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My top 10 YA novels

April 29, 2010

People are starting to post the top 10 lists they submitted to Persnickety Snark’s Top 100 YA Novels poll. I promised to share my list, and here it is.

  1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  2. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  3. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
  4. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  5. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  6. Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White
  7. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  8. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
  9. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  10. Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

Coming up with the top five was easy, once I got over the Sloppy Firsts vs. Second Helpings and The Thief vs. The King of Attolia angst I discussed a couple months ago. These are the same books, in the same order, from my top 10 list for the Practically Paradise poll.

Long May She Reign wasn’t on that list, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt I needed to put it somewhere on my new list. It’s an amazing book, one that had me compulsively turning pages even though it’s basically about going to college and the beginning of the protagonist’s first semester there, making friends, meeting a guy, and going to class. Okay, and the protagonist is the (female) president’s daughter, who is still recovering from being kidnapped and tortured. I love how Ellen Emerson White makes readers root for Meg without ever pitying her, despite the aforementioned kidnapping and torture (which originally happened in the previous book in the series, for those who are wondering). The fact that it’s almost 700 pages long and I *still* wanted more sealed the deal.

So Sabriel, My Most Excellent Year, and The House of the Scorpion all got bumped down a spot from their place on the Practically Paradise poll. My Most Excellent Year is kind of the oddball on the list, it’s so happy and positive and cheerful. But as Melissa said (it’s also on her list, yay!), “It’s one I can see rereading as a comfort read over and over again, and never growing tired of the characters or the story.” Yes, exactly.

Broken Soup comes in at #10. I think this was the hardest spot to fill, knowing that I could only pick one more book and there were a couple more I’d love to include on a Top YA Fiction list. I thought about Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy, Deb Caletti’s Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, and E. R. Frank’s America. But ultimately, when I thought about which book I’d most regret not picking, it was Broken Soup.

And some stats, because I liked how Adele broke down her list:

American authors – 7
Australian authors – 2
British authors – 1

Contemporary – 7
Fantasy – 2
Science Fiction – 1

First read when I was a teen – 1
First read while in library school – 4 (no, none were assigned reading)
First read as a librarian – 5

Published in the 1980s – 1
Published in the 1990s – 2
Published in the 2000s – 7

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2010 12:49 am

    I considered Sabriel and The House of the Scorpion for my list, too, but they didn’t quite make it. I’ll post mine shortly!

  2. April 30, 2010 4:54 am

    Oh, deciding between The Theif and King of Attolia… tough choice. Though I think I discounted them because they’re more upper Middle Grade than YA in my mind. Some of the other ones on your list I haven’t read yet, though. I should change that. :-) (Oh, and thanks for the link!)

  3. April 30, 2010 4:54 am

    jellicoe road & sloppy firsts are totally on my top 10 list as well, but what excites me are all of these books that I HAVE NEVER READ!! so thanks for giving me five new-to-me books to get excited about (but NO thanks for adding to the huge pile on my kitchen table GAH).

  4. April 30, 2010 6:44 am

    I love hearing people’s rationales. That is almost as interesting as seeing what they put on their list. Thanks for sharing!

  5. April 30, 2010 7:04 am

    I keep trying and failing to submit my list! I can’t pin it down. Really, this just points to my cowardly nature. But how can I rank them???

    I’m gonna keep trying.

    And I love your list. :)

  6. April 30, 2010 6:11 pm

    Abby – Cool, glad to see your list!

    Melissa – Yeah, I think of The Thief as being upper MG, so was considering it for the Practically Paradise poll. The King of Attolia I consider YA, not MG.

    poshdeluxe – Which ones are new to you?

    Patti (and Abby) – I didn’t explain all my choices above, but The House of the Scorpion partly made it for sentimental reasons, since it was the first science fiction book I loved and was one of the first YA books that I read on my return to YA that absolutely blew me away.

    Angie – Thanks! The ranking *was* hard, so it was nice that I already had come up with a list not too long ago. I am much more satisfied with this one than the first list I had. Jellicoe and Weetzie were easy to rank, the rest took some deliberation. I think some of the bloggers who have done Fuse’s picture book and children’s book said that picking their top titles was easy, it was filling in the rest of the top 10 that was hard, and I agree.

  7. May 2, 2010 9:07 am

    Since we both love Jellicoe Road and the Attolia books, I’m immediately adding every book on this list that I haven’t read to my to-read list. Thanks for the recs! :)

  8. May 3, 2010 3:52 am

    trisha, here are the ones i haven’t read (although i DID already have a copy of sabriel in my massive to-read pile):

    # If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
    # The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
    # Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White
    # Sabriel by Garth Nix
    # My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
    # The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
    # Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

    *rolls up sleeves* TIME TO GET TO WORK.

  9. May 10, 2010 8:07 pm

    notemily & poshdeluxe – Have fun reading! Hope you enjoy the books as much as I do.

  10. May 19, 2010 3:27 am

    jellicoe road & sloppy firsts are on my top 10 (well I actually put second helpings) so I am excited to check your other titles that I haven’t read, I am especially intrigued bv “Weetzie Bat”

  11. May 19, 2010 8:39 am

    Ooh, tough choice. Here’s my Top 10, in no order at all:

    1. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
    2. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
    3. Temeraire by Naomi Novik (not strictly YA as a genre, but I think it counts)
    4. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
    5. Diary of a Crush by Sarra Manning
    6. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
    7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
    8. Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
    9. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
    10. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

    My author breakdown looks about 5 Brit, 4 American, 1 Canadian. Even if Pullman and Rowling transcend the genre and lots of older people read their books too, I believe they count, even if (as in Rowling’s case) they are thought of as books for children.

  12. May 20, 2010 3:48 pm

    I can’t believe I forgot one of my favourites- Tap and Gown by Diana Peterfreund! It’s about a young woman who’s a little older than the usual subject of a YA novel, but I love the way her character develops. Great series, and great end to a series.

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