Tuesday, August 14, 2012

NPR's Best-Ever Teen Novels: Did They Get It Right?


Just a week ago npr.org, National Public Radio, delivered the results of it's poll for the Best-Ever Teen Novels. 75,220 people voted and to do something new I want to analyze the results. Now the title says Did they get it right? But it's really the collaboration of both the NPR and the 75,220 people who voted for their favorite books. I'll be categorizing my reaction of the books under these titles:

The Top Ten Books
Books I Approve Of 
Books I Disapprove Of
What Are You Doing There?
Top Authors
What Should Be On The List

The Top Ten Books

The tenth book on the list is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak where Death is narrating the story of this girl named Liesel who is going through World War II Germany. It is called The Book Thief because she steals books. Her foster parents hide a Jewish man and she befriends him. This book sort of reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars but the ending feels much worse than anything I've felt in a while because it's about the Nazi World. It's Historical Fiction but it is historical because it happened so it makes you feel more. It made me want to curse out the author it was that bad. It's riveting. I usually keep away from books about Nazi Germany because I really don't want to be put in a situation where a book fills me with such sadness but this book even if you'll be cursing out the world in the end is well deserved as the tenth best ever teen book. So far so good.





The ninth book is Looking For Alaska which I have not read. It is written by the amazing John Green. I've honestly wanted to try to read this book but I haven't been really motivated to do so. I've also heard from a friend and others that it's not that great but... it is by John Green so it must be have some worth to it so I won't say that it is deserving of the top ten because it is by John Green.








The eighth book is Fahrenheit 451. I now know because of again the AMAZING John Green that the number 451 symbolizes the heat number to burn books. More on his video explaining the first part of the book here. I've never read it. I dread reading classics. Some are good but meh... I rather not go through disappointment and reading books that takes a while to read and more importantly UNDERSTAND. I wonder if the resent death and maybe even John Green promoting the book had anything to do with the polls. I know the book is plenty popular but his death could have influenced it right?






The seventh book is The Lord of the Rings. Now we are definitely deep in with classics with this one. I don't know if older people voted on this but nowadays I don't see teenagers reading The Lord of the Rings. YA books are dominating but not with nerds... more with teenage girls who love romance is more like it and dystopian. I could hardly remember the movie honestly. I liked it I know but this type of fantasy is a little too much for me to read. But I do think it should be on this list. It is as I stated before a classic and one with a lot of notoriety. 






The sixth book is The Catcher in the Rye. I know this poll was about the best EVER teen so I can see why this would be on here. I actually want to try it out because I've heard a lot of teenagers say it was their favorite read in school and that's hard for the common High Schooler to admit that. This one went by me in school so I don't really know much about it. I've seen it consistently on lists like these so I'm not going to question it's position on here too much.







The fifth book is The Hobbit... The pauses and sighs you can't hear are because classics to me are rare to like. There can only be so much on here. We live in a time where they are called classics for a reason. It does Best Ever but now... a lot of classics don't count. I'm saying this all on The Hobbit so sorry about that. As with the Lord of the Rings this a bit too much old world fantasy for me to want to read but I know others will disagree with me. I will be watching the movie though. Mr. Watson is the main character so I sort of have to.




The fourth book is The Fault in Our Stars! *Applause* For being out in such a short amount of time and it being so high on the list that's something to be proud of. As I've been talking about it since the start you know how I love this book. It's been out a short but if you read or have read it you'll know that this book will be OUR generations classic. It is spectacular. I wrote a review of it not too long ago if you want to know what I thought about it and what it's about.








The third (were getting serious now) is To Kill A Mockingbird. I DENY YOU! I've read part of this book. I did not like that part. At all. You may be wondering how can I deny such a classic but I am... face it. I know I shouldn't though only because I never finished it and that's not fair to this book but I'm surprised that so many teenagers would not deny it. I feel like a lot of older adults voted on here. Sorry To Kill A Mockingbird. Maybe I'll read you someday.





The second book is The Hunger Games Series! Rightfully so. This trilogy was I think the start of my and maybe others obsession with dystopia. So many good books are dystopian books. Katniss is this really strong heroine and she ends up being a symbol even though she never wanted to be. She never wanted to fight anybody. It's because you messed up everything Capitol by calling down her sister. You screwed yourself. And not only is Katniss awesome but Jennifer Lawrence is so it's just created this great phenomena and it is well deserved because it's about something real and tragic. Something that can happen. We are animals inside. The world gets reduced to hardly anyone you think the government won't try to control you? That sounds a little too political and conspiracy theorist. Basically it's awesome so it better be recognized.



