Young Adult Fiction! discussion

The Library-(book suggestions) > Any new YA recomendations?

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message 1: by Jazlyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Jazlyn | 3 comments I haven't read a good YA book in SO long. It's been months since I actually read a book cover to cover and or really enjoyed something.

I like fantasy, horror and mystery. Like Avi, William Sleator, R.L. Stine or Peter Abrahams type authors. Or even some funny chick-lit.

Nothing to over the top. It doesn't matter if it's cliche or just a light read. Preferably something recent/up-to-date. I just want a good long novel(I'll take short stories too) that I can get into and really enjoy.


message 2: by Alexandra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Alexandra Here are two I recently read and really enjoyed:

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

I also suggest Stardust by Neil Gaiman

message 3: by Meaghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Meaghan (meggilyweggily) | 11 comments One of my favorite YA books, which came out last year, is Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.

message 4: by J-Lynn Van Pelt (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 25 comments Mod
Maximum Ride Series (fantasy) by James Patterson and the Alex Rider Series (Realistic Science Fiction) by Anthony Horowitz are both good adventurous escapes.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is hilarious! He is very popular right now after his Looking ofr Alaska won the Printz Award (much heavier than Katherines).

Beka Cooper: Terrier is Tamora Pierce's latest and a lot of critics are saying her best. I haven't read it yet, but she is the queen of YA fantasy and can do no wrong in my opinion.

Sharon Draper's Copper Sun (Historical Fiction) is intense--I couldn't put it down and feel smarter for having read it.

It is not as recent as the others, but for Chick Lit I would recommend Estrella's Quincinera by Malin Alegria. And of course, anything by Meg Cabot--she is awesome!

message 5: by J-Lynn Van Pelt (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 25 comments Mod
Oh--and for Supernatural/Horror--everyone is reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer!

message 6: by Beckie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Beckie | 12 comments I adored the BOOK THIEF too.

message 7: by amber (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

amber | 2 comments have you tried scott westerfeld's uglies trilogy? those are very good if you like sci-fi/action. blood and chocolate is an excellent ya horror book. it was written several years ago but doesn't come off as dated when you read it.

message 8: by Jazlyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Jazlyn | 3 comments Hey thanks guys! :D

I tried the Twilight, and I just can't get into it lol

The Maximum Ride and Alex Rider series are on my Christmas Wish List, so I'm gonna check those out lol I like James Patterson and Anthony Horowitz.

I don't want anything TOO heavy lol A lot of the books I've read lately have been depressing so I'm looking for something a little lighter.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! :D

message 9: by Boyd (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Boyd | 17 comments I'll also recommend The Book Thief.

Another good one, if you like music, is Lemonade Mouth: high school misfits form a band and start a revolution at their school.

Terry Trueman recently came and talked at our school, and my students absolutely love all of his work, especially Inside Out, Stuck in Neutral, and Cruise Control.

If you like your YA fiction with a little edge to it (more suitable for high school), I'd recommend Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. King Dork by Frank Portman is another good one that is pretty edgy.

message 10: by Kaza (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Kaza | 4 comments Oooh... I have The Book Thief at home, can't wait to get into it as soon as I finish Book 3 of my Erec Rex series (which fits the bill here...!)

I'll also recommend Jordan' Sonnenblick's Notes from the Midnight Driver - very good.

Kaza Kingsley
Author of the Erec Rex series

message 11: by Connie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Connie (readermeetsbook) I recommend Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty.

message 12: by Alexandra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Alexandra I loved "The Book Thief".

message 13: by Jazlyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Jazlyn | 3 comments Thanks everyone! I'll check some of these out!

message 14: by Cat (new)

Cat | 5 comments When they dragged me kicking and screaming back into the YA business, one way they convinced me there was good, new YA being published was they gave me The Book Thief to read.

Another book that Knopf sent that I loved was Quicksilver by Stephanie Spinner. It's told from Mercury's point of view, and it had me laughing out loud.

