You may have heard somewhere on the interwebs that NPR is compiling a list of the best YA books. It will surprise you not at all that I have thoughts.
First, because nothing makes me love to count more than a list of book, I counted how many I read. This is where the quibbles come. YA or teen books is sort of a moving target. It is generally agreed upon that this encompasses books where the protagonist is somewhere in the age of 13-18. Or of high school age. But of course, there are historical books that feature sixteen year-olds and are shelved in the adult sections. (And NPR addressed some of this in their original post.) And sometimes one has a narrator who pays particular attention to one character who is a teen, but the narrator is definitely not so. This is often the argument used for Stand By Me that the reflective and mature voice of the narrator makes it an adult story about teens. But upon reflection, I realize I firmly believe that The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is YA and might quibble with The Book Thief and so, I shall perhaps be quiet on that.
I will say that where NPR helpfully collapsed series, I counted it as read if I had read (and finished) any of the series. (However, since they separated The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series, for example, I only counted it as one since I never made it past The Hobbit.)
And while I'm here, I'll share my personal top ten. Obviously this was culled from those I've actually read, and obviously it was a super hard choice and all the others are worthy except for that one (kidding, I'm kidding).
So, I have read 48 out of the 234. (I know! Such a slacker!) So, my person top ten (which was so hard - my first pass had 25) is in fact more than that, because after torturing myself I realized aha! My blog, my rules. Here we are:
1. American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang
2. Ashfall, by Mike Mullin
3. Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray
4. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
5. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
6. The Curse Workers (series), by Holly Black
7. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
8. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
9. Gallagher Girls (series), by Ally Carter
10. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
11. How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr
12. The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
13. If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
14. Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles
15. A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L'Engle
16. Soul Screamers (series), by Rachel Vincent
And I noticed something. For all my talk about how book clubs that read adult books feature a whole lot of dead and/or dying people, um, there are some dead and/or dying people on this list. I swear, some of these have happy endings, despite all the, you know, dead people.