My friend Ginny sent me this list. We both have high school freshman girls and she must know that I’m always searching for books to present to Grasshopper and Sensei to keep her reading. Now that our girls are in high school, they no longer have assigned reading logs. While they get assigned books to read in English, their teachers do not require them to read a certain number of minutes a day like they did in elementary and middle school.
Thus, it is even harder to keep high schoolers reading as now they are truly reading for pleasure.
This is what my daughter tells me she likes:
- Strong female character
- No wannabe The Hunger Games though she LOVES The Hunger Games and Divergent series
- Realistic fiction romance with a twist of magical realism (like The Wrap-Up List or Gorgeous)
So … I will continue to tempt her with books that will have to compete with her limited free time. This list is from the ALA. The only book that my daughter might read from this list is Eleanor & Park. My 10-year-old son will love The Eye of Minds next year.
ALA 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My 14-year-old still might be too young for this but I think it’s worth waiting for! And I’m sure she has a bunch of friends who have already read it! [young adult, ages 15 and up]
The Raucous Librarian: “So…Eleanor and Park? Not so much a middle school book…Given its themes, plot, language, style, and tone, I’d say it’s firmly high school even for very mature, advanced readers. Some of the other people I know who’ve read it don’t even really think it’s YA…more like adult fic about teens. I wouldn’t want someone to be thinking they were getting a sweet, light first love story when this book TOTALLY is not that. Don’t get me wrong–it’s wonderful–it’s just very, very mature.”
A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Eleanor & Park is the winner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Fiction Book.
A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2013
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013
An NPR Best Book of 2013
Splintered by A.G. Howard
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. [YA, ages 14 and up]
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever. [YA, ages 12 and up]
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. [YA, ages 14 and up]
Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.
Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .
Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . . [YA, ages 14 and up]
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
Just because she’s confined to the planet, doesn’t mean she can’t reach for the stars.
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an “ape,” a “throwback,” but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.
Jarra makes up a fake military background for herself and joins a class of norms who are on Earth for a year of practical history studies excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities. She wants to see their faces when they find out they’ve been fooled into thinking an ape girl was a norm. She isn’t expecting to make friends with the enemy, to risk her life to save norms, or to fall in love. [YA, ages 12 and up]
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await. [YA, ages 12 and up]
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, presents Steelheart, the first book in the Reckoners series, an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers breathless. How far would you go for revenge if someone killed your father? If someone destroyed your city? [YA, ages 12 and up]
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm. [YA, ages 12 and up]
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And one gamer has been doing exactly that, with murderous results.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid to the back alleys and corners of the system human eyes have never seen—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever. [YA, ages 12 and up]
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26 thoughts on “Top 10 YA Books and Kid Lit Blog Hop”
Eleanor and Park was sooo good!
On my To Read list!!! I wonder if my high school freshman would like it …
I really liked some of these books, but others, not so much. Still, I know kids like them. Eleanor and Park was my favorite, too.
I am so behind on reading, especially YA but my oldest is reading a lot of YA lately so I’m trying to keep up with book ideas for her! Good to know that you and Erica like Eleanor and Park and that it’s now age appropriate for her now that she’s 15.
Interesting to see what teens are reading. Haven’t read any of the titles, but several sound intriguing. Would be interested in the realistic choices. Great list of kid-lit bloggers.
I have a teen and tween about to be a teen so I am trying to keep a list for them when they claim there isn’t anything good to read out there! (Which I hear often!).
Wow, these books sound a lot darker than I like to read. Do you know of any uplifting YA titles?
We liked The Wrap Up List by Steven Arnston which is magical realism and a fun read — also uplifting. Gorgeous was good too (by Paul Rudnick) also magical realism. Irises by Francisco X Stork was great. Realistic fiction and set near Stanford… the protagonist wanted to go there!
I think their darkness-theme that is-is perfect for my interests. I’m a long-time Dean Koontz fan, so many of these look awesome. Another great list, Mia!
Glad you like the list; it’s a little dark for me but I am more of a magical realism YA kind of girl!
Check out JG’s! by M.D. Marrone. Fab book for ages 9-12. Easy, quick read…perfect for a book report. Teachers, parents, and school librarians love it! Especially appropriate for 5th graders as info on circulatory system is weaved in…part of their science curriculum. Themes: Anti-bullying, disabilities, fitness, forgiveness at beach setting of Junior Lifeguards!
