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Top 10s: Books I would have like to have seen on the NPR list

Yesterday we talked about the 100 Best Young Adult Books list put together by NPR.  Today, I am going to share with you 10 books that I would have liked to have seen on the list and why.

Click here to see the Top 100 Young Adult Books on the NPR list
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
I mentioned it in my post yesterday, but I think this title should have been on the list.  First, it was a Printz Award winning book (2000).  Second, it helped usher in the trend that introduces teens to alternate style formats.  In this case, Monster is written as a movie manuscript.  Then, of course, you have the fact that this is an important multicultural title by a major, long standing, award winning author.  So major that Walter Dean Myers is this year’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
For me, it is hard to imagine any best of YA list without the presence of Chris Crutcher.  He writes authentic teen fiction.  The problem is, which title to choose?  For me it is a toss up between Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and Whale Talk.  At the end of the day, I guess I am going to choose Whale Talk because it talks about major themes, such as bullying and prejudice, and does it with a touch of humor.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game has been a hands down teen favorite in the science fiction genre for years.  Teens still come in and ask for it by name.  Fantasy is definitely over represented in the list, so let’s give Science Fiction its due.  Plus, it is supposedly coming to a movie theater near you next year and it should rejuvenate some interest in this title.
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
I could also live with Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.  Either way, there needs to be a few more historical fiction titles and A Northern Light is a Printz Honor Book (2004).
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King
Honestly, I really just want to see A. S. King on the list.  I could live with Please Ignore Vera Dietz or Everybody Sees the Ants.  But in truth, I see Ask the Passengers as being on a future list.  Just pick an A. S. King title and go with it.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Boy Meets Boy was being bold and courageous and speaking out about the life of GLBT teens before most authors were.  It opened the door for so many to share their stories.  It has touched lives and changed minds.
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
This title is covering so much that is missing on the list: It is a great multicultural title, it is a problem novel, it discusses the topic of teen parenting, and it is the 2004 Printz Award Winner.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Here we see the popular graphic novel format represented.  In addition, this 2007 Printz Award Winner helps bring more cultural diversity to the list, which is greatly needed.  Other GNs that could certainly find themselves on the list include Maus, Bone and Blankets.
The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klaus
Before vampires sparkled or went to the academy, they haunted a young girl named Zoe whose mother was dying of cancer.  This is an award winning vampire novel that encompasses everything that is wonderful about ya lit and still connects with readers today.
Holes by Lois Sachar
Okay, one could argue that this novel is really more of a MG novel.  But it is brilliant and funny, and funny is definitely a category that is under-represented on the list. 
I’m going to cheat here and add an #11 and #12
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Why am I willing to cheat for this series?  1) One can not deny the popularity of zombies, and dystopian fiction, these last few years in teen fiction. 2) This is a really well written addition to the genre. And 3) It gives us another multicultural title – the main characters are Japanese – to add to our list.

BZRK by Michael Grant
Why this title?  Like Walter Dean Myers ushering in the alternate writing style with Monster, Michael Grant introduces readers to another new reading trend with transmedia.  With BZRK, Grant combines traditional books with teens interest in the online world.  Plus, it’s another great science fiction title that taps into current trends and themes.  And you can’t deny Grant’s long standing contribution to MG and YA literature.  If I was going to add one more Science Fiction title to the list, I would probably add the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire – but I should probably stop cheating now.

So, what titles do you want to add to the list?  What do you think of my additions?


  1. I think Ender's Game was disqualified because of the violence… or something stupid like that.

  2. I'm so surprised that Holes or Monster didn't make that list.

  3. But wasn't Lord of the Flies on the list? That is definitely violent. I know it is vogue right now to dislike Orson Scott Card for his personal stance against homosexuality (should I say alleged to cover myself?) – but I can't deny the popularity, quality and long range impact of this title. But thanks for the insight, that is certainly interesting of true.

  4. I love that Holes is both funny and yet requires readers to pay attention and put the pieces together. And Monster – well, yeah, it should just be there (Karen said while trying to not squee because you read and commented on my blog.)

  5. So I decided we should make our own list at our library, and not limit ourselves to 100 titles 🙂 We did choose to include several of your picks, too–

    Chris Crutcher- Check, though we went with Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
    Ender's Game- Check
    A Northern Light- Check
    A.S. King- Check, though we went with the “surprise” pick, the under-appreciated “Dust of 100 Dogs.” And we may add a second title next year 🙂

    We also went w/ the “other” Klause book, and “Holes” was voted down as being too young (but it's definitely going on the Tween list I'm putting together soon). Graphic novels are sorely underrepresented on our list, and I'll have to rectify that next year (I hate to admit it, but American Born Chinese isn't a favorite of mine). BZRK, The First Part Last, and Boy Meets Boy are still all on my to-read list. Again, maybe next year.

    You can get the full list (and printable PDF) on our website: http://www.bcplib.org/Teens/teens.html

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