I chanced to reconnect, the other day, with the excellent head librarian from my high school days. She’s still there, but she’s retiring at the end of this year — and looking forward to it very much, I might add. During the conversation, it chanced to come up that she still has a fair amount of book budget to spend before she leaves.
Now, when I was a wee bairn in grade nine, I informed her in no uncertain terms that the YA collection she had was… inadequate. I believe my exact words were “after a while, you realise that all YA books are the same”, and I soon moved on to the science fiction and classics sections. In the intervening years, however, I’ve come to realise that there’s lots of really, really good young adult fiction out there, whatever my earlier impressions might have been. And after avoiding said genre like the plague, I am now coming around and highly enjoying most of what I’ve read.
So here’s the thing: I’ve promised her a list of books that she should buy for the library before she goes — a retirement bequeathal, if you will. I want to put together a list of some really kick-butt YA (in any genre), but I need some help.
Here’s the list I’ve come up with off the top of my head, in no particular order:
- An Abundance of Katherines (John Green)
- Looking for Alaska (John Green)
- Paper Towns (John Green)
- The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
- The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)
- Zoe’s Tale (John Scalzi)
- The Amulet of Samarkand (Jonathan Stroud)
- The Golem’s Eye (Jonathan Stroud)
- Ptolemy’s Gate (Jonathan Stroud)
- The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
- The Bromeliad (Terry Pratchett)
- When We Were Romans (Matthew Kneale)
What am I missing? I’m not terribly well-read in terms of YA, and so I will eagerly add your suggestions to the list — leave them in the comments for me, or contact me more directly. I’m going to try to send it to her by the end of the week.
(Note: you’re of course free to suggest other types of books than straight YA — but that’s where I want to concentrate, since I remember the YA collection being particularly uninspiring.)
What’s the best YA being written right now?