2017 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

The list of 71 titles and 2 series, drawn from 151 nominations, is presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list identifies titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read for any reason. 

“Our committee is very happy with the titles we selected this year,” said Chair, Dorcas Wong. “Reluctant readers will be treated to a diverse selection of intriguing nonfiction, wild adventures, twisty mysteries, and thoughtful realistic stories. We look forward to sharing these books with teens.”

Members of the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers committee are: Dorcas Wong, Chair, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA; Martha S. Boksenbaum, Chelsea Public Library, Chelsea, MA; Morgan Brickey, Arlington Public Library, Arlington, TX; Allison Cusher, Grafton Public Library, Grafton, MA; Susannah Goldstein, Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, Bronx, NY; Sarah Granville, Barberton Public Library, Baberton, OH; Melissa Malanuk, Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, NY; Lorrie Roussin, Judson High School Library, Converse, TX; Beth A. Slade, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH; Melody Townley, Woodbride High School Library, Woodbridge, NJ; Drue Wagner-Mees, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Ileana Pulu, Administrative Assistant, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA.

* denotes the title was selected as a top ten.

+ denotes the title is available in Spanish


Callery, Sean. 50 Things You Should Know About Titanic. 2016. Illus. QEB Publishing, $15.95. 9781682970232. Facts, figures, and primary photos detail the construction of the Titanic, its passengers, and the tragedy.

Fields, Stella. Lazy Crafternoon. 2016. Illus. Capstone Young Readers, $15.00. 9781623707514. Enjoy an afternoon creating inexpensive and simple crafts that are sure to impress.

Freedman, Russell. We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler. 2016. Illus. Clarion / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, $17.99. 9780544223790. German siblings, Hans and Sophie Scholl, risked everything to spearhead the White Rose student resistance movement against Adolf Hitler.

Harrington, Jamie. The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter: 30 Magical Crafts for Muggles, Witches, and Wizards Alike. 2016. Illus. Adams Media Corp, $17.99. 9781440595042. Themed crafts of varying difficulty levels for Harry Potter fans.

Harris, Samantha. Curls, Curls, Curls! Your Go-To Guide for Rocking Curly Hair-Plus Tutorials for 60 Fabulous Looks. 2016. Illus. Chronicle Books, $19.95. 9781452158341. Styles and products just for curly girls, including information on natural hair care.

Hidalgo, Pablo. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary. 2015. Illus. DK Children / Dorling Kindersley Publishing, $19.99. 9781465438164. An in-depth look at characters, gear and more.

*Higgins, Nadia Abushanab. Feminism: Reinventing the F-Word. 2016. Illus. Twenty First Century Books / Lerner, $35.99. 9781467761475. A discussion of feminism, what it is, what it isn't, and why it is important.

Inzer, Christine Mari. Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-tech Toilets and Maid Cafes. 2016. Illus. Tuttle Publishing, $14.99. 9784805313961. Travel with Christine as she explores Japanese food and culture in this illustrated journal.

Keyser, Amber J. The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex. 2016. Simon Pulse and Beyond Words / Simon & Schuster, $19.99. 9781582705903. A frank, funny, and explicit collection of essays by women about losing one's virginity across a spectrum of experiences.

Mehring, Jonathan. Skate the World: Photographing One World of Skateboarding. 2015. Illus. National Geographic Society, $30.00. 9781426213960. A global look at amateur and professional skateboarders.

Miller, Sarah. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century. 2016. Illus. Schwartz & Wade Books / Penguin Random House, $17.99. 9780553498080. A modern-day investigation of one of the most infamous murders of the 20th century.

Rattini, Kristin Baird, et al. 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions: See All the Weird, Wonderful, and Downright Bizarre Landmarks from Around the World! 2016. Illus. National Geographic Children’s Books / National Geographic Society. $12.99. 9781426324079. New ideas for your next road trip.  

Stebner, Beth. Stop. Breathe. Chill: Meditations for a Less Stressful, More Awesome Life. 2016. Adams Media Corporation, $13.99. 9781440594397. Meditate on this. 

Strebe, Jenny. 100 Perfect Hair Days: Step-By-Steps for Pretty Waves, Braids, Curls, Buns, and More! 2016. Illus. Chronicle Books. $19.95. 9781452143354. Find the best style for your hair type and occasion.

