Three weeks ago, NPR posted 235 nominees for their 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels list. The public was allowed to pick 10 each for voting.
My choices were:
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Tiffany Aching series (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
- Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
- The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
- This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
- The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
Ones that I wish I could’ve crammed on the list:
- Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
- Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (the first 1)
- Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
- Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (the first 3)
- Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty (the first 2)
Of the 235, I’ve read either in part (in the case of series), or in whole, fifty of the books. I was a bit surprised at this huge gaping hole in my reading background. I love YA books. They are usually fast reads, but by no means inferior to “adult” books (not porn! Books for like 25+ year olds).
Anyway, the 100 came out this week (I won’t list them here, go to the site and browse through them), and Speak was my highest choice at 26. The Twilight series (most definitely NOT my choice) was 27, so I’m glad the TwiHards didn’t find the list and spam the hell out of it until it became #1. That was what I had been most afraid of. Harry Potter was of course #1 which is not surprising, even though I do not consider it a favorite of mine. I enjoyed the first four books, but 5-7 were a bit of a slog to get through. While I’ve read the first four books repeatedly, I have not reread 5-7 once at all.
Of the final 100, I’ve read 38. Quite a few of the books I would not consider YA. I even think from my list, The Hobbit is totally a cheat. To me YA means books that were written for a teen audience, not books that we read while we were teenagers, like Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace. By this consideration, Moby Dick would be considered YA (hahahaha). There’s also a large number of VERY recent books, that probably will not be anywhere near this list in ten years; it’s just that they’re fresh in people’s minds as enjoying them, but not necessarily “BEST” materials. I have a few of those on my list as well, such as Dairy Queen, and Grave Mercy. I mean, Grave Mercy I just read during SDCC, so a month ago (although I did really like it. Who wouldn’t like nun assassins??).
Anyway, I’ve decided to work from the original 235 nominees list and read ALL of them. Perhaps even reread some of the ones that I haven’t read since I was in high school, oh so many years ago. But I think I will save those til later, and instead tackle the all new material first. I’ve already started requesting books from the library and currently have:
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (HORRID title. Jeez. If my friend Beth hadn’t strongly recommended this book, I would never have touched it, ever. I refuse to read it on the bus or take it to work, and I read superhero comics and manga in public without batting an eye)
- Impossible by Nancy Werlin (an author I’m familiar with, but haven’t read this one yet)
- Feed by M.T. Anderson (I’ve read nothing by this author at all. The cover art is familiar having seen it in the bookstore numerous times.)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (Alyse recommended this to me, and it’s been on my To Read list forever, being a Newbery book, so now I finally can do so)
I’m really excited about this. I’ve been reading mostly graphic novels, comic books, and manga lately, so it’ll be nice to get back to novels for a bit. I may even write about some, although they probably won’t be full posts, maybe 3-4 per post and just a couple thoughts on them.