Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, March 10 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
ISBN: 978-1595148544

Ruthie returns home to Anchorage, Alaska after several years away, only to discover her former best friend, Zahra, has gone missing. Ruthie plays teen detective, putting all of her time into investigating Zahra’s friends and family to track her down, since the police have come up short. As Ruthie closes in on who she thinks took Zahra, the plot reveals major twists, and the reader must question everything they thought they knew.

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Diversify YA Life: Diverse Debuts

Who says the little man can’t make waves?  No one in the book business can say it, just ask the We Need Diverse Books movement. With every new year comes new authors and with 2016 we are seeing not only debuts of color but characters of color. Below is a list of YA debut authors of color and books from debuts that feature characters of color.

Diversify YA Life diverse debuts 2

Debut Authors of Color

Inspired by Indian Mythology, Maya’s future life of love is cursed with death. When Maya is forced to marry for political reasons, her new reign as the queen of Akaran soon becomes marked with magic and mystery.

Seeking a change and a little adventure, Julie travels to New Orleans with her youth group to build houses.  When she doesn’t find the change she so desperately needs with her group, she sets out on her own to discover the city when she meets and falls in love with Miles.

Reshma is a high school senior and has made it her mission in life to get into Stanford. When a literary agents seeks her out to write a novel, Reshma soon realizes that no one wants to read about a boring over achiever so she sets out to live the life of the average teenager.  Reshma discovers that there’s more to life than studying.

In this steampunk debut, Avrilis changes history and saves a life that she shouldn’t have saved and she finds herself a fugitive in two different worlds.

Taylor’s rep goes from ice queen to the girl who gets around when she’s found drunk and in the bed of the school’s bad boy.  In order to reclaim her good rep, she convinces the bad boy to pretend to be her boyfriend and not just another notch on his belt.


Joss Byrd is just trying to please a demanding director and an overbearing mother in the glamorous world that is Hollywood.

Latoya Williams is a black girl in an all white school and makes a wish to make her life easier and to be white.  Find out what happens when Latoya’s wish comes true.

Paloma High School is shrouded with rumors of a teacher student relationship and everyone begins to find someone to blame.

Vika and Nikolai are enchanters and they are being sought by the Ottoman Empire for political gain.  In order to find the best enchanters, the Tsar announces a duel where the losers must die.  Vika and Nikolai see this as an opportunity of varied reasons but what will happen when they fall in love knowing that they both can’t survive?

After the murder of Sefia’s parents, she’s sent to live with her aunt until her aunt is taken.  Armed with survival and combat skills, Sefia sets out to find her aunt and the answers surrounding her father’s murder.

Set in Victorian London, Rose sets out to find her missing sister and discovers that they both might possess special powers.

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Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

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I have been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan since I was young. I loved the original stories and any story that was based on Holmes and company, including The Great Mouse Detective, which was my favorite Disney movie as a child. Today, in honor of Sherlock’s birthday, I hope to once again share a bit of that enthusiasm with you, through works that are perfect for those who love Holmes and his friends and nemeses.

Statue of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock By David_Jones. CC BY 2.0.


Since Sherlock’s debut, his story has been subject to many adaptations, ranging from books that fill in the gaps between the original stories to TV shows such as the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’ Elementary. The literary world continues to offer new adaptations all the time, including many great young adult examples. If you want to see Sherlock, John, Mycroft, and Moriarty in completely new ways, you should track down these books right away.

Lock & Mori coverLock & Mori by Heather W. Petty – This book explores Sherlock and Moriarty’s lives as teens, though in this case Moriarty is a girl named James “Mori” Moriarty. Shortly after they meet, Lock and Mori are thrown together when a dead body is found in London’s Regent’s Park near their homes. This modern take on the Holmes mythology brings these classic characters to life in a whole new way while tackling issues of friendship, family, and trust.

Watson and Holmes - Study in BlackWatson and Holmes: A Study in Black by Karl Bollers, Rick Leonardi, and Larry Stroman – This volume collects the first story arc in a comic series that reimagines Sherlock and John as African Americans living and working in Harlem in modern-day New York City. The story updates many of the features of Doyle’s original works while maintaining the spirit and style that made those stories so popular. This more Watson-focused work was nominated for an Eisner-award and is a must-read for fans of comics and Sherlock alike.

Mycroft HolmesMycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse – Sherlock himself might not like the idea of a story focused on Mycroft Holmes. But, if you have always wanted to know a bit more about Sherlock’s big brother, you might want to check out this new book that sees a young Mycroft venturing off to Trinidad to solve a mystery. This book will give you a new way of looking at Mycroft and his influence on Sherlock.

A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This book, which will be published later this year, will definitely join my to-be-read list as soon as it is available! The story follows the great-great-great-grandchildren of Watson and Holmes as they come together to solve the mystery surrounding a classmate’s death. The first in a planned trilogy, this is definitely one that all Sherlock fans will want to check out.


In addition to all of the books that play with the characters and settings made famous by the original Sherlock Holmes stories, there are many other stories that are clearly influenced by the famous detective and his adventures. If you want to branch out a bit from Sherlock’s friends and family, while still staying within this style, these books will be sure to please.

GrandvilleGrandville by Bryan Talbot – This graphic novel and the others in the series may not actually retell the Sherlock Holmes’ stories, but they do capture much of the spirit of those tales. Set in an anthropomorphic and steampunk-influenced world that is run by animals, the series follows a Detective Inspector in Scotland Yard as he solves mysteries. And, by the way, the DI is a badger. The worldbuilding and artwork in this series will keep you turning pages as will the central mystery of this initial volume.

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens – This first book in the Wells and Wong series follows two girls at a UK boarding school in the 1930’s. When a teacher dies (and the body then disappears), Daisy Wells finally has an opportunity to be the Sherlock Holmes that she has always known that she could be. Readers are sure to love this setting and the twist it puts on the typical mystery story.

Jackaby coverJackaby by William Ritter – This book combines a detail-oriented investigator with supernatural elements to offer a fresh take on a serial killer investigation, this time set in 1890’s New England. This book made the 2015 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list and it is a must read for historical mystery fans.

I hope this post helps you to find the perfect book to celebrate Sherlock Holmes’ birthday! Let me know in the comments if I have missed any of your favorites!


— Carli Spina, currently reading All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen

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