2019 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

This year’s final list consists of 50 titles selected from 120 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: Allie Stevens, Coordinator, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR; Cassandra Cuppy, The Calhoun School, New York, NY; Allyson Dowds, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA; Joie C. Formando, Lancaster Country Day School, Lancaster, PA; KE Hones, Civic Center Secondary School, San Francisco, CA; Lisa Krok, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, OH; Jodeana Kruse, R.A. Long High School, Longview, WA; Melora Norman, Belfast, ME; Pamela Penza, Northeast Regional Library, Wilmington, NC; Jayna Ramsey, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO; Erica Rogers, Hastings Public Library, Hastings, NE; Beth Slade, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH; Anna Taylor, Darien Library, Darien, CT; Kaitlin Troch, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD.
* denotes a Top Ten Title

*Acevedo, Elizabeth. The Poet X. HarperTEEN/ HarperCollins. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 9780062662804. Xiomara secretly creates poetry to explore her shifting relationship with her Dominican immigrant parents, religion, her body, and chemistry lab partner/crush Aman.
Alexander, Kwame. Rebound. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 9780544868137. Chuck Bell never liked basketball until a special summer at Grandpa Percy's. The Rebound is the perfect metaphoric title for this prequel to The Crossover.
Andersen, Sarah. Herding Cats: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection. Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2018. $14.99. ISBN: 978-1449489786. A compilation of entries from Sarah’s popular webcomic Sarah’s Scribbles, Herding Cats explores topics such as anxiety, online harassment, and obsession with animals with her trademark quirky style.
*Anderson, Laurie Halse and Emily Carroll (Illustrator). Speak: The Graphic Novel. Macmillan/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers. Illus. 2018. $19.99. ISBN: 978-0374300289. An incident at an end-of-summer party leaves Melinda speechless, an outcast, struggling to confront her torment while navigating the pressures of high school. A haunting and invigorating retelling of this award-winning novel that preserves Speak's powerful message.
Bagieu, Penelope. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World. Macmillan/ Roaring Brook Press/ First Second Books. Illus. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1626728691. Some of history's most spirited and inspiring women overcome difficult odds in this graphic novel representation of girl power at its best.
Balog, Cyn. Alone. Sourcebooks/ Sourcebooks Fire. 2017. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1492655473. Seda's mom inherits a creepy old mansion that used to house a live murder mystery show. When a twenty-inch snowstorm strands a group of teens there, live murder mystery takes on new meanings.
Blas, Terry, Molly Muldoon and Matthew Seely (Illustrator). Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom. Oni Press. 2018. $19.99. ISBN: 978-1620104811. Summer camp turns deadly when Jesse and Noah are witnesses to a camp counselor's murder by another staff member at their wilderness camp for overweight teens. Jesse and Noah team up with two other campers to solve the case.
Callender, Kheryn. This is Kind of an Epic Love Story. HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0062820228. Nate doesn’t believe in happy endings. When his childhood best friend Oliver moves back to town, he will have to be honest about how he feels and face the consequences once and for all or will lose Ollie all over again.
Carter, Ally. Not If I Save You First. Scholastic Press. 2018. $18.99. ISBN: 978-1338134148. Maddie, daughter of the Head of the Secret Service, and Logan, the President’s son, were best friends until something went horribly wrong at a State event. Six years later, Maddie is living in the Alaskan wilderness when Logan unexpectedly reappears with a mystery assailant hot on his heels.
Cherry, Alison, Lindsay Ribar, and Michelle Schusterman. The Pros of Cons. Scholastic Press/ Point. 2018. $18.99. ISBN: 978-1338151725. Vanessa, Phoebe, and Callie are attending three different conventions that are being held at the same hotel. A hilarious mix up brings the three girls together.
Chmakova, Svetlana. Crush (Berrybrook Middle School). Yen Press/ JY for Kids. 2018. $11.00. ISBN: 978-0316363242. Jorge is a chill guy just trying to survive middle school. Quiet and thoughtful, he uses his size to protect others. But can he protect himself from developing a massive crush on Jazmine?