Also, I love all of Nancy Werlin's books.

Cat Bauer

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) THE BOOK THIEF!! I love that book. My entire book club ate it up.

Also, try out Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.

message 16: by bjneary (new)

bjneary | 36 comments I will certainly try the Erec Rex series - I am a librarian for gr 10-12 (will students this age like this?) and I enjoy fantasy. We don't do much booktalking to reluctant readers about fantasy because the thickness of the books scares them off. But I have many students who approach me about fantasy books & I'd love to recommend yours... Now where is your book list under youth, teen etc? Thanks

message 17: by Todd (new)

Todd (dannychamp) | 4 comments Also thought Book Thief was incredible. I met Markus Zusak when he spoke at a high school when the Book Thief first came out. I asked him if he knew he had a winner right away and he said in spite of the fact that he revised the first few chapters 100s of times (!) he always knew this was going to be a great book, a better book than the others he's written (has anyone read them here??).
I'll also chime in on A Great and Terrible Beauty, which, although very different in subject, shares a certain dream-like feel (I think!).
What's the Erec Rex series?

message 18: by Kaza (new)

Kaza | 4 comments Hey, that's great! There are teens and adults really into the series. I am writing the series for adults to enjoy, yet using simple enough wording and phrases for kids to pick up. Barnes and Noble has it in their Teen section, Borders has it in Children's, with Inkheart, etc.

I'd love to hear what you think of it!
Kaza :}

message 19: by Trina (new)

Trina (trieb) | 7 comments This is a little older, but I just finished reading a series of mysteries by Dorothy Hoobler about a boy who wants to become a samurai and winds up assisting Judge Ooka, who is a real person known as Japan's Sherlock Holmes.

I also got a big giant kick out of Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians, which I picked up because of the title.

message 20: by bjneary (new)

bjneary | 36 comments I have read all of his books and I read the Book Thief last. From his lst book, Fighting Reuben Wolf, I was a Markus Zusak fan. He has a way of writing that makes his main characters irresistible, they speak to me with their feelings, insecurities, longings, etc. Getting the Girl still follows Cameron and Reuben Wolf. The next book, I am the Messenger was totally awesome, love his dog and friends, a must read. So yeah I love all his books, but The Book Thief was very very special.

message 21: by bjneary (new)

bjneary | 36 comments I will read it in the New Year and get back to you!

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

message 23: by Jen (new)

Jen Ifer's Inklings (only4lightn) My daughter is reading a new series by Lynne Ewing. It is the Daughters of the Moon series. I have not yet read any of them, but she is enjoying them. She devours a book a week, at least.

She said it was along the same lines of Harry Potter- the fantasy/ sci-fi type genre.

message 24: by Kay (last edited Jan 25, 2008 02:13PM) (new)

Kay (bukwyrm) I work in the children's section of a bookstore which is where the YA bks are shelved. I am reading, "13 Reasons Why" by Jay Asher. It is about a girl who before she commits suicide mails a package of audio tapes to 13 people who she feels were key in her decision. The story is from one of those young teens perspective. Very original story line. Emotionally intense and well written.

message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 16 comments That sounds really interesting -- I'm going to put it on my to-read list.

message 26: by Ken (new)

Ken I don't know. Suicide, as a topic, depresses me. So I ask myself, "Is this how I want to spend my leisurely reading, as if it (leisurely reading, I mean) is some infinite coin of the realm?"

message 27: by Alexandra (last edited Jan 25, 2008 04:58PM) (new)

Alexandra You're comment made me chuckle at myself, Newengland, as I tend to avoid realistic fiction. I get enough reality in real life, I usually read to get away from reality. Probably why I tend to gravitate towards fantasy. Anything "realistic" I read tends to be either historical, or crime drama. Family issues and personal angst - I read to get away from that stuff :)

I've heard about 13 Reasons Why, and it very well may be a good book, maybe even insightful, touching, inspire thinking things through. I'm all for teens reading things that make them think, and do some intraspection. And teen suicide certianly is a very real problem.

