2018 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

This year’s final list consists of 30 titles selected from 108 nominations. The Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list identifies titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read for any reason.
The members of the Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team are: Dana Hutchins, Coordinator, Jackson Middle School Library, San Antonio, TX; Kay Hones, Civic Center Secondary & Downtown Continuation High School, San Francisco, CA; Lisa Krok, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Akron, OH; Jodi Kruse, R. A. Long High School, Longview, WA; Laura Lehner, Hudson Library & Historical Society, Hudson, Ohio; Karen Lemmons, Detroit School of Arts Media Center, Detroit, MI; Jessica Ormonde, Pacifica Libraries, Pacifica, CA;  Carrie Richmond, Racine Public Library, Racine, WI; Allie Stevens, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR; Jenny Zbrizher, Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. 
* denotes a Top Ten Title



Alexander, Kwame. The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. HMH Books for Young Readers. 2017. $14.99. ISBN: 9780544570979.  Kwame uses basketball terminology and anecdotes from famous athletes and leaders to inspire and motivate young people to achieve and succeed.


Alexander, Kwame. Solo. Blink/ HarperCollins. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780310761839. Born to a legendary and chronically addicted rock star father, Blade Morrison just wants to spend some time with his girlfriend and his guitar in a drama-free zone. When a family secret is exposed, Blade's life changes completely and sends him on a new journey.


*Deering, Alison and Bob Lentz (Illustrator). Sandwiches!: More Than You've Ever Wanted to Know About Making and Eating America's Favorite Food. Capstone Young Readers. 2017. Illus. $15.95. ISBN: 9781623708160.  Easy-to-follow sandwich recipes, accompanied by fun facts will make stomachs growl! From simple Level 1 "Plate and Knife" to Level 2 "Toaster and Microwave" on up to "The Big Time" Level 5,  young chefs of all skill levels will be satiated.


Furstinger, Nancy. Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals. HMH Books for Young Readers. 2017. $16.99. ISBN: 9780544879669. This collection of courageous stories shows readers how 3-D printing and brain-controlled prosthetics are helping animals right now.


*Giffen, Keith and Howard Porter (Illustrator). Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 1. DC Comics. 2017. Illus. $16.99. ISBN: 9781401267902. In this gritty reimagining of Scooby Doo we are introduced to dark new versions of the familiar Scooby gang as they battle a variety of monsters. It's Scooby Doo meets Resident Evil.




Giles, Lamar. Overturned. Scholastic Press. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780545812504.  When Nikki's casino boss father's conviction is overturned, he is released from death row. After her father is killed shortly after returning home, Nikki takes on card sharks, bikers, and alleged mobsters to avenge her father's death and imprisonment.


Gratz, Alan. Refugee. Scholastic Press. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780545880831.  Three countries in strife...three different periods in time...three families seeking one universal goal: FREEDOM.  Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud offer realistic, fictionalized accounts of attempts to find refuge from 1930's Nazi Germany, Castro's 1994 Cuba, and war torn Syria in 2015.


Hughes, Dean. Four-Four-Two. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster. 2016. $17.99. ISBN: 9781481462525. It's World War II and Yuki doesn't have many options. As a Japanese American, he can choose to go into an internment camp, or he can go to war.  He opts to go to war and is assigned to the 442 regiment--a segregated regiment made up of Japanese Americans.


Jackson, Tiffany D.. Allegedly. Katherine Tegen Books/ HarperCollins. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780062422644. The jury said she did it...the media said she did it....only nine years old and convicted of killing a baby girl, Mary didn’t say anything. Six years later, a pregnant Mary finally wants speak up and clear her name, so that her own baby is not taken away.


Latham, Jennifer. Dreamland Burning. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers . 2017. $18.99. ISBN: 9780316384933.  When Rowan Chase discovers a skeleton buried on her family's property, her investigation reveals a murder and a racially charged historical event.




Lu, Marie. Warcross. G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House. 2017. $18.99. ISBN: 9780399547966.  Emika Chen's life goes from desperation to unbelievable fame and fortune literally overnight, when she is hired to detect and stop a scheme to disrupt the mega-popular annual Warcross games.


Lyga, Barry. Bang. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780316315500.  Sebastian and Aneesa create a YouTube pizza making show.  For the first time, Sebastian feels like he is in a judge free zone. Because Aneesa is new in town, she doesn't know his secret...the terrible, horrific secret that he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister when he was four years old.


Mathieu, Jennifer. Moxie: A Novel. Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9781626726352. Vivian Carter is tired...tired of disrespect, bump and grabs, and a principal who turns a blind eye to football players who treat girls inappropriately. When Vivvy finds an old shoebox full of evidence from her mom's feminist exploits as a teen, she is inspired to start her own Moxie girl rebellion.


*McManus, Karen M..One of Us Is Lying. Delacorte Press/ Penguin Random House. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9781524714680.  Five students enter detention, but only four come out. One is dead, and one is lying...but who?


