Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Prepared by the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Committee, this annual list comprises books that will stimulate interest among teens, who, for whatever reason, choose not to read. The sixty-eight titles—thirty-six nonfiction and thirty-two fiction—all published in 1997 unless otherwise noted, were selected by the eleven-member committee with invaluable input from young adult reluctant readers from across the country, who read, reviewed, and evaluated books throughout the year.

Fiction / Nonfiction


Aaseng, Nathan. Poisonous Creatures. illus. Twenty-First Century, $18.98 (0-8050-4690-9).
The world's deadliest creatures. They bite, they sting, they suck.

Blum, Mark. Beneath the Sea in 3-D. illus. Chronicle, $18.95 (0-8118-1412-2).
Check out the sea in 3-D.

Branzei, Sylvia. Grossology Begins at Home: The Science of Really Gross Things in Your Everyday Life. illus. Addison Wesley/Planet Dexter, $12.99 (0-201-95993-3).
No one is ever home alone. Meet your real roommates.

Canfield, Jack and others. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: 101 Stories of Life, Love and Learning. Health Communications, $24 (1-55874-468-1); paper, $12.95 (1-55874-463-0).
Comfort food for your mind and heart.

Coville, Bruce. William Shakespeare's Macbeth. illus. Dial, $16.99 (0-8037-1899-3).
Double, double; illustrated trouble.

Fletcher, Ralph. Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring. illus. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $15 (0-689-81035-0).
The things we hardly notice give the most pleasure.

Fogle, Bruce. Dachshund. illus. DK, $14.95 (0-7894-1613-1).
Fogle, Bruce. Poodle. illus. DK, $14.95 (0-7894-1612-3).
Find out about two of the world's most intelligent, beautiful, and playful breeds in these Dog Breed Handbooks.

Fogle, Bruce. The Encyclopedia of the Cat. illus. DK, $34.95 (0-7894-1970-X).
Everything you want to know about cats, wild and domestic.

Gates, Phil. The History News: Medicine. illus. Candlewick, $15.99 (0-7636-0316-3).
Get the scoop on everything from leeches to lasers.

Glenn, Mel. Jump Ball: A Basketball Season in Poems. Dutton/Lodestar, $15.99 (0-525-67554-X).
One basketball season changes the life of a town.

Glenn, Mel. The Taking of Room 114: A Hostage Drama in Poems. Dutton/Lodestar, $16.99 (0-525-67548-5).
Who is holding the class of graduating seniors hostage, and why?

Greenfield, Lauren. Fast Forward: Growing up in the Shadow of Hollywood. illus. Knopf, $35 (0-679-45453-5).
See L.A. teens—from Beverly Hills to South Central L.A.

Hampton, Wilborn. Kennedy Assassinated! The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story. illus. Candlewick, $17.99 (1-56402-811-9).
A rookie reporter wonders if he can handle the story of a lifetime.

I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Poems by African Americans. Rev. ed. Ed. by Arnold Adoff. illus. Simon & Schuster, $16 (0-689-81241-8); paper, $14.99 (0-689-80869-0).
Many voices speak of trial, triumph, and tragedy.

James, Laura. Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion. illus. Scholastic, $14.95 (0-590-76340-7).
What does it take to become a champion figure skater?

Janulewicz, Mike. Yikes! Your Body, Up Close! illus. Simon & Schuster, $15 (0-689-81520-4).
Mirror, mirror on the wall. What's the ugliest part of all?

King, Martin Luther. I Have a Dream. illus. Scholastic, $16.95 (0-590-20516-1).
Share King's dream with award-winning artists.

Kleinbaum, Nancy H. The Magnificent Seven: The Authorized Story of American Gold. 1996. illus. Bantam, $19.95 (0-553-09774-1).
The tale of the Olympics' seven golden girls.

Kramer, Stephen. Eye of the Storm: Chasing Storms with Warren Faidley. illus. Putnam, $18.95 (0-399-23029-7).
Inside a storm—exciting, awesome, scary.

Marschall, Ken. Inside the Titanic. Text by Hugh Brewster. illus. Little, Brown, $18.95 (0-316-55716-1). It's big, it's fast, it sinks.

