Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Not-Quite-Definitive Young Adult Reading List

A few days ago, a friend of mine posed a question to me on Twitter: Any good recs for very smart 15 year old girls? I have 2 on my list, and I’m looking for things I don’t know about.

While I’ve read and enjoyed my share of Young Adult literature (starting from the time I was a young adult myself), the genre has really bloomed and boomed in recent years, leaving me a little out of the loop. So, I turned to the Hivemind in my social media circles and asked them for recommendations. To put it mildly, my Facebook account exploded. Golly, you people sure are passionate about your favorite ’tween reads! There were so many terrific (and terrifically diverse) suggestions that I decided to compile them here in one place. You’re welcome.

Before diving into the roster, you should know a few things: this list is far from complete. It begs for additions, which you are free to put in the comments section. Second, I’ve included some books which might not be typical reading fare for teenage girls (I drew the line at including Fifty Shades of Grey, which one Facebook friend suggested--hopefully with tongue firmly planted in cheek). I leave it to the parents and young readers themselves to decide what level of maturity they’re ready for.

I should add that I have only read an embarrassingly small fraction of these, so I can’t vouch for the quality of everything on here. I can tell you, however, that I’ll be using this as a starting point to upgrade my own YA reading.

One last thing: though the original request was for books which would appeal to a teenage girl, I don’t think that should stop any young gentleman from dipping into, and enjoying, this list.

I’ll begin with some personal favorites of my own which didn’t get mentioned by my Facebook users. I have read these and recommend you put them at the top of your reading pile:

Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Drama by Raina Telgemeier

And now on with the rest of the list...

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Nursery Crime series by Jasper Fforde
The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
The Basil and Josephine Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Alice, I Think by Susan Juby
Miss Smithers by Susan Juby
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
I Crawl Through It by A. S. King
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
The Midwife’s Tale by Gretchen Moran Laskas
This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Very Far Away from Anywhere Else by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall
The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey
The Dragonriders of Pern books by Anne McCaffrey
Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millett
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Winger by Andrew Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
This Side of Home by Renee Watson
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
Night by Elie Wiesel
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

And no list of literature for young readers would be complete without mentioning one of my favorite literary periodicals, One Teen Story magazine. A subscription would make a wonderful year-round gift for your favorite young reader.

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