Heck I might even like it if I read it. But I probably won't. I'm not knocking anyone who likes it, or this kind of story.

"Leisure reading" may not be a spendable commondity, but leisure reading time certianly is.

message 28: by Boyd (new)

Boyd | 17 comments The discussion on 13 Reasons Why brings up an interesting issue that I encounter with my students. It seems that humans, but teens especially, are attracted to the base and sensational aspects of life.

I could try to sell a wonderful book like the Book Thief to a 17 year old reluctant reader for days without success, but if I throw something like Cut, Speak, Wasted, or Crank in front of the same person, he or she is all over it. On one hand, I'm just happy that the reluctant reader is reading. On the other, I hate constantly pandering to the darker side of teen life in order to get them to read.

message 29: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 6 comments Boyd, The Book Thief's topic is about as dark as one can get, isn't it? :) Love that book, and I think I know what you mean, though, about teens looking for the darker side of life. But as a YA author, I think one reason why teens look for that darkness is to find somebody whose life is worse than theirs. There is comfort in that. And dark YA is also attractive because it's new to teens. Not a new genre -- just new to them as they become teens. By the time we're adults, we get sort of tired of the constant darkness and start looking for more upbeat books. Right?

But if you have teens reading Crank, think of it -- they're reading poetry, how wonderful! Most teens get to college English and groan -- ewww, poetry. But if they've read CRANK or other Ellen Hopkins books, they'll be all, Wooo hooo! I like poetry! :)

I've been following this thread for a few weeks. It's great! Lots of great discussion and good ideas.

If anybody's interested in a new paranormal about a girl who gets sucked into other people's dreams, my YA novel WAKE hits bookstores everywhere March 4.


message 30: by Boyd (new)

Boyd | 17 comments Lisa,

The Book Thief might have been a bad example. It's certainly dark, but its not sensational in the same way as the other books I mentioned. It just feels weird as a teacher, because we spend so much time in public schools telling kids not to do drugs, not to have sex, not to engage in risky behavior. All the while I know that the easiest way for me to sell a book during a book talk is to mention something like, "This book does bad language, drugs, and sex in it, so if you're offended by that sort of stuff, you probably shouldn't read it." That book will fly off my shelves.

message 31: by Ken (last edited Jan 26, 2008 07:47AM) (new)

Ken Boyd -- I got a laugh out of it when you said this:

All the while I know that the easiest way for me to sell a book during a book talk is to mention something like, "This book does bad language, drugs, and sex in it, so if you're offended by that sort of stuff, you probably shouldn't read it." That book will fly off my shelves.

When I taught high school (I now teach 8th grade), I had to teach The Catcher in the Rye, a book I cherished as a teen. Imagine my shock when 80% of my students loathed the book and said that Holden C. was nothing but a big whiner. Ouch.

So the following year, I led into Salinger's book with a lesson on banned books (which stirred outrage and, in the case of Harry Potter books, amusement). Then I told them that the book they were about to read (my cherished book -- which I wisely kept to myself) had been banned in many, MANY schools due to profanity, sexual themes, smoking, drinking, and overall bad morals. The kids THAT year ate it up, and the consensus was completely the other way (80% sympathetic to the book).

The moral of the story? Teens like underdogs, picked on books, etc., because they so often play the role themselves. Trumpet a book as a classic, as a winner, as the best thing since sliced bagels, and you've half lost them at the gate.

Who SAYS teaching isn't marketing (as well as acting, counseling, entertaining, and spinning)?

message 32: by Karen (new)

Karen Larklight and Starcross by Philip Reeve are fun fantasy reads.

message 33: by Boyd (last edited Jan 26, 2008 08:44AM) (new)

Boyd | 17 comments Newengland,

You really must read King Dork by Frank Portman, if you haven't already. The Catcher in the Rye is like another character in the book.


