Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Swim Team
by Johnnie Christmas
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: HarperAlley
Release date: May 17, 2022
ISBN: 9780063056770

Bree’s move to Florida from New York comes with all sorts of changes. Her father is working a full time job and is in a program at night to advance his career.  Fortunately, Bree immediately meets a new friend in her apartment complex along with Ms. Etta, an older woman who is happy to look out for Bree. Unfortunately, the Math Puzzles class is full, leaving only swimming.  With the help of Ms. Etta and Clara, Bree overcomes her self-doubt and becomes a leader on the Enith Brigitha Middle School swim team.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
ISBN: 9780593309032

Years of foster care have severely damaged Black, bisexual teen Bitter’s ability to trust anyone, but she has come to feel safe at Eucalyptus, a home for vulnerable teen artists. There, she is able to pursue her art and, occasionally, bring it temporarily to life by bringing it into contact with her blood. When Bitter starts to engage with teens from Assata, a social justice group, her fury at the wealthy white people in control of their town, Lucille, results in the creation of a monster that calls itself Vengeance. Horrified at what she has created, Bitter is forced to work through her anxieties in order to find a way to stop a bloodbath.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds

Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds
Etch / Clarion Books
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
ISBN-13: 9780358250470

Celebrated illustrator Gareth Hinds adapts Kristin Cashore’s high-fantasy YA classic, Graceling! Katsa was born graced with lethal fighting skills, put to brutal use by her king from a young age. Out on a mission, she crosses paths with a mysterious fighter, the first to ever come close to beating her in combat. The fight changes her, and a series of related events work to unravel the mundane life of servitude and violence Katsa has always known.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of What About Will by Ellen Hopkins

What About Will by Ellen Hopkins
Narrated by Michael Wetherbee
Listening Library
Release date: September 14, 2021
ISBN: 9780593453797


Trace is a kid just like any other, who loves baseball, music, and spending time with his family. But then his brother Will is injured and ends up with a traumatic brain injury, and Trace’s life begins to change. His parents get a divorce, Will isn’t around much anymore, and Trace worries about what he’s doing. When things escalate out of control, Trace has to make some difficult choices to help his brother and heal.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Batter Royale by Leisl Adams

Batter Royale
by Leisl Adams
Publisher: ABRAMS
Imprint: Amulet Books
Release date:
ISBN: 9781419750755

17-year-old Rose loves to bake, and while working as a waitress at her friend’s family diner is great, Rose wants to bake. When a dessert mishap at the diner leads to an exclusive invite to a new baking competition called Batter Royale, Rose sees more than one opportunity opening up. If she and her best friend, Fred, win the competition, the half a million dollar prize not only gives Rose the money she needs for culinary school, but could also help Fred save his mom’s diner. However, Batter Royale seems rife with fierce competitors and a mysterious saboteur guaranteeing high stakes rather than a simple cake walk.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe
Del Rey
Publication date: November 2, 2021
ISBN: 9780593160299

Lore Olympus is a modern retelling of various Greek myths that gained fandom on WEBTOONS and is now available as the first in a series of bound volumes. In this story, the Greek gods and goddesses are no different than anyone today-they use cell phones, post to social media, and attend lavish parties on Olympus in their spare time. It’s at one of these parties where Hades sees Persephone for the first time and becomes instantly attracted to her. Persephone, however, has chosen a life of purity along with her roommate, Artemis, and is uninterested in any kind of romance. When the other gods and goddesses decide to meddle with Hades after hearing of his attraction, things become complicated. In addition to Hades and Persephone, Eros, Psyche, Hera, and other gods have storylines of their own.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
Narrated by Deepti Gupta, Kamran R. Khan, Kausar Mohammed
Books on Tape, Listening Library
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
ISBN: 9780593502235

When Misbah passes, she leaves behind her son, Salahudin, who will do anything to keep her legacy, the Clouds’ Rest Inn Motel running. His father is spiraling from grief and alcoholism and his best friend, Noor, is no longer speaking with him since The Fight. Noor is doing all she can to make her way to college, while her uncle does his best to prevent her. In the end, Salahudin makes some decisions that put both his and Noor’s futures on the line. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of This Might Get Awkward by Kara McDowell

This Might Get Awkward
by Kara McDowell
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Imprint: Scholastic Press
Release date: March 1, 2022
ISBN: 9781338746235

Gemma Wells’ social anxiety keeps her on the fringes of high school life until her major crush (and high school hot guy) Beau Booker is in a tragic boating accident.  Having grown up on Lake Powell, Gemma immediately springs into action, dragging Beau out of the water and performing the CPR that saves his life–except his injuries have meant that he is in a medically-induced coma.  Beau’s last Instagram post is of him and Gemma, and his claim that she is his girlfriend now provides her with entry into the hospital as family.  Being Beau’s dutiful girlfriend is her dream come true until she meets his older “black sheep” of a brother, Griff.  Now Gemma is caught in a web of lies, but how does she dump the comatose brother for Griff?

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Crumbs by Danie Stirling

Crumbs by Danie Stirling
Etch/Clarion Books
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
ISBN: 9780358467793

Every time Ray enters the magical Marigold’s Bakery she orders a Romance. As a Seer, she’s seeking something with a taste of the unknown. On a day when Romance is sold out, Marigold’s nephew Laurie invites Ray out to hear him play guitar as an alternative unknown experience and their relationship blooms. But Ray is starting an internship and on the verge of becoming part of the Grand Council of Sorcerers, a job that requires leaving all of the rest of her life behind. Will she be forced to choose between her new romance and her dream job, a choice even her Seer’s ability can’t help her make?

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillion

Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillion
Narrated by Shahjehan Khan
Listening Library
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
ISBN: 9780593411315

When Sunny stares into the mirror on his prom night he is unrecognizable to himself; his hair is shortened and gone is his beard and turban. Honestly, not much has been the same since his brother, Goldy’s death from alcohol poisoning, and the only thing left from his brother is a journal that Sunny is determined to fill with rash decisions. When Mindii Vang runs off with the journal, Sunny chases Mindii and adventures the rest of the night including roller skating and open mics.

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