Reading, Writing

10 YA Books Which Won’t Let You Down

I’ve been a bit busy lately. Blah -dee, blah, nothing worth blogging about or I would be blogging. It’s been a good kind of busy the kind where you’re certain you’re learning something even if it will take months of processing to figure out what it is. In the mean time I feel very lucky to have the friends and family I have. I may have mentioned it before but it’s been incredible how many people have reached out to tell me, in one way or another, how much they enjoyed The Other Way Around. It’s really the best part.

So here’s a little gift back. This is not meant to be a comprehensive must read of YA fiction. It’s totally skewed to my tastes (mostly contemporary, a wee bit of light fantasy and sci-fi). These are ten YA books I think have real punch and literary merit and are amazing page-turning reads to boot. I hope you’ll enjoy. I did.

Short silly blurbs are my own. Links are to Amazon/Goodreads, but you should buy them at your local Indie if you can -or check them out at the library!


Scorpio RacesScorpio Races – (Maggie Stiefvater) mythical carnivorous horses, a race to save one’s life, a slow simmering love story.

WingerWinger – (Andrew Smith) Rugby, prep school, puberty, and love for the unreachable girl.

Everybody Sees the Ants – (A.S. King) heart-breaking bullying laced with magical realism. This book made me want to be a better grown up person. nuff said.
Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell) -Incredible misfit love story.
JellicoeOn The Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta)- A boarding school at war with itself, a parent’s myeterious death, a girl left to sort out the pieces.
Will Grayson Will Grayson – (John Green and David Levithan) One is gay, one is not. The intersection of their lives is incredible entertainment.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks  (E. Lockhart) More prep school pranking madness.
In DarknessIn Darkness – (Nick Lake) Set in both present day and colonial Haiti, a boy trapped in the earthquake rubble imagines he is Touissant Louverture.
Feed – (MT Anderson)Best first line of a book ever. “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” Frighteningly prescient science fiction.
Story of a Girl – (Sara Zarr) The fall out, with friends and family, from one girl’s first sexual experience.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes YA, YA and not just an adult book with a teenage protagonist or narrator. It’s fodder for a future post but I think it has something to do with layers and density (uh oh science teacher overlap here). I hesitate to use the word complexity because each of these books is beautifully complex and yet still definitively YA. More on that later. In the mean time, start reading! Or add your own “must read” in the comments.