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 Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition

2016 Middle Grade Titles with Teen Appeal

It can be easy to for me to forget that teens are some of the most dexterous readers out there. They can jump from reading adult novels one day, back to a young adult novel the next, and then have no qualms about picking up a book that we consider middle grade after that. I often feel that I need to be pushing older teens to move onward from young adult titles to adult titles, assuming that is what they are “growing into,” but will be surprised when one says how they have just read Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and loved it. Some teens stay loyal to the authors that meant so much to them in the grade school years, authors like Christopher Paul Curtis and Kate DiCamillo, and others will continue to read anything by Rick Riordan, no matter how old they get. Teens can still have an interest in titles that we assume they would feel are “babyish,” but for them can be a break from angst or romance, and to them are just a great story.

We have some great resources when we are looking for adult books for teen appeal. We have YALSA’s Alex Award and their annual vetted list of books and School Library Journal’s column Adult Books for Teens, but we rarely see resources out there for younger books that might have a place in a teen’s reading pile. Here is a list of recent titles, titles that can be both successful with both a 5th-grader and an 11-grader.

middle-grade-re

Realistic Fiction

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

This story starts and ends with a gunshot. Ever since the night his father shot a gun at him and his mother, Castle Cranshaw left running and hasn’t stopped since. Now in seventh-grade, he’s nicknamed himself Ghost after coming upon a track tryout, and without officially entering, taking on one of the most elite runners and winning. Now he is being courted by the coach to join the track team, and learns that you don’t always have to run away from things, but can run towards things too. Track is one of those sports that many kids and teens participate in, but it is rarely the subject of novels. Fans of Friday Night Lights with love this coach in this as much as they do Coach Taylor. This is a character-driven and plot-driven novel with many appeals, but teens that especially love a Gatsby-esque novel laden with imagery and themes will find so much to pore over in this short, but rich, novel.

The Best Man by Richard Peck

This story starts and ends with a wedding. One that is a complete train-wreck, and one that couldn’t be more perfect. This coming-of-age novel is full of snarky humor and hilarious episodes that allow you to see the world of adults through a younger generation’s eyes. Unlike Tom Sawyer and Holden Caulfield, Archer Magill is clueless to the world around him, and his best friend Lynette is always having to explain life’s nuances. Teen’s who have appreciated David Sedaris’ childhood memoir essays will feel at home in how family can be hilarious and still be the best parts of our world.

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Soccer is the backdrop to this coming-of-age novel. Nick Hall, whose father makes him study the dictionary and turn in homework to him, would love to escape the world of words and books. Nick thinks he has the world all-figured out. He lives for soccer, and both he and his best-friend are getting to play in the Dallas Dr. Pepper Open, but on different teams. Just as things seem to be going his way, especially with his crush paying a little of attention to him, bombs start to drop–his mother announces she is leaving to follow her dream of training race horses, but in a different state, and he get appendicitis right before the big tournament. Teens will appreciate how messy life can be, and appreciate those little moments when you realize that you’ve gotten it all wrong.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

At the start of their eighth grade year both Lily and Dunkin are trying to establish new identities for themselves. Everyone sees Lily as Timothy, but she is ready for the real her to be known, only her father isn’t ready for the the transition. Dunkin, has just moved to Lily’s Florida town to live with his Grandmother, and would love to leave his old name “Norbert”and some painful secrets in the past. This middle grade novel has strong characterization of two young teens navigating their identities. Older teens will identify with the work it takes to let others see the real you, and the hope they will accept you for who you truly are.

middle-grade-fantasy

Fantasy

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

When Peter’s father is heading off to war, he is forced to abandon his pet fox in the woods. Unable to handle the separation, Peter runs away to find his beloved pet, Pax. Told through alternating perspective between Peter and Pax, this book is a sensitive look at grief, man’s relationship with animals, and the marks of war.

When the Sea Turned Silver by Grace Lin

The magic of story will transport readers into a new time and place filled with adventure. Pinmei has to find the Luminous Stone to rescue her grandmother who has been kidnapped by the emperor. Teens that love books of fairytales retold, with love that feeling as Lin weaves new stories that have that classic feeling.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Young Alice lives in a world that values both magic and color, and she unfortunately seems to be lacking both. She hasn’t seem to exhibit any magical powers similar to those in her community, and she was born with no color in her skin or hair. After her father has been missing for several years, she hears that he might be in the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, and she sets out to find him. Teens will be drawn to this Whimsical, gothic fairy tale with a narrator voice similar to Series of Unfortunate Events.

