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Quick Picks

Did you know the library has a collection of “hi-lo” (high interest, low readability) books? Characterized by short length and approachable vocabulary, these books are housed within the YA fiction section and are great for struggling readers, readers learning English, or anyone who wants a quick read! Here are some standout titles curated by your teen librarians:

Book cover for Lux: the new girl

Lux: the new girl by ashley Woodfolk

Lux is on a spree. Ever since her dad left, she’s been kicked out of every school that would take her, and this is her last chance: Harlem’s Augusta Savage School of the Arts. If this doesn’t work, Lux is off to military school. That means no more acting out, no more fights, and definitely no boyfriends. Focus on her photography, and make nice friends. That’s the deal. Enter the Flyy Girls, three girls who have it all together. The type of girls Lux needs to be friends with to stay out of trouble. And after charming her way into the group, Lux feels she’s making progress. But everyone has their secrets. When the past starts catching up with Lux, will she be able to keep her friends?

Book cover for A perfect blank

A perfect blank by rye Duran

Project Apogee had one mission: to create biologically engineered perfect teenagers. The teenagers were supposed to be expressions of a perfect genetic mapping of traits, an example of the New Human. But when the teens go before the project committee, they are found to be utterly normal and unremarkable, a disappointment. Then there’s Alex, the lost trans boy who failed years ago, who might just be the most remarkable of them all. Can he help save his Project Apogee siblings?

Book cover for Caravan to the north

Caravan to the north: Misael’s long walk by jorge Argueta

This novel in verse is a powerful first-person account of Misael Martínez, a Salvadoran boy whose family joins a caravan heading north to the United States. As the caravan undertakes the staggering walk of over 2,500 miles, most individuals carrying no more than a backpack “full of hopes,” they cross through El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico and are met mostly with kindness along the way. After their grueling walk, they think they’ll find find more hope at the border to the USA, but many may find this hope shattered.

Book cover for Confessions of a teenage drag king

Confessions of a teenage drag king by markus Harwood-Jones

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is trying to navigate the tricky waters of teen romance. From high school to the drag show and back, Lauren must keep up their two personas–Ren, a drag king, and Lauri, a typical student–and come to terms with their feelings both for mixed-race student Clover and their own identity as an LGBTQ+ teen. A realistic but lighthearted exploration of gender and identity, this story is full of colorful, authentic characters, making it a fun and topical read for today’s teen readers.

Book cover for The things she's seen

The things she’s seen by Ambelin AND EzekieL Kwaymullina

Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died. Her dad is drowning in grief. He’s also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she’s got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he needs to reconnect with the living: there’s been a suspicious fire in a remote Australian town. All that remains are an unidentifiable body and an unreliable witness found wandering nearby who speaks in riddles. As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town.

Book cover for Murder at the Hotel Hopeless

Murder at the Hotel Hopeless by john Lekich

Charlie Hope was not expecting to spend his summer trying to solve a murder. Normally, helping his mother run the family hotel doesn’t usually offer much excitement. The only other people around are Penny Price, a spoiled child actor and star of a hit TV series being shot in town, and Mr. Ignato, an elderly resident at the hotel. When Mr. Ignato dies from a fall down the stairs, Charlie suspects foul play. Nobody believes him except for Penny, who jumps at the chance to solve a real murder. Is Mr. Ignato’s past related to his untimely death? And can Charlie and Penny prove that it wasn’t an accident?

Book cover for Fifteen and change

Fifteen and change by max Howard

Zeke would love to be invisible. His mother is struggling to make ends meet and stuck with a no-good boyfriend. Zeke knows he and his mom will be stuck forever if he doesn’t find some money fast and move them back to their hometown. When Zeke starts working at a local pizza place, he keeps it a secret out of fear his mom’s boyfriend will steal his savings. But at work he also meets labor activists who want to give him a voice, and the living wage he deserves for his work. Zeke will have to decide between living the quiet life he’s carved for himself or raising his voice for justice.

Book cover for Counting scars

Counting scars by melinda Di Lorenzo

When sixteen-year-old Adele Reimer is forced to spend two weeks at a youth reform camp, her plan is to lie low. With her mother in rehab and her estranged father unable to take immediate custody, Adele’s only goal at the camp is to avoid any trouble. But then Adele meets mysterious Fergus and feels an instant connection. When charming (and smarmy) Andy warns her to stay away from Fergus, she finds herself pulled into a dangerous situation that might end up costing her life. Can Adele both listen to her heart and trust her instincts?

Book cover for Powwow summer

Powwow summer by Nahanni Shingoose

Part Ojibwe and part white, River has always struggled with feeling like she doesn’t belong. After graduating high school, River travels to Winnipeg to spend the summer with her Indigenous father and grandmother, where she sees firsthand what it means to be an “urban Indian.” Over the summer she learns more than she could have dreamed about being Indigenous, both positive and negative. After finally feeling comfortable and making friends, River posts photos online that anger people and make them question her right to identify as Indigenous. Can River ever begin to resolve the complexities of her identity — Indigenous and not?

Book cover for No place for fairy tales

No place for fairy tales by edd Tello

Yuriel’s poor neighborhood in Monterrey, Mexico, isn’t a place where fairy tales happen. So when Azul, his trans cousin, decides she wants to mark her transition to womanhood with a quinceañera, Yuriel is sure it’s an impossible dream. They don’t have the money, and besides, Azul’s father would never support her. But as an openly gay teen in a traditional family, Yuriel sees how important this rite of passage is for Azul. As Yuriel risks everything to play fairy godmother to Azul, he realizes it’s going to take a little bit of magic to pull off this once-in-a-lifetime quinceañera.

All descriptions adapted from the catalog. ck 09/20/2023.