Teen Book Buzz
The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list of recommended reading sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Sixteen young adult book clubs from libraries across the country are responsible for narrowing down a list of nominees for teens to vote on nationwide. Below is this year’s full list of Top Ten nominations.
I admit that I’m mostly satisfied with this year’s picks, though some might consider the list to be a little heavy on mythological romance like “Of Poseidon” by Anna Banks or “Underworld” by Meg Cabot. I love that this booklist gets published in late spring because it sets the tone for my entire season of summer reading. I loved Veronica Roth’s Insurgent” and I’m looking forward to reading “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater and “Every Day” by David Levithan. Which titles will you be adding to your list of must-reads?
“Crewel” by Gennifer Albin
In a futuristic world, Spinsters are women with the power to weave everything into form, whether it be food, buildings, or peoples’ very lives. Adelice Lewys has this talent, and she is whisked away into a world of luxury and elegance because of it. Although it is often advertised at the perfect life, it is far from it as things are never how they seem.
“Of Poseidon” by Anna Banks
Emma has never really questioned her ability to communicate with fish, her strange violet eyes, or her awkwardness on land, but when her best friend, Chloe, dies in a shark attack and the attractive, mysterious Galen keeps showing up in her life, Emma soon learns that she belongs in a different world –- one that is underwater. In the meantime, Galen, the prince of the Syrena, must learn why Emma seems to not quite fit in with either the humans or the Syrena while battling the strong attraction he feels towards her. As the relationship between the two develops, they are faced with difficult decisions between duty and desire that could lead to a huge change of Syrena history.
“Underworld” by Meg Cabot
In the second book of the Abandon series, Pierce Oliviera has been — yet again — kidnapped by John Hayden, the ruler of the Underworld. However, this time she can’t escape, and when she gets a video on her phone predicting her cousin Alex’s death, Pierce panics and begs John for help. She will do anything if only he will help her cousin out, including staying with him forever in the Underworld. Check out our staff review of the first title in this series!
“Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore
When her evil father, King Leck, dies, Bitterblue is made queen of a kingdom she knows nothing about. As she struggles to come to terms with both who she is and the legacy her father left on the city, Bitterblue tries to discover the secrets of her father’s crimes by walking the streets of her own city in disguise. Filled with struggle, suspense and surprises, will she be able to turn her kingdom into a better place?
“Poison Princess” by Kresley Cole
What really happens at the end of the world? Cannibals, Baggers, people try to sell you — and in this world, sixteen-year-old Evie is one of the few healthy teen girls. Evie sets out on a quest to find herself, all while things heat up between her and Jackson, the troubled bad boy from across the tracks. She knows life will get even worse as she comes to realize that she isn’t like other people. Luckily, or maybe unluckily for her, Jackson is the only one that can help her survive.
“Skinny” by Donna Cooner
Ever has always wanted to live in a fairy tale, but with 302 pounds weighing her down, it’s difficult to achieve. It’s even harder with Skinny, her own private critic, constantly belittling her. In this inspirational tale, Ever discovers the truth of learning how to overcome and accept the issues that plague her.
“Kill Me Softly” by Sarah Cross
After being raised her whole life by her fairy godmothers, Mirabelle runs away to the town where they said her parents died. But when she gets there, she starts to notice that it isn’t any ordinary town and that the teens who live there are fated to play out the Grimms’ fairy tales. So when Mira finds out that she, too, has a role to play, it’s only a matter of time before her story could lose its happy ending.
“Croak” by Gina Damico
Lexington “Lex” Bartleby is a juvenile delinquent who is sent to her uncle Mort’s after her latest stunt. Once there she discovers that she is a Grim Reaper. She was born to have the ability to take the souls from dead bodies and send them to the Afterlife. On the job, she feels the need for justice for the poor people who have died, but they aren’t allowed to do anything but transport the souls. As she deals with this struggle, her limits are tested as she discovers how far she will go to help the souls and herself.
“The Hunt” by Andrew Fukuda
For as long as he can remember, Gene’s father has always taught him how to keep a low profile so no one can notice that he’s different. He can’t run as fast, he can go outside in the daytime, and he doesn’t have a lust for blood. Gene is human, and each day is a battle to keep his secret locked away or be devoured by everyone around him. When he is chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt the last few remaining humans, he is thrust into the fight of his life and into the orbit of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible. Little does he know, however, she has a few secrets of her own.