Of course the first is Harry Potter. Thank you J.K. Rowling you need to be on top of all the lists. No need to write about this really. If they didn't vote for Harry Potter as number one I would have just not paid any attention to this list or I would have raged and rambled on like I'm sure others would do the same thing.







Books I Approve Of

I've read a lot of books on here but that doesn't mean I like all of them. This list won't have the books above on here but you can tell what I approve of. Let's see what we got here.

Books Becoming Movies

There are a couple of books on here that are about to come out with a movie, have just been announced that the rights have been sold, or have started casting roles. The Perk's of Being A Wallflower has to be read by me soon on account of I've had it on my TBR list for a year now and there's a movie on it featuring the great Emma Watson. It's the story of me basically. I am a wallflower and it sucks. But then you find some crazy friends who get you and it's awesome. The Mortal Instruments Series is more of what I expected on here. I've only read the first book but it's widely known. The first book, City of Bones, has had casting for its movie. It's pretty good. I didn't think it was spectacular though but I guess other people think I'm an idiot so I'll have to go ahead and continue the series.

The Matched Series is a dystopian read. I don't know why it's so low at 78. A lot of people read it and know about it. I wish there was a post on Goodreads for this. I think our results would have been drastically different. There are a lot of good books out there that I guess no one knows about that aren't on here. Goodreads voters will probably raise up where Twilight is though and Hush, Hush too. So all I know about the movie is its rights has been sold. Before I Fall is so low on the list! My favorite 2011 book. Such fond memories. Before I Fall is about a girl who gets in a car accident and relives the day she dies for a week. She's a very shallow girl in the beginning like you want to smack her shallow. She becomes decent and falls for a guy. It should be higher. Also has its movie rights sold.

Not So New Reads

There are some classic reads on here that I ended up liking. Now I know I sound like a hypocrite but I did state that there are some classics that are good and that I like as well as that I haven't read the above classics so although I'm judging them I know that I haven't read them so it's not like I was bashing them. The Giver Series is on here and it scored relatively high. I rather enjoyed the middle book called Gathering Blue.  I'm surprised it was voted so high. I did like it but it has an old world type of feel. I mean it's a classic so it's not very modern sounding... it's just weird that so many people liked the series. I'm impressed. Although I have not read The Outsiders I really want to. It's a more modern classic to me. Two different gangs that live different lives going to battle. Also the author wrote it at 16 so it's the perfect teenage book.

The Call of the Wild is another classic I've read that I remember liking but for the life of me I can't remember what happened in the story. It's nice to know that teenagers appreciate Jack London. I still expect a lot of non-teenager voting on this thing but it's still nice to see London even though I'm on the fence if it should be on here or not.  Howl's Moving Castle was a great movie by Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki the genius. I saw it before I read the book. I felt like I had to skip a little bit because the description was a bit lengthy sometimes when explaining things. It's still a good book! I just prefer it in animation. And on every list of favorites or best there is The Chocolate War. People read this book? I've never read anybody who read this book. I absolutely love this book and Robert Cormier is the first author that I fell in love with. I say him but I mean his work of course but I like to say the author. I LOVE Robert Cormier. This is a classic I can call a favorite. It is amazing. It is worthy. It needs to be higher on the list. It needs to be read by all.

Dystopian Reads

Lord of the Flies is the most recognizable book that has to deal with kids in a secluded area going crazy. It's like the Hunger Games and any other dystopia where kids are the main characters and this whole society is formed by them but this society cannot work. It's like every dystopian society. Government does not help, they oppress. Kids are just the worst society builders ever. The Divergent Series is on here. It's kind of premature because there are only two books out unless you guys know something I don't. Divergent is another dystopian where people are separated into these extreme categories. You're either really smart, selfless, fearless, honest, or nice. I'm apparently very honest which is kind of sad only because those guys are jerks. When I wrote extreme I meant it. This is more of what I thought to see because it's what everyone's reading now lately.

