Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Best YA Books You Haven't Read

There are so many great YA books published each year that they can't all possibly get the buzz they deserve. Which is why Kelly of YAnnabe devised this one-day blog blitz to highlight our favorite YA titles that need a little more buzz. Check out her round-up of the Best YA You Haven't Read for bloggers' picks and lists of books that deserve a second look.

Let me paint you a picture:

The Hunger Games is entered in 3,943 Library Thing libraries and has over 29,000 ratings on Good Reads.

Twilight is entered in over 26,000 LT libraries and has over 265,000 ratings on Good Reads.

In comparison, each of the books I'm highlighting today appear in fewer than 500 LT libraries and have fewer than 1,000 ratings on Good Reads. I think they deserve a little extra buzz. If you're looking for a good book to read, do check out My Favorite YA Books You Haven't Read

Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones. Looking for a YA heroine who's not your typical YA heroine? If you're in the mood for something a little different, give Girl, Hero a try.

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. This fun paranormal romance didn't get nearly the attention I think it deserved. I loved it! If you're in the mood for a feel-good romance with snappy writing, pick up As You Wish.

Good Enough by Paula Yoo. This was one of my favorite books of 2008. Fun and humorous with a lot of heart. If you're looking for a pick-me-up, grab Good Enough.


Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher. This was on our Cybils shortlist the year I was on the YA panel, but I still think it deserves more buzz. If you're looking for historical fiction that you can really sink your teeth into, try Ten Cents a Dance.

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick. Jordan Sonnenblick always makes me laugh and his stories have a lot of heart. If you're looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud and cry buckets, pick up Notes from the Midnight Driver.

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Hidier's writing brings Dimple's Indian-American experience to live and it'll pull you right in to the story. If you're looking for a vibrant book, check out Born Confused.


Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger. This is a story about star-crossed love and finding yourself and your talents. If you're looking for a love story that's not a love story and if you love zines or if you've never heard of zines, try Hard Love.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff. I loved this book when I was a teen and the trilogy has recently been completed with True Believer and (finally!) This Full House. If you like novels in verse and are looking for a truly inspiring heroine, pick up Make Lemonade (and then the sequels!).

Donorboy by Brendan Halpin. An Alex-award-winning book about a girl going to live with her sperm donor father after her two moms are killed in an accident. If you're looking for something compelling and a little different, Donorboy, told through emails, transcripts, notes, etc. may be right up your alley.

Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt. If you're looking to start a great fantasy series rife with political intrigue and a well-developed fantasy kingdom, pick up Jackaroo and start Cynthia Voigt's Kingdom novels.

And what are your favorite YA books that haven't gotten the buzz they deserve? Head over to Kelly's blog to join in the discussion or leave your picks in the comments!

31 comments:

Kelly J. said...

1000000x agree on "Ten Cents a Dance." What a fantastic, engaging, and atmospheric novel.

Deva Fagan said...

It's been very fun to read everyone's suggestions for the Best YA You Haven't Read! Thank you!

And also, I'm delighted to see JACKAROO on your list. One of my all-time favorites from my HS years!

Melissa Walker said...

Great list! Adding some to my pile!

Patti said...

Hey, we both have Born Confused on our lists! This has been so fun looking at everyone's books. What a great idea Kelly had.

Meg said...

Fantastic list! And I have to admit that each one is new to me. I remember hearing great things about Ten Cents A Dance -- definitely going to pick that one up soon! And I'll be expanding my TBR list right about... now. :)

Kathy Martin said...

Interesting choices! I think the only one I have read is Jackaroo. I am feeling so shallow. I'll have to look some of the rest of these up. I know I have a few of them in my HS Media Center.

Kate said...

ooo Jackaroo. I have not read that in ages! I love that book and the others that tie in with it. Definitely one that tends to be overlooked.

Steph Su said...

You've got amazing books on that list! I definitely agree with As You Wish, and Good Enough and Ten Cents a Dance are on my TBR pile, so that's good news. I also keep on hearing about Jordan Sonnenblick, so maybe it's time to finally check those books out!

Sami said...

