We Ask a Book Blogger: What Do You Think Are the Best-Ever Teen Novels?
Each month, we present a panel of book bloggers with a question relating to children’s books and we share their views here on the blog. If you missed last month’s post on favorite fractured fairy tales, you can check it out here.
Today’s question: NPR created a list of the Best-Ever Teen Novels and readers were able to vote for their favorites on the list. What book would you add to the titles they selected and why?
This question made me really think hard. There were a total of 235 books on the list of finalists. So many were already favorites which made it hard to come up with additional books. However, there are two books that were missing from the list that I wish had been on there.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John. This book has it all for me – aside from a fantastic title, it is a great story concept (a deaf teen who has a month to get a gig for a high school rock band ) with characters you can relate to, there is just the right levels of romance (not sappy or cloying), diversity (doesn’t feel forced or unreal), an ensemble cast of characters, and even adults with all their flaws. I love recommending books that I just know people (teens or adults) will enjoy reading.
The other book missing from this list that I would also recommend is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. This is what I call a “book that sticks with you”. I have thought of this book long after I finished reading it. I recommend it to both teens and adults. Pearson challenges us to grapple with the question – How far should you go to save someone’s life? Jenna must live with the choices her parents have made and grapple with ones that she must make now as a result of those decision.
- Alyson, Kid Lit Frenzy @alybee930
It’s a pretty comprehensive list – that’s for sure! But I still noticed the absence of a few amazing titles, including The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville and the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, both of which are complex series with brilliant world-building, a huge cast of well-developed characters, and plenty of unexpected twists that tug on your emotions. I read a lot of books, but these two worlds still haunt me years later!
I love the list that’s been created but would add Perfect by Ellen Hopkins. It’s definitely written for the older end of the teen audience and it’s written in verse, which may intimidate some at first, but it is an emotionally powerful book. Perfect is written from the points of view of four different teens and it touches on so many issues teens face today – including sexuality, suicide, and drug and alcohol use. The book shows just how difficult it is to grow up in today’s world and teens are sure to find a character or situation they can relate to. I consider this a must read for older teens (and their parents).
-Kathy, Bermudaonion’s Weblog @bermudaonion
I was happy to see that most of the books that first came to my mind were already on the list. However, there are two books that have really stuck with me that I did not see: Maureen Johnson’s The Key to the Golden Firebird and Daisy Whitney’s The Mockingbirds. Although these books are very different from one another both follow teens as they struggle to deal with life changing events. I appreciate the honesty in which the authors handled these situations and the fact that the books were so very readable and not “preachy.” The Key to the Golden Firebird and The Mockingbirds are both staples on my “YA recommendations” list!
-Heidi, YA Bibliophile @hmz1505
Have you checked out NPR’s list? What would you add? We’d love to hear!