100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime




No “How to Ditch Your Fairy”? Sad.


No House of Stairs or Singularity or even Interstellar Pig? Surely there should be some respect for the late William Sleator.


No ‘Lost in the Barrens’? No respect for Farley Mowat


What differentiates a “young adult” book from an “adult” book? 'Cause it’s really hard to find the common thread between The Hunger Games, On the Road, and Sandman. I also see that the list includes the requisite ironic option, Twilight, which barely qualifies as a book at all.


The list seems pretty heavily weighted towards things that have come out in the last half-dozen years; they may be popular, but are they reading material that will be remembered, or supplanted?


Much more than those, in what sense is Maus a young adult book? Just because it has pictures? It’s about Auschwitz, for God’s sake!


I think it is an invaluable resource for helping people teenaged and older understand the holocaust and some of the major post WWII psychological hardship in the jewish identity.


I agree, but I think of “young adult” as meaning books specifically for teens. If it’s just books teens could benefit from, well that’s most books, except the subversive ones.


Amazon defines it as “Books to love from fourteen to forty” – so 1) they should have asked you first and 2) I am too old to love these books.


According to Stephen Colbert it’s “a regular novel that people actually read.”


This is definitely the first time “Herman Wouk” and “young adult” have been mentioned together.

Also, the inclusion of Go Ask Alice and omission of Madeleine L’Engle is nothing short of a travesty.


It was once explained to me as ‘coming of age’ books. But even that doesn’t seem to cover everything. The whole adult/young-adult difference seems impossibly vague and undefined :confused:


They really should have left that open-ended, and, I think, started at twelve or thirteen. Maybe that’s just a sign of my age that kids seem to be starting puberty younger every year. But I’m well past forty and still every few years reread my battered copy of The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet because…well, a mushroom planet should be reason enough.


I’ve always considered it a matter of marketing - it’s “young adult” if you want to sell it to young adults. I guess that’s a fairly recent thing, so it doesn’t really work for classic literature. Maybe they just require that there are enough kids/teens in prominent roles.

In that case, I look forward to seeing Fifty Shades of Grey in the children’s section of my local library.


I used to think that Newbery winners were a pretty good standard for choosing children’s literature (the YA equivalent is the Prinz award, but that hasn’t got nearly as extensive a track record). Then I started rereading the list, and it’s all fairly subjective, depending on then-current tastes and trends. Any of these lists will have winners and clinkers in it.


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