2021 Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

The full 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list can be found here.

Top Ten

*Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062561626. After finding her boyfriend cheating on her during a party in the woods, Ashley takes off in anger and ends up lost, with a serious injury to her foot, and with only her wits and some survival skills to help her make it out alive.

*Found by Joseph Bruchac. 7th Generation.2020. $9.95. ISBN: 9781939053237. After a Native American teen witnesses a murder on a train, he's thrown down a ravine and left for dead. Will his wilderness survival skills and his grandfather's wisdom be enough to help him outwit the men hunting him?

*Golden Arm by Carl Deuker. HMH Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780358012429. When Lazarus’s school baseball team is disbanded, he is given the opportunity to pitch for ritzy Laurelhurt, across town and a world away from the soon-to-be-demolished trailer park where his family lives. Rising star Laz aspires to the major league draft, but his brother’s drug-dealing threatens Laz’s chances of success.

*Heartstopper Vol. 1. by Alice Oseman. Graphix. 2020. $14.00. ISBN: 9781338617443. This graphic novel recounts the story of Charlie and Nick's growing friendship and camaraderie. Charlie feels more than friendship for Nick. Nick is trying to figure out what he feels for Charlie.

*Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds. Illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781534444959. The Rules. #1 Don't Cry. #2 Don't Snitch. #3 Revenge. When Will's older brother, Shawn, is shot and killed, Will plans to follow rule #3. Taking the elevator, he encounters a ghost from the past at each floor. Stories are told, memories surface, and the gun Will carries is heavy.

*The Loop by Ben Oliver. Chicken House. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781338589306. In a near-future dystopia, 16-year-old Luka Kane has spent 736 days in the juvenile prison known as “the Loop,” enduring torture and medical experimentation in exchange for a delayed execution date. When war breaks out, Luka and fellow prisoners escape and are hunted through the fallen city by dangerous foes.

*#NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil. Freeform. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781368026260. Persey solves an unbeatable escape room and gets invited to an escape room competition where the winner can walk away with ten million dollars.  However, when she and seven other contestants start playing the game they realize not everything is as it seems especially when things get deadly.

*Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Blazer + Bray. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062996480. Convicted of a crime he did not commit and incarcerated, Amal Shahid deals with the injustice of it all with support from his mother and his art.

*Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second Books. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. ISBN: 9781250171115. Magic happens when Snapdragon (Snap) befriends Jacks, the town witch. They bond over their shared love of animals, but soon discover their lives are intertwined in ways they could not have imagined. This is a sweet graphic novel that combines magical realism with stories of self-acceptance.

*You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Scholastic. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781338503265. Liz feels different as a poor, Black, queer, awkward, not part of the in-crowd senior in high school. In order to get a scholarship she needs to attend college and fulfill her dreams, she must step far out of her comfort zone…so she runs for prom queen!