Thanks for your great book recommendation!
Nice list you have here. It is always good to keep kid\’s reading!
Naila Moon of Reading Authors
I am finding it more challenging to recommend books to my 15 year old daughter since YA is new to me!
I think it’s so good that you are striving to keep your daughter supplied with good titles to read, in the absence of reading time in high school. This is one aspect of high school that I think could be fixed–why not give students the time to read as they had in elementary and middle school? And to give high school students the choice in their reading is so important! I LOVE Shadow and Bone and have the other two books to read in the series. Another possibility is the Gone series by Michael Grant though I think there is quite a bit of violence in those!
I know! I wish they had assigned reading minutes for free read in high school but I guess the work load is quite heavy and they are trying to get the kids ready for college.
Thanks for your great book recommendations! I’ll suggest them to my daughter.
Very interesting to read your comments about YA books. I write for middle graders/and YA but don’t have any kids of this age in my family any more, so your observations about your daughters preferences are quite helpful to me.
I’m so glad my post was helpful to you! My kids, it turns out, have very specific tastes with regard to their free reading books. Right now my high schooler likes mysteries though limited to Sherlock Holmes, realistic fiction with a romance/young love twist, realistic fiction with magical realism also with young love/new love twist, some dystopian but I’m not even sure what her criteria is, and some fantasy vampire-ish but it has to be set in modern times. So specific, I know! Drives me crazy trying to find books for her! She is now just picking them out by the covers and book jackets which seems to be working. Francisco X. Stork is a find.
I would love to read more tween/middle school literature…for ages 9-12. What are your favorites? Please list as many as you can as I have read SO many of them already…I deal with a lot of middle schoolers and am always on the hunt for something we haven’t read yet…THANK YOU!!!
Here are some of my lists for ages 9-12:
Best Books for Middle School from our wonderful middle school librarian http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2012/01/books-middle-schoolers-wonderful-middle-school-librarian/
90 6th graders name their favorite book http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2011/10/favorite-book-90-6th-graders/
My favorite books for ages 9-12:
Penderwick series http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2012/01/penderwicks-dark-matter-bring-scientist-child/
Anything by Sharon Creech but especially Wallk Two Moons, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, The Great Unexpected http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2011/02/my-own-sharon-creech-author-study-love-that-dog-bloomability-walk-two-moons/
Percy Jackson series; anything by Rick Riordan
The Doll People series (for girls)
Wonder by R J Palacio
The One and Only Ivan by katherine Applegate
Half Magic series
Anything by Roald Dahl
My Side of the Mountain series
Anything by Wendy Mass
Pharoah’s Secret by Moss
Rocky Road by
Escape from Mr. Limoncello’s library
Love this list! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for your kind words Trisha!
One thing worth noting is that this list is voted on by Real Actual Teens. 15 book groups at libraries and schools across the country read and nominate titles, then the voting is open to all teens. So the \\\”darker\\\” themes are ones they themselves are choosing, and the age range is 6th-12th graders. That being said, YALSA puts out Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Printz and Morris awards, and many other awards lists compiled by committees of experienced librarians. Your commenting system won\\\’t let me leave a link, but if you google \\\”YALSA booklists\\\” you\\\’ll find them.
That is a GREAT point!! I find that peer recommendations mean a lot more to my kids than adult recommendations!! How interesting that teens vere towards “darker” themes but I guess it shows that they find books to be a safe way to explore scarier things that might be happening in their world but not, perhaps, to them.
I’ll put your suggested links here:
Yalsa Best Fiction for Young Adults http://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists/bbya
Printz Award Books http://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklistsawards/bookawards/printzaward/previouswinners/winners
Morris Award Books http://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklistsawards/bookawards/morris/previous
And I’ll be covering them as well on my blog when the ALA awards are listed next Monday. Thanks so much for your great suggestions and insight into this award!!!
Wow! Clearly I don’t have kids in that age-range! I have only heard of one of the books in the list (The Testing) and I of course know of James Dashner. Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop!
Two of my kids are reading YA now but all the books are new to me! I’m not so well versed in YA but I’m trying to keep up to find books for my two daughters.