Mind Riot: Coming of Age in Comix. Ed. by Karen D. Hirsch. illus. Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, paper, $9.99 (0-689-80622-1).
Sixteen graphic novelists share tales of their teenage years.

Morgan, Rowland. In the Next Three Seconds. illus. Dutton/Lodestar, $13.99 (0-525-67551-5).
The clock keeps ticking. What's happening out there?

Myers, Walter Dean. Harlem. illus. Scholastic, $16.95 (0-590-54340-7).
Colorful collages are combined with a poem.

O'Grady, Scott and French, Michael. Basher Five-Two: The True Story of F-16 Fighter Pilot Captain Scott O'Grady. illus. Doubleday, $16.95 (0-385-32300-X).
Shot down over Bosnia and trapped behind enemy lines.

Peters, Mike. Grimmy: King of the Heap! illus. TOR, paper, $10.95 (0-312-86069-3).
Adventures of a garbage-eating dog.

Platt, Richard. Stephen Biesty's Incredible Everything. illus. DK, $19.95 (0-7894-2049-X).
Inside doughnuts, diamond rings, bricks, chocolates, false teeth, and more.

Polk, Milbry. Egyptian Mummies: A Pop-Up Book. illus. Dutton, $16.99 (0-525-45839-5).
Ever wonder what's under that mummy's bandages? Now you can find out.

Rees, Dafydd and Crampton, Luke. Encyclopedia of Rock Stars. DK, paper, $29.95 (0-7894-1263-2).
The inside scoop on every rock star you can think of!

Richards, Joy. The Fantastic Cutaway Book of Speed. illus. Millbrook/Copper Beech, $23.90 (0-7613-0554-8).
Speed away by car, boat, and airplane.

Schroeder, Russell. Mickey Mouse: My Life in Pictures. illus. Disney, $14.95 (0-7868-3150-2).
A rodent speaks.

Stine, R. L. It Came from Ohio: My Life as a Writer. illus. Scholastic, $9.95 (0-590-36674-2).
Geek or ghoul? Who's the real person behind Goosebumps and Fear Street?

Tanaka, Shelley. Discovering the Iceman: What Was It Like to Find a 5,300-Year-Old Mummy? illus. Hyperion; dist. by Little, Brown, $16.95 (0-7868-0284-7).
Just who was that 5,300-year-old guy in the ice?

Thomas, Velma Maia. Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa to Slavery and Emancipation. illus. Crown, $29.95 (0-609-60030-3).
Assume the role of a runaway slave, an unwilling traveler, and more in this interactive book.

"Whaddaya Doin' in There?": A Bathroom Companion (for Kids!). By the editors of Planet Dexter. illus. Addison Wesley/Planet Dexter, $8.95 (0-201-95990-9).
You'll never be bored in the bathroom again.

Willson, Quentin. Classic American Cars. illus. DK, $29.95 (0-7894-2083-X).
Classy pictures and great details.


Alten, Steve. Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror. Doubleday, $22.95 (0-385-48905-6).
She makes Jaws look like a sardine.

Anderson, M. T. Thirsty. Candlewick, $17.99 (0-7636-0048-2).
Chris has tried water, milk, and juice, but only blood will quench his thirst.

Carter, Alden. Bull Catcher. Scholastic, $15.95 (0-590-50958-6).
Is there life after baseball?

Cole, Brock. The Facts Speak for Themselves. Front Street, $15.95 (1-886910-14-6).
Linda's life has never been normal. Can it get worse?

Cooney, Caroline. The Terrorist. Scholastic, $15.95 (0-590-22853-6).
Has someone you don't know recently handed you a package?

Cooney, Caroline. Wanted! Scholastic, paper, $4.50 (0-590-88849-2).
Everyone thinks Alice murdered her dad. Where can she go? Who can she trust?

Cusick, Richie Tankersley. The Harvest. Archway/Pocket, paper, $3.99 (0-671-01712-8).
Buffy's life is "way" predictable: go to school, make new friends, slay the vampire, save the world.

Draper, Sharon M. Forged by Fire. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16 (0-689-80699-X). Poverty and abuse engulf Gerald as surely as fire itself.

Duncan, Lois. Gallows Hill. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-32331-X).
Telling fortunes can be terrifying, especially if they come true.

Fleischman, Paul. Seedfolks. HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, $13.95 (0-06-027471-9).
A garden beautifies a city block and city souls.

