I am fully aware that the following list will horrify most librarians. There isn’t a real award winner in sight and every book has come out in the last five years (I didn’t actually check, but I am assuming that is true). Also, they are really popular titles.
This is the list that I submitted to Persnickety Snark. The post describing the poll does specifically say “favorite” books, which I took literally. I completely understand that these are not the ten BEST YA books ever, but they are certainly my favorite.
Now, there is an absence of classics (no Judy Blume or anything like that) because I just didn’t read YA until I went to grad school!! Also, the what most people consider to be the “best” YA book ever is one of the books that I loathe the most (stupid Holden Caulfield….I would totally punch him in the face if I met him on the street…..big whiner baby).
So without further ado, here are my favorite young adult novels…….you’ve been warned.
10. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock–I love this book even more now that I have read all three. It feels like such a realistic story to me (even the this-could-never-happen final football game). And I love that fact that it is set on a dairy farm. I pretend now that all of the milk I drink comes from Schwenk Farm.
9. Chalice by Robin McKinley–I think I am including this on the list because I felt so accomplished after I finished it. It was tough going at the beginning, but by the end I was ripping through it to see what happened. And the Master is totally one of my favorite guy characters ever. He is smokin’! (Okay, that is a really lame joke that nobody would get unless they read the book.)
8. Unwind by Neal Shusterman–I love this book because it has a mind-blowing concept. Not only that, but Mr. Shusterman knows what to do with it and doesn’t let the book lose steam at all. Great plot, great characters. Also, now that I’ve read this book, I look at certain kids and say, “Man, they would have totally been unwound…” Yeah, I’m cruel like that.
7. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle–You might have noticed that most of these books (probably all of them) are ones I have mentioned on this blog before. There are very few books I get more pleasure out of reading than this one. I don’t think I need to justify it more than that. JUBILEE!!!
6. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer–I literally kept thinking about this book for several weeks after I finished it. It was so haunting and perfect. Now that it’s already out, I am disappointed that there was a sequel about Miranda. I really loved the vagueness of the first book’s ending (something I usually hate). This book also caused me to eat lettuce for a month, even though I hate lettuce.
5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman–I loved this book so much. This is another one that made me really think. I cared about the characters so much and cried though the last half of the book. Oh, man this was fantastic! Am super pissed that there is going to be a book two……really? Sometimes people need to look authors in the face and say, “Hell to the No!”
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins–I totally had a conversation with this book while I was reading it. Throughout the course of the novel I continually said things like, “WHAT!!! OH NO!!! DON”T DO THAT KATNISS!!! Awwww, Peeta! WHAT!!!” I even did a little bit of talking the second time through as well.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling–I like the sixth book better than the seventh book, but I think that the final one needs to be recognized on this list. The HP books were such huge events in my life, and there was nothing better than getting on the phone with my sister and my dad after finishing this one. Other books since the HPs have offered similar bonding opportunities, but none of them as strong as this one.
2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer–I will admit it, I love Twilight. I adore the books. I literally have to hold myself back from reading them every other week. I can’t explain why I adore them, especially since I have so many problems with them (creepy stalker Edward, whiny Bella, etc.), but they will always have a special place in my heart. (Moment of honesty here: I totally wanted to put Breaking Dawn on here in place of Twilight, but I was too embarrassed.)
1. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot–This is my favorite young adult book because it is literally the perfect end to a wonderful series. Meg Cabot knew exactly what her fans wanted and she gave it to them. (Authors take note: we like this!!!!!) I think I have read this book 4 (maybe 5?) times. It’s my favorite because it is everything I want a YA novel to be: happy, frothy, funny, romantic, and with a happy ending. I don’t usually go in for angst, drugs, dead people, or too much relationship drama (but sometimes I make exceptions: see above).
So there you go, that’s my list. Just writing this made me want to run to my shelves and reread all of these books. Then I realized that I only own six of them! Eeeep! To the bookstore!
P.S. You may think from looking at this list that I place HP below Twilight and The Princess Diaries. This is not true. When taking the series as a whole, Harry Potter is always first for me, followed by Twilight and TPD tied for second.