Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles

Take Back the Block Cover Art

Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles
Random House Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House 
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593175170

Wes is very familiar with two things in life: accompanying his parents to protests and loving his neighborhood. When a real estate developer rolls into Kensington Oaks offering to buy their homes, Wes and his friends must take things into their own hands to fight back against an issue even greater than they imagined. 

Take Back the Block tackles the huge issue of gentrification and explains it in an understandable way. Wes’ point of view adds humor and compassion with just the right amount of relatable selfishness. Each additional character introduced presents a different perspective for Wes to consider, and Giles takes her time sussing out personalities to maintain reader engagement. The fast-moving plot, large font, and short chapters add up to a quick read with substance. 

Students interested in understanding their past or involved in activism will relate well to Wes. Hand to students who enjoyed Clean Getaway by Nic Stone or Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. 

— Diana Ford, Baltimore, MD

Other Nominated Titles

  • Stranded by Jocelyn Shipley(September 22, 2020)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the Title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.

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