Swartz, Clay. Who Wins? : 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner! 2016. Illus. Workman Publishing Co., $14.95. 9780761185444. Who would survive a zombie apocalypse or slay in a rap battle – Jackie Robinson or Marie Antoinette?

Waldman, Ariel. What’s It Like in Space? : Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There. 2016. Illus. Chronicle Books, $14.95. 9781452144764. Answers fun questions about life in space.

Winterbottom, Julie. Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spine-Chilling, from Arachnids to Zombies. 2016. Illus. Workman Publishing Co., $9.95. 9780761183792. An A-Z guide to creepy, scary, and unsettling creatures and phenomena.


Alexander, Kwame. Booked. 2016. HMH Books for Young Readers / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, $16.99. 9780544570986. Soccer star Nick Hall is on top until his parents shatter his world. How will Nick put the pieces back together?

Andrews, Jesse. The Haters. 2016. Amulet / Abrams, $18.95. 9781419720789. Teens ditch jazz camp and take it on the road.

Budhos, Marina. Watched. 2016. Wendy Lamb / Random House Children’s Books, $17.99. 9780553534184. Naeem is coerced to surveil his Muslim-American community. As he goes deeper he wonders— is he in over his head?

*Buxbaum, Julie. Tell Me Three Things. 2016. Delacorte Press / Random House Children’s Books. $17.99. 9780553535648. A mysterious admirer helps Jessie adjust to her new life in LA. 

Calame, Don. Dan Versus Nature. 2016. Candlewick Press, $17.99. 9780763670719. Dan tries to scare off his mom's next potential husband while on a survivalist camping adventure. What could go wrong?

Cook, Eileen. With Malice. 2016. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, $17.99. 9780544805095. Jill has no memory of the last six weeks. Was her friend’s death really an accident?

Cordova, Zoraida. Labyrinth Lost. 2016. Sourcebooks Fire / Sourcebooks, $17.99. 9781492620945. Alex, a teenage bruja, must save her family after unintentionally banishing them to the Underworld.

Friend, Natasha. Where You’ll Find Me. 2016. Farrar, Straus & Giroux / Macmillan, $16.99. 9780374302306. Stuck living with her dad and step mom after her mother's suicide attempt, Anna discovers acceptance in the unlikeliest of places.

Garcia, Kami. The Lovely Reckless. 2016. Imprint, $18.99. 9781250079190. After suffering a tragedy, Frankie throws herself into the world of street racing and the arms of bad boy Marco.   

*Garvin, Jeff. Symptoms of Being Human. 2016. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062382863. Riley, the child of a Congressman, secretly blogs about being gender fluid.

Gattis, Ryan. Air. 2016. Adaptive Books / Adaptive Studios, $17.99. 9780986448423. Activism and extreme sports combine on the streets of Baltimore.

Gephart, Donna. Lily and Dunkin. 2016. Delacorte Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House, $16.99. 9780553536744. Lily and Dunkin struggle with gender identity, mental illness, and the eighth grade.

Grimes, Nikki. Garvey’s Choice. 2016. Wordsong / Highlights, $16.95. 9781629797403. Garvey stands up to bullying at home and school, then finds his true talent.

Hartinger, Brent. Three Truths and a Lie. 2016. Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster, $17.99. 9781481449601. Four friends spend the weekend away in an isolated cabin and things turn deadly.

Hartzler, Aaron. What We Saw. 2015. Harperteen / HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062338747. When school athletes are accused of rape, the small community chooses sides while Kate struggles to find the truth.

Heppermann, Christine. Ask Me How I Got Here. 2016. Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062387950. Addie, a cross country star and Catholic school student, has her life turned upside down when she gets pregnant.

Hicks, Faith Erin. The Nameless City. 2016. Illus. First Second Books / Roaring Brook Press, $21.99. 9781626721579. A young soldier meets a street urchin and learns the secrets of the city.

*Johnston, E.K. Exit, Pursued by a Bear. 2016. Dutton Books / Penguin Random House, $17.99. 9781101994580. Hermione is raped at cheer camp. In the year that follows, she deals with rumors, flashbacks, and a re-centering of her life.

Johnston, Jeffry. The Truth. 20106. Sourcebooks Fire / Sourcebooks, $9.99. 9781492623205. Chris is being held hostage by the brother of the boy he shot eight days ago.

Kensie, Clara. Aftermath. 2016. Merit Press Books / F & W Media, $17.99. 9781440598708. Charlotte endured four years of captivity and abuse. Can she survive the drama of returning to a home she doesn’t recognize?

