2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

The Quick Picks list, presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting suggests books that teens, ages 12-18, will pick up on their own and read for pleasure; it is geared to the teenager who, for whatever reason, does not like to read. The 2016 list features 67 titles and 2 series, drawn from 181 nominations.

“I am very proud of the list our committee has put together for reluctant readers of all types,” said Chair, Erik Carlson. “Quick Picks readers will be treated to a diverse selection of irresistible non-fiction, graphic novels with fabulous illustrations, intriguing whodunits, and gripping realistic stories. We can’t wait for these books to end up in the hands of teens.”

Members of the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Committee are: Erik Carlson, Chair, White Plains Public Library, White Plains, NY; Fallon Bleich, Bentonville Public Library, Bentonville, AR; Judith Rodgers, Wayzata Central Middle School, Plymouth, MN; Morgan Brickey, Arlington Public Library, Arlington, TX; Dorcas Wong, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA; Rebecca Denham, Houston Public Library, Houston, TX; Savannah Kitchens, North Shelby Public Library, Birmingham, AL; Allison Cusher, Grafton Public Library, Grafton, MA; Drue Wagner-Mees, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Jen Scott Wills, Boise Public Library, Boise, ID; Ny'ilah Covington, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Maryland; Robbin Friedman, Administrative Assistant, Chappaqua Library, Chappaqua, NY.

* denotes the title was selected as a top ten.

Download a handout of the list here.


Benson, Richard. F in Exams: Pop Quiz: All New Awesomely Wrong Test Answers. 2015. Illus. Chronicle Books, $9.95. 9781452144030. A new collection of hilariously wrong test answers.

Chapman, Ryan. Conversation Sparks: Trivia Worth Talking About. Illus. 2015. Chronicle, $12.95. 9781452140025. A fun collection of trivia to get the conversation started.

Clements, Frida. Have a Little Pun: An Illustrated Play on Words. Illus. 2015. Chronicle, $14.95. 9781452144160. If you love puns, then for fox sake, read this book.

Ebrahim, Zak. The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice. 2014. Illus. TED/Simon & Schuster, $16.99. 9781476784809. It’s easy to hate when your father is a terrorist, but this man chose a different path.

Gerry, Lisa M. Puppy Love: True Stories of Doggy Devotion. 2015. Illus. National Geographic Society Children’s Books/National Geographic Society, $12.99. 9781426318672. Touching tales of canine compassion with lots of photos and fun facts to accompany them.

Graham, Ali. 99 Problems: Superstars Have Bad Days Too. 2015. Workman Publishing Company, $9.95. 9780761182153. Based off the popular Tumblr page, a book that showcases that superstars can and do have problems.

Heppermann, Christine. Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. 2014. Illus. Greenwillow/HarperCollins Children’s, $17.99. 9780062289575. Dark and gritty poems with a fairy tale twist. https://youtu.be/sydAHt3jAYM

Howell, Dan and Lester, Phil. The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire: The World of Dan and Phil. 2015. Illus. Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99. 9781101939840. #AmazingPhil and #danisnotonfire tell the story of how they went from teenagers to YouTube celebrities.

Knapp, Andrew. Find Momo Coast to Coast: My Dog Is Taking a Road Trip. Can You Find Him? 2015. Illus. Quirk Books, $14.95. 9781594747625. Momo is hiding in places all over the United States and Canada.

Light, Austin. Movie Title Typos: Making Movies Better by Subtracting One Letter. 2015. Illus. Chronicle Books, $14.95. 9781452149561. Make a movie different by removing just one letter.

* Maggs, Sam. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbooks for Girl Geeks. 2015. Illus. Quirk Books, $15.95. 9781594747892. An illustrated guide to navigating the world of fandom and conventions for female geeks. https://youtu.be/L7gsjZmGF3M

Miller, Shauna. Penny Chic: How to Be Stylish on a Real Girl's Budget. 2014. Little, Brown & Co/Hachette, $16.99. 9780316236560. A guide to free and inexpensive clothing to make and wear.

Munroe, Randall. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20.00. 9780544272996. Scientifically accurate answers to wildly improbable questions.

National Geographic Society. Weird But True Food: 300 Bite-Size Facts about Incredible Edibles. 2015. National Geographic Society Children’s Books, $7.99. 9781426318719. Random and entertaining food facts. 

Riordan, Rick. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. Illus. 2015. Disney Press, $24.99. 9781423183655. Greek heroes get a snarky makeover, as told by Percy Jackson.