Actually, I just saw that you'd read it when I looked up the entry for the book here. Your story about teaching Catcher just brought to mind this passage from the book:
"I should mention that Catcher in the Rye is this book from the fifties. It is every teacher's favorite book. The main guy is a kind of misfit kid superhero named Holden Caulfield. For teacher he is the ultimate guy, a real dream boat. They love him to pieces. They all want to have sex with him and with the book's author, too, and they'd probably even try to do it with the book itself if they could figure out a way to go about it. It changed their lives when they were young. As kids, they carried it with them everywhere they went. They solemnly resolved that, when they grew up, they would dedicate their lives to spreading The Word."

message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken Boyd -- Yep. Remember that excerpt well. Of course, at the end of the book, we discover that King Dork author himself is a Salinger fan. OK, a closet Salinger fan who used bashing The Catcher as a clever gimmick to draft on Salinger's still-present success. Clever is right! I gave him 4 stars, I think.

Janis -- I actually like realism better than fantasy, and I don't mind rough stuff, either. But suicide is painful (M*A*S*H notwithstanding), and while I can see a therapeutic role for a suicide YA book (done correctly), I don't need it myself. The last one I read was Fran Arrick's Tunnel Vision (and that's going back a ways).

message 35: by Alexandra (last edited Jan 26, 2008 01:23PM) (new)

Alexandra Boyd, do you think when a teacher suggests a good book there's often an automatic assumption they mean it's "good literature" and so further assumed to be boring? I was a kid who read like breathing, didn't have a problem with "clean" books, and even I would have been suspicious of any book a teacher would have recommended to me. After all, whatever I had to read for class I hated (probably unfair to my teachers, doubtful they were responsible for the options). If a teacher had recommeded something to me I probably would have avoided it, unless it was also recommended by someone else who's taste I trusted. Librarians would have had better credibility with me.

I would think part of the struggle for teachers would be in showing the students they really can recommend some books that they will like, as opposed to books that are merely "good for them".

I do wish some teacher along the line had told me To Kill A Mockingbird didn't contain any killing of birds (though I would have needed to be warned about the rabid dog scene, and that possibly would have been enough to still keep me from reading it). I had heard over and over it was good, but the title threw me off. I avoided books where animals were killed like the plague. (I'm still mad I was forced to watch "The Red Pony" in Jr. High.) I never read it as a teen, did catch the movie at some point and loved it. Finally read the book just last year. I think I would have loved it as a teen.

You make a good point though, that many teens are dawn to base and sensational stories. It is tough on the one hand to want to steer them towards good books with better subject matter (or less explicit writing), but also just being glad they are reading something.

Newengland, I here ya. Different strokes. Your comment just made me chuckle at myself :) Suicide certainly is a difficult subject, even within realistic fiction. I'd rather read a good serial killer story.

message 36: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (engl-teach-524) I agree 100% with The Book Thief being a favorite! I loved every page of it, and even recommended it to a student! Great book!

message 37: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (engl-teach-524) Janis, I had to laugh at your comment about wishing a teacher had told you that To Kill a Mockingbird had nothing to do with really killing birds! It's currently a required novel within the curriculum at the high school where I teach. I always preface the unit by telling the students it has absolutely nothing to do with killing birds - while it takes them a few chapters (sometimes the first half of the book) to get into it, I have found that even my most reluctant readers can't put it down once the trial begins.

Aside from teaching the required novels, I do my best to expose my students to more modern literature, and even assign them to read for 20 minutes EVERY night, even if it is reading their blogs online. I enforce the importance of reading anything!!

message 38: by Ken (last edited Jan 27, 2008 04:25AM) (new)

Ken Melissa -- Where do you have your students blog? I see you can do it HERE and I'm itching to dip my toe into the technology, but have yet to take the plunge. How successful has it been for you?

message 39: by Alexandra (last edited Jan 27, 2008 06:25AM) (new)

Alexandra Thanks for your thoughts Melissa. I'm glad you let your students know To Kill A Mockingbird isn't about killing birds. It does seem funny now that I know the story, but it's true. I think many people who are familiar with the story just don't realize how off-putting that title can be. And many people don't think of us sensitive types who won't read tear-jerkers about animals. To this day I've never read Black Beauty, The Yearling, or Old Yeller. There may be a student or two you know of who might appreciate a prior warning about the dog scene too. I would have. It helps that the dog isn't one we get to know, is already sick when we "meet" him, the scene is realively short, as well as important to the plot. I would have done better with it as a teen with prior warning though, and I don't think doing so would give away too much away.

