The Top 100 YA List: Books 40-21

Hello everyone!
I thought it would be prudent to break the list into sections of 20, to blurb each book a bit, and give the books the attention they deserve. I will post the list in entirety, don’t fear! If you can’t get enough of these lists, I suggest visiting 
Persnickety Snark and giving her your nominations, as she is creating a list as well 😀


To pick up where we left off!

40. Wake by Lisa McMann
Blurb: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime. 

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant…. 

56 Votes — Simon Pulse — Released 2008 — Trilogy

39. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 
Blurb: Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren’t really one thing or the other.
57 Votes — Harper Collins — Released 2008


Blurb: If anyone tried to determine the most common rite of passage for preteen girls in North America, a girl’s first reading of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret would rank near the top of the list. Judy Blume and her character Margaret Simon were the first to say out loud (and in a book even) that it is normal for girls to wonder when they are ever going to fill out their training bras. Puberty is a curious and annoying time. Girls’ bodies begin to do freakish things–or, as in Margaret’s case, they don’t do freakish things nearly as fast as girls wish they would. Adolescents are often so relieved to discover that someone understands their body-angst that they miss one of the book’s deeper explorations: a young person’s relationship with God. Margaret has a very private relationship with God, and it’s only after she moves to New Jersey and hangs out with a new friend that she discovers that it might be weird to talk to God without a priest or a rabbi to mediate. Margaret just wants to fit in! Who is God, and where is He when she needs Him? She begins to look into the cups of her training bra for answers …
58 Votes — Atheneum — Released 1970

Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter’s adolescence has been one long nonevent – no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps,” he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school’s rich preppies. Chip’s best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska’s story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious.
59 Votes — Puffin — Released 2005

36. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Blurb: Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; “It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together…. ‘No wonder it is still,’ Mary whispered. ‘I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'” As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin’s sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden‘s portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate.
62 Votes — Public Domain — Released 1909

35. A Great And Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray
Blurb: A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel. Gemma, 16, has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. 
63 Votes — Simon & Schuster Children’s Books — Released 2003

34. His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Blurb: Some books improve with age–the age of the reader, that is. Such is certainly the case with Philip Pullman’s heroic, at times heart-wrenching novel, The Golden Compass, a story ostensibly for children but one perhaps even better appreciated by adults. The protagonist of this complex fantasy is young Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Oxford University. But it quickly becomes clear that Lyra’s Oxford is not precisely like our own–nor is her world. In The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman has written a masterpiece that transcends genre. It is a children’s book that will appeal to adults, a fantasy novel that will charm even the most hardened realist. Best of all, the author doesn’t speak down to his audience, nor does he pull his punches; there is genuine terror in this book, and heartbreak, betrayal, and loss.
64 Votes — Knopf — Released 1995

33. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Blurb: Charlotte Bronte’s impassioned novel is the love story of Jane Eyre, a plain yet spirited governess, and her arrogant, brooding Mr. Rochester. Published in 1847, under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, the book heralded a new kind of heroine—one whose virtuous integrity, keen intellect and tireless perseverance broke through class barriers to win equal stature with the man she loved. Hailed by William Makepeace Thackeray as “the masterwork of great genius,” Jane Eyre is still regarded, over a century later, as one of the finest novels in English literature.
64 Votes — Public Domain — Released 1815

32. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Blurb: The tragic feud between “Two households, both alike in dignity/In fair Verona”, the Montagues and Capulets, which ultimately kills the two young “star-crossed lovers” and their “death-marked love” creates issues which have fascinated subsequent generations. The play deals with issues of intergenerational and familial conflict, as well as the power of language and the compelling relationship between sex and death, all of which makes it an incredibly modern play. It is also an early example of Shakespeare fusing poetry with dramatic action, as he moves from Romeo’s lyrical account of Juliet–“she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” to the bustle and action of a 16th-century household (the play contains more scenes of ordinary working people than any of Shakespeare’s other works).
64 Votes — Public Domain — Released 1595

31. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Blurb: I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?” Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.  As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel’s dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.
64 Votes — Egmont — Released 2009

30. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Blurb: Wicked Lovely takes place in modern-day Huntsdale, a small city south of Pittsburgh whose name evokes the Wild Hunt of mythology. High school junior Aislinn and her grandmother have followed strict rules all their lives to hide their ability to see faeries because faeries don’t like it when mortals can see them, and faeries can be very cruel. Only the strongest faeries can withstand iron, however, so Aislinn prefers the city with its steel girders and bridges. She takes refuge with Seth, her would-be lover, who lives in a set of old train carriages.
65 Votes — Harper Collins — Released 2006 — Series

Blurb: In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future – between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
66 Votes — Delacorte — Released 2009 — Trilogy

28. Holes by Louis Sacher
Blurb: “If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.” Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be “the largest lake in Texas” is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!” Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine: rising before dawn to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter; learning how to get along with the Lord of the Flies-styled pack of boys in Group D; and fearing the warden, who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character–that in fact the warden is seeking something specific–the plot gets as thick as the irony.
69 Votes — Bloomsbury — Released 1998

27. The Outsiders by SE Hinton
Blurb: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967.
70 Votes — Puffin — Released 1967

26. The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger
Blurb: Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,”If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.” His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
73 Votes — Back Bay Books – Released 1951

25. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Blurb: The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a “good parts version” of “S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure.” Morgenstern’s original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern’s mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the “Classic Tale” nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”
74 Votes — Ballantine — Released 1973

24. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Blurb: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.
74 Votes — Puffin — Released 1999


23. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
Blurb: Written by a young Jewish girl while in hiding with her family from the Nazis during World War II, Frank’s Diary has been dramatized in one form or another in every major language and country around the world.Anne Frank’s diaries have always been among the most moving and eloquent documents of the Holocaust.  Anne emerges as more real, more human, and more vital than ever. If you’ve never read this remarkable autobiography, do so. If you have read it, you owe it to yourself to read it again. 
77 Votes — Bantam — Released 1947

22. Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Blurb: Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The “New Pretties” are then free to play and party, while the younger “Uglies” look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty.
79 Votes — Simon Pulse — Released 2005 — Series

21. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Blurb: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. 


Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

83 Votes — Little Brown — 2009

So what do you think of the fourth batch? Are there any you wouldn’t classify as YA? Why? Any that you are an evangelist for? Any you dislike? Remember, there’s 20 more books left to go as we count down! 

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I actually would have expected Speak and the Libba Bray trilogy to be higher on this list. I've either read or want to read nearly all of these!

  2. Audrey; (AyC) says:

    I agree with Liz, I do wish Speak and Gemma Doyle was higher, along with Catcher in the Rye and The Outsiders. I mean, the Outsiders!

  3. kate.o.d says:

    oh dear, beautiful creatures, really? you want to include it at all? and you really think it is better than the princess bride and the catcher in the rye? really? (oh. and there are others that i wouldn't agree with, but BC particularly)

    and i'm glad you included the secret garden, even though it is more of a childrens book, because it is marvy. i'm impressed you've made a list 100 titles – it's so subjective. are they your personal favourites in order, or are you judging them objectively and what they have offered to the genre?

  4. brizmus says:

    once again, such amazing books! Although I didn't like Wicked Lovely at all. And what is the Outsiders doing so low down in the numbers? Like the other Audrey said, it's the Outsiders!

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