Rissman, Rebecca. Yoga for Your Mind & Body: A Teenage Practice for a Healthy, Balanced Life. 2015. Switch Press/Capstone, $14.95. 9781630790134. Yoga shouldn’t hurt. This approachable photo-filled guide will help.

* Schatz, Kate. Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History... and Our Future! 2015. Illus. City Lights Books, $14.95. 9780872866836. A diverse collection of rad American women for every letter of the alphabet. 

Shecter, Vicky Alvear. Hades Speaks!: A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead. Illus. 2014. Boyds Mills Press/Highlights, $16.95. 9781620915981. Hades himself walks you through the Greek underworld.

Shepherd, Jack. 67 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Dogs. 2014. National Geographic Society, $12.99. 9781426213861. Unscientific proof that cats are superior to dogs. (Or are they?) 

Sobie, Brian. MMA Now!: The Stars and Stories of Mixed Martial Arts. 2014. Firefly Books, $19.95. 9781770852914. A brief history of Mixed Martial Arts showcases the sport’s elite fighters.

Stones, Greg. Ninjas Have Issues. 2015. Chronicle Books, $9.95. 9781452144740. Everyone has issues, even ninjas.

Wicks, Maris. Human Body Theater. Illus. 2015. First: Second/Macmillan, $19.99. 9781626722774. Dance your way through the human anatomy with this graphic novel.



Alender, Katie. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. 2015. Point/Scholastic, $18.99. 9780545639996. Delia has inherited a haunted asylum.

* Aveyard, Victoria. Red Queen. 2015. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062310637. Mare lives in a dystopian society where the color of your blood determines your fate. Her life is turned upside down when it is discovered that she possesses superhuman gifts. https://youtu.be/8UbsNfwkZwk

Black, Holly. The Darkest Part of the Forest. 2015. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette, $18.00. 9780316213073. Hazel and Ben live in a fantastical town where fairies are the norm and tourists come from miles around to experience the magic.  https://youtu.be/xKUzMMuvme8

* Black, Holly and Clare, Cassandra. The Iron Trial. 2014. Illus. Scholastic Press, $17.99. 9780545522250. After hearing his father's horror stories of the mage world all his life, Callum tries his hardest to fail the entrance exams for the Magisterium. He fails so spectacularly that they decide to take him.

Bow, Erin. The Scorpion Rules. 2015. Margaret E. McElderry/Simon & Schuster, $17.99. 9781481442718. Held hostage by an A.I. in charge of world peace, Princess Greta accepts the fact she will be killed if her mother declares war on another territory -- until a new boy arrives who causes everyone, including her, to question all they know to be true.

Charbonneau, Joelle. Need. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99. 9780544416697. Think of something you need. What would you be willing to do to get it? https://youtu.be/R_nNYx-CF8w

Chmakova, Svetlana. Awkward. 2015. Yen Press/Hachette, $11.00. 9780316381307. When the science and art clubs do battle over school space, things are bound to get awkward.

Cloonan, Becky. Gotham Academy 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy. 2015. Illus. DC Comics, $14.99. 9781401254728. Gotham Academy is a school as strange as its students. https://youtu.be/6k_myplfwQ8

de la Cruz, Melissa. The Isle of the Lost. 2015. Hyperion/Disney, $17.99. 9781484720974. The children of Disney’s most notorious villains look to see if there's more to life than the dark and dreary Isle of the Lost.

Ducie, Joe. The Rig. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99. 9780544503113. After trying to escape another prison, Will discovers more secrets than he can handle on the Rig. Can he survive long enough to break free?

Easton, T.S. Boys Don't Knit (In Public). 2015. Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, $16.99. 9781250053312. After an embarrassing legal mishap, Ben serves his probation time in a knitting class. Turns out he’s pretty good with the needles--enter the world of competitive knitting.

Gonzalez, Christina Diaz. Moving Target. 2015. Scholastic Press/Scholastic, $17.99. 9780545773188. Cassie's life is entwined with the mythical Spear of Destiny. Now she’s on a quest to discover the truth in time to save her father. 

Gratz, Alan. Code of Honor. 2015. Scholastic Press/Scholastic, $17.99. 9780545695190. Kamran discovers an extensive conspiracy when his brother is accused of terrorism. 

