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YALSA Quick Picks 2013

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection list. The list 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 2013 list includes 65 titles and three series, both nonfiction and fiction, from a variety of genres, including biography, pop culture, fantasy, street lit, and more. The Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers committee also selected a Top Ten list, which is featured below.

» Click here to see the complete list.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

In these pages, Backderf tries to make sense of Jeffery Dahmer, the future serial killer with whom he shared classrooms, hallways, libraries and car rides. What emerges is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a young man struggling helplessly against the urges, some ghastly, bubbling up from the deep recesses of his psyche.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

When a pizza delivery girl named Kayla goes missing, Gabie learns that she was the kidnapper’s intended victim. She can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her. So she and a fellow co-worker set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead --- and to find her before she is.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

For Jazz, the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Now, in an effort to clear his name, he joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz may be more like his father than anyone first thought.

I Pledge Allegiance: Vietnam, Book One by Chris Lynch

Morris, Rudi, Ivan and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of the teens is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too. Although they each serve in a different branch, they are fighting the war together --- and they pledge to do all they can to come home together. Morris pledges to keep his friends safe in the war zone, but can he save himself?

Sharpshooter: Vietnam, Book Two by Chris Lynch

Of all his friends, Ivan is the only one looking forward to war. That's because Ivan has never backed down from a fight --- especially when it comes to fighting for what's right. And now, as war erupts in Vietnam, Ivan wants nothing more than to fight for his country, just as his father did in World War II.
Now, Ivan is forced to question what he's really fighting for...and whether it's a fight he can hope to win.

Free-Fire Zone: Vietnam, Book Three by Chris Lynch


Rudi is perhaps the most concerned about whether or not he'll be able to keep his promise to return home. After all he's not the most capable guy. He's not smart like Beck or brave like Ivan. He lacks the strength of Morris's moral convictions. But once Rudi is pulled kicking and screaming into the Marines, he at last finds something he's good at: following orders. Will that be enough to keep him alive?

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for three days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer

Gaby Rodriguez was repeatedly told she would end up a teen mom like her mother. As a high school project, she faked her own pregnancy to find out how her community would react. What she learned changed her life, and made international headlines in the process.

Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross

The photographs in JUVENILE IN JUSTICE open our eyes to the world of the incarceration of American youth. The nearly 150 images in this book were made over five years of visiting more than 1,000 youth confined in more than 200 juvenile detention institutions in 31 states. These riveting photographs, accompanied by the life stories that these young people in custody shared with Richard Ross, give voice to imprisoned children from families that have no resources in communities that have no power.

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover, but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. Six months ago, Sloane Price’s world collapsed; since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

Unchained by L. B. Tillit

After two years in a loving home, TJ's mother got him back. She was clean. No pot. No meth. His chest felt like it was burning. His heart was racing. Trapped. He felt trapped. He didn't have a say. And the brutal life he'd escaped quickly reclaimed him. But he knew this wasn't the end of Kaden Cruz. He could still hear his father's voice. "It's not free. You'll have to pay them back one day."

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

Laurel Daneau is still reeling from the losses she endured during Hurricane Katrina. When her new boyfriend introduces her to meth, she spirals into addiction. But as she slowly becomes a shell of her former self, she longs to become whole again.

More books like the ones on this list »