Red is on a spring break trip with five of her friends, driving an RV to their from Philadelphia to the Gulf Shore. But then the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They have no cell phone service, four busted tires, plenty of beer, but not a lot of food and it’s getting dark. Then, just as they think things couldn’t get worse, someone starts shooting at the RV, trapping the six teens inside. As the scary, terrible night unravels, secrets about each of the six teens will be revealed, and they’ll each be forced to make terrible choices in order to survive because it’s unclear whether the real monster is outside the RV or inside it.
Twists don’t even begin to describe the back and forth, constant plot bombs that happen in this story. Be prepared to think you know what’s going on, only to have the rug pulled out from under you every few pages. Each revelation in the plot pulls the reader in and encourages them to keep going until the final scene. The narration is first person and easy to follow, the characters are relatable and tinges of humor often break the tension.
Fans of Holly Jackson’s other mystery series books will love this new standalone. Readers looking for a twisty mystery with an unreliable narrator would also like The Cousins by Karen McManus and The Counselors by Jessica Goodman. For more survival, trapped in a vehicle suspense, try Girl Overboard by Sandra Block.
-Rachel Adams, Teen Services Librarian, King County Library System
Other Nominated Titles
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.
The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Imprint: Delacorte Press Release date: May 3, 2022 ISBN: 9780593431115
Popular, wealthy Alice disappeared last summer for five days after her boyfriend Steve dumped her and started dating her ex-best friend Brooke. Quiet, smart Iris envy’s Alice’s ability to disappear and escape her problems and wishes she could run away from her troubled past too. When Alice returns to school, Iris takes a job tutoring her. Even though the two girls don’t get along, they quickly bond when Brooke is found dead after getting in a fight with Steve at a party. Now Alice and Iris are determined to find out what really happened to Brooke that night. Using Alice’s obsession with Agatha Christie’s as their guide they begin to investigate the town, their classmates and the cops. But soon the girls find themselves in danger when they uncover corruption and dark secrets in every corner of their town.
Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that have been 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.
*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team. By Christina Soontornvat. Read by Quincy Surasmith & Christina Soontornvat. 2020. Brilliance Audio, $35.99 (9781713547792).
An honest and frank account of the 2018 Thai cave rescue told in a thrilling and fast-paced manner, perfect for younger and older teen readers alike. Quincy Surasmith is a capable narrator and will keep readers engaged with this tense and true story.
As Good as Dead: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. By Holly Jackson. Read by Bailey Carr, Kristen DiMercurio, Robert Fass, Lauren Fortgang, Johnny Heller, Barrett Leddy, Shezi Sardar, Vassilea Terzaki and Megan Tusing. Listening Library, $75.00 (9780593416761).
A shocking turnaround in the finale to the trilogy as the true crime podcast turns on the investigator herself. Once again brought to a spectacular audio experience using a full cast in audiobook form, this wrap up to the story will keep readers breathless to the end.
They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman; narrated by Jesse Vilinsky, Phoebe Strole, and Kristen Sieh Listening Library Release Date: July 27, 2021 ISBN: 9780593398012
Track star sisters Ellie and Stella don’t have much in common besides their love of running. Stella is focused on winning back the scholarship she lost last year after an incident with another runner. Ellie is popular and tired of always living in her big sister’s shadow. When a new girl named Mila joins their track team, the sisters start to compete for her attention. Then Mila goes missing and both girls become suspects, threatening their relationship and future dreams.
You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press Publication Date: November 30, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593175866
Ivy, Mateo, and Cal drifted apart after “The Best Day Ever” in middle school when they all snuck out of a boring field trip to explore downtown Boston. When the ex-friends find themselves alone in the high school parking lot one morning, it seems like too good a sign to ignore. They skip school again–and immediately stumble into secrets, scandal, and mystery. They spot Brian “Boney” Mahoney downtown, also missing class, and follow him to his own murder. In one fell swoop, The Best Day Ever 2.0 turns very, very bad indeed. Now the cops have questions, classmates’ wild speculations are going viral online, and the trio’s own secrets from each other threaten their delicate new alliance. Who killed Boney–and who’s trying to frame Ivy, Cal, and Mateo for murder?
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Class Act by Jerry Craft Quill Tree Books Publication Date: October 6, 2020 ISBN: 9780062885517
In this follow-up to New Kid, familiar characters Jordan, Drew, and Liam return, but this time most of the story focuses on eighth grader Drew, one of the only Black students at the mostly white private school. The boys wrestle with typical middle school things like puberty, and evolving friendships, but also more important, complex issues like identity, acceptance, and race and class. Despite being friends, Jordan, Drew, and Liam live very different lives and that becomes more apparent for them in this installment.