Knowles, Jo. Still a Work in Progress. 2016. Candlewick Press, $16.99. 9780763672171. Noah and his friends are making headway getting girlfriends and figuring out middle school when the “THING THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT” returns.

Krys, Michelle. Dead Girls Society. 2016. Delacorte Press / Random House Children’s Books, $17.99. 9780553508024. When Hope, who has Cystic Fibrosis, receives a mysterious invitation she takes the dare. 

*Lemire, Jeff. Plutona. 2016. Illus. Image Comics, $16.99. 9781632156013. A group of teens find the body of the superhero, Plutona, and must decide how to handle the situation.

Lindstrom, Eric. Not If I See You First. 2015. Poppy / Little Brown and Company, $18.00. 9780316259859. Parker doesn’t forgive, especially when someone takes advantage of her blindness. Is there someone worth a second chance?

Lord, Emery. When We Collided. 2016. Bloomsbury Childrens Books / Bloomsbury Publishing, $17.99. 9781619638457. Vivi and Jonah are both struggling with more than the average high school student, and are instantly drawn to each other. They fall in love, but is their love enough to keep the darkness at bay?

Love, Jessica. In Real Life. 2016. Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press, $18.99. 9781250064714. Hoping for more, Hannah takes a road trip to surprise her online friend, Nick. 

*Lukavics, Amy. Daughters Unto Devils. 2015. Harlequin Teen / Harlequin, $17.99. 9780373211586. After a dreadful winter, Amanda and her family find a new home on the prairie. Unfortunately, the demon spirits are already waiting for them.

Mather, Adriana. How to Hang a Witch. 2016. Alfred A. Knopf / Random House Children’s Books, $17.99. 9780553539479. Samantha Mather moves to Salem where she tangles with the descendants of the Witch Trials.

Mathieu, Jennifer. Afterward. 2016. Roaring Book Press, $17.99. 9781626722385. When the searchers looking for recently kidnapped Dylan find him, they also come upon Ethan, who disappeared over four years ago.

McIntosh, Will. Burning Midnight. 2016. Delacorte Press / Random House Children’s Books, $17.99. 9780553534108. What if there were spheres hidden around the world that could enhance your sight, make you prettier, stronger, smarter? Would you jump at the opportunity, or think twice about the consequences?

Moldavsky, Goldy. Kill the Boy Band. 2016. Point / Scholastic, $17.99. 9780545867474. Four girls will do anything to meet the members of their favorite boy band. When the evening takes a sinister turn, "fangirl" takes on a whole new meaning.

Mukherjee, Sonya. Gemini. 2016. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99. 9781481456777. Conjoined twins, Clara and Hailey, are queens of compromise and cooperation, but as they get older they start to dream of separate futures.

Nguyen, Jenn P. and Phuong Anh Nguyen. The Way to Game the Walk of Shame. 2016. Swoon Reads / Feiwel and Friends, $9.99. 9781250084071. Taylor made one little mistake, waking up next to playboy Evan.

*Nijkamp, Marieke. This Is Where It Ends. 2016. Sourcebooks, $17.99. 9781492622468. A violent student with a grudge and a gun holds his classmates and teachers hostage for an hour.

Parker, S. M. The Girl Who Fell. 2016. Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster, $17.99. 9781481437257. Zephyr is on track to go to college and leave her small town, when she meets the intoxicating Alec. They fall head over heels, but infatuation leads to control, manipulation, and danger.

Patel, Sonia. Rani Patel in Full Effect. 2016. Cinco Puntos Press, $11.95. 9781941026502. Rani joins a new rap group to cope with her turbulent home life.

Phelan, Matt. Snow White: A Graphic Novel. 2016. Illus. Candlewick Press, $19.99. 9780763672331. A retelling of the classic tale set during the Great Depression.

Pon, Cindy. Serpentine. 2015. Months 9 Books. $14.99. 9781942664338. As Skybright learns more about her mysterious abilities, she becomes entangled in a battle between her origins and the people she loves.

Preller, James. The Fall. 2016. Feiwel and Friends / Macmillan, $16.99. 9780312643010. Sam thought it was all a game, not quite knowing the impact of words and gestures until Morgan commits suicide.