The Uglies Series is one that I read all through High School. Oh wow. I just realized The Uglies was my introduction to the world of dystopia not The Hunger Games. Anyways at a certain age you get to be a Pretty and party all the time. You have no sense of who you are but that's okay the main character wants to be Pretty. It's not like they are all really ugly. It's just that they look normal and not.. plastic. There also is an outside world where you live on your own and work the land. She becomes this symbol just like Katniss but not really... She becomes famous but it's not the world looking at her. Just this tiny piece. Delirium Series is like the Uglies books. You get cured for the love disease while in Uglies you become Pretty. In Delirium there is an outside secret world right there and so does Uglies. It just reminded me a lot of Uglies. It also felt very Romeo and Juliet.


Neal Shusterman is also a favorite author of mine and he wrote Unwind this crazy future where kids can have their parts harvested for others. Your parents don't like you you are one unlucky person. Be very nice to your parents and you're good. Scary things to consider and things described. Yuck. It's still very good but possible futures are terrifying sometimes. The Maze Runner Series should be higher! Although the ending wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. Thomas is one of the fictional characters that are close to my heart. Dystopian's are taking over and I would gladly let them. But really so low? A lot of people have read this trilogy. Why is it being overshadowed by more girly books? Too little males reading. But everyone can appreciate The Maze Runner. I do.

Tough Issues

There are a couple of books that are on here that deal with tough issues and sometimes books like that are the books that make you learn something new. Thirteen Reasons Why NEEDED to be on here. You know the people voting are doing something right when they have Thirteen Reasons Why on here. So many feelings towards this book and Clay. CLAY!!!! This, The Book Thief, and Thirteen Reasons Why are all books that'll make you cry, think, and feel. They have depth to them. If you don't know Thirteen Reasons Why it is about a girl who committed suicide. She blames thirteen people and sends them tapes and when they're done they give it to the next person on the list. If they don't listen to it then she has an extra that will get sent to the cops. A lot of people would go to jail. It's a book every teenager should read.

Speak is about a girl who gets raped. It takes her awhile to speak up for herself. I do not remember this book. I remember that it was good though and I do remember the ending which is usually not the case. It's in the category with Thirteen Reasons Why. They are both about a story of a girl who struggle through something horrible. Unfortunately one of them is dead but you get the idea. If I Stay is about a girl whose parents die in a car accident and she's stuck in a hospital. She can either go on with her life without them or die to be with them. Another good choice. I wonder why they didn't have the sequel because the guy's side of it was interesting and another view point of it all. They could have just added them both to the one number. Oh well.


Dark Reads

I've read a couple of dark reads over the past year and a two were added in here. Vampire Academy! Read the first two books an loved them. This actually has a strong female role for a vampire book. An actual loyal, hardworking, and kick ass female. She flirts a lot in the beginning but don't let that deter you. She's awesome. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was I'm pretty sure my first book club read. It's spooky and has time travel and has a picture that looks like my aunt so it's pretty fantastic. I like that I see this on here. It's making me really like this list. I mean if you have something like Miss Peregrine you are doing something right.


I've Never Read You But That Doesn't Mean I Don't Love You

I know there are books I already wrote about that I haven't read but well I didn't know where else to put these books so here I go. You may know The Infernal Devices Series. It's the series with Clockwork Angel, Prince, and Princess. It's another well known series that I haven't read yet because everyone in the library wants to read them. This is Cassandra Clare's second series on here. The first being The Mortal Instruments. This is also very well known. The covers are amazing and I need to read them.

The Chaos Walking Series starts with the Knife of Never Letting Go that I've read reviews on and think it would be a great series to read. It's a weird concept. It's about how there is this New World where men can hear people thoughts but women can't. Maybe this review will help you out by a fellow blogger. It's just an interesting concept and a lot of people like it so I approve. The Gone Series is another series I need to start reading but has the same issue with the library. It's another series that everyone seems to like and has a concept that I love. Who doesn't love a book where kids have powers and there is a mystery where all the 15 and older people are?

Books I Disapprove Of

Twilight's on here but it's in the 20's so... I have read this series. I did like the series but that's before the big screen and I realized how wrong I was. This is why girls need to read more books with strong female roles.

Stargirl by the great Jerry Spinelli was read by me in Spanish class therefore I did not like it. I can't help if I had to read it in Spanish and then English to actually know what I'm saying. That's really bad for me since I'm Hispanic and pretty bad for Stargirl because the whole Spanish reading really made me dislike the book. It's more of a middle school book though so I wonder why I'm even explaining this. What are you doing on here?

