Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, November 12 Edition

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

Past Perfect Life Book CoverPast Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg
Bloomsbury YA / Bloomsbury
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
ISBN: 978-1547600922

Allison “Ally” Smith loves the life that she and her father have built in small-town Wisconsin, at least until the day the F.B.I. arrives at her door. Kidnapped by her father as a toddler, Ally’s mother has been searching for her for 15 years. Caught in the middle of a devastating web of secrets, Ally is forced to leave her friends and her home behind in order to live in Florida with the family she didn’t even know existed.  

In this thought-provoking family drama, Allison—and all of the main characters—must grapple with the nature of family and identity. Like every teenager, Ally struggles to define herself and her relationship to others, a process that becomes even more complicated when she fails to live up to her mother’s idealized expectations. Her father’s deception adds an extra dose of anxiety and anger to Ally’s self-reflections. Eventually, she begins to understand that she was not the only person hurt by her father’s decision. Ally’s extended network of friends, as well as a budding romance, offer pleasant diversions from the narrative tension, as well as a reminder that true families come in all shapes and sizes.  

Perfect for fans of secret-filled family dramas, such as Brandy Colbert’s The Revolution of Birdie Randolph. Readers who enjoy stories that feature teens exploring their identities, including Sarah Dessen’s The Rest of the Story, or Natasha Diaz’s Color Me In, will find similar elements here. 

–Kathleen J. Barker


The Good Son Book CoverThe Good Son by Pierre-Jacques Ober, illustrated by Jules Ober and Felicity Coonan
Candlewick Studio / Candlewick Press
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
ISBN: 978-1536204827

Models and miniatures are set up and photographed to create a piece of historical fiction set during World War I in which soldier Pierre is caught by the French army for desertion. This pictorial narrative recounts how Pierre joined the forces and went to battle, only to learn the harsh realities of war and realize the harshest punishment coming to him due to deserting his army.

This visual tale makes a complex moral dilemma easy to peruse. The book reads quickly and the photographed miniature scenes bring the war and the darkness surrounding it–death and destruction–into real focus. Teens who are drawn to non-fiction narratives but aren’t easily excited by reading will easily be fascinated with this title. While this is a picture book in terms of format, young adult readers who are encouraged to pick it up will find that it’s not for children and will appreciate a format that reads similarly to a graphic novel. 

For fans of historical graphic novel memoirs such as George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy, as well as classics such as Maus (Spiegelman) and Persepolis (Satrapi).

–Jessica Levy


Wilder Girls by Rory Powers
Delacorte Press/ Penguin Random House
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
ISBN: 978-0525645580

When the Tox overtakes a girls’ boarding school on a remote island in Maine, Hetty and her two best friends must do anything they can to survive and adapt, all while the Tox mutates their bodies into something unrecognizable. When Hetty discovers a secret conspiracy involved in the school’s quarantine, everything that they think they know about the virus and their lives at the school changes.

This is a fast-paced engaging climate-fiction/horror read that starts right in the middle of the action. There’s a great deal of body horror, and it’s both visceral and surprising. There is a love story between Hetty and Reese (one of her friends), and while it is low-key, it provides some needed LGBT content within the genre. Readers will be interested in the book from the cover alone, but there is plenty within the story to draw them in. 

Fans of The Grace Year by Kim Liggett, Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand, and the movie or book Annihilation will love Wilder Girls

–Kelsey Socha

Jukebooks: We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg

wecanworkitoutNow that the Lonely Hearts Club has expanded to almost thirty girls, Penny Lane finds her enthusiasm for the club waning. Sure, it would never had happened if Penny had not started the club herself, building on the successful theme of girl empowerment. Who needs a guy to make them happy? Then Penny meets Ryan. Things get awkward. No longer lonely, Penny’s clout with her girls diminishes.

As a follow-up to Eulberg’s The Lonely Hearts Club, this novel is also brimming with references to Beatles songs. Sections are introduced with a Beatles lyric, such as, “If I love you, please don’t hurt my pride,” from “If I Fell,” a beautiful example of Fab Four harmony. But the Beatles went in so many interesting directions with their music that I was reluctant to highlight one more pretty song. So instead, we’ll go with a song from Abbey Road, “Carry That Weight.”

The song is part of a long medley that constitutes the flip side of Abbey Road. The songs, bits and pieces that have little relation to each other, are melded together wonderfully by the Beatles’ long time producer, George Martin. “Carry That Weight” was recorded along with the song that precedes it on the album, “Golden Slumbers.”

Below is a recording of “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and the final song on that side of Abbey Road, “The End,” set to a photographic montage of the Beatles.

Diane Colson, currently reading an advance readers copy of Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge.

What Teens Are Saying About What They Are Reading, vol. 5

It is snowing at my library.  It might be snowing at your library too.  Even when I am not reading I like to imagine things.  I wonder what people are doing other places.  Sometimes I like to role play and suppose I am another person.  If I were a teen and not a librarian,  would I read the same books? Would I suggest the same books I suggest now?  Below are suggestions of awesome teen fiction as recommended by young adult patrons.

Alex Rider series Book 5 Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz (Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)

choice 5-6


Continue reading What Teens Are Saying About What They Are Reading, vol. 5