Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ya ya ya (part 2)

And now for the rousing conclusion to the most amazing YA novels according to Persnickety Snark.

51- Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

52- Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

53- The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper

54- Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

55- Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta

56- Second Helpings - Megan McCafferty

57- Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

58- Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer. WHEW! That was a long dry spell right there. Eclipse I don't like for all the reasons I don't like Twilight. That being said - I read them and I got through them without needing to actually throw the book across the wall, but man - do I hate most of those characters.

59- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan. I don't think I knew this was a book - but I am curious as I had no desire to see the movie.

60- Fire - Kristin Cashore. I have heard these are okay, but there has been a huge outpouring of fantasy/sci-fi output in the past few years, and I can't really keep track.

61- The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier. I honestly had never heard of this book - but reading the Amazon blurb makes me want to read it really badly. I'll be looking for it at used book stores.

62- Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block

63- The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank. This is kind of like a freebie. What YA book list isn't going to have this? Of course its amazing and a life altering read, but I think I was far more moved by Night by Elie Wiesel. Two totally different stories, yes, but its a personal preference.

64- Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta

65- How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

66- City of Glass - Cassandra Clare

67- Keeping the Moon - Sarah Dessen

68- Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer. Is this the last book? I think so - which means its my least favorite. As I get further and further down this list I am starting to call shenanigans a little bit because there are a bunch of books that I think are missing and that I would happily replace all of these Twilight books with. That's the problem with living in a democracy I guess.

69- Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison

70- If I Stay - Gayle Forman. This sounds good. Like The Lovely Bones but better.

71- The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

72- Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson

73- Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast - Robin McKinley

74- The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley. Back-to-back books is pretty cool.

75- Feed - M.T. Anderson

76- The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares. I love me some pants. I've only probably gotten through like half of one of these books before having to put it down and focus on something else. But I am a big fan of the pants.

77- Go Ask Alice - Anonymous. This book scared the CRAP out of me. If drug awareness classes in high school were just reading this book and no lecturing, I probably would have tried way fewer drugs. Forget D.a.r.e. (do we still do that)? And make all kids (especially girls) read this.

78- Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr

79- Lord of the Flies - William Golding. This is a 9th grade staple I'm pretty sure. I liked it much more than A Separate Peace anyway - if I'm going to read a book about boys going through adolescence - I would much rather it be set in the jungle.

80- Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen. Finally! Ms. Dessen is the IT girl on this list and this is the only book of her's I've read. I was forced to read it because I did not bring enough reading material to Europe so Bear and I had to trade books and she got Lahiri's The Namesake and I was stuck with this (and a book that was even worse). This is easily my least favorite kind of young adult fiction. Its the equivalent of Chick lit for teens and it is okay sometimes, but it doesn't really require much brain power. Its the Baby-Sitters Club of this generation and if any of Dessen's other books are this melodramatic I am going to have to pass, even though she is totally at the popular girl's lunch table.

81- The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

82- Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson. I think? I read this, but I am not totally remembering what went down. The wikipedia blurb sounds very familiar, but it did not resonate like other books from my childhood.

83- The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

84- Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder

85- Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead

86- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi. This is one of my go-to bedtime books when I am at my Mom's house. It's so good and very comforting.

87- An Abundance of Katherines - John Green

88- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon. Is this really billed as a YA book? Because I think everyone should read it. Everyone in the whole world. My contact with autism was very limited before I had read this book and I think that as I have met more children with autism it has helped me understand how their brains work (naturally, all children are different and this is obviously a very specialized case, but it is so interesting). If you ever plan to talk to or see a child - read it.

89- A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L'Engle. Really? This is the L'Engle book that people picked?? I have not read it, but I have read a whole bunch of her books and the fact that I don't think I've even heard about this makes me think maybe it wasn't the best choice. The blurb makes it sound interesting enough but it is no Wrinkle in Time.

90- Glass Houses - Rachel Caine. Eeee-Nough with the Vampires. Sheesh.

91- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party - M.T. Anderson

92- Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech. Did I read this? I feel like I was supposed to at one point or another, but I can't remember. Twelve was a long time ago.

93- Whale Talk - Chris Crutcher

94- Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles

95- Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

96- The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks

97- Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

98. Hatchet - Gary Paulsen

99- The Pigman - Paul Zindel

100. The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley

So the second half of this list, over all was way anticlimactic for me (probably should have thought of that before I started this dumb little project, Dur). But I think what amazes me are not necessarily the books that are included, but the books that are excluded. I wonder if maybe it's because I am approximately 1,000-years old. But the books that helped shaped my young adult years are nowhere to be found on this list. Books like:

Calico Captive

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Wise Child (and Juniper)

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (and Black Hearts in Battersea)

The Giver

...there are more but those are the first ones to come to mind, the books that I remember in their entirety and that made we want to write.

Most of the books I just listed are at least 20 or 30 years old, but so are many of the books on the top 100 - I think that maybe it has a lot to do with the influence of my Mother, who gave me the books that shaped her childhood with the belief that they would also affect mine. And she was right.

There are some other nit-picky things I have with picking one book over another of a particular author (seriously, Alanna: The First Adventure is probably the most boring book in all of the Tortall books. Wild Magic is SO better...).

I hope that the reason the books that made this list made the list because a lot of the voters/nominators are young adults right now, and these are the books that excite them. I would hope that librarians/teachers/parents have not given up on the books of their generation for vampires and mopey girls.

Anyway - I am jazzed about Persnickety Snark and can't wait to read more of their stuff. I hope that if they do this poll next year, it can be a return to more vintage stuff.


little_stranger said...

Hi Rachel,
I wanted to email this rather than blather in your comments section, but since I couldn’t find an email address anywhere, here will suffice.

Firstly, thanks for posting on the Top 100 poll and your views on quite a number of the top books.

I was involved in tallying the votes for the poll. At least 2-3 books that you were surprised to see excluded, were left out not because of lack of popularity, but they may not have been considered strictly YA. Of course, it is a subjective decision as to what is YA (it wasn’t my decision).

Re: the prominence of Alanna: The First Adventure, as opposed to other Tamora Pierce books. I can only guess here, but I think this book was seen as emblematic of the Song of the Lioness, perhaps analogous to the way Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone attracted the most votes of that series. With few exceptions, first books in series tended to attract the most votes.

While the poll didn’t ask for the age of voters, looking over the self-descriptions, I suspect the majority of voters were adults rather than teenagers. As time goes on, it might be that more “vintage” books may establish themselves in the rankings, and the poll will become less prone to current fads.

Adele intends to run the poll next year, so please keep an eye out and vote again. Make your voice heard, especially about more “vintage stuff” :). Thanks for your thoughts.

that mckim girl said...

If I Stay is not as good as the lovely bones. I read it last night. Nick and Norah’s infinite playlist is amazing. I really want to read Wintergirls. I love Robin McKinley, but her two beauty retellings are my least favorite, so there better be some of her other stuff on here…My librarian recommends Feed but I haven’t read it yet. Have you not read any of the Wicked Lovely series? It is interesting because uses this fairy world to deal with some pretty serious teen issues. I have never read Dessen, but she is all over the YA section at Target. The Knife of Never Letting Go is awesome. As is Charlotte Doyle, obvi. They read Curious Incident of the Dog in school. At least one of my sisters did. I never have. A Ring of Endless Night is my favorite L’engle book. And then maybe Many Water, because, hello? all books need more Sandy and Dennys. The Hero and the Crown is better than the beauty McKinley book. Now on to part one of the list…

She's pint-sized and amazing.