Thursday, January 15, 2015

100 Best of Actual YA List: A Response to Time's Nonsense List

So, some of you may or may not be aware (or even not care) that TIME magazine has come up with a 100 Best Young Adult Fiction List. They do this every year and every year I get fed up. Because half of the books? NOT YA. They are either childrens/middle-grade or they are even adult (like the Princess Bride). Then there are a few random ones I've never heard of and I've been into YA for quite a few years now. While I don't kid myself into thinking I know every book out there, this is supposed to be a best of list not a obscure favorites list.Then there's the remarkable lack of diversity. Literally only nine books on there are either by a PoC or have any PoC and some of the ones such as Little House on the Prairie have some pretty damn racist portrayals of PoC. Along with lack of diversity, there is only ONE book with an LGBT character (and again, it's kind of a problematic portrayal). My mind boggles at that, especially considering the great strides towards getting more representation that has happened in YA as of late. Most Best Of lists usually should at least reflect the subject it is doing it's poll on. Like if you're going to do best fantasy, you better have Tolkien and Game of Thrones. This YA list isn't at all the YA section that I'm familiar with. I won't even go into the fact that they put Twilight on there.
Basically, this list annoys me. A LOT. I can't even remotely take it seriously. As a rebuttal, I've come up with my own list. My criteria for this list were that it had to A) be actual YA, or at the least a middle-grade/adult book that can be a considered both categories like Harry Potter/Percy Jackson, B) be a book that has been popular in YA for more than two years, and C) is actually good. Granted good is subjective, so this one is not going to have as much emphasis as the other two. But at the very least it has to be a book that people are still discussing heavily and are still excited about/recommend a lot.
I'm going in alphabetical order for everyone's sake. Some authors are also kind of what you would call staples in the YA world so I'll just be putting their names instead of a specific book they wrote. But some, I may put a book to start with.

1) Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
2) Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander
3) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
4) How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
5) Laurie Halse Anderson (would start with Speak)
6) V. C. Andrews (would start with Flowers in the Attic)
7) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
8) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
9) Holly Black (would start with Tithe)
10) Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
11) Judy Blume (would start with Forever)
12) Coe Booth (would start with Tyrell)
13) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
14) Libba Bray (would start with A Great and Terrible Beauty)
15) Sarah Rees Brennan (would start with either Unspoken or Demon's Lexicon)
16) Meg Cabot (would start with Princess Diaries or The Mediator)
17) Enders Game by Orsen Scott Card (the author is a horrible bigot, but the book is still very relevant in YA)
18) Ally Carter (would start with I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You)
19) Graceling Trilogy by Kristin Cashore
20) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
21) Cinda Williams Chima (would start with Warrior Heir or The Demon King)
22) Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
23) Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (quality is debatable but it's still immensely popular)
24) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
25) The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
26) The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
27) The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner
28) Sarah Dessen
29) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
30) Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper
31) The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
32) Alex Flinn (would start with Beastly)
33) Gayle Forman (would start with If I Stay)
34) Coraline by Neil Gaiman
35) Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
36) Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
37) Gone series by Michael Grant
38) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
39) John Green (would start with Fault in Our Stars
40) Shannon Hale (would start with The Goose Girl)
41) Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
42) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
43) Willow by Julia Hoban
44) Ellen Hopkins (would start with Crank)
45) Maureen Johnson (would start with 13 Little Blue Envelopes)
46) Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
47) Julie Kagawa (would start with The Iron King)
48) A.S. King (would start with Please Ignore Vera Dietz)
49) Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
50) Liar by Justine Larbelestier
51) Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
52) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
53) The Agency series by Y. S. Lee
54) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
55) David Levithan (would start with Boy Meets Boy)
56) The Giver by Lois Lowry
57) Ash by Malinda Lo
58) E. Lockhart (would start with Disreputable History of Frankie Landou-Banks)
59) Marie Lu (would start with Legend or Young Elites)
60) Melina Marchetta (would start with Jellicoe Road)
61) Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr
62) The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
63) Robin McKinley (would start with Beauty)
64) Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
65) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
66) Lauren Myracle (would start with either Shine or her internet girls series)
67) Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
68) Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
69) Sarah Ockler
70) Lauren Oliver (would do either Before I Fall or Delirium first)
71) Kenneth Oppel (would start with Airborn or This Dark Endeavor)
72) James Patterson (would do first Maximum Ride book)
73) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
74) Diana Peterfreund (would start with Rampant)
75) Luna by Julie Anne Peters (warning though: apparently there are problematic things in it)
76) Life As We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
77) Tamora Pierce (either do Sandry's Book or Alanna: the First Adventure)
78) Terry Pratchett (either do Nation or The Wee Free Men)
79) His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
80) Matthew Quick
81) Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
82) Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
83) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
84) The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
85) Holes by Louis Sachar
86) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alere Saenz
87) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
88) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
89) Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
90) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
91) Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks
92) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
93) Maggie Stiefvater (would start with Scorpio Races)
94) Courtney Summers
95) Scott Westerfield (would start with Uglies)
96) Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
97) Gabrielle Zevin (would do Elsewhere and go from there)
98) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
99) The Diary of Anne Frank
100) The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (forget to add it above)

I don't kid myself into thinking this list is one hundred percent accurate. Everyone is going to have their own opinions on what's good or considered the best. I'm at least pretty sure I got the major ones in there, which is more then I can say for Times who didn't even have The Outsiders on their list.

Some books authors that I considered but were left out for various reasons ranging from I just don't know the work well enough to know if it should be counted to there are way more then one hundred good books/authors in YA: City of Beasts by Isabel Allende (never read, and people seem to be in conflict over whether it's YA or not), Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Simone Echols, Kody Keplinger, Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Jessica Day George, Allison Goodman, Sara Zarr, Divergent Trilogy, Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, Zoe Marriott, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draenan

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