#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, September 4 Edition

The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones
HarperCollins / HarperTEEN
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
ISBN: 9780062370316

Fourteen-year-old Lily is in love with a man twice her age.

Content warning: rape, abuse, and pedophilia.

It’s been over two years since Lily’s family friend, Luke, left for Africa. Lily cannot be more thrilled to have Luke back as she has been crushing on him for years. So when Luke begins seeing Lily as a woman and not the child he left, she feels as if her dreams have come true. Now, Lily’s once innocent relationship with Luke has become one full of fear and abuse from a predator.

Sonya Sones writes the kind of books that talk about important issues teens need to know about but are uncomfortable asking about. She isn’t afraid to go to places that few other authors go and The Opposite of Innocent is no exception. Told in her usual verse, this book covers a topic that is all too familiar to young people and the adults they trust. Sones adds hope, resources, and an author’s note to this difficult, yet important novel.

This book is not for everyone, so please make sure to let the reader know the trigger warnings and offer to be available for providing appropriate resources after reading. Pair with Ellen Hopkins books and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Anna Taylor


Sadie by Courtney Summers
St. Martin’s Press / Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
ISBN: 9781250105714

Content warning: contains discussion and descriptions of child sexual abuse, though not in a particularly detailed manner.

Alternating between podcast episode scripts and Sadie’s own point of view, this story follows Sadie through the aftermath of the sexual assault and murder of her younger sister, thirteen year old Mattie. Sadie is on a mission to find and kill the man who killed her sister, and May Beth, her surrogate grandmother, is on a mission to find Sadie after she disappears from her hometown with seemingly no trace.

Without Mattie, Sadie’s life is hollow and empty, and her rage-fueled revenge quest is powerful and haunting. Sadie’s story is one of relentless, soul-crushing grief with a plot that propels the reader full speed ahead into the brick wall of the ending. Sadie’s stutter and its accompanying frustrations for her are blended with her sarcasm, sharp wit, and determination to get justice for her sister. The cast of complicated, deeply flawed characters are as realistic as they come, and this is a book that is bound to have a major impact on a large number of teen readers. The Serial-reminiscent podcast scripts provide a change of pace from the narrative portions, and chapters are short and well-defined, bouncing seamlessly from section to section.  

Sadie is a great choice for teens who are interested in true crime, vigilante justice narratives, and powerful female characters. The podcast from the book is being adapted into real podcast episodes – the trailer is available here. Read-alikes include The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis and Courtney Summers’s previous title All the Rage.

Allie Stevens

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.