2016 Top Five



Dear Teen Peeps,

In years past, I have faithfully posted a Top Ten Books list. But this year, I haven’t read nearly as much YA as I wanted to/should have, due to number of tedious reasons, the main one being that I was was supes busy working on many other adult-ish writing/reviewing projects. (Adulting. So boring, yet so necessary. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.)  So here is a leaner, meaner list of my top five best YA reads of 2016. I mean, I could have dragged the list out to ten, but that would have taken away from the absolute awesomeness of these five, utterly top-notch books. Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (Also, The Underground Railroad was not published as a YA book, but is a book that in my opinion, all YAs should read) Click on the title to go right to the review.
 

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

 
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

2015 Top Ten


Happy New Year, teen peeps! Here is my top ten list, delivered like a baby 2016  to your email, Twitter or Pinterest right on January 1. Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love DIME a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Dime by E.R. Frank

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schmitz

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond

 

2014 Top Ten



Happy holidays, teen peeps! In the better late than never category, here is my top ten list, delivered like a present to your email, Twitter or Pinterest right on December 25th. Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Carroll, Emily. Through the Woods.

Fleming, Candace. The Family Romanov.

King, A.S. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future.

Lockhart, E. We Were Liars.

Nelson, Jandy. I’ll Give You the Sun.

Nelson, Marilyn. How I Discovered Poetry.

Perkins, Stephanie. Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Tamaki, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. This One Summer.

Whaley, John Corey. Noggin.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming.

2013 Top Ten


It’s Top Ten time, teen reading peeps! Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love BOXERS & SAINTS a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Black, Holly. Doll Bones.

Dahlquist, Gordon. The Different Girl.

Finneyfrock, Karen. The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door.

Forman, Gayle. Just One Day.

Forman, Gayle. Just One Year.

Kninsley, Lucy. Relish.

Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park.

Sedgwick, Marcus. Midwinter Blood.

Sepetys, Ruta. Out of the Easy.

Yang, Gene Luen. Boxers & Saints.

2012 Top Ten



Once again, dear teen readers, it’s Top Ten time! Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, there just might be a slugfest going on in my heart between THE DIVINERS & SAILOR TWAIN:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Bray, Libba. The Diviners.

Coats, J. Anderson. The Wicked and the Just.

Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars.

Griffin, Adele. All You Never Wanted

King, A.S. Ask the Passengers.

Lanagan, Margo. The Brides of Rollrock Island.

Laybourne, Emmy. Monument 14.

McCormick, Patricia. Never Fall Down.

Siegel, Mark. Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild.

2011 Top Ten



Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love WHERE THINGS COME BACK a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Bray, Libba. Beauty Queens.

Griffin, Adele. Tighter.

King, A.S. Everybody Sees the Ants.

Oppel, Kenneth. This Dark Endeavor.

Reeve, Philip. A Web of Air.

Scieszka, Casey & Steven Weinberg. To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story.

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Scorpio Races.

Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Whaley, John Corey. Where Things Come Back.

Yancey, Rick. The Monstrumologist: Isle of Blood.

2010 Top Ten


before i fall

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love BEFORE I FALL a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. FORGE.

Bacigalupi, Paolo. SHIP BREAKER.

Black, Holly & Justine Larbalestier, eds. ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS.

Emond, Stephen. HAPPYFACE.

Green, John & David Levithan. WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON.

Hemphill, Stephanie. WICKED GIRLS.

Oliver, Lauren. BEFORE I FALL.

Oppel, Kenneth. HALF BROTHER.

Yancey, Rick. THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST: CURSE OF THE WENDIGO.

Yovanoff, Brenna. THE REPLACEMENT.

2009 Top Ten


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Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites of the books I read this year. (While I love all my Top Ten books the same, I just might love HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT a tiny bit more:) Click on the title to go right to the review.

Bray, Libba. Going Bovine.

Cullen, Dave. Columbine.

Katcher, Brian. Almost Perfect

Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

Rapp, Adam. Punkzilla.

Small, David. Stitches.

Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl.

Standiford, Natalie. How to Say Goodbye in Robot.

Stork, Francisco X. Marcelo in the Real World.

Yancy, Rick. The Monstrumologist.