Giberga, Jane Sughrue. Friends to Die For. Dial, $15.99 (0-8037-2094-7).
Cristina belongs to the A list at her exclusive private high school, but it comes with a high price tag—murder.

Hogan, James P. Bug Park. Baen; dist. by Simon & Schuster, $22 (0-671-87773-9).
Kevin and Taki have a great idea for a theme park, but someone wants to squash it dead.

Jenkins, A. M. Breaking Boxes. Delacorte, $14.95 (0-385-32513-4).
Can you ever really know someone—even your best friend?

Klause, Annette Curtis. Blood and Chocolate. Delacorte, $16.95 (0-385-32305-0).
Can the werewolf pack survive Vivian's love for a human boy?

Leaving Home. Ed. by Hazel Rochman and Darlene Z. McCampbell. HarperCollins, $16.95 (0-06-024873-4).
Young people leave to discover the world beyond.

Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. HarperCollins, $14.95 (0-06-027510-3).
Ella's gift turns out to be a curse. Will she ever get to "happily ever after"?

Morris, Winifred. Liar. 1996. Walker, $15.95 (0-8027-8461-5).
No one believes Alex when he tries to turn his life around.

No Easy Answers: Short Stories about Teenagers Making Tough Choices. Ed. by Don R. Gallo. Delacorte, $16.95 (0-385-32290-9).
Sixteen teens ask, "What do I do now?"

Paulsen, Gary. Sarny: A Life Remembered. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-32195-3).
At the end of the Civil War, Sarny heads for New Orleans, leaving slavery behind.

Paulsen, Gary. The Schernoff Discoveries. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-32194-5).
With a name like Harold Schernoff, you definitely need an edge.

Petersen, P. J. White Water. Simon & Schuster, $15 (0-689-80644-7).
A river rafting trip rapidly turns into a nightmare.

Qualey, Marsha. Thin Ice. Delacorte, $14.95 (0-385-32298-4).
Arden refuses to believe that her older brother died in a snowmobile accident.

Shusterman, Neal. The Dark Side of Nowhere. Little, Brown, $15.95 (0-316-78907-0).
Jason's "normal" life changes when he discovers that he and his closest friends and their parents are aliens from a distant planet.

Skurzynski, Gloria. Virtual War. Simon & Schuster, $16 (0-689-81374-0).
When war is fought in virtual reality, who does the fighting?

Sleator, William. The Beasties. Dutton, $15.99 (0-525-45598-1).
Why are the Beasties taking parts of bodies?

Soto, Gary. Buried Onions. Harcourt, $17 (0-15-201333-4).
Eddie fears the streets of Fresno after his cousin's murder.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. illus. DK, $14.95 (0-7894-1489-9).
The famous horror story and more.

Thomas, Rob. Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad. Simon & Schuster, $16 (0-689-80958-1).
Doing 200 hours of community service feels like doing time in jail.

Twelve Shots: Outstanding Stories about Guns. Ed. by Harry Mazer. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-32238-0).
Ammunition for a good read.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Curses, Inc., and Other Stories. Harcourt, $16 (0-15-201452-7).
Magic, witches, and curses.

Wersba, Barbara. Whistle Me Home. Holt, $14.95 (0-8050-4850-2).
Seventeen-year-old Noli's dreams seem to have come true after meeting TJ, but something is missing.

Williams, Carol Lynch. The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson. Delacorte, $14.95 (0-385-32249-6).
Abandoned by their mother, two sisters must make it on their own.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1998, committee members:

Judy Nelson, chair, Bellevue (WA) Regional Library; Betty Carter, Texas Women's University; Lynn Cockett, Somerset, NJ; Diana Herald, Grand Junction, CO; Mary Long, Wilson Middle School, Plano, TX; Mary Purucker, Santa Monica (CA) High School; Anne Raymer, St. Joseph's County Public Library, South Bend, IN; Susan Rosenkoetter, South Worth Library, Dryden, NY; Amelia Schwartz, New York Public Library; Tricia Segal, Eastman Branch, Cleveland (OH) Public Library; Drue Wagner-Mees, Brentwood Branch, Los Angeles Public Library; Susan Rosenzweig, adm. asst., Lincoln, RI; Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist consultant.