When Paula asked me to make a “Best of YA” list, I was super-excited (thanks, Paula!). I tried to come up with a number, like “My Top X YA Authors” or “My Favorite XX YA Books,” but the task was an impossible one. And I will tell you why.
The past few years, YA books have gone through a very public, intense change. For me it starts with “Twilight” because it pretty much exploded, and everything else that came afterward seemed to follow its footsteps. It’s not the best example of YA, but I’m glad it exists because it paved the way for many, many great reads and talented, imaginative authors. And you can pick whatever you like: werewolves, vampires, aliens, shapeshifters, etc. or even more realistic novels.
I myself have a love-hate relationship with YA, but I don’t understand those who are strictly against it. Especially when those people give excuses like, “Oh, I’d rather devour the classics!” Well, “To Kill a Mocking Bird” is a classic, right? Right. Guess what? IT’S ALSO A YA BOOK.
Believe me; I’ve read my fair share of books from different genres, books that were targeted toward different age groups, and there were many times when I went, “Really? I’d like those reading hours back, please. NOW.” I will also admit that I’m very, very picky when it comes to YA. When I throw in a YA book among the rest I read to relax my mind a bit, what I really want is to enjoy it. So here I’ll share with you my Top 5 YA Classics. And tomorrow (hopefully) in a different post I'll give you 11 authors I’m keeping an eye on to see what they do next. (I tried to narrow it down to 10, but couldn’t bare cutting any of them off the list).
TOP 5 YA CLASSICS
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Harper Lee's one and only novel is a must-read for everyone, no matter what age because it's about humans. It doesn't matter that it's American and that you live on the other side of the world, it doesn't matter that you can't read it in English (it's been translated to over 40 languages)... You will be moved by this book that contains "innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos."
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - Salinger wrote this book and then went into hiding when it was published because he was sick and tired of all the media attention. You will follow 16-year-old Holden around for 3 days in New York City, and I'm leaving it up to you to decide what you make of it.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I'm sure most of you have seen the movie by now (which I loved, by the way), but please do read the book as well. Movies have this thing where you usually watch from the outside, but when you read, you'll get inside Charlie's head and watch him try to find his place in the world.
The Giver by Lois Lowry - I read this in English class first year of high school, and it blew my mind. It will show you how you can't have happines without sadness, pleasure without pain, wealth without poverty. And you'll definitely enjoy all the different colors of the world a lot more after reading this book.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding - This is one I read way too late; just this year, and I found myself wishing I read it earlier. Imagine a bunch of boys trapped on an island: scared and hungry and missing home. Now imagine their hopes and dreams and egos getting the better of them. What sets out to be a whole lotta fun without adults turns out to be something very, very different.