“172 Hours on the Moon” by Johan Harstad
When NASA holds a world-wide contest for returning to the moon, no one — not even the three teenage participants — can fathom what is really in store for them up on the airless, empty gray mass. Or is it truly empty … ? Unbeknownst to them, what they find up there will change not only their lives, but the lives of everyone on Earth.
“Seraphina” by Rachel Harman
Dragons and humans have finally achieved peace, and the anniversary celebration is fast approaching. For Seraphina Dombegh, who is half dragon and half human, life is about blending in. However, a series of events will place her in the path of the Prince Lucian, Captain of the Queen’s Guard, and a hunt for a killer determined to start a war.
“Wake” by Amanda Hocking
Three mysterious girls have just blown into town, and everyone has their eyes on them. Little does everyone know, they also have their eyes on the towns’ residences. Gemma in particular has caught their eyes, and they want her. Little does Gemma know, she’s about to be thrown into a situation she might not be able to get out of.
“Tilt” by Ellen Hopkins
Tilt tells the story of three teenagers, all wondering about who they are and how they fit into the world. One struggles with a teen pregnancy, another deals with AIDS, while the last must overcome an abusive relationship. As things begin to change drastically, with them not in control, all they can do is hang on for the ride.
“Enchanted” by Alethea Kontis
Sunday loves to write stories; the only problem is that when she reads them aloud, they tend to come true. So when a frog claiming to be a cursed human comes along, he asks her to do two things: to read a few stories that won’t harm anyone and to kiss him. When you kiss an enchanted animal — or in this case, a frog — the enchanted will return to his true self. What Sunday doesn’t know is that if she kisses him, her life will change forever.
“Grave Mercy” by Robin LaFevers
Ismae is the daughter of the God of Death. After a near escape to a convent from her arranged marriage, Ismae is trained in the arts of a handmaiden of Death: assassination. Sent to the household of a possible traitor, Gavriel, Ismae begins to see glimpses of faults within her convent and honor in the man she is sent to spy on. Despite any feelings or doubts, she knows her first duty is to Death, but she has to wonder: what will her duty cost her and the man she is coming to love?
“Butter” by Erin Jade Lange
Butter is a morbidly obese teenager who is sick of being invisible but who doesn’t really want to make a splash either. One day, he’s finally pushed over the edge, and he posts a blog about his last meal, the one that he plans will kill him. This blog post brings him instant popularity, making Butter happy for once in his life. But Butter knows that his life is still far from perfect, and he must struggle with himself to determine who he will be and what course his life will take.
“Monument 14” Emmy Laybourne
Monument 14 is a book filled with terror, fear, and love, all inside a supermarket where fourteen kids are trapped . They are unable to leave as a monster hailstorm has hit, leading to variety of other disasters like a chemical weapon spill. Now they must find a way to escape their town, Monument, and get to safety in Alaska.
“Every Day” by David Levithan
A wakes up in a different body every day. It has always been that way for A, and A has rules to live by, like not getting too involved in the person’s life. Then A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of Justin, the boy whose body A is inhabiting. Suddenly, none of the rules apply because A is falling for Rhiannon and she won’t leave A’s mind even after A has left Justin’s body…
“Son” by Lois Lowry
In this new branch of the dystopian story started by “The Giver“, we follow the life of Claire, a birthmother in Jonas’s community. When Claire gives birth and her baby is taken from her, we see the first signs of emotion from someone besides Jonas in the community. In this riveting tale about the strength of a mother’s love, you’ll be whisked through an epic adventure of good vs. evil that explores the concepts of freedom, love, and sacrifice.
“I Hunt Killers” by Barry Lyga
Jazz is the son of an infamous serial killer and has witnessed crime scenes from the killer’s point of view. So when a body is discovered, Jazz wants to use the skills he knows to help find the killer. However, he’s not just trying to prove to other people that he’s not like his father; he’s also trying to prove it to himself despite what he already knows.
“Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry
Echo is a high school girl with “freaky” scars on her arms and no memory of how it happened. Noah is the high school stoner who uses girls and has no future. Over the course of their senior year, their lives will intersect in a way they never could have imagined, going through a journey that will prove to themselves and each other that they are more than what their reputations demand.