Anyway, To Kill A Mockingbird wasn't a required book in any of my classes, although it may have been listed as one of our options when we were able to choose, I can't remember. But it's one I wish I had been required to read. MUCH better than the books I was required to read.

I'm glad you expose your students to modern reading as well. It's good to require students to read something they're allowed to pick as well. I actually got out of a lot of required reading, because I read so much on my own and was able to get credit for that. The only books I had to read were books we all read as a class. Sadly it was the reluctant readers that got stuck reading more boring stuff, and that just reinforced their opinion of reading. They "learned" reading really was awful. I learned the books I was made to read for class were usually awful. Big diffference. What a gift it is to teach a reluctant reader that reading really can be an enjoyable and interesting thing! I have a 3rd grader I tutor that I am trying to teach reading really can be fun.

I think things have improved a lot in this area since I was in school (many, many years ago!). I'm glad for teachers who care about teaching the appreciation of books and reading, not just exposing kids to books that will hopefully make them think, grow or learn something. And I'm glad to see this awareness in High School, where it's still so needed.

message 40: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 6 comments It just feels weird as a teacher, because we spend so much time in public schools telling kids not to do drugs, not to have sex, not to engage in risky behavior.

Boyd -- I truly hear what you are saying. I think it would be difficult to teach teens these days. Heck, all the censorship of books has gone cuckoo-bananas in the past 25 years. Does anybody remember when there weren't all these "categories" for books? And now we're even splitting YA into two categories -- clean and "edgy" or whatever it's called.

I know you spend a lot of time teaching kids to stay away from drugs, etc. But when I was a teen and I read Go Ask Alice, it didn't make me want to do drugs. When I was a teen and I read Judy Blume's Forever, it didn't make me go out and have sex. And when I read Catcher in the Rye, it didn't make me start swearing.

I think we sell teens short, sometimes. If a book is too much for them, they'll put it down. But just because we teach kids no drugs, sex, or risky behavior, we sometimes jump too far -- we think if they don't know it exists, they won't do it. I think books like CRANK are a great tool -- CRANK shows teens that meth addiction sucks!

Letting teens know about things doesn't mean we're endorsing those things. I think it shows a teen that hey, I'm an adult who is trusting you enough to share a tough book with you, because I think you can handle it.

I don't think we trust teens enough with books these days. As a parent of a teen, and a YA author, that disturbs me.

I wonder, to those of you who teach high school -- do you feel pressure from parents regarding the kinds of books you have in your classroom and the books you recommend?

message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

I teach K-8th grade at a very small charter school and I find it very difficult to recommend books to my junior high students. I want them to enjoy good literature that is out there, however I have this gag over my mouth that the school has put on me. It's as crazy as, "no ghosts, no witches, no language of any kind, and certainly nothing having to do with sex or violence". That crosses out all of the classics :)
I was having a conversation with PJ Haarsma (author of Softwire Rings of Orbis)yesterday and (not to go too far off the subject)we were discussing how as a whole Americans have gotten too politically correct. If we say Merry Christmas, it is not meant to offend, it is just a kind greeting at that time of the year. And we discussed the loss of Halloween in schools, and how we just want the holidays that we grew up celebrating back. We, as a nation are trying to be sensitive to everyone else's beliefs, but at the same time, we are censoring our own. By not allowing kids/teens to explore literature, they are losing knowledge. We need our children to understand the world around them, and if we censor the information that is out there, then I think that we are harming them more.