Jen’s 2008 Top Ten Books

frankieThe 2008 Top Ten list has been posted! You can find it under “Jen’s Yearly Top Ten Lists” on the right hand sidebar, towards the bottom of the RR homepage. Please check it out and let me know what you think. Am I right on the money? Or have I missed/dissed some of your favorites? Please leave a comment and let me know what would have made YOUR top ten of 2008! (Even though I try to love all my Top Ten Books the same, if I had to pick my very favorite, it would have to be E. Lockhart’s tender, smart, funny history of the disreputable Frankie, shown at right.)

2008 Top Ten

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites. Just click on the title to go right to the review.

Abel, Jessica. Life Sucks.

Anderson, M.T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II: The Kingdom on the Waves.

Barlow, Toby. Sharp Teeth.

Johnson, Maureen. Suite Scarlett.

Lanagan, Margo. Tender Morsels.

Lockhart, E. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

Meldrum, Christina. Madapple.

Myracle, Lauren. Bliss.

Rebeck, Theresa. Three Girls and Their Brother.

Reeve, Philip. Here Lies Arthur.

Jen’s 2007 Top Ten Books

someday this painThe 2007 Top Ten list has been posted! You can find it under “Jen’s Yearly Top Ten Lists” on the right hand sidebar, towards the bottom of the RR homepage. Please check it out and let me know what you think. Am I right on the money? Or have I missed/dissed some of your favorites? Please leave a comment and let me know what would have made YOUR top ten of 2007! (Even though I try to love all my Top Ten Books the same, if I had to pick my very favorite, it would have to be Peter Cameron’s angsty YA debut, shown at right.)

2007 Top Ten

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites. No annotations this year, just click on the title to go right to the review.

Brande, Robin. Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature.

Burgess, Melvin. Bloodsong.

Cameron, Peter. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.

Downham, Jenny. Before I Die.

Ellis, Ann Dee. This is What I Did.

Jenkins, A.M. Repossessed.

Juby, Susan. Another Kind of Cowboy.

Lockhart, E. Dramarama.

Peet, Mal. Tamar.

Schmidt, Gary D. The Wednesday Wars.

2006 Top Ten

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites. You can find longer reviews for most of these titles by searching the site. Happy reading!

Anderson, M.T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party. (8th-12th grade)After a young man slowly realizes that he and his mother, an African queen, are the subjects of an extensive social science experiment in pre-Revolutionary America, he takes drastic steps to save them both from a life of slavery and servitude. Winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Young People.

Gantos, Jack. The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs. (9th-12th grade)
Sixteen-year-old Ivy learns some disturbing family secrets after she discovers a taxidermied body in the basement that could be her paternal grandmother.

Hautman, Pete. Rash. (7th-12th grade)
In an ultra-safe future, where contact sports and name-calling have been outlawed, teenaged Bo breaks the rules and ends up in a penal pizza-making factory, where he ironically learns the true meaning of freedom.

Jenkins, A.M. Beating Heart: A Ghost Story. (8th-12th grade)
Evan begins to realize that he’s not alone in his new room when he begins to have disturbing dreams of a girl from the past who’s in trouble.

Lawrence, Iain. Gemini Summer. (7th-10th grade)
This nostalgic historical fiction of a boy and his devoted dog who manage to stay together against overwhelming odds, will remind teen readers of Stephen King’s Stand By Me, or S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.

Parkinson, Siobhan. Something Invisible. (6th-8th grade)
Eleven-year-old Jake only likes football and fish, until eccentric, outspoken Stella comes into his life and changes it forever.

Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It. (7th-12th grade)
When an asteroid hits the moon, causing worldwide natural disasters, small-town girl Miranda must give up all the things she used to take for granted, like electricity, clean laundry, and chocolate. My personal favorite book of 2006.

Ruby, Laura. Good Girls. (9th-12th grade)
Good girl Audrey’s life goes into a downward spiral when a vindictive friend mass-emails a cell-phone photo of Audrey doing something not-so-nice with a boy at a party.

Vaughan, Brian K. and Niko Henrichon. Pride of Baghdad. (9th-12th grade)
This disturbing and sad graphic novel for grown-ups about a pride of lions that escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid of Iraq makes a powerful statement the meaning of freedom that will resonate with older teens.