“The False Prince” by Jennifer Nielsen
In a faraway land, civil war is brewing. To unify his kingdom’s divided people, a nobleman named Conner devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him on the throne. Four orphans are forced to compete for the role, including a defiant and clever boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. His rivals have their own agendas as well, so Sage must trust no one and keep his thoughts hidden. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of lies unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that may very well prove more dangerous than all the lies taken together.
“Between the Lines” by Jodi Picoult
Delilah is a lonely, straight-A, freshman student who is shunned by nearly everyone at her school except for her punk best friend, Jules. Her mother pushes her to get out more by making her join the swim team even though she always gets last place. Her father left her for another family and never visits. So it’s no wonder she would rather spend her days reading. She finds a fairy tale that she can’t stop reading and falls in the love with the prince of the story. Too bad he’s not real … or is he?
“Falling Kingdoms” by Morgan Rhodes
War is brewing and unrest is widespread. The breaking point is a single incident in the dying nation of Paelsia. While three kingdoms battle for power, four young people find themselves greatly affected by it as they experience things like betrayal and war.
“Insurgent” by Veronica Roth
In the sequel to “Divergent“, Tris Prior is safe at the Amity compounds with her fellow survivors. With the whole city at war with itself and Jeannine looking for all the Divergent, Tris must learn to embrace her own divergence and understand it, though it might prove a dangerous task.
“Immortal City” by Scott Speer
The Immortal City: where guardian angels only protect the richest people and it’s the hottest, trendiest thing to be an angel. Maddy doesn’t quite understand what all the hype on angels is about, but when the most desired angel, Jacks, asks her for help, she finds out more about angels than she ever expected possible. Soon after, they immediately fall in love. But when someone threatens this love, what will they do about it?
“The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Boys is a thrilling adventure that captures you and takes you down the supernatural path with a daring girl named Blue, four complicated guys, and one life-altering quest and mystery of finding the Glendower King. Check out our staff review of this title!
“Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein
Verity is held captive by the Gestapo in 1943. She is told to reveal the secrets of the pilot who brought her to France or face the brutal consequences. As she does this, she weaves a story of an unlikely friendship and the bonds formed by it. Their tales intertwined form a suspenseful, breathtaking narrative of espionage — hope — horror — and friendship that spans untold secrets!
Below is a list of recently released and best-selling young adult novels. Let us know which title you are looking forward to reading. Do you have a favorite book that should be on the list? Have you already read some of these books? Share your thoughts about these and other must-read titles in the comments below. You might also consider submitting a review of a book that you’ve found particularly captivating. Select teen reviews will be published at teens.dbrl.org.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
It turns out that our predictions for the 2013 Gateway and Truman award winners were pretty accurate. Jonathan Maberry is the recipient of this year’s Gateway Readers Award for his book “Rot and Ruin.” The main character, Benny, has never known a world without zombies, but that doesn’t mean that he’s excited about apprenticing with his half-brother, Tom, as a zombie hunter.
Congratulations also goes to April Henry who is this year’s Truman Readers Award recipient for her book, “Girl, Stolen.” Griffin, a high school dropout, steals a car, but later realizes that he has kidnapped a blind girl, Cheyenne, who was sleeping in the backseat. Sick with pneumonia, Cheyenne tries to gain sympathy from Griffin, though she wonders if she can trust him.
This past October, April was a guest blogger for DBRLTeen and shared her thoughts on writing and kung fu. We hope you’ll enjoy her advice for young writers and check out some of her recommended reading which includes “Life as We Knew It” by Susan Beth
Pfeffer, “Ashes” by Ilsa Bick and more!
I get it already. I do. Seriously, I do not need to read one more book about painfully detailed wardrobes and how the main character just can’t decide between those two boys, and thinking is hard, and oh gee whiz, she chipped a nail. I mean, I like painting my nails, but give me a break.
No, on second thought, give me some strong ladies. I want to read books about women making hard choices and doing it well. I want to see a girl save the day. I want to see a woman find her happiness without the aid of some significant other.
I want characters I can respect like “Sabriel“ who travels into Death to rescue her father, a necromancer. Is she prepared? Not really. Is it scary and dangerous? Oh, yeah. But, she does what she has to and she does it without much help.
Beatrice in “Divergent” leaves her family, her home, her friends and everything she has ever known because she needs to be true to herself. She needs to find what will make her happy, not what everyone expects from her.
D.J. in “Five Flavors of Dumb” is a deaf teen struggling to fit in at her hearing school, manage a rock band, AND get into college even though her parents stole her college fund.