The Hush, Hush Saga is one that I started but did not finish. I liked the first book. I really did. Patch is this bad boy type and its okay in the first book but then you go from bad boy to just plain jerk in the second but he's not what really bothered me. It was Nora and her annoying little self. So I deem this saga as unworthy of a list like this. I know that it's inevitable that Twilight and Hush, Hush will be on here because people voted for it but it's a shame that they are on here.

Dune. I don't what on earth you are doing on here. Have you seen the size of this book? Have you seen how boring sounding it is? This is like Lord of the Rings and Hobbit but just so much worse. Oh My Goodness it's so boring. It's for major sci-fi nerds and I have no problem with them but it should not be on this list. The majority of teenagers will hate this book to its core. Is it even a YA book? I really don't think so. No. Just NO.

Treasure Island? Really? The average teenager and even adults who were once teenagers did not and do not think this book is the end all be all. Therefore, this book should not be on here. Too many classics! I know it's Best-Ever. I get that but no. It's just random for it to be there.

What Are You Doing There?

Most of these I'll be mentioning are books that I've never heard of in my life or I just really don't think it should be on here.

Anne of Green Gables why are you on here? A lot of teenager liked this book at that age. I don't believe you especially since it's about a girl on her farm. Why would you read this as a teenager? There are so many better books that this out there. It's ridiculous. Flowers for Algernon is a book I've never heard of in my life. Who are you? It sounds like a middle school or children's book. I mean it's about a mouse. I guess I can see a thirteen year old reading this but I've never heard of it before In. My. Life. It's supposed be a well known book. I read a lot. I should know about this book if it's on a teen's best ever list.

Another book I've never heard of is on here called A Separate Peace. Who are you? I don't know. I feel like it was required reading for a lot of people so that's why so many know of it but if I were to ask a bunch of teenage bloggers I doubt the majority would know of this book. I think I've heard of The Dark Is Rising. But it's not very infamous or famous that I would think it would be considered for this list

The Bartimaeus Trilogy is one I have heard of and my only problem with this being on here is that it's more of a Middle Grade book. I can see twelve year old reading this and not teenagers. I mean I do read Middle Grade book but I wouldn't put them on a teen list. I Capture The Castle. I am coming up blank on you. Who are you? Sheesh. Is it so hard to find books and vote on books that are actually notable?

The Last Unicorn. What teenager in their right might would be reading a book about a Unicorn. We are not five. You shouldn't be on here. The Last UNICORN. Really? The Weetzie Bat Series. Another I have never ever heard of in my life. Also have never heard of Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series. So yeah... I feel like I maybe sounding crazy to some people but know that this is all my opinion of course and just never heard of a lot of these books. And finally Betsy-Tacy Books. I have not only never heard of you but you look like something that you would read if you were born in the 1950's and if you're super religious. It also looks like a little kids book.

Top Authors

There are a couple of multiple books by authors that made it on this Best-Ever list. I'll be only mentioning the ones with three or more. Let's see who they popular authors are.


John Green of course! I have only read The Fault in Our Stars by him but I am sure based on that book alone that his other books are well deserved on there. They are The Fault in Our Stars, Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson which he collaborated with David Levithan on.




Sarah Dessen the famous author who does a bunch of girly and I'm sure romancy books. You can always tell which are her books if you just look at the image on the cover. The books are: Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Along For The Ride, and This Lullaby. I've only heard of two of them. The others I want to scrutinize because This Lullaby for instance is not like the other covers which you might think is good but it's actually a ugly cover they've showcased and hopefully for the sake of the story there is another cover out there.


Tamora Pierce who I've never read but have heard of her is on here a ridiculous amount like the others. The books are Song of the Lioness Series, Daughter of the Lioness/Trickster Series, The Immortals Series, and the Circle of Magic Series. I think these have strong female roles which I'm sure a lot of girls appreciate it but for me I really think they sound boring. I'll have to read one once I guess...