Moore, David Barclay. The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Knopf Books for Young Readers/ Random House. 2017. $16.99. ISBN: 9781524701246. Just months after his older brother is killed in a gang-related shooting, Lolly and his mom struggle through their first Christmas without Jermaine. When pressured to join the "crew" himself, twelve-year-old Lol seeks solace building a fantastical interactive Lego city with another student.




*Rappaport, Doreen. 42 Is Not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero. Candlewick. 2017. $15.99. ISBN: 9780763676247. Outstanding athlete, exceptional courage AND restraint in the face of violent hatred, Jackie Robinson is a hero for all ages.


*Reynolds, Jason. Long Way Down. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Simon & Schuster. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9781481438254. The rules: don't cry, don't snitch...DO get revenge. A sixty second elevator ride is a long way down for Will to decide if he should use the gun shoved into the back of his jeans to avenge his brother's murder.


*Reynolds, Jason. Patina. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Book/ Simon & Schuster. 2017. $16.99. ISBN: 9781481450188. Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu are back on the track. This time, Patina narrates her story. Insight into her world shows the pressure she puts upon herself to come in first and to do everything she can for her family, because Patty  "ain't no junk".


*Reynolds, Jason. Miles Morales: Spider-Man. Marvel Press. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9781484787489.  Meet Miles Morales, a half black, half Puerto Rican high school junior in Brooklyn, New York. Only his father and his best friend, Ganke, know the truth: Miles is Spider-Man. When his spidey-sense keeps going off during school,  it may be time to suit up and take care of business.


Rodman, Sean. Firewall. Orca Book Publishers. 2017. $9.95. ISBN: 9781459814530.  Josh is alone and isolated--his choice.  The split of his parents and his subsequent move to a small suburban town from Chicago is enough to drive him to isolation and the addictive game,"Killswitch." Except one of the players in the game is developing some creepy add-ons that have drastic implications.




Shusterman, Neal. Scythe. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2016. $18.99. ISBN: 9781442472426.  In a world where everyone is immortal, Scythes keep the population in check by gleaning individuals. Feared, and alternately courted by sycophants or resented by the grieving, their power is almost absolute. Citra and Rowan have been chosen, but a bloodthirsty faction is determined to insure that only one of them will survive their apprenticeship.


Slater, Dashka. The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)/Macmillan. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0374303235.  An African-American teenage boy is charged with setting an agender white teen on fire aboard a bus in Oakland, California. The riveting story behind the headlines is told in brief, gripping chapters that invite teens to think deeply about social justice issues.


Smith, Clete Barrett. Mr. 60%. Crown Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780553534665.  High school drug dealer Matt does just enough to pass his classes while taking care of his uncle, who is dying of cancer. Enter Amanda - a too-cheerful, ambitious girl who may be just the friend Matt needs, if he can accept her help.


*Stone, Nic. Dear Martin. Crown Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9781101939499. After Justyce is handcuffed when simply trying to help his girlfriend in a parking lot, he begins keeping a journal of sorts in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When a needless shooting takes the life of someone close to him, Justyce questions whether Martin's visions of peace are possible.


*Thomas, Angie.The Hate U Give. Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9780062498533. Starr Carter must decide whether or not to testify in court when she witnesses a police officer shoot her friend. Her life as a black teen from a crime heavy neighborhood and a student at a mostly white private school provide points of conflict. This is a timely exploration of racial bias and police brutality from a teen's perspective.




Tingle, Tim. No More No Name. 7th Generation/ Orca Book Publishers. 2017. $9.95. ISBN: 9781939053176. Bobby's father is an alcoholic and it's messing up his life. Native American traditions and language highlight this engaging basketball story.


Uwiringiyimana,Sandra with Abigail Pesta. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child. Katherine Tegen Books/ HarperCollins. 2017. $19.99. ISBN: 9780062470140.  Sandra sees her mother and sister gunned down when she is ten.  Surviving that massacre, she becomes a refugee struggling with no home and no money. Sandra escapes, comes to the United States, and faces many challenges while building a new life.


Van Draanen, Wendelin. Wild Bird. Knopf Books for Young Readers/ Random House. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 9781101940440. Fourteen year old Wren has a rude awakening one night when a policeman, with her parents' permission drags her out of bed. She soon ends up in the middle of the desert at a wilderness camp for troubled youth, where she has to face her inner demons in order to survive.


Volponi, Paul. Top Prospect. Carolrhoda Books/ Lerner. 2016. $17.99. ISBN: 9781467794336.  Travis Gardner is an amazing quarterback.  His incredible skill is enough to eclipse his older brother's recruitment to Gainesville University.  Before he knows it, the head coach is recruiting Travis, and Travis becomes the lucky recipient of not only a great deal of recognition, but a little swag on the side.  The problem is, that sort of notoriety comes with a price, and convincing a team of varsity football players to follow a freshman quarterback has its own challenges.


*Westerfeld, Scott and Alex Puvilland (Illustrator). Spill Zone. First Second/ Macmillan. 2017. Illus. $22.99. ISBN: 9781596439368. Addison ventures into the Spill Zone, a toxic wasteland filled with frightening creatures, to obtain an item for a mysterious benefactor.  Is Addison a pawn in a nefarious plot?  Things are not what they seem in and around the Spill Zone.