Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning
Poppy / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Liv Rodinsky has been kicked off the softball team and out of her private school after one wrong decision. Now her only chance of getting a softball scholarship rests on convincing the Northland softball coach to let her on the team. The only way to do that is to show the coach she can be a team player. Luckily for Liv, Grey Worthington, Northland’s quarterback has a plan that helps both of them: become his temporary replacement as quarterback until he’s cleared to play again and he’ll help convince the softball coach (his mother) to let Liv join the team. Liv soon has to navigate training and making a place for herself in a male-dominated sport while keeping it a secret from her family.
Throw Like a Girl is a fun contemporary sports romance that will appeal to reluctant readers because it is a quick and easy read. With both amusing dialogue and sports action scenes that move the story along, Throw Like a Girl is relatable and filled with great examples of teamwork, family and friendship.
Recommended for fans of sports romances like Emma Mills’ First and Then or light-hearted romances like Sandhya Menon’s There’s Something about Sweetie.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Five years ago, Sal Singh killed his girlfriend, Andie Bell, and then committed suicide. Pippi Fitz-Amobi thinks there’s more to the story, and she’s determined to review the case for her senior project. As she digs into police records and re-interviews Sal’s and Andie’s friends and family members, she also uncovers dark secrets that put her own life in danger.
This is an engaging murder mystery, with plenty of unexpected twists. Pippa is both ambitious and a little goofy, and her budding romance with Ravi, Sal’s brother, adds an element of sweetness to their detective story. She is also a very relatable teenager, one who doesn’t always think about the consequences of her actions. The narrative unfolds chronologically and is broken into short chapters, which help keep the story moving quickly. The text is interspersed with entries from Pippa’s project journal, interview transcripts, and other evidence. The characters engage in some great discussions of race and gender, and how prejudice and profiling played into the original case, as well as Sal’s presumed guilt.
This is an excellent selection for fans of true crime stories. Readers who enjoy the murder mysteries of Karen McManus, Sadie by Courtney Summers, or the Truly, Devious novels of Maureen Johnson will also appreciate this fast-paced thriller.
—Kathleen J. Barker