Posts Tagged 'Young Adult Novels'

My Top Ten Young Adult Novels – Jill

I’ve been working on my list for a few days, and I think I finally have it ready.  My list, like Jen’s, includes my favorite books, not necessarily what I think every teen should read or whatever – although I’m a big fan of every one of these, so in a way I do think everyone should read them.  🙂

Here we go…

10. Graceling/Fire by Kristin Cashore
Sometimes I get these two books confused because they’re sort of related but not really.  Fire is a companion book, not a sequel. Both books had compelling plots, strong female main characters, great male love interests, and different but realistic worlds.

9. Life As We Knew It – Susan Beth Pfeffer
This is a book that REALLY sticks with you after you’ve finished reading.  And while you’re reading, it’s hard to put down because you want to know what’s going to happen.  I love that the plot starts out just like any other day that could happen now, but as soon as the moon is hit and pushed out of orbit, everything falls apart.  Probably the best sci-fi books are the ones that *could* actually really happen.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I have never heard a bad thing from anyone who has read this.

8. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
For me, this series was perfect for attempting to fill the massive void left when Harry Potter ended.  I love books where I learn something while reading without realizing it!  I kept getting on Wikipedia to look up gods and other things from Greek Mythology.  The whole Percy Jackson series rocks, but this one might have been my favorite because it tied up everything and brought some satisfaction.

7. Forever Princess – Meg Cabot
It’s been too long since I’ve read this.  It was awesome and wrapped up the whole series exactly the way we all wanted.  I don’t think I could say it all any better than Jen did.  But I know what you’re thinking: Why isn’t this one higher?  Well, I guess that’s a testament to how much I love the top 6.

6. The Arrival – Shaun Tan
So here’s where I start to get into the fuzzy “Is this a YA book?” area.  Yes, it’s a graphic novel, but it’s still usually considered a young adult book, so I’m including it.  Because it’s my list.  🙂  This book rocks SO MUCH.  Amber and I were assigned it in one of our classes in grad school (though I think it was Children’s Lit but whatever).  I read it one day, and the next I had gone out and bought myself a copy.  The illustrations are GORGEOUS, and I love the sepia colors.  The story is also incredible, and since it’s entirely wordless, it allows readers to interpret the details themselves.

5. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
I promise I did not look at Jen’s list before I made my own.  It just so happens that we love the same books because they’re awesome.  What can I say about this book that we haven’t already said on this blog?  I’ve reread The Hunger Games, which is kind of a big deal since I don’t make much time for rereading, and I read it just as quickly the second time as I did the first.

4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
Ah, now we’re getting into the books I loved growing up.  There are a lot of books I loved that have not made the list because I haven’t reread them lately to know whether they still stand up (ex. The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi…LOOOOVED this book like 10 years ago but haven’t read it since).  BUT I did reread The Witch of Blackbird Pond last weekend, and it was just as good as I remembered.  A great strong female character + an extremely lovable male character (oh, Nat…) + historical fiction = winner for Jill!

3. Princess Mia – Meg Cabot
Ah ha, look, more Meg!  Now you’re probably wondering why is  book 9 higher than book 10?
Princess Mia was such a great book for me.  I just loved it.  I don’t think I’ve read it since, but I REALLY want to right now.  I loved the relate-able Mia was.  Really, who hasn’t felt like that before?  I know some people don’t like it because she’s depressed and things are terrible and Michael’s hardly in it, but Mia really pulls herself together in this book and has to truly figure out who she is since the guy she’s in love with is gone and her best friend is being AWFUL.  Whenever I’m upset about something, I should just reread this book.  It’s like therapy.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
Again, I made my list independently of Jen. Promise!  Obviously I love the whole series, and I’m not even 100% sure this is my favorite, but it’s so….fitting for the finale.  It has suspense, actual deaths, reminders that even though it’s just a book, things are not all light and fluffy.  There were so many ways she could have ended it, and honestly after awhile I wasn’t sure how it was going to, but the way it ended is perfect.  Plus, every time I read it, I’m pretty sure I cry through all of the final chapters.

1. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
Not entirely sure this is considered YA, but darn it, it’s my all-time favorite book and it’s one of those borderline books, so I’m including it!  I have read this book more times than any other, mostly because I used to reread it annually.  If you’ve never read it, it’s a fun mystery…sort of like The 39 Clues only way better and less multi-volumed.  I’m not doing this book justice at all.  Please just know that it’s AWESOME and you should read it NOW!  🙂

[Oh, and fun tidbit about me and this book.  I interviewed for a job once at the place where the manuscript (the REAL MANUSCRIPT with Ellen Raskin’s HANDWRITTEN NOTES) is kept and studied.  When I realized this, I was convinced this was a sign, and I was going to get the job (which felt like my dream job), but alas I did not.  But I still love the book.  Maybe that tells you how much I like it.  …And, you know, things have worked out in the job area, so it’s ok now anyway.]

– Jill

My Top Ten Young Adult Novels

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.