Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, March 31 Edition

Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany by Andrew Maraniss
Philomel / Penguin Group
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
ISBN: 978-0525514633

Berlin, Germany, 1936. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime are the hosts of the summer Olympic Games. Basketball, a relatively new sport, will be officially included for the first time. Politics, Anti-Semitism, and racism take center court, veiled by the propaganda-driven Nazis, yet hinting at the atrocities to come.

The invention of basketball and how it came to be included in the Olympic Games against the backdrop of Nazi Germany will fascinate readers. Andrew Maraniss’ conversational prose moves the narrative at a quick pace and engages readers. Historical pictures surrounding various events will also be of interest to the reader. The book includes statistics for the 1936 Olympic basketball team, an Olympic timeline, a comprehensive bibliography, and an index.

Teens who enjoy this book will also want to read Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand, They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin, and The Greatest: Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Myers. Suggestions for fiction include: White Rose by Kip Wilson and Refugee by Alan Gratz.

–Lorrie Roussin

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel
Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
ISBN: 978-1492667278

A town, a school, and two girls’ lives are shaken up when a girl makes a public accusation about her popular jock boyfriend’s violence towards her. While the school community struggles to believe the truth, the girl’s estranged best friend tries to overcome her own self-destructive behaviors in an effort to defend her friend.

The compelling title and stereotypical gendered pink-toned cover are suggestive of the subject matter. Those who are interested in the of-the-moment #metoo movement will not be disappointed by this book. The suspenseful tone keeps the plot moving forward, as do short, alternating chapters that encourage readers to think about the multidimensions there are to a person, especially a young woman discovering her sexuality. Teens will be drawn to the realistic depictions of domestic violence, self-harm and eating disorders on display in this novel. Readers who are moved by injustice will want to finish the story and see a positive outcome for the protagonists.

Though the subject matter is different than her first book, fans of Sheinmel’s fast-paced drama-steeped plots and easy-to-read writing style will look forward to this, her second novel and its timely plot. Also for fans of Beautiful, Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia, where teen dating violence is a major storyline, I Have the Right To, by Chessy Prout, a true account of a young woman speaking up after sexual assault, and Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Jane Anonymous, another dramatic page turner with similar themes of kidnapping and domestic violence.

–Jessica Levy

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