message 42: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra That certainly is a tough criteria Becca. I can only think of a couple YA books that would meet it. Even the few "clean" and non-sorcery books I know of have some violence, in fights with villians.

message 43: by Ken (new)

Ken I've yet to have a single book in my classroom library challenged by an 8th grade parent. Of course, I'm in "liberal" Massachusetts and although I stock books with profanity (hard to avoid... it's like skeeters in June these days), I weed out anything that goes overboard with sexual descriptions, drug-taking episodes (I do have Go Ask Alice, the "not exactly" anonymous diary), or gratuitous violence. Other than that, if it has some redeeming value or gets kids to read, I buy.

Oh. And in the book stores I see more kids than ever in the growing YA sections. These are salad days for YA we are living in. In that sense, the kids are lucky.

And yes, teens are a lot savvier than many adults suspect. Immature, but savvy.

message 44: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (engl-teach-524) Newengland - The blogs I allow my students to read that count for their 20 minutes a night is just whatever blogs they're a part of - most of them are on MySpace or Black Planet. The school where I teach is inner city, and the majority of my students do not have internet access outside of school, so I haven't gotten into the whole internet blogging as a class. However, when I student taught, I delved into some blogging that my supervising teacher worked with on It's really easy to use ... just go to

message 45: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (engl-teach-524) Lisa - I teach in a high school, and I don't feel any pressure from parents; however, a lot of that also comes from the area I teach and what these kids are already exposed to in the streets. The pressure from parents really depends on the district the school is located. I keep my own library of books in my classroom which I bring in after I have read them at home. This way my students never have the excuse that they have finished work early and don't have anything to do!

message 46: by Boyd (last edited Jan 27, 2008 02:52PM) (new)

Boyd | 17 comments I don't have any real issues from parents, either. I tell them that their kids will be reading 25 books of their choice in the school year. I tell them that they'll have access to all the books in my library as well as all the books in the school library. Kids can also buy their own books and borrow books from each other. I let them know that I will not be rating or censoring what their kids read, that it's their responsibility to be aware of what their children are reading and judge the appropriateness of it for their child. I also encourage them to talk about what their kids are reading with their kids and maybe even read some books together. I let them know that reading shared books is a great way for parents and kids to open the discussion on difficult issues.

message 47: by Ken (new)

Ken Melissa -- Do you see advantages to blogspot over, say, Goodreads, for on-line student discussions? I guess it all boils down to what the sites offer -- plus the blogspot page would be its own thing, whereas here the kids could start reading any old topic they want... but is that so bad? I haven't seen much of concern on this site that kids wouldn't be exposed to on most any site.

Boyd -- I'm going for the same thing in my reading initiative: 25 books read independently at home. Many kids love it. Then there are those who say they read, but you wonder. And always, reading is considered secondary to other homework (where more concrete proof of completion must be presented the next day). Parents feel this way, too. Ironic when you consider that a daily reading habit will take these kids farther in ALL subjects than a silly busywork math sheet will (but my English prejudices are leaking out... again).

message 48: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (engl-teach-524) Newengland - the main advantage to using Blogspot over Goodreads for online student discussions, is that on Goodreads I think just about anyone can read and participate in the blogs. Blogspot can be locked down to the specific students in your class. With Blogspot being a little more focused, it might keep the students on track rather than getting side-tracked with another discussion board! I'm fairly new to using Goodreads, so I'm still figuring out everything I can do on here :)

message 49: by Ken (new)

Ken Yeah, I'm still figuring Goodreads, too. In some ways it's frustrating, the way you can't check any but most recent comments you've made to topics and to other people's book reviews.

I'll research blogspot. My goal is to try it this spring with this bunch of kids (a good bunch of kids).

message 50: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I've seen what appear to be some student groups here in groups that have been made private. Don't know if that'd make it better for you here - but it's a thought.

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