#QP2018 Nominees: Find Your Style and Botanical Beauty

It’s no secret that many teens find a creative outlet and personal expression through style. Beauty vlogging has become a huge trend on Youtube and most teens I know are aware of at least a few famous ones. Common Sense Media has even created a list of popular beauty vloggers for interested parents. And it’s not just women, there are also quite a few famous male beauty vloggers. This interest in style and grooming can extend to making their own beauty products as well. Quite a few teens have even created successful businesses selling their creations.

The following are two books that hone in on that eternal interest in personal style and DIY creation.

Find Your Style
Find Your Style: Boost Your Body Image Through Fashion Confidence by Sally McGraw
Twenty-First Century Books
February 1, 2017
978-1467785693

Find Your Style by Sally McGraw introduces reader to fashion concepts and their deeper meanings. Readers will learn basic style skills, like how to put together outfits, shop on a budget, and choose pieces that flatter their figure. Standard fashion topics are presented with a body positive spin. For example, the chapter on “figuring out your figure” includes section headings like “what do you love about your body?” and “dress to feel good.” Includes tips and opinions from actual teens.

This book features a high interest topic (fashion) and presents it in a way that is incredibly relevant for today’s teens. Connections are drawn between what readers see in the media and their beliefs about fashion, beauty, and their own self-worth. And it doesn’t skimp on the practical style advice. The diverse models and inclusion of different body types makes it relatable for a wide range of teens from many backgrounds. The engaging voice and clear, informative text should be appealing to reluctant readers. Overall, a positive and informative book that encourages teens to think critically and cultivate a healthy self-image. Great for fans of Teen Vogue and Project Runway. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: Find Your Style and Botanical Beauty

#QP2018 Nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles

Questionable Convictions: Guilty, or Not Guilty?

The emergence of advanced scientific forensics has resulted in the ability to re-evaluate convictions. DNA via hair, blood, saliva and other bodily fluids have been used to overturn some guilty convictions for violent crimes. Newer technologies can pinpoint details better. Highly trained dogs can sniff out corpses or drugs. Appeals must be filed, but rarely a change in verdict results. With so many crime fiction and forensic television shows on the air, it may look easier than it is in reality.

These two Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers delve into this world of questionable convictions and their suspenseful plots and gritty topics make them great books for readers interested in the criminal justice system.

Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson book cover Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books
January 24, 2017
ISBN: 9780062422644

The jury said she did it. The media said she did it. Only nine years old and convicted for manslaughter, Mary B. Addison didn’t say anything. Three-month-old Alyssa was in the care of her babysitter, Mary’s mother, when she died of suspicious circumstances while sleeping in Mary’s room. Six years later Mary, now fifteen, is released from “baby jail” and is living in a supervised group home wearing an ankle monitor. The issue-oriented storyline is brought to the forefront when a pregnant Mary now finally wants to attempt to clear her name, so that her own baby is not taken away by social services.

This dramatic hook grabs the reader’s attention very quickly, and pacing intensifies throughout the saga. Although flawed in character, Mary is somewhat vulnerable and garners sympathy at times. Portrayed by the media as a baby killer with rage tendencies, Mary struggles with revealing her true self while in a group home with violent criminals as roommates. The home is a menacing place full of bullying, brutality, theft, and much verbal abuse.   Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson and Overturned by Lamar Giles

#QP2018 Nominees: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Bang by Barry Lyga

The impact of shootings on survivors, families and communities is a timely topic. 

Unfortunately, the daily news may include incidents of gun violence including school shootings, police brutality, domestic violence, and tragic accidents.

Young Adult authors have increasingly been writing books that address these issues, to give teens touchpoints to identify with and help them understand their world. The following two recently published books, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Bang by Barry Lyga, help to tackle these issues for readers.

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017
978-0062498533

Starr struggles to balance her life at home living in a poor black neighborhood and the private prep school she attends with much wealthier students. When she witnesses her childhood friend shot needlessly by a police officer, her whole world is turned upside down.

This compelling story is told from Starr’s point of view, where readers follow her thought processes as she navigates difficult situations and harsh, contradictory realities. The timely social issue of police brutality in black communities will grab readers’ attention. Starr’s experience perfectly illustrates one of the biggest issues faced by African-American people in the United States today. “The talk” may be familiar to many marginalized populations, and an eye opener to others. Starr is a complex introspective character that many teens will identify with, while she must come to terms with the sobering, unequal roles society has forced upon her community.

Many juxtapositions help show the complexity of the social issues being tackled within the story. Police are shown in both negative and positive lights, through officer “one fifteen”, the shooter of Starr’s friend, Khalil, and her Uncle Carlos, a police officer who is striving for justice. A poor community is depicted doing its best to protect its youth against gangs and drugs, while the youth’s attraction to the money and power brought by gangs and drugs is a heart-wrenching cycle. The conflicts between Starr’s neighborhood friends and her prep school friends serve to illuminate the complicated relationships between race, class, and privilege. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Bang by Barry Lyga