Hello everyone, and welcome to 2017! I’ve still been on holiday and hanging out with houseguests, so I haven’t gotten a whole lot of new reading done. So I thought now was a good time to talk about some of my favourite YA books from pre-blog times, back when I just read things and…didn’t say anything about it. How strange!
I’ve talked about some books I was thankful for as a younger me before, and regular readers probably know I dig Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and His Dark Materials, so I’m going to try to avoid repeats. That said, let’s do it!
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (illustrated by Ellen Forney)
This book is about a teen boy who lives on a reservation but decides to go to school in town. It is alternately hilarious, heartbreaking, and always worth the read. This is a ridiculously short blurb for a very satisfying book, but do check it out. I feel like the other books on this list are better known than this one, but this absolutely deserves a place among the ranks of YA classics.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
This one wasn’t initially written/marketed as YA, but it has a teen narrator and it has been read in schools many times since its release. It’s narrated by a teen boy who begins investigating the death of the neighbour’s dog and ends up unravelling family secrets. The narrator isn’t labelled, but seems to be on the autism spectrum, and the workings of his mind are portrayed with care. This is a lovely book.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I’m sure people have heard of The Book Thief, considering that it was adapted as a film, but just in case you’ve missed the boat, here’s your excuse to go pick it up. It’s a long one with a lot of pain (it takes place in Germany during WWII), but it’s also beautiful with an interesting narrative perspective.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book was such a big game-changer that a publishing imprint is named after it, so if you haven’t read it before, you probably should. This is and isn’t a spoiler, but I’m going to say it because it’s important: this book is about a teen girl dealing with the aftermath of being raped. The subject is handled well, and this book was very important to a lot of people. (It was also adapted as a film that serves as proof to your friends that KStew can be a competent actress, if you care about that.)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The film adaptation of this book was pretty enjoyable, as film adaptations go (and not that long ago, either), but if you haven’t read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it’s definitely worth the time. It requires more effort in suspension of disbelief than perhaps in other novels, since it’s written with a lot of detail but entirely as an epistolary book (the narrator is writing letters to a vague friend character), but the titular wallflower is lovable in his fumblings to make friends and figure himself out. (He also has some serious past trauma that I don’t want to spoil necessarily, but if you have particular triggers, maybe look this one up first.)
Well, there you have it! Those are five of my favourite YA titles from before I was a blogger. I know, I know, they’re certainly not hidden gems, but before I was a blogger I tended to not read as huge a volume of books (and of YA), so mostly I hit a lot of the milestones! These are definitely classics of the form (or if they’re not considered that yet, I’m betting they will be), and they’re definitely worth checking out.
I’ll catch you later this week with (hopefully) some new reads!