Gurevich, Margaret. Making the Cut. 2014. Illus. Stone Arch Books/Capstone Young Readers, $14.95. 9781623701123. When a reality competition series comes to town, can fashionista Chloe make the cut? https://youtu.be/zjULNfpH1AM

Harmon, Michael. Stick. 2015. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House, $17.99. 9780385754361. Brett "Stick" Patterson is tired of a sport he's not even sure he likes determining his life. 

Helms, Rhonda. Promposal. 2015. Simon Pulse/Simon and Schuster, $17.99. 9781481422321. The excitement of prom causes drama as the event draws near.

Hiaasen, Carl. Skink No Surrender. 2014.  Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House, $18.99. 9780375870514. With the help of a large, gnarly-looking homeless man named Skink, Richard sets out to rescue his runaway cousin. https://youtu.be/K0_8lyBeX2Q

Howard, J.J. Tracers. 2015. G.P. Putnam’s & Sons Books for Young Readers/Penguin, $17.99. 9780399173738. Cam is working as a bike messenger in Manhattan to pay off a dangerous loan shark when he literally crashes into the world of parkour.

Jamieson, Victoria. Roller Girl. 2015. Illus. Dial Books/Penguin, $20.99. 9780525429678. As Astrid discovers that best friends aren’t always forever, she falls in love with roller derby.

Knowles, Jo. Read Between the Lines. 2015. Candlewick Press, $16.99. 9780763663872. A broken finger traps a nerd’s hand in a rude gesture, setting in motion ten interconnected stories.

Latham, Jennifer. Scarlett Undercover. 2015. Little, Brown and Company/Hachette, $18.00. 9780316283939. Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to solve crime in her town.

Laybourne, Emmy. Sweet. 2015. Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, $17.99. 9781250055194. When Laurel gets the chance to go on the celebrity-filled "Cruise to Lose" sponsored by the latest diet sweetener, things take a sour turn.

* Lee, Fonda. Zeroboxer. 2015. Flux/Llewellyn Worldwide, $11.99. 9780738743387. Carr Luka discovers a secret that threatens his status as the best zero-gravity fighter on Earth and Mars. https://youtu.be/tj36pMpugr8

Matharu, Taran. The Novice. 2015. Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, $18.99. 9781250067128. Fletcher has a rare skill to summon demons and heads to a school that may teach him to control his ability.

* Murphy, Julie. Dumplin’. 2015. Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062327185. Plus-sized Willowdean and her outcast friends challenge social norms in small-town Texas.

* Myers, E.C. The Silence of Six. 2014. Adaptive Studios, $17.99. 9780996066624. After Max's best friend kills himself in front of the whole world, Max must solve the mystery before the government tracks him down. https://youtu.be/Dlptk5Q9ziM

O'Connor, George. Ares: Bringer of War. 2015. Illus. First Second/Macmillan, $9.99. 9781626720138. Ares has many vested interests in the Trojan War and can't bear to lose to his nemesis, Athena, without a fight.

* Older, Daniel José. Shadowshaper. 2015. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $17.99. 9780545591614. Sierra discovers that her heritage allows her to tap into the magic in art. Now she must use that power to stop the evil rising in her neighborhood. https://youtu.be/TC1eI3oEX7U

Painchaud, Michelle. Pretending to Be Erica. 2015. Viking Books for Young Readers/Penguin, $17.99. 9780670014972. Raised from a young age to impersonate a missing heiress, Violet discovers she has a conscience just when she’s supposed to pull off her biggest con.

Priest, Cherie. I Am Princess X. 2015. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $18.99. 9780545620857. The artist who drew Princess X died three years ago. So why is May suddenly seeing pictures of the comic all over town?

Riordan, Rick. The Sword of Summer. 2015. Disney Press, $19.99. 9781423160915. Magnus has been on the run for two years and now he’s finding new adventures in the halls of Valhalla.

Saeed, Aisha. Written in the Stars. 2015. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, $17.99. 9780399171703. Naila's parents are convinced that she has forgotten who she is and where she comes from. Will she survive her trip to Pakistan and her family's cultural traditions?

Smale, Holly. Geek Girl. 2015. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062333575. When one of the world's top fashion designers offers Harriet the chance to reinvent herself as a model, she jumps at it. https://youtu.be/rq1rW9JhD3M

Smith, Greg. Junior Braves of the Apocalypse: A Brave Is Brave. 2015. Illus. Oni Press, $19.99. 9781620101445. When a troop of Junior Braves returns from a camping trip to find their town overrun by flesh-eating monsters, they have to put all of their wilderness training to the test.

