When Entertainment Weekly made their announcement about an upcoming showdown of the best young adult books, I scowled. EW’s history with these bracket contest usually boils down to which fandom is craziest. They are less about the actual best of anything.
This almost guarantees a Twilight or John Green book victory.
Young adult books remain one of my favorite genres. Their effects have decreased since I have reached adulthood. However, a good book is a good book no matter what genre it falls.
After EW’s contest announcement, a friend asked me what books would I place as the best.
After pondering this question, I constructed my own list of the books that are my favorite young adult books.
Here is my list (May Contain Spoilers. Read with caution.)
10. Haunted (Mediator #6) by Meg Cabot
As a preteen and teen, Meg Cabot was my queen. Any and every book she published, I needed to own. Despite my worshipping of Cabot, I discovered later in life that she wrote in various pseudonyms, and wrote more book series than I could ever read.
Possibly my discovering of Cabot’s literary history came after I read Haunted. Upon beginning Haunted, I realized this was one in a book series. When I bought the book I thought it was a stand alone one.
Though I remain curious about the rest of the books in the series, Haunted is the only one I read. Why? Not quite sure. Possibly because she hasn’t written one after this book yet. It could also be because Haunted was so perfect that I don’t need to know more. JK. The real reason is because I outgrew Cabot’s YA series even before I left my teens.
So I have never felt the need to read the entire series. However, recently Cabot announced she was working on the next book in it. I cannot deny a spark of curiosity grew. It developed because of all the Meg Cabot books I’ve read as a teen, Haunted created the most fascinating characters.
In particularly, Paul grabbed me and made me want to know more about him. He was a darker character than I was used to with Cabot, but also a lot more intriguing one than previous male figures. He walked the fence of hero and villain. Haunted became the first book where I rooted for the ‘bad guy.’
Now as a writer and fiction fan, I’m more drawn to characters like Paul. Part of me believes this character helped shaped that perspective. So for that, Paul and Haunted always has a special place in my heart.
9. The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants (Book 1) by Ann Brashares
I own every Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book in the series, but the first one. This is the one I want to own the most. I own every hardcover 1st-print edition. Therefore, I refuse to buy the first book until I find that copy. A task not easy to accomplish.
As you can tell, after I read the first one, I became addicted to these books. I pre-ordered each of them and read them within a couple days. However, none of them matched the first Sisterhood book. The first one worked so well because it created varying degrees of woman.
None of them were better than the other. They were just different. Every girl could find one they related to. It was also rare for me to find a YA book more about the bonds of these girls than anything else. They underwent their own adventures but in the end, it was about how their friendship kept them whole. A strong message that more books need to teach, to empower the bonds of sisterhood.
8. Sloppy First and Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
Freshman year of high school, I read Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings right after one another. What sold me on this book was Jessica Darling and Marcus Flute. Their love story just captivated me. It felt genuine and honest. What made their love story work better than other young adult novel ones is that readers read them falling in love.
Many YA novels start with one of the people already madly in love. Then the other one later revealing that they felt the same. With this one, both Marcus and Jessica grew to love one another. It was a complicated, selfless love. Truly a love story better than Twilight.
The book series went on to include three other books. I have yet to read the other three. Not because I want to preserve the magic of the first two. But more so, I want to relive it. I refuse to read the other books until I am able to read the first two again. Then I will continue the Marcus and Jessica journey.
A challenging journey of first love.