In honor of NPR’s list of Young Adult Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels. I have decided to release a similar list of my own. I’m only going with a top 10 though, and please keep in mind that this is entirely my opinion (it’s not named The 10 Best novels, but instead my top 10).
1: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (specifically The Subtle Knife)
A classic, yet still unique, adventure story about the battle between good and evil, His Dark Materials include three books: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. These books are thought provoking, exciting, unpredictable and just a lot of fun; unquestionably my favorite YA series.
2: Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
This is probably a surprising entry on this type of list, but I loved these books. Alex is a boy trained as a spy from a young age who is made to work for MI6. The stories are fast paced and never fail to keep me interested. Plus, Alex’s one-liners appeal to my sense of humor.
3: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
This series needs no introduction, so I’ll just mention that it is awesome and rest my case.
4: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The first authentically American novel ever written, Huckleberry Finn follows a young boy as he travels on the Mississippi river with an escaped slave. This book is equal parts funny and passionate; it explores morality, humanity, and social constructs.
5: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky (now a MMP)
This was the first coming of age book I read while I was actually coming of age. It’s a fascinating story told by a lonely troubled boy through letters written to a stranger. Charlie deals with all of the complex issues that people encounter as they get older: drugs, sex, sexual orientation, friendship, betrayal, illness, and death.
6: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
A school book that remains one of my favorites. It’s a story that is not only entertaining, but also clever and just a bit educational. It’s also the reason I remember what a dodecahedron is…
7: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
At this point, I doubt this series needs much introduction either. I will admit that I think that the books in this series got progressively worse, but the first one was good enough that it carried the series onto this list. Catching Fire was great too, but I felt that Katniss degenerates as the story progresses so that she is no longer a strong character by the time Mockingjay is finished.
8: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
This book ticks all my boxes: sci-fi? Check. Steampunk? Check. Literary references? Check. Intelligent protagonist? Check! Well written? Check! It even has a beautiful cover. What more could I ask for?
9: The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien
This is probably the first fantasy novel that I read, and still hold up as one of the best. For some reason, I prefer it to any of the Lord of the Rings books. I think probably the faster pacing.
10: I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
Another book that I read for school that really stuck with me. This one is kind of a mind screw, but is very compelling. Anything by Cormier is probably worth a read but this, and The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, are my favorites.
You can find any of these great novels here at your local library.