Tuesday, March 1, 2011

YA Classics

1.  J. K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Series)
If you're one of the few hold-outs who haven't read this series, try them! I think you'll enjoy them more than you think you will. The characters and events are now such a part of our cultural meme that, really, everyone should read the books. For those who've already read and loved the books, click on her name and enjoy the massively wonderful author's website!
2.  Louis Sachar: Holes
This is quite an engaging book, that verges on poetic at moments. Impressive achievements for a book about boys on in a West Texas punishment camp!

3.  Cornelia Funke: The Thief Lord
I love the magical realism of this book. The only thing that made it better? Actually going to Venice!  :)

4.  Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl (series)
Who doesn't love an evil genius, even when he's just a teen? Oh yes, this is a series that'll make you laugh and keep you reading. Enjoy!

5.  Lois Lowry: The Giver
This utopia/dystopia is a wildly good read.  English teachers glommed on to it a bit, but feel free to go back and reread it from an older perspective. This is one book that ages really well. 

6.  Jerry Spinelli: Stargirl
I don't really know what to say about this one other than, read it! 

7.  Carl HiaasenHoot
Set in Florida, and focusing on odd characters and an environmental issue, as do most of his books, this Newberry winner is a fabulous read. 

8.  Gordon Korman: No More Dead Dogs
This excellent little book is for all of us who HATED the fact that the dog always dies in the books the English teachers assign. Old Yeller, Little Ann, Old Dan, Sounder, this book is for you!

9.  Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief  (series)
Following in the Harry Potter genre, this wildly readable series is based in the idea that the Greek gods never really changed their ways. And yes, this includes their predilection for creating half-gods (aka: Heroes).

10.  Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game  (series)
This book is my favorite example of how marketing can affect how you see a book. It's got two covers and is placed in two areas of the bookstore:
The Teen Version: Ender's Game  (kid in space suit? check!)
The Adult Sci-Fi Version: Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) (mysterious spaceship?  check!)

That said, it is destined to become a classic in the genre (if it isn't already). Mind you, the deeper you go into the series, the harder you have to think, as it focuses increasingly on philosophy. The first book in the series though?  Sheer genius! 

Focus for this list:
I'm not a huge fan of the Young Adult label for books. A good book is a good book, and teens don't deserve to have their fiction watered down. That said, I can understand that creating a transitional section is helpful for parents wishing to shield their kids a bit as they move from chapter books to adult novels. So, this list is the best of the section (IMHO) and I'd encourage everyone to read these books, as they've all got something important to say about humanity. That, and they're ferociously good reads!

NOTE: you can now click on the author's names and follow a link to their website. Also, if a book is the beginning of the series, I've created one link for the first book and then, where it says (series), a link to the rest of the series. I hope these help you track everything down!


  1. I see a lot of books here I might want to read with my boys. LOVED Holes. I was introduced to it while subbing. They were reading it aloud in class. My first impression was that it was very simplistic because of the low level vocab, but by the end of the chapter I was hooked and had to stay after school so I could read the whole thing!

    Oh, by the way, if you're looking for a way to get the word out about your blog here's a great little weekly blog event I think would fit perfectly with your content:


    You list 10 of anything (hmmm...like that would be a stretch) and then leave your link. It's generally accepted that you'll visit and comment on some of the other participating blogs on these:


    There's a lot of other linky events like this...you might want to look up book linky on google (and limit your search to the past week so you don't get stuff posted years ago) if you want to find some more.

  2. PS: Here's a question for you (to maybe spawn another list). Have you ever read any books set in a place you have lived (could be general area...city, state...not country cuase that's just too easy). What did you think of how they portrayed the place? I'd love to see a best and worst list here. *grin*

    My best for California would have to be "All the Way Home" by Ann Tatlock...though only half of the book is set there. Set before my time but the neighborhoods they describe make me picture older California neighborhoods I've been through, and make me imagine them when they were new. Also had the affect also of making me realize that many of the historical novels that I've read, even ones I've loved, had characters which either were stereotypes of the time or people with modern characteristics set back in time. Because the characters in this book are neither---they are both historically believable and yet as real and authentic emotionally as if they were sitting across from you. Awesome book!

  3. I just finished the first Artemis Fowl. It was great, looking forward to trying the next one.
    If like Artemis Fowl then you might like this one


    It's the first in a trilogy, with a fourth one recently out. Try it out if you haven't.

  4. @Christa, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And yes, the Bartimaeus trilogy is one of my favorites as well. In fact, the first one is sitting next to me right now, waiting to be part of a new post! :) I hadn't heard the fourth one was out yet, thanks!!! :)