Yang, Gene. American Born Chinese. (7th-12th grade)
This brightly colored, charismatic graphic novel, about a young middle school student’s struggle to become comfortable with his racial identity, is rich in wisdom and folklore, and ripe with humor and pop culture references. Nominated for the 2006 National Book Award for Young People. Winner of the 2006 Michael L. Printz award.

2005 Top Ten

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites. You can find longer reviews for most of these titles by searching the site. Happy reading!

Coburn, Jake. Lovesick. (8-12th grade)
College freshmen Ted and Erica fall in love after discovering each other’s addiction-his to alcohol, hers to bulimia.

Fleming, Candace. Our Eleanor. (7th-12th grade)
Candace Fleming’s chatty scrapbook approach to this American icon makes Eleanor Roosevelt seem more like a wonderful acquaintance you’d love to get to know better as opposed to a distant political figure.

Griffin, Adele. Where I Want to Be. (7-12th grade)
Two sisters, one dead and one alive, struggle to reconcile their feelings for one another as each stands on the brink of a new life.

Halam, Ann. Siberia. (8-12th grade)
In a frozen future, teenage Sloe carries the genetic seeds of long-extinct animals on a quest to save the planet and find her long-lost mother.

Hearn, Julie. The Minister’s Daughter. (8-12th grade)
Happy-go-lucky Nell finds herself suddenly labeled a witch when the spiteful daughter of the minister accuses her of spell-casting in order to draw attention away from her own terrible secret.

Lanagan, Margo. Black Juice. (9-12th grade)
Short story master Lanagan drops readers into ten bizarre and original worlds that contain unforgettable images of beauty and horror.

Lynch, Chris. Inexcusable. (8-12th grade)
Self-proclaimed “good guy” Keir tries to explain why the reader should believe his word over that of Gigi Boudakian, who claims he date-raped her.

Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. (7-12th grade)
In a future where everyone is Pretty, Tally Youngblood must betray her best friend to the government or stay Ugly forever.

Wooding, Chris. Poison. (7th-12th grade)
Cynical teen Posion sets off on a mission to rescue her kidnapped sister, and instead finds a world of treacherous magic that she must learn to control.

Yoo, David. Girls for Breakfast. (8th-12th grade)
Graduating senior Nick Park can’t understand why girls have never liked him as much as he has liked them. Is it because he’s Korean?

2004 Top Ten

Please note that there has been absolutely no attempt to balance this list by age, gender or genre. These are just my “from-the-gut” favorites.

Braff, Joshua. The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green. (9-12th grade, adult)
13 year old Jacob Green tries to establish his identity within his seriously dysfunctional suburban Jewish family during the late 70’s/early 80’s.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts. (6-8th)
12 year old Moose Flanagan is first terrified and then intrigued when his dad accepts a prison guard position at the infamous Alcatraz Island in 1935.

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bucking the Sarge. (8-12th)
15 year old Luther Farrell turns the tables on his scam artist mother in this engaging story of a young man determined not to follow in the footsteps of his morally bankrupt parent.

Marchetta, Melina. Saving Francesca. (8-12th)
High school junior Francesca Spinelli is reluctant to admit how much she loves and needs her vivacious mother Mia until Mia suffers a nervous breakdown and refuses to leave her bed.

Meyer, L.A. Curse of the Blue Tattoo: being an account of the misadventures of Jacky Faber, midshipman and fine lady. (6-12th) Having blown her “Grand Deception,” Jacky Faber, former ship’s “boy,” has been unceremoniously dropped off in Boston to learn the art of becoming a fine lady. Sequel to Bloody Jack.

Nelson, Blake. Rock Star, Superstar. (8-12th)
Pete learns what it takes to make it in a garage band, while stumbling through his first real romantic relationship with Margaret.

Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn. (5-10th)
Young Matt Cruse defends his beloved airship against sky pirates and wild flying cats, while falling for the lovely Kate.

Pratchett, Terry. A Hat Full of Sky. (5-10th)
Tiffany Aching battles the evil Hiver, with the help of other witches and her trusty hat. Sequel to The Wee Free Men.

Provoost, Anne. In the Shadow of the Ark. (8-12th)
Re Jana and her family have doubts that the mighty flood Noach is predicting will really come.

Shepard, Jim. Project X. (9-12th, adult)
8th graders Edwin and Flake concoct a fatal plan to finally end the bullying at their school.