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Must read YA books?

September 8, 2007
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I was gonna include this with my previous post, but it started getting way too long, so here it is on its own.

The Longstockings’ Question of the Day from Tuesday: “My question is what ‘MUST READ’ books would you include in a primer dedicated to YA or on a syllabus for a YA course?” And Becky’s thoughts. 

I agree with:

  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Yang
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

and I know I’m forgetting stuff since I can’t take a look at my collection, but I would add:

  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  • something by Meg Cabot
  • something by Sarah Dessen
  • Hero by Perry Moore (or Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar because even though it’s not great literature, it’s popular, on the ALA’s list of frequently challenged books, spawned imitators, and is the basis of a new TV show
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky? (which, okay, I haven’t read, but I need some guy books here!)
  • and you need to have some manga, but I’m not sure what I’d pick. Naruto, maybe, just because it’s so popular?

What about you?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2007 8:41 am

    Agree about Dessen, love her but I’ve only read the one book but her voice is wonderful. Other must read YA novels, Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series. I really couldn’t give you a thoughtful list because I’m sure by “must read” meaning that they have some type of social impact on you in some way, shape or form? Or represent the best in American culture, or any culture? I haven’t been reading YA novels all that long. I’ll have a more definitive list for you like in about 5 years from now. Hee. Anyway, as for manga, Bleach is pretty good as well as Deathnote and Hikaru no Go. Later.

  2. September 11, 2007 11:08 am

    My take on “must read” for this question was those books you should know if you’re working with YA lit in any way, whether as a teacher, librarian, or writer. So my criteria was less impact on me than impact on YA lit in general.

    If I was asked to recommend titles to a general reader who was just looking for *good* YA fiction, not someone who wanted an introduction to YA fiction, I’d list different titles.

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