I actually tried reading Born Confused quite a few years ago, and couldn't finish it. I ended up donating it during a move. I have been looking for As You Wish and can't find anywhere! I'm so disappointed.

Amanda said...

I do have As You Wish on my TBR shelf and I promise I'll pick it up soon!

3T said...

Great idea! And since I completely missed my Retro Tuesday postthis week, this gives me a chance to make it up.

Brendan Halpin said...

Thanks, Abby, for the kind words about Donorboy! I appreciate it! (My other YA books are even more unsung, if folks want to check out How Ya Like Me Now or Forever Changes) My vote for one I didn't write that should have gotten more attention is Coe Booth's Kendra, which in addition to being a book about urban life that doesn't involve gunplay, also has a very complex main character and interesting things to say about bad decisions.

Pam said...

Great list I haven't heard of any of these!

Lenore said...

I have 10 Cents a Dance and was thinking it would be exactly the kind of book I should list in my own post, except...I haven't read it yet! Will remedy that soon.

Melissa said...

What a great list. I've read quite a few, and others are on my TBR list, but some I haven't heard of at all.

My favorite under-plugged YA book? Anything by Beth Kephart. I adore her writing, but she just doesn't get the buzz other authors do.

Susie Sharp Librarian said...

Wow I haven't read any of those!More books for the TBR Pile!
Here's mine

Emily said...

What a great list! I haven't read ANY of these! I really want to pick up Girl, Hero soon as I lovelovelovelovelovelove Carrie Jones. She is my GirlHero.

Katie said...

"Good Enough" was awesome, especially considering I'm such an orchestra geek.

Added "Ten Cents a Dance" and "Notes from the Midnight Driver" to my TBR pile. Thanks for the suggestion!

Jenna said...

Adding a bunch of these to my TBR list. What a great idea Kelly had!

StableGranny said...

Gone by Michael Grant... a gotta read YA

In the blink of an eye.

Everyone disappears.

Gone.

Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

Elisabeth Marie said...

I read Make Lemonade (and the entire series)! I don't remember the first two being written in verse though (shows how long it's been since I've read them). I even reviewed This Full House on my blog (which I know you follow anyway). ^_^

http://ysprincess.blogspot.com/2010/01/review-audiobook-this-full-house.html

Susan Quinn said...

I love that you are flogging the lesser known books! I'd love to see a similar post on Middle Grade, as that what my focus is - as a writer and a blogger. My blog, Ink Spells, focuses on good books for advanced readers ages 8-12. I'm going to have to check out your reviews!

Also: I'm going to link to your blog on my post tommorrow!

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

Cant believe I forgot about Good Enough! I loved that book. Am now purchasing it for school library...

Hannah said...

I would love to add Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern to that list.

Great suggestions!

Kelly said...

Awesome list. And I say that because I've read NONE of them, and you made me want to read ALL of them.

So glad everyone is loving this! I like Susan's suggestion of doing it again for middle-grade.

My mind is spinning with the possibilities of a "Best Books You Haven't Read" WEEK once a year, with a different them each day (adult, YA, MG, picture books, graphic novel/comics). And probably I should have timed it so it wasn't right on the heels of the award announcements. Oops!

What do you guys think?

Ms. Yingling said...

My daughter loved Notes from the Midnight Driver so much that she and a best friend memorized the entire first chapter and performed it repeatedly. Vodka and ring dings! Sonnenblick is brilliant.

Lawral the Librarian said...

I'm glad to see so many people posting about Hard Love. It's such a great book and has won awards, but it's still, amazingly, not that well-known.

Anastasia said...

I could use a political intrigue and a well-developed fantasy kingdom! Totally adding Jackaroo to my TBR list.

Cazzy said...

Cynthia Voigt wrote a fantasy series? Wow, where have I been? Thanks for the tip!

Shirley said...

I've got a lot of Prinz winners to read, but these sound so good. Adding to my TBR list yet again.

Amy said...

Born Confused is one of those books I re-read at least twice a year. And better yet, it gave me some insight and renewed appreciation for Indian (South Asian?) food!