Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

The Taking of Jake Livingston Cover Art

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers  
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
ISBN: 978-1984812537 

Seeing ghosts is just a fact of life for Jake Livingston. He is stuck seeing people in their last moments of life, their deaths looping over and over. So far life has been weird and somewhat complicated, but bearable. That is until the ghost of Sawyer, a school shooter from a neighboring high school, breaks free from his death loop and starts stalking Jake. Sawyer wants something from Jake and figuring out what exactly that is will put Jake in more danger than he has ever experienced. 

This is a short and fast paced read with a definite creepiness that horror and thriller lovers will like. The story is told from the dual perspectives of Jake in present time and Sawyer’s journal from before the shooting event, which adds more depth to the story and the characters’ motivations.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Fall

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


Amari and the Night Brothers. By B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9781725418295). 

Amari knows her brother isn’t dead. A briefcase in his closet leads her to a magical world—and the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, the place Quinton was working when he disappeared. Amari must use all her smarts and her heart to find out what really happened.

Artie and the Wolf Moon. By Olivia Stephens. Lerner Publishing Group/Graphic Universe, $16.99 (9781728420202). 

After Artie finds out her mother is a werewolf and that she lost her father to vampires, she must then battle vampires to save her friends and new wolf family while trying to practice her own potential wolf abilities.

Before the Ever After. By Jacqueline Woodson. 2020. Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99 (9780399545436). 

Being the son of Zachariah 44, football star, has always felt like a dream to ZJ. But recently it’s been more like a nightmare, with his dad’s headaches, memory problems, and dramatic mood changes defining life in their house.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens

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Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens
Graphic Universe/Lerner
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
ISBN: 978-1728420202

After venturing out into the woods alone against her mother’s instructions, Artie discovers her mom is a werewolf–which means, of course, that Artie is a werewolf, too. As Artie grapples with her new identity, she also learns that she’s part of a werewolf community with a major enemy: vampires. Epic battles ensue as Artie fights to unite her community and conquer the vampires. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Love is a Revolution

Love is a Revolution Cover Art

Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson
Bloomsbury YA/Bloomsbury
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 9781547600601 

Nala has always avoided spending time with members of Inspire Harlem, a community service organization that her cousin-sister-friend Imani is involved in, finding them judgmental and not very fun. But when Imani asks Nala to go to one of their events on her birthday, Nala reluctantly agrees. There, she meets Tye, an incredibly cute and passionate activist. Nala finds herself telling a few little white lies to try and impress him, and it works. But as their relationship gains steam, Nala starts to wish that Tye knew and liked the real her. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous Cover Art

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
Sourcebooks/Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
ISBN: 978-1728209425 

Sunny Song is an aspiring influencer, but those plans come derailed when she accidentally makes an inappropriate livestream, AKA #BrownieGate. Her parents respond by sending Sunny to a technology detox camp at a working farm. There Sunny is supposed to be learning how to live without technology.  She still tries to boost her social media following and win a coveted spot on a team of content creators, thanks to a secret illegal phone that she snuck in with her. However, Sunny feels conflicted as she grows close to the son of the camp owner and may just be convinced to take the whole digital detox camp more seriously. 

Sunny’s story feels very relevant to a world full of distraction due to technology and social media. She is a likable character but has her flaws and makes mistakes, which makes her more relatable. The plot is nicely paced, with a fun hook right at the beginning that pulls the reader into the story.  

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers by Don Brown

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In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, and Years after the 9/11 Attacks by Don Brown
Etch/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Publication Date: August 10. 2021
ISBN: 978-0-358-22357-3

Award winning author and illustrator Don Brown takes a look at the infamous 9/11 attacks and explores the tragic events of that day and its far-reaching, worldwide effects. This graphic novel encompasses the story of that day and beyond, incorporating personal stories with compelling illustrations.

Brown has managed to tell a complex story in a simplified and focused way that has the reader turning the pages quickly. The emotion of the day and the immediate aftermath is felt deeply, while moving on to the hope of recovery and the investigation into the attack’s origins. This is an easily accessible way for the reader to satisfy any curiosity surrounding that fateful day in our recent American history.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

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Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Wednesday Books/Macmillan
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250765826

When Lara returns to her hometown after spending the summer in the Outer Banks, she’s shocked that the most popular guy in school, Chase Harding, is suddenly interested in her. Everyone expects her to be interested in him too, but Lara has a secret. She can’t forget about her summer fling with Jasmine. Before Jasmine, Lara had never considered that she might be interested in girls and guys. When Jasmine unexpectedly shows up at Lara’s school on the first day, Lara has to decide whether she wants to be with Chase or give her summer romance a chance to become something more. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

The Girl from the Sea Cover Art

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Graphix/Scholastic 
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338540581 

Fifteen year-old Morgan is looking forward to finishing high school and leaving the small Canadian island where she lives. Her friends seem to not understand her, and she struggles relating to her angry little brother and divorced mom. When a mysterious girl named Keltie saves Morgan from drowning, they become friends– and eventually more– even though they both have secrets that threaten everything.

This graphic novel has colorful artwork with clean lines. Emotion is conveyed well through intimate character moments and expertly drawn facial expressions. Sparse text propels the reader through the story.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Prom House by Chelsea Mueller

Prom House Cover Art

Prom House by Chelsea Mueller
Underlined/Random House/Penguin Random House, LLC
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-18005-1

To celebrate prom weekend, Kylie and her friends rent an incredible beach house on the Jersey Shore where they plan the most epic post-prom pool party on record. It’s roomy, well-appointed, and remote. But, perhaps too remote. Because when Kylie and her friends lose their cell signal to the incoming hurricane, are surrounded by an electrified moat of storm water, and are being picked off one by one by a vicious killer they realize the only ones who can keep them alive are themselves…but what if one of them is the murderer? How will they survive what was meant to be the perfect party weekend?

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After Cover Art

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House 
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-0399545436

ZT has the perfect life. He has a group of friends he’s super tight with. His family is loving and supportive, and his dad is a football superstar. But this idyllic life begins to unravel when his father starts getting debilitating migraines, ending his football career. As his father begins to lose his memory, ZT learns that not all success stories have happy endings. And sometimes supporting the people we love most can be incredibly difficult.

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