade Valenzuela, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM
Emily Williams, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City, OK
Administrative assistant Dana Hutchins, Jackson Middle School, San Antonio, TX

YALSA announces 2020 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

The 2020 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list has been announced.

The list of  64 titles is drawn from 133 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The list identifies titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:

  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston.  Disney: Hyperion. 2019.  $17.99.  ISBN:9781368027496. 
  • Belly Up by Eva Darrows. HarperCollins Inkyard Press. 2019. $18.99. ISBN:9781335012357.
  • The Haunted by Danielle Vega. Razorbill. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0451481467.
  • Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 9780062847195.
  • Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable. Macmillan Roaring Brook Press/First Second. 2019. $17.99 ISBN:9781596437098.          
  • Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. Art by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second. 2019. $21.99. ISBN: 9781250312853.
  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus. Delacorte Press. 2019. $19.99. ISBN: 978-1524714727.
  • The Unfortunates by Kim Liggett. Tor Teen. 2018. $17.99 ISBN: 9780765381002.
  • UNpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan. Harper Collins. 2019. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0062876249.
  • We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories From Refugee Girls Around the World  by Malala Yousafzai. Hachette Book Group. 2018. $18.99. ISBN: 978-0316523646.

“For the 2020 list, team bloggers read a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction titles, in multiple formats, to establish a diverse list that reflects student interest,” said Coordinator Lorrie Roussin. “Our blogging team read hundreds of books and discussed all of the nominated titles in a virtual setting. A blog post was written for each nominated title and published to YALSA’s The Hub.”

The suggestion form for the 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

YALSA would like to extend a huge thank you to the members of the Quick Picks blogging team for all the hard work they put into selecting the titles for the 2020 list. Thank you again for everything!

The members of the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Blogging Team are: Coordinator Lorraine Roussin, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX; Kathleen J. Barker, Rutgers University, Plymouth, MI; Allison Gray, Goleta Valley Library, Santa Barbara, CA; Aimee Haslam, E.B. Stanley Middle School, Abingdon, VA; Jessica Levy, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Elizabeth Nebeker, Jersey Village High School, Houston, TX; Catherine Outten, California State University, Long Beach, CA; Kathleen Reynolds, University of Southern California, South Pasadena, CA; Jessica Smith, Bend Senior High School, Bend, Oregon; Kelsey Socha, Ventress Memorial Library, Kingston, MA; and with the help of administrative assistant Dana Hutchins, Jackson Middle School, San Antonio, TX.

#QP2018 Nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles

Questionable Convictions: Guilty, or Not Guilty?

The emergence of advanced scientific forensics has resulted in the ability to re-evaluate convictions. DNA via hair, blood, saliva and other bodily fluids have been used to overturn some guilty convictions for violent crimes. Newer technologies can pinpoint details better. Highly trained dogs can sniff out corpses or drugs. Appeals must be filed, but rarely a change in verdict results. With so many crime fiction and forensic television shows on the air, it may look easier than it is in reality.

These two Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers delve into this world of questionable convictions and their suspenseful plots and gritty topics make them great books for readers interested in the criminal justice system.

Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson book cover Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books
January 24, 2017
ISBN: 9780062422644

The jury said she did it. The media said she did it. Only nine years old and convicted for manslaughter, Mary B. Addison didn’t say anything. Three-month-old Alyssa was in the care of her babysitter, Mary’s mother, when she died of suspicious circumstances while sleeping in Mary’s room. Six years later Mary, now fifteen, is released from “baby jail” and is living in a supervised group home wearing an ankle monitor. The issue-oriented storyline is brought to the forefront when a pregnant Mary now finally wants to attempt to clear her name, so that her own baby is not taken away by social services.

This dramatic hook grabs the reader’s attention very quickly, and pacing intensifies throughout the saga. Although flawed in character, Mary is somewhat vulnerable and garners sympathy at times. Portrayed by the media as a baby killer with rage tendencies, Mary struggles with revealing her true self while in a group home with violent criminals as roommates. The home is a menacing place full of bullying, brutality, theft, and much verbal abuse.   Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles

#QP2018 Nominees: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Bang by Barry Lyga

The impact of shootings on survivors, families and communities is a timely topic. 

Unfortunately, the daily news may include incidents of gun violence including school shootings, police brutality, domestic violence, and tragic accidents.

Young Adult authors have increasingly been writing books that address these issues, to give teens touchpoints to identify with and help them understand their world. The following two recently published books, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Bang by Barry Lyga, help to tackle these issues for readers.

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017
978-0062498533

Starr struggles to balance her life at home living in a poor black neighborhood and the private prep school she attends with much wealthier students. When she witnesses her childhood friend shot needlessly by a police officer, her whole world is turned upside down.

This compelling story is told from Starr’s point of view, where readers follow her thought processes as she navigates difficult situations and harsh, contradictory realities. The timely social issue of police brutality in black communities will grab readers’ attention. Starr’s experience perfectly illustrates one of the biggest issues faced by African-American people in the United States today. “The talk” may be familiar to many marginalized populations, and an eye opener to others. Starr is a complex introspective character that many teens will identify with, while she must come to terms with the sobering, unequal roles society has forced upon her community.

Many juxtapositions help show the complexity of the social issues being tackled within the story. Police are shown in both negative and positive lights, through officer “one fifteen”, the shooter of Starr’s friend, Khalil, and her Uncle Carlos, a police officer who is striving for justice. A poor community is depicted doing its best to protect its youth against gangs and drugs, while the youth’s attraction to the money and power brought by gangs and drugs is a heart-wrenching cycle. The conflicts between Starr’s neighborhood friends and her prep school friends serve to illuminate the complicated relationships between race, class, and privilege. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Bang by Barry Lyga

ALA Annual 2014: Stranger Than Fiction: Reader’s Advisory for Nonfiction

One of best programs I attended at the recent ALA Annual Conference in alaconfVegas was the very popular session on Monday afternoon presented by Jennie Rothschild and Angela Frederick called Stranger Than Fiction: Reader’s Advisory for Nonfiction.

It seems like everyone’s talking about nonfiction these days because of the emphasis on the Common Core. Rothschild and Frederick suggested a large number of interesting and appealing nonfiction titles for teens, many from YALSA’s award and selection lists like the Alex Award, Excellence in Nonfiction Award, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and Outstanding Books for the College Bound. They also had a lot of suggestions for great nonfiction read-alikes for popular fiction titles.

The books they recommended are notable for their interesting subject areas that can be read for pleasure, not just for assignments; have appealing layout/style or design, and, despite that so many are published for adults, still have great teen appeal. Rothschild noted that since there isn’t a lot of teen nonfiction published compared to children’s and adult, teens are used to reading up or down. Many of the nonfiction titles are notable for their narrative style that reads like fiction and the fact that they complement so many popular fiction books.

Here are some of the highlights:

Copy of BombSubject read-alikes for Bomb: The Race to Build –And Steal –The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (YALSA 2013 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, 2013 Sibert Award Winner, 2013 Newbery Honor Winner; National-book-award-finalist for Young People’s Literature):

 

 

  • The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb by Edward T. Sullivan (YA)
  • Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, graphic novel (adults and older teens)
  • The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein (adult)
  • The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Keiran (adult)

Narrative-style read-alikes:

Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: Stranger Than Fiction: Reader’s Advisory for Nonfiction