Ten Most Underappreciated Teen Books of 2000-2009

Oh, I love lists! I love making my end of year book lists, and I love reading everyone else’s! But when a decade comes to a close, you have the opportunity of a lifetime to make an extra-special, super-significant (if only to me:) BIG book list. So I decided to compile a list of the 10 most under-the-radar, deserving-of-more-love-than-they-got YA books of the decade, IMHO.  (And if any of these look familiar, it’s because they were each plucked from the RR Top Ten list of their respective year.) I do hope this inspires you to go back and dig these lovelies up, and also to think about what books would end up not just on your end of year list, but on your fav books of the DECADE. Or even OF ALL TIME. (It’s just fun giving your list a name in ALL CAPS. That means it’s even MORE AWESOME:)

2000: Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris

2001: Every Time a Rainbow Diesby Rita Williams-Garcia

2002: Tribes by Arthur Slade

2003: Deep by Susanna Vance

2004: Rockstar, Superstar by Blake Nelson

2005: Lovesickby Jake Coburn

2006: The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos

2007: Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess

2008: Life Sucks by Jessica Abel

2009: Punkzilla by Adam Rapp

22 thoughts on “Ten Most Underappreciated Teen Books of 2000-2009

  1. Haven’t read many of these, but Tribes was absolutely hysterical! I never understood why it didn’t receive more acclaim! And Love Curse was one of Ed’s favorites–he read it while we were keeping watch over my dying mother. He thought it quite fitting–or not!

  2. I love the idea of reviving unappreciated stand-outs, and I haven’t read any of the books but Rita Williams-Garcia’s. Her inclusion alone makes me want to check out the rest of your list–and she didn’t do too badly for herself 9 years later! (Full disclosure: I know and love Rita…and I love JUMPED just as much!)

  3. Oh, CUTE new cover for the Rumbaugh’s book. That one was wicked weird. And I really enjoyed the Susanna Vance book, and the Rita Williams-Garcia. Everything else I think I somehow missed …must go back… after Cybils…

  4. I have to agree with Tanita that The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs was wicked weird! It was one of those books that once you start, you are compelled to finish it, but it’s just banging around in your head, “Why? What? Really!!?” I recommend it to teens looking for something twisted!

  5. Ooh, I love the list. Life Sucks was one of my favorite books that I got around to reading this year. I will definitely put the others on my “to read” list. Thanks so much for brining them to my attention.

  6. We have 2 copies of Every Time a Rainbow Dies and every time I booktalk realistic fiction, this is one of my favorites, Thulani and Ysa’s story is heartbreaking, yet hopeful. We have Lovesick as one of the modern day books seniors read and research the topics such as alcoholism and anorexia and the students enjoy this book more than the classic 12th grade books, they become excited reading this because they can relate. I know I have all of your others, now I just have to put these in my 2010 Book Challenge, thanks again Jen!

  7. YES! Eight Seconds was SO overlooked… a Rumbaughs-like makeover for either of its covers would have helped alot! Terrific choices, as always Jen.

  8. Awesome list and great idea. I love making lists too. Lynn and I might steal, I mean, honor you, by creating our own overlooked list for Bookends Blog. I’d have to put Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Iain Lawrence on it for sure. And the Gantos. Loved the Rumbaughs…loved listening to Jack talk about the Rumbaughs. Too weird that it is based on real relatives. I can still see the images and hear the characters in Everytime a Rainbow Dies and Ferris surprised me with Eight Seconds. Great book. Does need a new cover.

  9. Cindy, please make a list! I’d love to see what you and Lynn come up with. Variety is the spice of life! And you know how much I loved Lightkeeper’s Daughter. Swoon!

  10. Thanks, John. I’d love to see what would make YOUR decade list. But then, you were busy reading Alex books:)

  11. I never saw much chatter about Audrey, Wait!, by Robin Benway, and I really enjoyed that book – I recommend it to all the too-cool-for-school girls. I’m going to pick up Tribes. Great list!

  12. My own absolute favorite novel is The Lost Daughter by Daralyse Lyons. It’s about a girl who at 4 years old shoots and kills her 11 year old sister. We then get to read about how the girl grows up. It’s a coming of age story. I read it as part of a high school psychology class but it’s now my favorite book. READ IT!!!


  13. LOVE this list! I haven’t heard of most of these. *shameful look to the ground*

    For 2009, I would pick Jack Tumor as most underappreciated. LibraryThing actually “recommends” Punkzilla for people who like Jack Tumor…interesting coincidence!

    My top 10 list on my blog also has Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine, which got more play than Jack Tumor but still not near enough. Maybe it’s those UK to US republications that don’t get much attention if they don’t have “Harry Potter” in the name…

  14. I haven’t read ANY of these–so, thanks! I’m pretty sure some of them are on the shelf in my school library. I’ll catch up.

  15. This is so embarrassing–I just read this post! Thank you for listing these books, Jen, and for being a fan of Art Slade’s TRIBES. That is still a favorite among books I’ve published. I adore Percy, and the ending. Every editor has “treasures” that just don’t seem to register with many readers. It makes my day to know that you’re a fan of Art’s delightful book. (happy sigh)

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