Cover image for Last pick.
Last pick.

Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : First Second, 2018.
Physical Description:
214 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Chiefly illustrations.
In a world where aliens have taken over Earth, abducted every human they deemed useful, and abandoned the rest, twins Sam and Wyatt struggle to start a revolution of the unwanteds.
Decoding demand: 86 (very high) Semantic demand: 99 (very high) Syntactic demand: 46 (medium) Structure demand: 87 (very high) Lexile
GN290L Lexile
Series Title:
Series Sequence:


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On Order

Apple Valley (Galaxie)1Received on 3/21/19
Burnsville (Burnhaven)1Received on 3/21/19
Eagan (Wescott)1Received on 3/21/19



An alien abduction has left behind only those younger than sixteen, older than sixty-five, or too "disabled" to work. In other words, people who weren't a threat--until now. Twins Sam and Wyatt are ready to chuck their labels, break free from their captors, and inspire others to do the same. It's time for "the last picked" to step into the game.Jason Walz pairs vivid world-building and a fast-paced adventure in a beautiful story of sibling devotion. With humor and action, Last Pick shares an empowering message about the dangers of labeling and writing people off.

Author Notes

Jason Walz is a comic creator and teacher working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born in the south, he bounced around between Kentucky and Tennessee before working his way up north. He is best known for his debut graphic novel Homesick, which was nominated for a 2014 Eisner.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Twins Sam and Wyatt were children when the aliens took everyone between the ages of 16 and 65 except for those with disabilities, who were deemed weak or useless. Wyatt sees the world differently than his neurotypical sister, and together, the two try to discover where the invaders have taken their parents. When the aliens return to collect more people, the duo know it's time to fight back. Walz uses muted grays and greens to depict the dystopian environment on Earth, and a blue palette for flashback scenes, which fill in some much-needed world-building and character development. This is an action-packed story with compelling art and dialogue and a cliff-hanger ending; many readers will finish the book in a single sitting. The aliens are appropriately scary (with gaping, toothy maws and menacing red eyes), and themes of  love, loyalty, and acceptance are effectively conveyed. -VERDICT A strong pick for reluctant readers. Give to fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix's "Shadow Children" series or Mark Siegel's "5 Worlds" books.-Jenni Frencham, formerly at Columbus Public Library, WIAudiobooks © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sam and her twin brother, Wyatt, now 16, lost their parents when aliens arrived on Earth three years ago and abducted everyone from 16 to 65 whom they believed could be useful ("We were left behind because we were either too young, too old, or too 'disabled''"). Since then, Sam and Wyatt have resisted the occupation by infiltrating warehouses to rebuild alien communication technology and redistribute needed goods. After the aliens return and Wyatt acquires one of their transmitters, the kids become more ambitious, hoping to save humankind-along the way, people of all ages and abilities (a radio jockey, a band of fierce seniors) pitch in. Although the text avoids specific labels, Wyatt seems to be on the spectrum, and the art draws readers into his experiences. Clearly lined, uncluttered drawings by Walz (Homesick) focus on the action and characters, and skillful use of color indicates shifts in time: blue-grays for the past and earth tones for the present. Messages about valuing all humans (from an author's note: "Whatever the world sees as 'different' is exactly what the world needs") add meaningful layers to this fast-paced adventure featuring a cast of likable heroes and creepy, memorable aliens. Ages 12-up. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Three years ago, aliens invaded the Earth and took most of its inhabitants, leaving behind only those who are too old, too young, or too disabled. It's in this dystopian nightmare that Sam and her twin brother, Wyatt, who exhibits characteristics associated with autism, find themselves, as they scavenge the wastelands, looking for ways to communicate with those taken and, in the process, providing hope to their fellow humans still left on Earth. But the aliens underestimated the resourcefulness of the humans they left behind, particularly Sam and Wyatt, who are throwing a monkey wrench into the aliens' nefarious plans. Although Walz's toned-down violence, young-looking protagonists, and invitingly cartoonish artwork might make this seem, at first glance, like a middle-grade comic, his bleak tone, cinematic pacing, well-­developed characters, and sophisticated, balanced narrative make it better suited for a YA audience. Walz begins chapters with impressive flashback scenes, rendered in a more muted palette, which not only provide interesting backstory to further readers' investment in the twin protagonists but seamlessly transition to the story in the present. Strong character development, atmospheric art, villainous aliens, snappy banter, cheerworthy protagonists, and well-executed suspense should give this lots of broad appeal. Hand to fans of Jeff Smith's Bone (2004) or Paul Pope's Battling Boy (2013).--Peter Blenski Copyright 2018 Booklist