8.10.2012

100 Best YA Novels According to NPR

You may have seen this list floating around the interwebs about the 100 best YA novels according to a voter-based poll hosted by NPR. Krispy and I had a look-see over the list and are kind of skeptical since many of the books either don't seem to fit the YA category, being either MG or more adult/literary.

But we needed a Friday post and it's up the Alz to cough up something since Krispy is nanoing furiously (OR SHOULD BE WHERE'S THAT WORDCOUNT YOUR GOAL IS 3000 WORDS BY THE END OF TODAY KRISPY).

So! Here's that NPR list with the books I've read bolded and commentary here and there.

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
3. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green - Krispy has this one but hasn't read it yet. I perused a few chapters and it was funny and witty but I wasn't immediately hooked.
5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger - I've never actually read this. And I'm an English Major!  I know, I know...
7. The Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury - Krispy's literary crush, oh Bradbury.
9. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
11. The Giver (series), by Lois Lowry - I intend to read this someday since it's always being named as the YA dystopian.
12. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (series), by Douglas Adams - Love this series, but really, it's not YA.
13. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
14. Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery
15. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman - Great series although not perfect.  Definitely tried to deal with some tough and/or controversial/philosophical subjects, usually successfully but sometimes not.
16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
17. The Princess Bride, by William Golding - I don't think this is YA either.
18. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
19. Divergent (series), by Veronica Roth - Oh, Divergent. Oh, issues.
20. Paper Towns, by John Green
21. The Mortal Instruments (series), by Cassandra Clare
22. An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
23. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
24. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
25. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
26. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
27. Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer - I only read the series because I wanted to know what all the hype was about.  What a sordid path Twilight has led me down.
28. Uglies (series), by Scott Westerfeld
29. The Infernal Devices (series), by Cassandra Clare
30. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
31. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
32. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series), by Anne Brashares
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London - Krispy was horrified when I told her I'd never read this.
34. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green, David Levithan
35. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
36. Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones - Great movie and great book, but it's probably better to consider them separate and give the points based on their own merits since the two are seriously different.
37. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
38. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
39. Vampire Academy (series), by Richelle Mead
40. Abhorsen Trilogy Old Kingdom Trilogy (series), by Garth Nix - Love the Abhorsen books!
41. Dune, by Frank Herbert - All right, I love Dune, but it is not YA.
42. Discworld Tiffany Aching (series, by Terry Pratchett - This is weirdly listed here since the Tiffany Aching series takes place on the Discworld but the main Discworld series is not YA.  I've never read any of the Tiffany Aching books but the actual Discworld books range from okay to awesome.
43. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult - One of the few contemporary adult books I've read but uh this is not YA either.
44. The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
45. Graceling (series), Kristin Cashore - Wonderful fantasy series!  We haven't yet read Bitterblue but Krispy and I have hopes for it.
46. Forever..., by Judy Blume
47. Earthsea (series), by Ursula K. Le Guin - This is adult fantasy, not YA.
48. Inheritance Cycle (series), by Christopher Paolini
49. The Princess Diaries (series), by Meg Cabot
50. The Song of the Lioness (series), by Tamora Pierce - Ah, Tamora Pierce!  Love her though most of her books seem more MG than YA to me.
51. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
52. Delirium (series), by Lauren Oliver
53. Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
54. Hush, Hush Saga (series), by Stephanie Perkins - I find it hilarious that NPR got the author wrong here (should be Becca Fitzpatrick) because I loathe this series so much.
55. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
56. It's Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini
57. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (series), by Libba Bray - Krispy and one of our friends read this series and liked it.  I intend to read it someday after I wade through a mountain of other books that I own, borrowed from the library, and stole from Krispy.
58. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
59. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros - Er I don't really consider this YA either.  I read it for school and was unimpressed.  One of our assignments was to write our own The House on [Your Street Here] books.  I've still got mine around somewhere.
60. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
61. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
62. Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen
63. A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L'Engle
64. The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen
65. The Bartimaeus Trilogy (series), by Jonathan Stroud - Read the first one. It was entertaining and also seemed more MG, but wasn't gripping enough for me to pick up the sequel.
66. Bloodlines (series), by Richelle Mead
67. Fallen (series), by Lauren Kate - Read the first one, which had practically no resolution, and never managed to force myself to read the second one.  I think Krispy did but she never got around to reading the next books.
68. House of Night (series), by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
69. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
70. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlsit, by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
71. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
72. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
73. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle - Krispy and I both love this one. ;_;
74. The Maze Runner Trilogy (series), by James Dashner
75. If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
76. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley - I generally like Robin McKinley's books so I'm glad to see her on this list.
77. Crank (series), by Ellen Hopkins
78. Matched (series), by Allie Condie
79. Gallagher Girls (series), by Ally Carter
80. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
81. Daughter of the Lioness Tricksters (series), by Tamora Pierce
82. I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
83. The Immortals (series), by Tamora Pierce
84. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series), by Patricia C. Wrede
85. Chaos Walking (series), by Patrick Ness
86. Circle of Magic (series), by Tamora Pierce
87. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor - Krispy and I really liked this one too!
88. Feed, by M.T. Anderson
89. Weetzie Bat (series), by Francesca Lia Block
90. Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen
91. Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series), by Louise Rennison
92. Leviathan (series), by Scott Westerfeld - I own the first two books of the series and still haven't managed to read them, although Krispy read them all and is always hounding me to read them because she liked them so much.
93. The House of the Scorpion, by Scott Westerfeld
94. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (series), by Diana Wynne Jones
95. The Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
96. Gone (series), by Michael Grant
97. The Shiver Trilogy (series), by Maggie Stiefvater
98. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
99. Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
100. Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace

