The Top 100 YA List: Books 20-1

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 😀

How cool is it that we are now in the final stretch? I bet you are all curious about what tops the list! Well, without further ado, the top 20! 

20. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Blurb: Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell. 
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.

84 Votes — Luna — Released 2004 — Series

19. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Blurb: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

84 Votes — Knopf — Released 2005

18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine
Blurb: At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ve ever read.

85 Votes — Scholastic — Released 1997

17. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Blurb: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever. 

85 Votes — Razorbill — Released 2007 — Series

16. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Blurb: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her…until Patch comes along. 
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

88 Votes — Simon & Schuster — Released 2009 — Series

15. Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott
Blurb: Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters–Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth– and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.

88 Votes — Public Domain — 1868

14. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
Blurb: When Marilla Cuthbert’s brother, Matthew, returns home to Green Gables with a chatty redheaded orphan girl, Marilla exclaims, “But we asked for a boy. We have no use for a girl.” It’s not long, though, before the Cuthberts can’t imagine how they could ever do without young Anne of Green Gables–but not for the original reasons they sought an orphan. Somewhere between the time Anne “confesses” to losing Marilla’s amethyst pin (which she never took) in hopes of being allowed to go to a picnic, and when Anne accidentally dyes her hated carrot-red hair green, Marilla says to Matthew, “One thing’s for certain, no house that Anne’s in will ever be dull.” And no book that she’s in will be, either. 

90 Votes — Public Domain — Released 1908 — Series

13. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Blurb: In the “ideal” world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children’s adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community’s Elders. 
This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are “released”–to great celebration–at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also “released,” but with no fanfare.

Lowry’s development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community’s citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonas begins training for his job assignment–the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory–he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society’s collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world. 

92 Votes — Delacorte — Released 1993 — Trilogy

12. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Blurb: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? 

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…. 

93 Votes — McElderry — Released 2005 — Series

11. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Blurb: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human … until the cold makes him shift back again. 
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

97 Votes — Scholastic — Released 2009 — Series

10. Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Blurb: The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope

99 Votes — Harper Collins — Released 1950 — Series

9. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle 
Blurb: Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time.

Young people who have trouble finding their place in the world will connect with the “misfit” characters in this provocative story. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep into their characters to find answers.

100 Votes — Yearling — Released 1962 — Series

8. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Blurb: In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

106 Votes — Harcourt — Released 2008 — Series

7. Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan
Blurb: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. 
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

108 Votes — Miramax — Released 2001 — Series

6. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan
Blurb: It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City;and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date. 
This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be;and where the next great band is playing. 

109 Votes — Knopf — Released 2006

5. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
Blurb: Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible, incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an insufferable goody-goody, but the truth is she’s a completely hip character, who if provoked is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her exceptionally sharp — but always polite — 18th century wit. The point is, you spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hook up?

121 Votes — Public Domain — Released 1813

4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Blurb: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

124 Votes — Grand Central Publishing — Released 1972

3. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Blurb: Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife—between desire and danger. Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

134 Votes — Little, Brown — Released 2005 — Series

2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Blurb: Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. 
All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley–a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.
But all of that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry–and anyone who reads about him–will find unforgettable.
For it’s there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him…if Harry can survive the encounter.

235 Votes — Scholastic — Released 1997 — Series

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Blurb:Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

299 Votes — Scholastic — Released 2008 — Trilogy

Wow! This was quite an amazing list. I will post the entire list tonight, without blurbs for a quick reference for you list-junkies out there. I will post the winner for helping me get the word out as well. Also, I do plan on doing a follow-up post with some thoughts about the books, what I would have liked to see, and my experience with the whole thing. 

I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to sound off on whether you think some books deserve their place or not, just do it in a respectful manner. Remember, we aren’t here to hate, but to celebrate some fantastic books!
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Didn't expect Hunger Games to top the list! Maybe the series will set a new trend in YA.

  2. Kailia Sage says

    I'm honestly very glad Harry Potter came in 2nd and not Twilight saga!

  3. Kathleen says

    The Book Thief is one of my all time favorites so I am happy to see it in the top 20!

  4. I just love so many of these! I'm new to your blog btw. Found you through the hop, and I'm following. 🙂

  5. Just bouncing through on the hop. Here's ME.

  6. Priya Parmar says

    i found you through the blog hop. that is a fantastic list! i am so happy the harper lee and austen made it in there!

  7. A Bookshelf Monstrosity says

    Kinda surprised that Austen was in the top 5 YA books of all time. Did that many of us read and love Austen as teens? Do that many teens currently read and love Austen? Curious…

  8. reederreads says

    Hush Hush has such a fabulous cover!!! 🙂

  9. Raspberry says

    The problem with this list is that it's a voting of what's popular right this second. In 10 or 20 years will Hush Hush still be popular? Probably not. I would have voted for The Witch of Blackbird Pond or The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, both books I've read over and over and still enjoy many years later.
    Ok, this totally sounds like I'm a snot, but I was just curious how this list would compare with one in say 20 years. So keep blogging and I'll see you in 2030? 🙂

  10. WilowRaven says

    Awesome! Great work April 🙂

    I have to say, I'm very happy Harry Potter beat out Twilight.

    What a jump in numbers too from Twilight at 134 and Harry at 235!

    I do too also wonder how a list such as this will stand the test of time. I mean, some of the top 100 as of today are pretty old but some are brand new. Guess you'll just have to make a list every year for the next 20 or 30 or so years. Just kidding! (sort of 🙂

  11. The HUNGER GAMES as number 1?!? I mean, it was great, but number 1?!? And how did the Giver outdo the OUtsiders. I'm so confused. I think the top 20 are my least favorite from the list. The ones I've read are great, but. . .not top 20 material.
    Well, a Wrinkle in Time and Pride and Prejudice (is that YA?) can stay. . .
    Thanks for this great list!

  12. I'm so glad Twilight was not number one. And the Hunger Games trilogy is one of my current faves. They are such awesome books!!


  1. […] Wow, so excited to post this in it’s entirety. If you want more in-depth information on the books, I have linked them to their goodreads page on previous posts where I have broken down the list in groups of 20, so each book would have it’s own little blurb. Here are links to each post 100-81; 80-61; 60-41; 40-21; 20-1. […]