Sunday, March 21, 2010

Top Ten Favorite YA Books

So Persnickity Snark is compiling everyone's top ten YA books of all time ala Fuse #8. You have until April 30th, I fully expect you to play and to post yours too so we can all discuss!

I luckily have lists of everything I've read for the past several years. The early ones are color coded, lately I've relaxed some and they are just in a spreadsheet alphabetical by author. I thought pretty hard, although I didn't spend all afternoon on it, but I did weigh out my thoughts on why I wanted to put certain books on my list.

I tried to pick things that I had read more than once – although there are a few on there that I haven’t. I picked those because even if I haven’t re-read them, I’ve thought about the books over the years, I figured if I think about them then they probably stuck with me for a reason. If the book was in a series, I decided I had to have read all the other books in a series – there are plenty of first books that I’ve loved, but not enough, apparently to keep reading the rest of them as they are published. And occasionally if I loved the other books published by the same author, I just picked the one that made me cry more, or made me laugh more.

After I had compiled it I wondered what my list says about me. This is what I found: I like fantasy and science fiction the best and I also like to laugh, especially if the humor is dark. One might also see that I have a major soft spot for books set in Winnipeg. I like books with strong female characters. I like books where the guys are insecure and sarcastic, but come into their own (and smoke lots of...stuff…apparently). I like violence – but only violence that is right vs. wrong. And as always I like it when characters die. I really don't think there is anything too out of left field except maybe my #10 pick.

So without further ado, here is my list:

1. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff. 2004.
2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart. 2008.
3. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness. 2009.
4. The Year of Secret Assignments - Jaclyn Moriarty. 2004.
5. Mortal Engines - Philip Reeve. 2001.
6. Rats Saw God - Rob Thomas. 1996.
7. Sabriel - Garth Nix. 1995.
8. The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak. 2006.
9. King Dork - Frank Portman. 2008.
10. True Confessions of a Heartless Girl - Martha Brooks. 2003.

Runners up:

The Thief – Megan Whalen Turner. I would have put this on there, but I thought it might be considered Middle Grade. I waffled. If I hadn’t over thought it? It would have been #1 or #2.

An Abundance of Katherines – John Green. Almost on there. Hassan is one of my favorite characters of all time. I picked King Dork instead.

Dairy Queen – Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Oh D. J., your voice is one of the all time best voices in teen lit. But I haven't read the third book yet, despite it being on my library's shelf.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jack” Faber, Ship’s Boy – LA Meyer. What I wrote about D.J. goes the same for you Ms. Jack.

Feed – M.T. Anderson.

Skin Hunger – Kathleen Duey. I live in anticipation of the third book.

Godless – Pete Hautman. Just completely amazing in every way.

Luna – Julie Ann Peters

Far From Xanadu – Julie Ann Peters. I identified so much with Mike. That sibling relationship was so amazingly written.

If you Come Softly – Jacqueline Woodson

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart – Deb Caletti


LaurieA-B said...

While the poll, you said, asks for the top YA books of all time, it looks like all of your choices were published in the last 20 years--maybe last 15?--and most of them even more recently. Curious about your basis for this--have you not read much older stuff, or do you not think any of the older stuff is good? (Interestingly, Rats Saw God is one of my own very favorite YA books, but a several others on your list I did not care for at all.)

lisa said...

i adore your #1 and #3. i rave about them to everyone who has the slightest interest in those genres...such good stuff.

since we are alike in our top choices, it only seems right to explore the other choices on your list.

thanks for posting!

Patti said...

Laurie: I became a librarian in 2002, so roughly 8 1/2 years ago. So pretty much everything I've read has been published during that time. Rats Saw God was before then I think. I did like Robert Cormier's Tenderness, but it isn't a favorite. And I did not read YA as a teen. I read adult books. So it isn't that I don't think older titles are good, its just that I haven't read them and now I'm fairly busy just trying to keep up with the current titles as they are more in demand in our library system. The older titles tend to be assigned reading for school. We just have to keep them stocked, they'll check out on their own.

Lisa: I'm so glad! If you have time pick them up!

joanna said...

Excellent post. I'll have to think about mine, but I'm indecisive so it will take ages.

LaurieA-B said...

Thank you for explaining, Patti. I bet you are really looking forward to reading Monsters of Men later this year; I certainly am.

Patti said...

I am rabidly waiting for that book.

I did try to avoid (although probably succumbed somewhat) having the books I'm crazy about now be my favorites. Its hard to remove yourself from your current literary obsessions.

Really I should have put Clan of the Cave Bear on there. Not YA, but pretty darn eye opening for me :) And I did love The Mists of Avalon. Also the Summer Tree by Guy something or other. None of those were published as teen (I also didn't put Sloppy Firsts on my list because it wasn't published for teens and that is a mega favorite of mine).

Just more info on my decision process!

Trisha said...

Color coded? Seriously?

Moving on, I don't think your #10 is out there at all. I *loved* True Confessions of a Heartless Girl, but I also remember crying a lot while reading it, so I've never had the guts to go back and read it again.

Sabriel is the one book on your list that's on mine. I also have If You Come Softly on my list and want to re-read Honey, Baby, Sweetheart because, if it holds up for me, it could also make it. And I'm not waffling over Megan Whalen Turner, because I'd pick The King of Attolia, which I consider YA. But it totally slipped my mind that Sloppy Firsts wasn't published as YA! Dang! It was okay for the Practically Paradise poll, but I guess it's not for this one, so thanks for mentioning it.

Patti said...

Color coded by genre. I'm glad I stopped.

Good point about the King of Attolia. I wish I had heard that before I submitted. I would have used it. Darn it! That is disappointing!

Anonymous said...

I heartily approve of this list. Most I've read and loved, and the rest make a good to-read list.

I especially love the inclusion of The Knife of Never Letting Go. I RAVE about that novel to everyone. I think it's genius and wish it was more widely recognized as such. I ended up sitting next to Patrick Ness on a train while he was editing Monsters of Men several months ago. Consequently, I'm now very proud to say I know the title of chapter fourteen, although he has sworn me to secrecy. :)

I'm going to go make my own top ten now!

Kerry said...

I can't believe you keep lists. :)

Patti said...

Cristin: Those books are soooo good. And I'm jealous that you were on a train with him. I bet you got more inside info than you're letting on!

Kerry: Like you don't!

Kerry said...

I don't!

Audrey; (AyC) said...

I Loved the Knife of NEver letting Go, it's one of my favourite reads this year. Also, I've read How I live Now, and i guess it wasn't really my type of book but I can see lots of other people enjoying it. And The book Thief was awesome :) that's a great list!

Patti said...

Thanks! I'm enjoying seeing everyone's lists this week.