Reynolds, Jason. Ghost. 2016. Atheneum Books for Young Readers / Simon and Schuster, $16.99. 9781481450157. Ghost lands a spot on an exclusive track team promising to stay out of trouble, but he finds it harder than he thought.

*Reynolds, Jason and Brendan Kiely. All American Boys. 2015. Atheneum / Simon and Schuster, $17.99. 9781481463331. Accused of shoplifting and resisting arrest, Rashad is beaten by a police officer. Racial tension runs high as friends take sides and a community is divided.

+Riggs, Ransom. Tales of the Peculiar. 2016. Illus. Dutton Books / Penguin Random House, $24.99. 9780399538537.  From the world of Miss Peregrine, this book tells the stories of the first Peculiars and their protector.

Rivers, Olivia. Tone Deaf. 2016. Sky Pony Press / Skyhorse Publishing, $17.99. 9781634507073. Ali thought she left the world of music behind her after an operation took away her hearing until she meets the chart-topping band, Tone Deaf.

Rollins, Danielle. Burning. 2016. Bloomsbury Children’s Books / Bloomsbury USA, $17.99. 9781619637382. Angela is counting down the days until her release from Brunesfield Correctional Facility, but everything changes with the arrival of a strange, new inmate.

*Russo, Meredith. If I Was Your Girl. 2016. Flatiron, $17.99. 9781250078407. Amanda is facing a lot of challenges, but nothing is as big as starting over after being relentlessly bullied for her transgender identity.

Self, Jeffery. Drag Teen. 2016. Push / Scholastic, $17.99. 9780545829939. JT goes on a road trip with his friends in an effort to win a scholarship and be crowned Miss Drag Teen.

Skrutskie, Emily. The Abyss Surrounds Us. 2016. Flux / Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd, $11.99. 9780738746913. On her first mission out, Cas, a new trainer of Reckoners, bio-engineered sea monsters, is kidnapped by pirates. What will she do to survive?

Strand, Jeff. The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. 2016. Sourcebooks Fire / Sourcebooks, $9.99. 9781492628149. Justin and his friends are going to make the greatest zombie movie ever- in a months’ time, with no budget and no script. How hard could it be?

*Tash, Sarvenaz. The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love. 2016. Simon & Schuster BFYR / Simon & Schuster, $17.99. 9781481456531. Graham has realized he is in love with his best friend and partner in comic book creation, Roxy. What better place to declare his feelings than New York Comic Con?

Watkins, Steve. Great Falls. 2016. Candlewick Press, $17.99. 9780763671556. After his older brother, Jeremy, returns from Afghanistan and Iraq, as a war hero, Shane notices many changes in his behavior.

+Whaley, John Corey. Highly Illogical Behavior. 2016. Dial Books / Penguin Random House, $17.99. 9780525428183. Solomon is afraid to leave his house, until one day Lisa barges into his life. She thinks curing Solomon will help her score a scholarship.   

Wilson, G. Willow. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous. 2016. Illus. Marvel Worldwide, Inc, $17.99. 9780785196112. Kamala Khan is dealing with high school, family commitments and being the youngest Avenger. Is Ms. Marvel up to the challenge?

Young, Suzanne. All in Pieces. 2016. Simon Pulse / Simon and Schuster, $17.99. 9781481418836. Savannah is solely focused on taking care of her little brother with special needs and avoiding her alcoholic father. Then she meets Cameron at her alternative high school.

Zentner, Jeff. The Serpent King. 2016. Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House, $17.99. 9780553524024. Dill copes with the fallout of his minister father’s scandal through the help of his friends.


One-Punch Man. What do you do when you’ve become so strong you can defeat all opposition with a single punch? You get bored.

One. One-Punch Man, v. 1. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421585642.

One. One-Punch Man, v. 2. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421585659.

One. One-Punch Man, v. 3. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9780738746913.

You Choose: Spies Series. Go back in history as a spy; what happens next is up to you.

Burgan, Michael. Spies of the Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure. 2015. Illus. Capstone, $31.32. 9781491458594.

Burgan, Michael. Spies of World War I: An Interactive History Adventure. 2015. Illus. Capstone, $31.32. 9781491458600

Raum, Elizabeth. Stealing Nazi Secrets in World War II: An Interactive History Adventure. 2015. Illus. Capstone, $31.32. 9781491458617

Raum, Elizabeth. Spies of the American Revolution: An Interactive History Adventure. 2015. Illus. Capstone, $31.32. 9781491458587