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.)
7. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
13 Reasons Why is one of the few books on this list that I’ve read in the last couple years.
What made me admire this book was how it captures the hopelessness that many teens experience. So much so that they take their own lives.
Besides that, what really drew me in was how different it was from most Young Adult novels. The novel creates this mystery surrounding the death of Hannah Baker. And with every new tape, you anxiously wait to see how and why it all happened. What you come to realize is that what’s most tragic about this story is how easily it could happen. The novel makes readers question how they treat themselves and others. It makes them see how any little incident can have a bigger effect on someone’s life. 13 Reasons Why haunts readers long after they are done.
For that, it creates an unforgettable experience uncommon in many YA books.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the second book on this list that has been read in the last couple years. My enjoyment of this book both ranks with nostalgia and technique.
Perks reminded me a lot of my teen years. Not exactly the events but more like the emotions I felt being somewhat of an outsider, a wallflower. Charlie is me as a freshman. A bit lost, hurt and hopeful about the possibilities of this new beginning.
The technical aspects of The Perks of Being a Wallflower that impressed me most were the creation of interesting minor characters. Most YA novels focus solely on the main character and the minor ones feel like an after-thought. If anything, Wallflower’s minor characters were almost more interesting than the main one. This really helped establish the idea of being a wallflower. Charlie’s storyline revolves around how he sees the world and the people in it. Therefore, they are more the stars of his story than him.
You also grow attached to Sam and Patrick as much as Charlie.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower creates characters you want to know, and grow to love.
5. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
Rats Saw God is the last book on the list that I read very recently. It quickly zoomed up to one of my favorites. Personally, this book reminded me most of Looking for Alaska by John Green. But I enjoyed it a lot more. Mainly because the problem with LFA, for me, was the characters. They didn’t quite feel real. Rats Saw God created situations and characters that were believable.
Another way it differed and improved on the concepts in Looking for Alaska is the issue of depression. Rats Saw God captures how depressing high school life can become. The novel also manages to remain hopeful by showing that slow recovery of depression is possible.
This theme came across with subtle cleverness.