Goblin’s Puzzle; Being the Adventures of A Boy With No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton

Teen fans of Douglas Adams or Monty Python will love the humorous writing and twists and turns in this adventure. This follows a slave boy with no name as he tries to rescue a princess and a peasant (both named Alice), and discover what his destiny is. He seeks the help of Mennofar, a tiny green goblin, even though he can’t be trusted as everyone knows goblins are sneaky. Continue reading 2016 Middle Grade Titles with Teen Appeal

Singles Ads, YA Book Style

_DSC2226 (2)It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! Then again, when it comes to YA books,  love is always in the air around here.

Inspired by the Blind Date with a Book displays that are popping up in libraries this week, we are sharing some YA book singles ads with you. Read the blurb and try to guess which which book is looking for a reader. Answers will appear after the break.

Feel free to share your own blurbs in the comments!

  • Jessica Lind

1.  “Historical fiction seeks reader for a look at the effect of WWII on a Lithuanian family. This is a date for fans of beautifully written stories of hope during the toughest of times.”

2.  “Contemporary YA novel seeks reader as date for school trip to England. Shakespeare, mobile phones, and love await you.” 

3.  “Modern update on classic story seeks reader to flashback to New York’s rock scene in the eighties. Must be willing to jump between timelines to solve a mystery.”

4.  “Totally rockin’ graphic novel seeks reader to, you know, just, like, hang out. An interest in music and old school video games would be a total plus. May be required to travel through Subspace.”

  • Erin Daly

5.  “Sweet and funny romance seeks reader who loves film and Parisian travel.”

6.  “Modern fantasy seeks reader to explore the magical possibilities of origami, sentient textbooks, and folding reality.”

7.  “Collection of short stories seeks reader with a wide range of esoteric interests ranging from raising the dead to ethnography of magicians to television shows about libraries and boys who inherit phone booths to handbags with entire fairy realms inside.”

8.  “Suspenseful dystopian novel seeks reader to resist the alien invasion while reminiscing about the past and keeping alive the vow to rescue a sibling.”

  • Geri Diorio

9.  “Heartbreakingly realistic boarding school novel seeks reader who can handle rugby, violence, sexual fantasies, and growing pains. Enjoying comics is a plus.”

10.  “Award winning book linking seven stories across time and space seeks speculative fiction loving reader who wants to puzzle out the mysteries of love, family, and sacrifice.”

11.  “Like fairy tales? Like ghost stories? How about mysteries? Acclaimed YA novel combining all these elements seeks reader who is open to the idea of spirits from the past guiding us in the present. Must have courage and ability to resist pastries.”

12.  “Modern retelling of Shakespearian play seeks reader who is open to seeing what the minor characters can do. Love of fencing, thievery, an unrequited love a huge plus.”

  • Jennifer Rummel

13.  “The family next door has always been off limits, but that was before girl met boy. Now they secretly date.”

14.  “Girl has a gift and a curse. Someone wants to use her for a weapon, but she’s about to fight back.”

15.  “Girl gets sucked into dreams – one boy in particular has nightmares that could come true.”

16.  “Girl’s BFF moves away. She’s devestated until an interesting boy crosses her path.”

Continue reading Singles Ads, YA Book Style

The Hub Celebrates Thesaurus Day

Portrait from Medical Portrait Gallery by Thomas Pettigrew
Portrait from Medical Portrait Gallery by Thomas Pettigrew

Happy Thesaurus Day!

While not necessarily a well-known holiday, Thesaurus Day is celebrated on January 18, the birthday of Peter Mark Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus.

The original version of Roget’s thesaurus, created in 1805 and released in 1852, contained 15,000 words. Over the years, the thesaurus has grown, adding thousands of additional words and synonyms. These days, in addition to print versions of the thesaurus, wordsmiths are able to access the Roget’s thesaurus online through Thesaurus.com. If you are interested in a historical perspective, a 1911 version has been cataloged as part of the ARTFL Project through the University of Chicago.

We’re celebrating a day early here on The Hub by using the thesaurus to swap words in some popular YA titles. See if you can figure out the original titles and then scroll down to check!

  1. The Tome Bandit
  2. The Bonus of Being a Loner
  3. Papyrus Municipalities
  4. An Excellent and Dreadful Virtue
  5. The Insanity Below
  6. Swivel Spot
  7. The Examining
  8. Faithful
  9. Break Me
  10. The Choice
  11. Vocalize
  12. A Chain of Ill-fated Happenings.
  13. Gorgeous Critters
  14. Audrey, Halt!
  15. The Commander of the Loops
  16. Thirteen Rationales of Cause
  17. The Categorically Bona Fide Journal of a Part-Time Native American
  18. The Sorority of the Roving Trousers
  19. Always…
  20. 13 Slight Azure Pockets
  21. The Starvation Sports
  22. The Accuracy Referring to Always
  23. The Labyrinth Sprinter
  24. Granted That I Stick Around
  25. Paired

Continue reading The Hub Celebrates Thesaurus Day