Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

Love Radio

Love Radio

by Ebony LaDelle

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Release date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 9781665908153

Prince is a romantic at heart, but he has not got time for love unless it’s helping the callers on his radio show, Love Radio. Dani is focused on her plan to receive a scholarship to study in New York and become a famous author. She doesn’t have time for love. Then Dani and Prince meet. Prince has had a crush on Dani since middle school and wants to prove he’s worth her time. He gets Dani to promise him three dates, and if after that she’s not in love with him he’ll leave her alone. Dani agrees, and as the dates go on she finds herself falling for the sweet, sincere romantic. But a trauma in Dani’s past just might get in the way of these two finding true love.

The combination of a sweet “first love” story, healing from trauma and finding who you are make this a compelling and engrossing read. Reluctant readers will fall for both Dani and Prince because they’re written so realistically. All their flaws and strengths work to create two characters who readers root for, keeping teens engaged until the satisfying conclusion. There are also lots of references to music, music history and the city of Detroit making this a fun read for young people who enjoy music.

Romance readers who enjoy a deeper connection to the characters will enjoy this heartfelt story as will readers who like music, music history or books that dive into a community or city. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant, and Syed Masood’s More Than Just a Pretty Face, as well as Nicola Yoon books are excellent read-nexts for readers who loved this title.

— Rachel Adams

Other Nominated Titles

Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto (September 27, 2022)

Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari (June 7, 2022)

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch (April 12, 2022)

Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard (May 10, 2022)


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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Winter

header cover art

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, 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.

A-Okay. By Jarad Greene. HarperCollins Children’s Books/Harper Alley, $12.99 (9780063032859). 

Jay deals with acne, acne medicine side effects, friend drama, and figuring out romantic feelings, during a tumultuous eighth grade year.

Blackout. By Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon. HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books, $19.99 (9780063088092). 

Six distinct but connected stories highlight black resilience and love in the midst of a New York City-wide blackout.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Winter

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Missing Passenger by Jack Heath

The Missing Passenger Cover Art

The Missing Passenger by Jack Heath
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534449893

A plane with no passengers crashes in his hometown and Jarli quickly finds himself in the middle of a mystery. When he gets suspicious of the police working the case and learns that no one can be trusted, Jarli allies himself with his best option: his former bully, Doug. Together they attempt to track down the pilot and outwit a secretive criminal mastermind known as Viper.

The action grabs the reader right away with a plane crash on page one. The pacing is reminiscent of an action movie, with lots of high-risk situations, daring escapes, and chase scenes happening frequently throughout the plot. Short chapters and frequent dialogue help make this an easy read.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Missing Passenger by Jack Heath

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Hide and Don’t Seek and Other Very Scary Stories by Anica Mrose Rissi

Hide and Don’t Seek and Other Very Scary Stories by Anica Mrose Rissi. Art by Carolina Godina
Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063026957 

This collection of “all types of” short stories includes twenty short texts ranging from one to eighteen pages in length. Text message exchanges, letters, a script, poetry, and traditional prose comprise this eclectic collection of scary stories geared towards younger teens, but enjoyed by all readers.    

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Hide and Don’t Seek and Other Very Scary Stories by Anica Mrose Rissi

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sink or Swim by Tash McAdam

cover art

Sink or Swim by Tash McAdam
Orca Soundings/Orca Book Publishers 
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
ISBN: 978-1459828513

Bass and his adventurous new girlfriend Rosie skip school for a joyride on a boat. As a storm rolls in and their boat becomes damaged, the pair must find their way to a deserted island and fend for themselves. Bess is transgender and working on self-confiedence, so when he bravely chooses to swim for help, the story evolves from adventure to romance to self-discovery. 

Tash McAdam writes in simple sentences using only the present tense and packs a big punch into a short book. Bass’s point of view is well-established, and readers will connect emotionally with his worries that range from whether Rosie actually likes him to how to survive. The plot moves quickly and ends with a hopeful future.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sink or Swim by Tash McAdam

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Art by Juliana Moon

cover art

Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Art by Juliana Moon
Etch/Clarion Books  
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-0358299523

After her mom gets a new job, thirteen-year-old Karen moves to Greece to live with her dad Zed. Her new home and school, Mt. Olympus Junior High, seems a little strange, but fun, until people mysteriously start turning into stone statues.  With her new friends Athena, Artemis, and Apollo she decides to investigate before the finger can be pointed at her. Can Karen figure out the mystery of why her classmates are turning to stone and the secrets of her new home? 

Fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan will be interested in this fun graphic novel. With its simple and clear storyline, readers will enjoy the mythology as well as the mystery plot. In addition, the story of fitting in at a new school and making new friends (even if those friends happen to be Greek gods and goddesses) will be familiar for readers. 

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Art by Juliana Moon

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sunkissed by Kasie West

Sunkissed Cover Art

Sunkissed by Kasie West
Delacorte/Penguin Random House 
Publication Date: May 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593176269

Avery is spending the summer at a camping resort with her family, which isn’t quite the “adventure” her dad promised but does give her some much-needed space from drama at home. It also allows her to focus on discovering who she is and what she really wants, as opposed to what she thinks she’s supposed to want. Enter Brooks, the good-looking and slightly infuriating camp musician, who is also completely off-limits. They seem to have perfect chemistry, but Avery needs to remember that a relationship between the two of them would get Brooks fired, which would be devastating for him and his family.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sunkissed by Kasie West

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

Last Gate of the Emperor Cover Art

Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen
Scholastic Press 
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338665857 

Yared Heywat lives a lonely, meagre life with his Uncle Moti and his bionic lioness Besa as his only companions. But when Yared’s forced to sign into his favorite augmented reality game with his real name, he finds himself at the center of a galaxy-spanning conflict. During the attack on his city, Addis Prime, his uncle goes missing. With the help of Besa and the Ibis, an in-game rival turned ally, Yared must track down Uncle Moti and find his place in the galaxy.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of A-Okay by Jarad Greene

A-Okay Cover Art

A-Okay by Jarad Greene
HarperCollins Children’s Books/Harper Alley
Publication Date: 11/2/2021
ISBN: 978-0063032842

Jay is in eighth grade and suddenly he has acne. He doesn’t really think anything of it until there are pimples all over his face. In consultation with a couple doctors, Jay tries various treatments (which don’t really work) until he’s finally put on a stronger medication which has some odd side effects. Everything else seems to spiral from there – his good friend is being distant, he’s not sure where to sit at lunch, and he doesn’t seem to have romantic feelings of any kind for anyone. What’s a teen to do when they don’t know where they fit in and life is just so confusing?

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of A-Okay by Jarad Greene

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of That Weekend by Kara Thomas

That Weekend Cover Art

That Weekend by Kara Thomas
Penguin Random House/Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 29, 2021
ISBN: 978-1524718367

Claire wakes up in a hospital with no memory and is shocked to learn that her two best friends are missing. They had all gone camping that past weekend and Claire quickly becomes a suspect as the only surviving member of said trip. As she begins to piece together clues and other suspects, will she be able to solve the mystery before she is the next one to disappear? 

With a cannot stop until the end pacing as new twists and turns are revealed, this is a thriller that will have readers racing to try more books. Thomas weaves the creepy camp setting, friend and romantic drama, and a solid mystery with a mind blowing ending that will be passed along by word of mouth alone.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of That Weekend by Kara Thomas