top 10 ya

I recently discovered stumbled upon a poll being conducted by a YA Literature blog called Persnickety Snark.  The blogger is attempting to put together a list of the top 100 YA novels and is asking poll participants to rate their top 10.   After more than a little bit of internal debating, arguing, and compromising, I put together this list for my contribution:

  1. Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)
  2. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
  3. The Giver (Lois Lowry)
  4. Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson)
  5. Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
  6. Fallen Angels (Walter Dean Myers)
  7. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  8. Someone Like You (Sarah Dessen)
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)
  10. Holes (Louis Sachar)

How did I come up with this particular list?  Well, the first five were fairly easy.  These are books that I have read and loved and reread (except The Book Thief, which is relatively recent) and recommended again and again.  They range from books I read as a teenager (Giver, Jacob) to books I read in or shortly after college (Speak, Perks) to recent discoveries (Book Thief).  Even the rankings of them felt pretty natural.

The last five are a different story.  Don’t get me wrong — these are all great books.  But there are probably at least half a dozen others that I might put in place of these particular ones, depending on the day and my mood.  And as for their rankings…the best I can say is this is how I felt in that particular moment. 

A couple of these books — namely Holes and The Giver — might be debatable as YA.  Some would consider them to be “middle-grade” or juvenile novels.  Personally, I think they cross over between the age levels.  The ages of the characters and the essential storylines may be appropriate for upper elementary/middle school readers, but the themes and complexity of the narratives certainly qualify them to be read by teenagers too. 

You might notice one obvious absence in this list — I deliberately left off Harry Potter for two reasons.  One, it’s hard to list only one book of the series.  Two, if I did have to choose one book, my favorites of the series (#1 and #3) do land more on the middle-grade fiction side of things. (I actually think I had a third reason for leaving them off, which I can’t remember at the moment.)

So there’s my logic for my picks.  If you’d like to contribute your own two cents to the poll, you can do that here.  And please share your thoughts with us as well — I’d love to see how our lists compare.

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~ by Molly on April 8, 2010.

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