It's time for another installment of Jillian's weekly meme (go to Random Ramblings to join in). This week's list is Top Ten Young Adult Fiction. Surprisingly, even though I am a teacher I don't read as much young adult fiction as you might think, so this list will be a combination of things I read when I was younger and books I've stumbled upon since.
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-Betty Smith
This one has been on my list before, for "books you should read at least once". Lovely story of a young girl coming of age in turn of the century New York. Well, turn of the last century New York...
2. The Giver-Lois Lowry
I've had this one on a list as well. Great story about the pressures to conform to society, even when the society does things which are immoral.
3. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins
I loved this book, and am waiting with bated breath for Mockingjay to come out this summer. You can read my review by clicking here.
4. Annie on My Mind-Nancy Garden
This novel focuses on the love between two girls growing up in New York City, Annie and Liza. It is a sweet story of discovery, exploration, and self-acceptance. Written in 1982, the lesbian theme in a young adult novel was considered controversial. Today, there are many more titles for gay and lesbian youth that reflect their experiences.
5. Among the Hidden-Margaret Peterson Haddix
Really I liked this whole series. I thought that the story, if just taken on the surface, was enough to grab a younger reader's attention, but there is enough subtext about society for more mature readers to have something to chew on.
6. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?-Judy Blume
I've often wondered how an author who writes adolescents and children as well as Blume does can write such awful adult fiction. I love this book, though, and all of her children's and YA literature. I remember wishing I had a Jewish grandmother when I read this book-she seemed so much more interesting than the Catholic one!
7. Jacob Have I Loved-Katherine Paterson
This one was one of my all-time favorites growing up. I also adored Bridge to Terebithia by the same author. This one was a little more relevant to my actual life than Terebithia, though. I don't have a twin, but I did often feel overshadowed by the louder, more outgoing children when I was in those dreaded middle years grades. The setting of this one also intrigued me. I've always wanted to live on an island!
8. The Harry Potter series-J.K. Rowling
I've avoided putting these books on a list 'til now, because they have quickly become such an obvious read for, well, anyone! But considering that these books started out their not-so-humble lives designed for children this seems like the right list to put them on. I love that these books showed us a fantastical world with real life problems-both the adolescent ones like dating and making friends, and societal ones like racism, discrimination, government corruption, and the horrors of war.
9. The Dark is Rising sequence-Susan Cooper
I loved everything about this fantasy series. I read it as a fifth or sixth grader, not long after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe got me addicted to all things fantasy. The setting is Cornwall in England, which seemed very exotic to me as an 11 year-old American girl. And this book series may have been the first one to introduce me to Arthurian legend, which I have loved ever since. I love fantasy books that combine true history with magical elements, and this series does it perfectly. Just writing this makes me want to re-read all of them right now!
10. The Outsiders-S.E.Hinton
When it was published in 1967, this novel was considered unusual in it's compassionate portrayal of Ponyboy, a young man just trying to find his place in the world, being thwarted at every turn by forces mostly outside his control. In a country where the myth of individualism and "boot-strapping" is the prevailing philosophy on living life, Hinton found a way to show that sometimes the circumstances we come from ensure that we can pull on our own bootstraps as much as we want, but unless we get a boost from somewhere we're going nowhere.
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