Coker, Jessika. Juniper: The Happiest Fox. Chronicle Books. 2018. $16.95. ISBN: 978-1452167602. Juniper was a runt fox kit rescued from a fur farm and adopted by an animal rehabilitator whose snaggle-toothed smile has won the hearts of millions on Instagram. This photograph-filled book shares Juniper’s story and includes fascinating facts about foxes.
Coles, Jay. Tyler Johnson Was Here. Hachette/ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0316440776. Marvin's twin brother, Tyler, goes missing after a party and is later found shot and killed. A video surfaces that depicts Tyler being shot three times as a victim of police brutality, prompting Marvin to find ways to speak up and resist.
Colfer, Eoin, Andrew Donkin, and Giovanni Rigano (Illustrator). Illegal. Sourcebooks/ Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. 2018. $19.99. ISBN: 978-1492662143. Ebo and his brother, Kwame, leave Northern Africa in search of their sister and refuge in Europe. Crossing the blazing desert and rough Mediterranean seas on an inflatable boat has no guarantee for survival.
Cooner, Donna. Screenshot. Scholastic Press/ Point. 2018. $9.99. ISBN: 978-0545903998. Ambitious Skye is focused on winning a coveted summer internship with a senator, but someone with a screenshot from an embarrassing video threatens to destroy her perfect social media image.
Crossan, Sarah. Moonrise. Bloomsbury/ Bloomsbury YA. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1681193663. Joe Moon is in a hot Texas town, renting a shabby apartment, trying to find a job, and visiting the "Farm" every day at 2 p.m. to spend as much time as possible with his brother on death row.
Doeden, Matt. Coming Up Clutch: The Greatest Comebacks, Upsets, and Finishes in Sports History. Lerner Publishing Group/ Millbrook Press. 2018. $34.65. ISBN: 978-1512427561. Doeden shares some of the most exciting moments in sports, from the most remarkable plays to the most heartbreaking mistakes.
Doll, Jen. Unclaimed Baggage. Macmillan/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0374306069. Doris, Nell and Grant meet while working at Unclaimed Baggage, a quirky shop that sells long lost luggage and its contents. The friendship they form helps each face their problems, including long-distance love, grief, and alcohol abuse.
Flood, Joe. Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter. Macmillan/ Roaring Brook Press/ First Second Books. 2018. $12.99. ISBN: 978-1626727885. This entry in the Science Comics series illuminates everyone’s favorite predator with explanations of the diverse types of sharks, their evolutionary history, their habitat, and their behavior.
Friend, Natasha. How We Roll. Macmillan/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0374305666. New girl in town Quinn has a condition called alopecia that makes her hair fall out. When she meets Nick, a former all-star football player who lost his legs in a snowboarding accident, they help each other find confidence again.
Gratz, Alan. Grenade. Scholastic Press. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1338245691. Fourteen-year-old Hideki is preparing to defend his home island of Okinawa during World War II. Ray is an eighteen year old US Marine fighting his first battle. During the Battle of Okinawa, they will discover resilience and compassion as the horrors of war forever change their perspective on humanity.
*Greenwald, Tommy. Game Changer. ABRAMS/ Amulet Books. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1419731433. Teddy Youngblood is one of the most talented incoming freshman football players on the team. After an incident at practice that lands Teddy in a coma, his family must fight to figure out what really happened.
Grimes, Nikki. Between the Lines. Penguin Random House/ Nancy Paulsen Books. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0399246883. Aspiring reporter Darrian chronicles a semester writing and performing slam poetry in Mr. Ward's class. Each student in the class weaves their own unique story into their poems, learning to trust each other and the creative process along the way.
Hawkins, Rachel. Royals. Penguin Random House/ G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1524738235. When her sister becomes engaged to a prince, Daisy is thrust into the spotlight and must learn to be proper, or at least not embarrass her new royal family, which is easier said than done with the prince’s scandalous brother around.
