Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, March 10 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
ISBN: 978-1595148544

Ruthie returns home to Anchorage, Alaska after several years away, only to discover her former best friend, Zahra, has gone missing. Ruthie plays teen detective, putting all of her time into investigating Zahra’s friends and family to track her down, since the police have come up short. As Ruthie closes in on who she thinks took Zahra, the plot reveals major twists, and the reader must question everything they thought they knew.

Teen readers who enjoy dark mysteries and unreliable narrators will get caught up in this page-turner. Bad boys, forbidden romance and creepy cultish/extreme religious groups are tropes that, combined, add to the drama and intrigue that young readers like to get lost in. Plenty of red herrings will keep readers guessing at the truth about Ruthie and Zahra’s relationship.

For fans of high drama YA suspense titles such as Karen McManus’ One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret as well as April Henry thrillers such as Run, Hide, Fight Back.

–Jessica Levy

Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry
Katherine Tegen Books / Harper Collins
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
ISBN: 978-0062803429

Winona’s father, well-loved weatherman Stormy Olsen, abuses and controls her. Lucille’s brother Marcus is a drug dealer who steals her hard-earned tips. The two unlikely friends finally get fed up and take off on a wild road trip that ends up the ride of their lives.

This book is fast-paced; 300 pages fly by, beginning with the eye-catching cover, straight to the crazy hook in which Winona’s imagines her father’s death, and through the non-stop witty dialogue and continual antics and mishaps. Winona and Lucille’s friendship is wild and deep and true, with each girl caring more for the other than herself. Family issues are heavy weights holding them down, and both girls crave freedom like air. Young women will likely relate to the intense connection between the two characters, and many teens will identify with the desire to live life on their own terms.

Give this title to fans of the movies Thelma and Louise or Ocean’s Eight. Readers who dig action-packed reads with themes of friendship and freedom, who enjoyed titles like Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon or Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner, should pick up this one.

–Aimee Haslam

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
Delacorte Press / Random House
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
ISBN: 9780525707967

Fifteen months after the Bayview Four had their secrets shared and were blamed for Simon’s death, a new group of students face a dangerous game of truth or dare. Whomever is running the game is happy to reveal a student’s embarrassing truths to the entire student body or offer a dare instead. With only 24 hours to decide between a truth or dare, once again, the community of Bayview faces scandals and danger – with deadly consequences.

This sequel to One of Us is Lying is fast-paced and with mostly new characters, McManus offers a new game and mystery. For best use reaching reluctant readers, hand this to them immediately after they finish One of Us is Lying. While The Bayview Four are mentioned or have a part in this novel, readers do not have to have the background to understand the rules of this new game or invest in its victims (but it gives enough away to spoil the first one). The personal lives and struggles, including high school cliques, family distance, and fading friendships are issues in which teens can relate. McManus includes romance, sibling relationships, and some tech-savvy teens in this new thriller all while developing a modern mystery connecting the Bayview Four to the next generation of Bayview students. 

Fans of mysteries that use social media and technology as the platform for blackmail along the lines of novels [besides One of us is Lying] such as The Takedown by Corrie Wang or novels developed into TV series, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, will enjoy their next must-read with One of Us is Next.

— Sarah Carnahan

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Quick Picks

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