Turns out I've read a decent few of the titles on the list.  The variety of books though gives rise once again to the question of what exactly determines the nebulous Young Adult category.  The books I tend to consider YA usually feature a teenage protagonist, a coming-of-age story, elements of adolescent psychological struggle and development, and were written for/are aimed at a young adult audience.  The latter reason of which is why I don't consider literary classics (even if they are "children's classics") like Treasure Island to be YA.

But as long as we're cramming not-quite-genre-fitting books onto this list, where the hell is Percy Jackson?

What do you think constitutes YA?

7 comments:

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

can i just say, ditto.
because, this is exactly what i thought when reading through the list... so many titles there, i don't consider YA.

XiXi said...

Agree, agree. There were enough MG books on there to irk me that they didn't also include Percy Jackson. On the other hand, though, the list was voted on so it obviously reflects people who a) vote on the Internet and b) consider them YA readers. Although I love PJO, the age-group for that does skew younger and seems to have a smaller Internet presence.

On the other hand, John Green went out and told his readers to go vote, so you can see that all four of his books made the top 100. Not that I disagree; I think he's one of the best authors in YA today for contemporary, but this list is reflective of some of these biases.

You've definitely read a good portion of them, though!

Connie Keller said...

I've read quite a few of these books. And some were wonderful and well written. Some not so much. And some were totally NOT YA.

There were several books on the list I've never read. I can't wait to add them to my TBR list.

The Golden Eagle said...

Hey, I voted on that poll. :P I hadn't seen the final list, though, so thanks for posting it.

I agree with your assessment of YA.

linda said...

I love the Tiffany Aching series! (Well ok, I liked 1 and 3 a lot and LOVED 2 and thought 4 was ok, but overall I really enjoyed them.) The Discworld series as a whole is mostly adult, but there are MG and YA books in the Discworld series. The Tiffany Aching (sub?)series is definitely MG/YA (depending on which book in the series you're talking about). YOU SHOULD READ THEM!!!

Katy said...

Gosh, I'm such a slower reader! I think To Kill A Mockingbird and Harry Potter are the only ones I've read, and I'm far out of the YA demographic. Looks like I know where to start for my to-read ideas. :)
As much of a fan as I am of Harry Potter, part of me wonders if it was ratest the highest because the series just ended and fans still want it to be on top...or is it really the best YA novel to date?

Angela Felsted said...

Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a blogpost stating that she is honored to have two of her books on the list, but that she wishes there was more diversity in terms of the kinds of writers on that list. Interesting.