Honeybourn, Jennifer. When Life Gives You Demons. Macmillan/ Feiwel and Friends/ Swoon Reads. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1250158239. Shelby Black just wants to pass geometry, and for her crush notice her, but her side job as an exorcist-in-training keeps getting in the way. When demons flood her town she must find a way to stop them.
Keplinger, Kody. That’s Not What Happened. Scholastic Press. 2018. $18.99. ISBN: 978-1338186529. Leanne ("Lee") is one of a handful of students that survived a school shooting. When another victim’s parents prepare to release a book with a false story, Lee has to decide whether to keep what she knows to herself or speak up.
Kim, Heather. Sweet Revenge: Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes and Enemies. Capstone/ Switch Press. 2018. $19.95. ISBN: 978-1630790899. Kill your enemies with kindness by baking them desserts with names like "You're Such a Pizza Crap," "The Two of Us Are Toast," and "You're Driving Me Bananas" bacon and banana cupcakes.
Kirby, Jessi. The Other Side of Lost. HarperCollins/ HarperTEEN. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0062424242. When her cousin Bri passes away unexpectedly, social media star Mari deletes her profiles and strikes out on the 211-mile hike of the John Muir Trail planned by Bri.
Koblish, Scott. The Many Deaths of Scott Koblish. Chronicle Books. 2018. $14.95. ISBN: 978-1452167121. Marvel illustrator Scott Koblish illustrates his own potential demise in a myriad of funny, irreverent, and yet often quite plausible ways as a mechanism for dealing with anxiety.
*Krosoczka, Jarrett. Hey Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction. Scholastic Press/ Graphix. 2018. $24.99. ISBN: 978-0545902472. Beloved graphic novel creator Jarrett Krosoczka tells the story of his childhood growing up with a mother addicted to heroin and how his grandparents’ support of his passion for art helped him survive.
Mak, Ton. A Sloth’s Guide to Mindfulness. Chronicle Books. 2018. $14.95. ISBN: 978-1452169460. A roly poly sloth, beset with anxieties and doubts, walks readers through mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
Maldonado, Torrey. Tight. Penguin Random House/ Nancy Paulsen Books. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1524740559. When Bryan's dad introduces him to a boy named Mike, the two bond over comics and superheroes, becoming as close as brothers. But this brotherhood becomes strained when Mike turns to more reckless activities and Bryan must decide whether or not to follow.
McAnulty, Stacy. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. Penguin Random House/ Random House Books for Young Readers. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1524767570. Twelve-year-old Lucy has just finished her last online high school course after being struck by lightning leaves her with super-genius math skills. But before she officially graduates, her grandmother makes her pass one final test: attending middle school.
McGhee, Alison. What I Leave Behind. Simon and Schuster/ Atheneum/ Caitlin Dlouhy Books. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1481476560. Sixteen-year-old Will believes that what troubles you must leave you through the soles of your feet, so he walks. In 100 chapters, each 100 words, Will walks the streets of L.A. to cope with unfortunate tragedies haunting his world.
*McNeil, Gretchen. #MurderTrending. Disney Book Group/ Freeform Books. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1368010023. In the near future, the prison system has been replaced with a reality TV show--Alcatraz 2.0--that features staged executions of convicted murderers. Dee Guerrera becomes a sensation by accidentally killing one of the executioners--but how long can she survive?
O’Doherty, Carolyn. Rewind. Highlights/ Boyds Mills Press. 2018. $17.95. ISBN: 978-1629798141. Time spinners may be able to freeze and rewind time, but their own time is short - no time spinner lives past the age of 20. When Alex starts to get sick at just 16, she must decide just what she is willing to do to live a little longer.
Pacat, C.S. and Johanna the Mad (Illustrator) Fence, Vol. 1. Boom Entertainment/ BOOM! Box. 2018. $9.99. ISBN: 978-1684151745. Nicholas is determined to become a world-class fencer like his estranged father. When he starts at Kings Row Boys School, though, he suddenly finds himself in very close quarters with both his nemesis and his father's legitimate son.
