Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10 Books everyone should read in thier life. (YA books)

Recently on the YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association - listerv someone asked about the top 10 (ya) books the librarians on the list thought everyone should read (Ie the Top Ten Teen Books ever).

As you will see in the list below there is a WIDE range of views on the topic and this list is very definitely slanted toward current/modern books. Some people selected by literary merit, some on cultural impact, and others on how the books moved them personally. While I LOVE top ten lists, I don't think there is such a thing as 10 books that are best for ALL teens. I will say that all the books listed here are worthy of a look.

There are some that I like more than others.  If this survey was done again in 3-5 yrs, there are some books even in the top 10 which would not even get a mention I think.  Chiefly among those I believe would be Twilight.  I applaud it for the interest it's brought to books and the number of teens it got reading, but I don't think it has the staying power that books like Book Thief or The Giver have.

Top 10 teen books of all time

1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (6 votes)

2. 13 Reasons Why By Jay Asher (4 votes)

3. Book Thief by Markus Zusak (4 votes)

4. Giver by Lois Lowry (4 votes)

5. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling (4 votes)

6. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (4 votes)

7. Feed by Anderson (3 votes)

8. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (3 votes)

9. Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (3 votes)

10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (3 votes)

Results from everyone who gave answers

13 Reasons Why By Jay Asher (4 votes)

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (2 votes)

Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2 votes)

Acceleration- Graham McNamee

After by Amy Efaw

American Born Chinese,

Are you there, God, It's me,

Bloom-Elizabeth Scott

Book Thief by Markus Zusak (4 votes)

Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Boy Meets Boy by Levithan

Bridge To Terabithia

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Feed by Anderson (3 votes)


Giver by Lois Lowry (4 votes)

Go Ask Alice

Graceling by cashore

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling (4 votes)

Hit and Run-Lurlene McDaniel

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (4 votes)

Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw

I am the Cheese,

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Just as Long as We're Together by Judy Blume

Just Listen-Sarah Dessen

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Looking for Alaska by John Green (2 votes)

Loser (Jerry Spinelli)

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (3 votes)

One of Those Hideous Books where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (3 votes)

Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen

Rest are in alphabetical order by title:

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (6 votes)

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

That was Then, This is Now and a Judy Blume title

Tiger Eyes

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tuck Everlasting

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (3 votes)

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963

Wednesday Wars

Whale Talk-Chris Crutcher

Yellow Star by Jennifer Rozines Roy (2 votes)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Publication May 2010
From Penguin Group
ISBN 978-0-399-15635-9

The Ultimate Secret.

The Ultimate Agent.

The President's Vampire.

Reads the cover of my review copy, picked up at PLA 2010 in Portland a few weeks ago. We're all told don't judge a book by it's cover, but COME ON! Those lines in red on a black cover above a presidential seal with the eagle turned into a bat. It looked like a movie poster....a poster for a movie I WANTED to see.

My husband claimed the book while I was busy reading the newest Kim Harrison book and promptly started to groan about all the one liners, cool action, and weird alternative history found in the headers to each chapter which he wanted to tell me about but I refused to listen to because I wanted to read the book for myself. After about a week he gave up, he handed me Blood Oath when I was between books so I could read it while he read the newest Dresden book. He figured that I'd whip through it and then he could have fun telling me the one liners and the great tidbits that he found in the novel since I had already finished it.

So glad he did! Once I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it down. Red lights on the way to/from work....never mind texting while you drive, I was reading. I promise it was only at lights.  The 2 AM reminder that I had to get up and work in the morning.   Yeah, this book delivered everything the cover promised and more.

Farnsworth is a scriptwriter and journalist who lives in LA. I'm not sure if it's the script writing or the journalism experience, but Farnsworth is excellent at painting a vivid picture of action with an economic use of words. His dialog is snappy and his characters may look stock when you start the novel, but as you read and get to see beneath their surface become three dimensional and more complex.

The premise: Shortly after Lincoln's assassination, a boat comes into port with a newly turned vampire, Cade, and a bunch of dead bodies. Johnson gets his hands on him and has a Vodoo priestess bind him in a blood oath to serve and protect the President of the United States. Blood Oath bounces back and forth between the present and various times in history. The book is written in third person and bounced between the present and various times in history. As Cade and Zach, his new human handler, rush to figure out a current threat to the President and to stop it, the jumps through history give the reader Cade's back story and history with the big baddie.

This book was great fun. I loved it and hope that Farnsworth will be writing more whether the more is another advanture with Cade and Zach (which the end left open to happening even while wrapping up the loose ends of this story!) or a totally new set of characters.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Face by Stephen Emond

Finally got a chance to read it through.

It still reminds me of Diary of a Wimpy kid, but in a good way not in the "oh that made a ton of money let me copy it way"

Emond blends the sketch book style with diary entries that carry an authentic voice and tell a good story. The middle did tend to drag a bit for me, but I think the whole was worth it. Since it was a private diary it brings up great questions about denying the truth to yourself vs. keeping secrets from others. Don't knwo if it will stand up to the books that come out through the rest of the year, but I would expect this to be on many lists come the end of the year...especially reluctant readers.

Ostridge Boys by Keith Gray

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray


This British import might sound like a stock novel if you just look at the quick summary. Boy is bullied, ends up dead, his friends are working through thier grief and trying to understand what happened. But if you pass up the experience of reading this book you'll be missing some laugh out loud moments of teen boys doing what they do best; getting into trouble, hanging out, and being friends.

Blake, Kenny, and Sim have all been friends with Ross for years. Kenny since they were tots, Sim since primary, and Blake since he and his mom moved into town years ago. So when Ross is killed in a car accident and some of the people who made his last weeks alive miserable show up at his funeral, the three of them decide to take revenge and to give Ross the funeral he deserved. The one they think he'd have wanted.

This kicks off an insane weekend where the boys bond with each other, fight with each other, break friendship and strengthen it. By the end, the three friends learn that they didn't know everything they thought they did when the whole thing started and that though they understand alot, there is just as much they won't understand any time soon. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it also suits the story in an odd way.

This book isn't a serious dramatic lesson on bullying. It isn't a funny road trip book. It somehow manages to be both and neither at the same time. Expect to laugh out loud at some of the images, or maybe that's just my twisted sense of humor. Expect it to make you think when the guys joking suddenly turns into some fairly philosophical discussions of friendship, death, and afterlife.