Sunday, July 14, 2013

15 Must-Read Teen Books: 2013 Update

Just about a year ago, I gathered a list of the top 15 must-read teen books (that can be found in the teen section in a bookstore). At the time, I thought it was a pretty solid (though slightly subjective) list. Recently, I took a look back and decided I would change a few things. (That happens with time.) So here’s my 2013 update, with many repeats, but with some new (though not necessarily newly published) and awesome teen books!

All Unquiet Things: Anna Jarzab (new)
Truthfully, this should have been on last year's list. All Unquiet Things is murder mystery set in California. It’s intelligent, intriguing and profound not to mention one of the best teen books I read in 2010. Jarzab's debut continues to impress me, as well as her follow-up works The Opposite of Hallelujah and Tandem.

Boy Meets Boy: David Levithan (new)
This is an expertly crafted book about a boy who loves another boy and the crazy unique high school that they attend. Its ground-breaking impact continues to be felt throughout the YA genre, especially as it’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  

Divergent: Veronica Roth (new)
When Tris Pryor chooses to leave her family behind for the danger of the Dauntless, she has no idea the hard work, controversy and ultimately the consequences and heartbreak that will come. Roth creates a magnificent dystopian tale where Tris, Four and others are not only in the midst of the action, they are the action.

Eleanor & Park: Rainbow Rowell (new)
The relationship of Eleanor and Park is not only moving, but makes for an astounding and unputdownable read. It's ground-breaking in its realness, and their love is relatable in its imperfection. This is the only book on my list published in 2013, and it's quickly becoming a headliner of YA.

Ender’s Game: Orson Scott Card
Ender's tale is not only a teen mainstay but a science fiction classic as well. With the story soon to grace the big screen, the popularity (and controversy) will surely increase in the coming months.

Graceling: Kristin Cashore
This is Cashore's debut novel, and a repeat on this list. Katsa is a strong, Graced but flawed girl struggling to break from her uncle's control. Her world is medieval fantasy, and the story is definitely worth the read. Katsa appears in the sequel Bitterblue and briefly in the companion Fire.

Heist Society: Ally Carter
Kat Bishop is from a family of thieves but strives to use her skills for good, which equals an intriguing yet mischievous female Robin Hood. Carter writes light-hearted teen novels that are fun yet entrancing reads. Heist Society is the first in her second series, and is a repeat from last year on this list.

If I Stay: Gayle Forman
Mia is in a coma after a devastating car accident that took the lives of her family. In an out-of-body experience, she relives past events and watches her friends and family gather around her. Will she join her family on the other side, or wake to the everyday struggle that is life? This is a profound, moving YA book about the importance of choices and the will to fight. This is its second year on this list.

Levithan: Scott Westerfeld
Westerfeld writes an alternate version of WWI in a story that pits the Darwinists (British, French) and their living creatures against the Clankers (Austro-Hungarians, Germans) and their war machines. Imaginative, full of action with sprinkles of history, this tale is not only a repeat on this list, but on the forefront of YA steampunk.

Shadow & Bone: Leigh Bardugo (new)
When Alina, a lowly mapmaker in the nation of Ravka, discovers an ancient and terrifying power, she's whisked away by the mysterious yet alluring Darking. Bardugo crafts an intriguing, new tale with hints of Russian legend and lore. I devoured this debut as well as its sequel Siege & Storm and am anxiously awaiting the third and final in this must-read trilogy.

The Book Thief: Marcus Zusak
This historical fiction novel has quickly become a modern classic, and is a repeat on this list. Narrated by Death during the Holocaust, the story follows Liesel and her life in Nazi Germany. This is a fascinating, powerful tale and a new take on this time in history.

The Fault in Our Stars: John Green (new)
Hazel and Augustus’ story caused my heart to break and to leap with joy (though not at the same time). Admittedly, I took my time picking this one up, which is why it's not a repeat this year but a new addition. It will surely be a bestseller, must-read and feat of YA fiction for years to come.

The Giver: Lois Lowry
A classic dystopian novel, this is a quick, intriguing read that leaves the reader thinking. A precursor to today's dystopian sub-genre and a repeat on this list, Lowry created a classic in her telling of Jonas and his seemingly perfect world. Son, the last in the Giver quartet, was released just last year.

The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games will likely be immortalized as the poster-child for YA dystopia. In a televised fight to the death in a futuristic world where the U.S. has fallen and the Capitol controls twelve districts in a grueling manner, one girl starts a revolution. With the movie sequel to be released this November, if you haven't heard of the awesomeness of this trilogy, then I don't know where you've been hiding.

Thirteen Reasons Why: Jay Asher
This thought-provoking novel lists the thirteen reasons why Hannah committed suicide. It's a heart-wrenching, masterfully-written story and a must-read for the YA genre (as it's a repeat on this list). Asher has only one other YA novel, The Future of Us co-authored with Carolyn Mackler.
Let me know your thoughts! Thanks for reading!

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