I read a lot of fiction written for the young adult market, even though I am neither a young adult nor the parent of one. Why not? Some of the most fresh and creative novels I’ve read lately have been YA books.
That’s why I’m keen on the new poll that NPR Books is running right now. What is the best-ever teen novel? They polled readers on their favorites, narrowed it down to 100 choices, and are putting that slate of 100 to the vote.
You can vote for ten, which is good, because narrowing it down to fewer than that would be very hard. I love some of the books on there:
- Cory Doctorow’s brilliantly subversive Little Brother, about kids who find ways to assert their freedom in the tyrannical aftermath of a terrorist attack.
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, about a smart girl who longs to prove to her boyfriend’s smart friends that she’s worthy of joining their boys-only secret society. She succeeds - sort of, with unintended consequences.
- Feed by M.T. Anderson, a genuinely frightening book about a dystopian society where everyone has entertainment and advertising constantly streamed into their brains.
- I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier, another truly scary book - I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. If you haven’t read it, read it.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the great Douglas Adams. I literally fell off my bed laughing the first time I read it.
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, one of the many controversial books on the list, a story about the trauma a girl suffers at the hands of a high school classmate, and how she copes.
- The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, about a future society in which all teenagers get plastic surgery that makes them beautiful, but also compliant and obedient, is science fiction at its most exhilarating.
And lots more! Best of all, the list is packed with fascinating-looking stuff that I haven’t read. NPR's listeners thought the books on this list were the best of the best, so I’ve taken notes for my to-read list.
If you enjoy YA fiction, click here to see the list and vote. The results will be announced in a few weeks.