Pak, Greg and Takeshi Miyazawa (Illustrator). Mech Cadet Yu, vols. 1 and 2. Boom Entertainment/ BOOM! Studios. 2018. $14.99. ISBN: 978-1684151950 (vol 1) and 978-1684152537 (vol 2). In the near future, humans pair up with sentient robots to fight insectoid aliens. Stanford Yu is chosen by a mech to be its pilot, but in between training, hazing, and another invasion, it's a lot harder than it looks.
*Reynolds, Jason. Track series (Sunny [vol. 3] and Lu [vol. 4]). Simon and Schuster/ Atheneum/ Caitlin Dlouhy Books. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1481450218 (Sunny) and 978-1481450249 (Lu). Sunny considers himself a murderer, because his mother died giving birth to him. He has been running track to please his dad, but what he really wants is to dance. Coach has the perfect solution. "Lightning" Lu is heading into the track championships as co-captain of his team. When unexpected hurdles come up, he wonders if lightning can really strike twice.
Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Ghost Boys. Hachette/ Little, Brown and Company. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0316262286. After a police officer shoots and kills 12-year-old Jerome, Jerome's ghost stays nearby and meets other ghost boys from the past, including Emmett Till.
*Saeed, Aisha. Amal Unbound. Penguin Random House/ Nancy Paulsen Books. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0399544682. Amal's dream of becoming a teacher in her small Pakistani village vanishes when she is forced to become an indentured servant to the powerful Khan family to pay off her own family's debt.
Schwab, Victoria. City of Ghosts. Scholastic Press. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1338111002. Ever since she drowned, Cassidy has been able to see ghosts. When Cassidy and her paranormal-hunting parents take a trip to haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, she encounters a ghost who could put her life in danger.
Shen, Ann. Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You. Chronicle Books. 2018. $19.95. ISBN: 978-1452163413. Beautiful artwork and single-page descriptions illuminate fifty goddesses from religions around the world, both ancient and modern.
Shipley, Jocelyn. Impossible (Orca Soundings). Orca Book Publishers. 2018. $9.95. ISBN: 978-1459815568. When Jemma runs out to buy diapers, she witnesses a murder that could put both her and her baby girl’s lives in danger.
Spalding, Amy. The Summer of Jordi Perez. Skyhorse Publishing/ Sky Pony Press. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1510127663. Fashion blogger Abby wins a coveted internship at an L.A. boutique. She and fellow intern Jordi must compete for one paid position, but things get complicated when the two fall for each other.
*Stiefel, Chana. Animal Zombies!: And Other Blood-Sucking Beasts, Creepy Creatures, and Real-Life Monsters. National Geographic/ NatGeo Kids. 2018. $14.99. ISBN: 978-1426331497. Eye-popping photographs amp up the creepy factor in this fact book of strange and dangerous animals.
*Summers, Courtney. Sadie. Macmillan/ St. Martin’s Press/ Wednesday Books. 2018. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1250105714. After the brutal murder of her little sister Mattie, Sadie will stop at nothing to track down the man responsible and bring him to justice.
Ukazu, Ngozi. Check Please! Book 1: #Hockey. Macmillan/ Roaring Brook Press/ First Second. 2018. $23.99. ISBN: 978-1250177957. Eric Bittle vlogs his college days on the university's hockey team including living with straight men, baking epic pies, and crushing on his dreamy captain.
*Wang, Jen. The Prince and the Dressmaker. Macmillan/ Roaring Brook Press/ First Second. 2018. $24.99. ISBN: 978-1626723634. Frances, a talented young dressmaker, is given the chance to be the Prince's personal seamstress. What she doesn't expect is what type of clothing Prince Sebastian will request.
Wilde, Jen. The Brightsiders. Macmillan/ Feiwel and Friends/ Swoon Reads. 2018. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1250189714. Emmy King is a bisexual teen rockstar drummer living the good life, until a wild night of partying goes too far. The paparazzi scandalizes Emmy and begins hounding her love life, but they will learn not to mess with the girl in the purple lipstick.