(These pictures came from http://vivalabookworm.blogspot.com,  http://allwomenstalk.com, and http://tamorapierce.com respectively)


What Should Be On This List

I can't claim to have read the 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels. And I know I've been kind of bashing a lot of classics but if it's "Best-Ever." It should be well loved by teenagers today and every day after that. I know I probably expected a more modern version but I can't get that. I don't understand the books I've never heard of being on here. I'm sure others have read and loved them but to me there are some bad choices on here. Where is the diversity on here? I see that there is The House On Mango Street but not much anywhere else that I noted. I do like how they have books that has LGBT YA like Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Perks of Being A Wallflower. But I want different colors and creeds. Different point of views. I want Mexican Whiteboy. I want Five Flavors of Dumb. I also think Unearthly should be on here because it's awesome and better than Hush, Hush but that has nothing to do with diversity. I just wish there were more books out there that didn't have the main characters being white. I've stated before this reaction post that I really don't care if my main characters are white but why not black, asian, or hispanic too? Get rid of a lot of the classics and the Betsy-Tacy of the world on this list and add some books that have more impact on the teenage world. I still have to admit that this list was pretty good. It depicted a lot of what today's teenagers are reading. We need to keep reading books that push the boundaries and make us feel and think and love.

Thanks for reading my long long opinions on this list. I had fun. You can find the source here.

10 comments:

  1. Love this post! So much to comment on that I think I will do it in sections so that my comment isn't a page. :)
    I agree with you about The Book Thief. I haven't read anything by John Green yet- but he is on my list. I agree with you about LOTR and The Hobbit- I had to read both in high school and didn't love them. Farenheit 451 I also had to read in HS and liked it- it was a good read. Catcher in the Rye I liked in HS- but I reread it as an adult and I didn't like it so much. Yes to Catching Fire and HP (of course). Oh- and I liked To Kill a Mockingbird but I haven't read it in a long time. I have been meaning to reread it.

    I loved hearing what you had to say about the top 10!

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    1. Isn't The Book Thief just the greatest?
      Once you read a John Green book you'll never go back even though I've only read one I fell that that is true.
      Ha! Someone who agrees with me about LOTR and The Hobbit.
      Interesting about The Catcher in the Rye. Maybe it's too much of a teenage book?
      So excited for the new cast updates for Catching Fire. Can't wait for Finnick.
      Thanks so much (:

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  2. I haven't read any of the books that are becoming movies- but I need to read the Matched series (been on my list) and Before I Fall (also on list). Glad to hear you liked Before I Fall so much!

    I read The Giver- but not Gathering Blue. I only recently realized it was a trilogy. I have the other books, but haven't started them yet. I read The Chocolate War twice and liked it both times. I have also read other books by this author. :)

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    1. I've read a couple of books by Robert Cormier and loved them all. You know that The Chocolate War has a sequel, right?
      I Am The Cheese, After The First Death, and We All Fall Down are other great books by him. He's the type of author who shows no fear to do what he has to do to make you shocked in the end.

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  3. I have read LOTF- but that is it for the Dystopian. Most of the others are on my TBR list. I especially want to read Maze Runner.

    Tough Issues and Dark Reads- all on my TBR list- except Speak which I read a while ago. Glad to hear that you like so many of them! That says a lot because I always enjoy your reviews.

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    1. Really? There are so many good dystopians out there and coming out like Ashfall, Dualed, Gravity, Taken, and a ridiculous amount more. They are really worth getting into. They are like Hunger Games if you need that extra push (;

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  4. I can see why Twilight is on the list and I did enjoy them. My brother loves Dune- but I have never given it a try. Stargirl you might like better if you read in in English- it is pretty good.

    I have read almost all of the books on the What Are You Doing Here list. lol. If you liked The Chocolate War I think you might like A Separate Peace. Flowers for Algernon is actually a very fascinating book- not for kids. It is sad and it makes you think.

    Glad I have heard of all the top authors! :)

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    1. My brother also loves Dune but I refuse to give it a chance. I know I should try Stargirl because it is by Jerry Spinelli who wrote Maniac Magee and Wringer.

      Thanks for the suggestions I'll have to try them out.

      Me too! That would be awkward if as a avid reader that I didn't know about them.

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  5. I loved that you gave some ideas of what should be on there! Awesome ideas.

    Sorry I went a bit overboard with my comments today- but there was just so much to comment on within this post that I couldn't help myself.

    I hadn't seen the list until I read this post- so thanks so much for sharing. :)

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    1. No problem! Thanks so much for commenting. I love when I get comments :D

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