In my search, I have collected a pretty good list. Hopefully everyone can find something that appeals to the hero in all of us.
The Gateway Readers Award honors a young adult book as selected by high school students, while the Truman Readers Award is chosen by junior high students. Even though these awards are administered by the Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL), it is the responsibility of Missouri teens to choose the actual winner. Based on circulation figures throughout our library system, DBRLTeen predicts that the following books will be recognized as this year’s top titles:
Predicted Gateway Readers Award winners:
- First Place: “Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi
- Second Place: “Rot and Ruin” by Jonathan Maberry
- Third Place: “Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver
Predicted Truman Readers Award winners:
- First Place: “The Grimm Legacy” by Polly Shulman
- Second Place: “Virals” by Kathy Reichs
- Third Place: “Girl, Stolen” by April Henry
The actual award winners will be announced at the MASL Spring Conference in mid-April. Subscribe to our email updates to have the results delivered directly to your inbox!
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) publishes a list of the year’s best books, audiobooks, films and graphic novels for teens. The “Best of the Best” is a great place to start when looking for your next great book to read or movie to watch.
- Best Fiction for Young Adults
- Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
- Amazing Audiobooks
- Great Graphic Novels
- Fab Films
YALSA has also created the “Teen Book Finder” app available for iPhone or iPad so you can get book recommendations on-the-go!
Every January the American Library Association hosts its annual Youth Media Awards Press Conference. At this time, authors of children’s and young adult literature are recognized for the amazing works they have published in the last year. We as YA lit lovers consider this the Academy Awards of teen books. And this year’s winners are…
- Award Winner: “In Darkness” by Nick Lake
- Honor Book: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Honor Book: “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein
- Honor Book: “Dodger” by Terry Pratchett
- Honor Book: “The White Bicycle” by Beverley Brenna
William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.
- Award Winner: “Seraphina” by Rachel Hartman
- Honor Book: “Wonder Show” by Hannah Barnaby
- Honor Book: “Love and Other Perishable Items” by Laura Buzo
- Honor Book: “After the Snow” by S. D. Crockett
- Honor Book: “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” by Emily M. Danforth
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults.
- Award Winner: “Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin
- Honor Book: “Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different” by Karen Blumenthal
- Honor Book: “Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95” by Phillip Hoose
- Honor Book: “Titanic: Voices From the Disaster” by Deborah Hopkinson
- Honor Book: “We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March” by Cynthia Levinson
Alex Award Winners are the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.
- “Caring Is Creepy” by David Zimmerman
- “Girlchild” by Tupelo Hassman
- “Juvenile in Justice” by Richard Ross
- “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan
- “My Friend Dahmer” by Derf Backderf
- “One Shot at Forever” by Chris Ballard
- “Pure” by Julianna Baggott
- “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
- “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt
- “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple
Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adult.
- Award Winner: “The Fault in Our Stars” written by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd
- Honor Book: “Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian” written by Eoin Colfer and narrated by Nathaniel Parker
- Honor Book: “Ghost Knight” written by Cornelia Funke and narrated by Elliot Hill
- Honor Book: “Monstrous Beauty” written by Elizabeth Fama and narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Pura Belpré (Author) Award honors a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:
- Award Winner: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Honor Book: “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano” by Sonia Manzano
Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award is given annually to children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.
- Award Winner: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Honor Book: “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier
- Honor Book: “Gone, Gone, Gone” by Hannah Moskowitz
- Honor Book: “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard” by Lesléa Newman
- Honor Book: “Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie” by S. J. Adams
Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.
- Middle School Award Winner: “A Dog Called Homeless” by Sarah Lean
- High School Award Winner: “Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am” by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis
Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States.
- Award Winner: “My Family for the War” by Anne C. Voorhoeve, translated by Tammi Reichel. Originally published in Germany in 2007 as “Liverpool Street.”
- Honor Book: “A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return” written and illustrated by Zeina Abirached, translated by Edward Gauvin
- Honor Book: “Son of a Gun” written and translated by Anne de Graaf
Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. Tamora Pierce is the 2013 Edwards Award winner. Pierce was born in rural Western Pennsylvania in 1954. She knew from a young age she liked stories and writing, and in 1983, she published her first series, Song of the Lioness. She continues to write and even record her own audiobooks. She currently lives with her husband (spouse-creature) and a myriad of animals in Syracuse, New York.