It’s that time again! Time to vote for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Teen's Top Ten list, nominated by teen book discussion groups in libraries and schools across the country. Last year’s winners included Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and one of my favorites, Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver. Here are a few of the nominees for this year.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
This book has been getting a lot of attention this year and has even been reviewed by our own Kristen B. in her "Countdown to Summer: 4 Dystopian Young Adult Series" blog post. This book is one of my top picks for the YALSA Teen’s Top Ten list. In a world where you are forced to make a choice between five factions that will end up determining your friends, your family, and your beliefs for the rest of your life, sixteen-year-old Tris discovers that she is divergent, a word that is spoken in hushed tones, if it is spoken at all. But what does it mean to be divergent? Are there others like her? Will being divergent help her save her family and friends when the unity between factions is broken? A definite must read for teens and adults alike. The movie rights to Divergent have been picked up by Summit Studios and Evan Daughtery will be writing the screenplay. Currently, the movie is scheduled to come out in 2015.
Scarlett by A.C. Gaughen
If you love the story of Robin Hood, you will love A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlett. Will Scarlett is one of the most well known of Robin Hood’s legendary merry men. However, what most people don’t know, is that Will Scarlett is actually a girl disguised as a boy in order to escape the guilt of her past, and the man who gave her the scar that mars her face. But when her past catches up with her, will she face what she has dreaded for so long, or will she run, leaving Robin to pay for her past with his life? This book is nonstop action, moving from one fight to the next in true Robin Hood fashion.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This book is a trip! Interspersed with very peculiar (for lack of a better word) photographs, this book tells the story of sixteen-year-old Jacob who embarks on a journey to a remote island off of Wales, after witnessing his grandfather being murdered by a strange creature who seemed to step right out of Jacob’s nightmares. Once on the island, Jacob steps through a time loop to find a home of children who can fly, turn invisible, and make fire in the palms of their hands, At this home, Jacob finds out that not only was his grandfather “peculiar,” but he is as well, and that the “peculiars” are being hunted by the same creatures he has been seeing in his nightmares. What Jacob doesn’t know is that those creatures have followed him to Wales and in his dogged pursuit of the truth about his grandfather, he may have just put them all in grave danger.
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
For all of you who have been dying for a prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the wait is over. Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Fankenstein follows sixteen-year-old Victor as he searches for a way to save his brother’s life. Though there is a lot of sibling rivalry between Victor and his twin brother, Konrad, the two boys love each other very much. So, when Konrad becomes ill and the doctors don’t seem to be helping, Victor turns to alchemy, a mysterious science whose practice has been outlawed. As Victor secretly searches for the elixir of life, he discovers secrets that his family has been hiding from him, and a passion that may put his brother’s life at greater risk. Though an interesting premise and a good read, I didn’t find anything in Victor that made me want to cheer for him. Then again, maybe that was the point.
Check out the complete list of the 25 nominees for YALSA Teen’s Top Ten list (PDF) and let me know which books you think will make it. Voting open for readers ages 12-18 now through September 15, 2012. Winners to be announced during Teen Read Week, October 14-20.