|Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish|
Young adult literature should get the reputation it deserves as high quality literature worthy of study and analysis. Schools are slowly coming around to this, with some schools adding books by John Green and Sherman Alexie onto their curriculums. But why shouldn't fantasy or dystopian be taught in schools? Why is it thought to be of lesser intellectual quality that navel-gazing contemporaries? Don't get me wrong, I have loved my fair share of pretentious, navel-gazing contemporaries, but those aren't the only books of literary value. Genre books are just as intellectual. *climbs off nerd soap box*
Obviously, I could only include books that I've read, though I could think of a dozen more that I haven't that should probably go one here (like The Book Thief).
Also, I didn't include any books that I actually READ in school, even though I went to pretty atypical schools with atypical curriculum, meaning I read some books that may show up on other people's lists. OH WELL. MY LIST, MY RULES.
1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I learned about history as a kid through reading historical fiction. Books like Number the Stars and the American girl series taught be what World War II was far more than facts in a textbook ever could. Code Name Verity is the kind of masterpiece that should be required reading for everyone
2. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
DITTO. And yes, they should teach both. RUF should be shoved in the hands of every child ever.
3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I mean, the kids might fall apart crying, but at least they'll read some gorgeous prose and learn some powerful truths about life and death.
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Kids should read this for two important reasons: 1) it is full of horrible awesomeness and teaches all kinds of valuable lessons, like THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS JOY (and other things), and 2) the kids who read this book are fully informed members of society. This book is so much a part of our pop-culture that to be fully ignorant of it makes you... well, a little bit more ignorant.
*apologizes to blogreaders who haven't read it yet* I'M NOT CALLING YOU STUPID, I haven't read John Green, either. You're allowed to pelt me with stones. *cowers*
5. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
For starters, this book would increase any kids vocabulary by about a million percent. The complexities of Seraphina's world, with it's politics and prejudices, would be a great setting for some classroom learning.
6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
TCIotDitN is, despite it's cumbersome name, a short and powerful novel. It's told from the point of view of an autistic teenager, and it never once devolves into schmaltz. It's funny, clever, and fascinating while managing to be brutal.
7. Speak by Laurie Hals Anderson
This one seems primed and ready to be taught in schools (and it may be taught in places... though I recall a butt-faced douche-rocket trying to ban this a couple weeks ago). It's unflinching, raw, funny, and heartbreaking, and could teach millions of kids to find their voices.
8. The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
LE DUH. Actually, I'd accept any Tortall-set Pierce series here. The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Tricksters. All full of awesome girl power, action, and excellent social messages.
8. (tie) His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Considering the severe anti-religion themes of this series, I can understand why it probably WOULDN'T be taught in most schools, but it really is such a glorious, intelligent, imaginative series
9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
HEAR. ME. OUT. As a definitive piece of culture, for good or for bad, Twilight is worth analysis almost as a historical artifact. Why did it gain the fame and popularity that it did? What about this book, and the time it was published, lead to such a phenomenon?
10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Ditto above, except including literary analysis, because it is full of depth and awesome and life lessons and magicccc. And it should be law that every human being read this series. Bump Catcher in the Rye and that snot-nose Holden off the list for HP and Company.
Honorable mentions: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Forever by Judy Blume, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, The Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers, Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.