* Stevenson, Noelle. Nimona. 2015. Illus. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, $17.99. 9780062278234. Nimona can, literally, be anything she wants and what she wants more than anything is to be evil Lord Ballister Blackheart's sidekick. When these two team up, the lines between good and evil begin to blur and chaos reigns.https://youtu.be/BJsomBpAY6c

Stohl, Margaret. Black Widow: Forever Red. 2015. Marvel Press/Disney, $17.99. 9781484726433. Ava Orlova becomes the target of the man who trained the Black Widow. Now she and Agent Romanoff must work together to uncover past secrets and stop a madman. https://youtu.be/IhRxusevRV0

Stratton, Allan. The Dogs. Source Books Fire/Source Books, $16.99. 9781492609384. On the run from his abusive father, Cameron and his mom move to a farm house with a dark past. Once there, he starts seeing and hearing things that make everyone, including himself, question his sanity.

Toten, Teresa. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13 B. 2015. Delacorte/Random House, $17.99. 9780553507867. Adam wants desperately to be the hero, but sometimes the help you need has to come from an outside source.

Traver, N. K. Duplicity. 2015. Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan, $18.99. 9781250059147. When Brandon’s reflection takes over his life, he has to put his computer hacking skills to the test to survive.

Tucholke, April G. Slasher Girls and Monster Boys. 2015. Dial/Penguin, $17.99. 9780803741737. Tales of terror inspired by some aspect of pop culture, from popular YA authors.

Tynion, James. The Woods 1: The Arrow. 2014. Illus. Boom! Entertainment/Boom! Studios, $9.99. 9781608864546. A high school is mysteriously transported to another world where students and faculty have to figure out how to survive.

Vega, Danielle. Survive The Night. 2015. Razorbill/Penguin, $17.99. 9781595147240. Recovering addict Casey quickly figures out that getting out of the underground rave alive is going to be the hardest fight of her life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIQOnAP1dKk

Watters, Shannon, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson & Brooke Allen  Lumberjanes Vol. 1. 2015. Illus. Boom! Studios, $14.99. 9781608866878. The Roanoke cabin are the worst campers any counselor could ever imagine, but these Lumberjanes scouts prove themselves battling all sorts of supernatural critters and embarking on fun quests.https://youtu.be/3G9w960xmYY

Wilson, G. Willow. Ms. Marvel 3: Crushed. Marvel Enterprises, $15.99. 9780785192275. After defeating the Inventor, Kamala enjoys a period of peace which she knows is too good to be true. A new enemy arises and she is shocked to see how closely they are connected.

* Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. Illus. 2015. Delacorte Press/Random House, $18.99. 9780553496642. Madeline Whittier is allergic to the world and hasn't left her house in 17 years. When Olly moves in next door with his own complicated life, Maddy suddenly feels like she can see the future—and it could be a disaster.



Jokulsson, Illugi. James Rodriguez. 2015. Abbeville Press, $13.95. 9780789212375. James Rodriguez is a young, rising star from Colombia who made a name for himself in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Jokulsson, Illugi. Stars of World Soccer. 2015. Abbeville Press, $13.95. 9780789212399. Short biographies of the world's greatest male soccer players.

Jokulsson, Illugi. U.S. Women’s Team: Soccer Champions!. 2015. Abbeville Press, $13.95. 9780789212153. A history of the US Women's national team and rising stars to watch.

Matsui, Yusei. Assassination Classroom V. 1. 2014. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421576077. A destructive alien, who just finished taking a chunk out of the moon, makes a deal with the government: It will take over as the teacher for a class of troubled students, class 3-E, while they attempt to assassinate him.

Matsui, Yusei. Assassination Classroom V. 2. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421576084. The students of Class 3-E have a uniquely skilled foreign language teacher, Ms. Jelavich.

Matsui, Yusei. Assassination Classroom V. 3. 2014. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421576091. A killer robot enrolls in Class 3-E and Ms. Jelavich has a guest that may force her to leave the school.

Matsui, Yusei. Assassination Classroom V. 4. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421576107. Koro Sensei has a brother! Can he stop Koro Sensei before he destroys the world?

Matsui, Yusei. Assassination Classroom V. 5. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421576114. A ruthless new combat instructor joins class 3-E but they show him how tough they already are.

Matsui, Yusei. Assassination Classroom V. 6. 2015. Illus. Viz Media, $9.99. 9781421576121. Class 3-E attempts a dangerous assassination.