Reading More Young Adult Fiction

I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction. To be honest, I’ve never had a lot of interest in YA, but one of my reading goals for 2012 is to read 10 YA novels. Last year I read 4, but 3 of those were books in the Hunger Games trilogy.

My first group of fourth grade students, will be in 9th grade next year, and if I am going to have any books to recommend to them, I’m going to have to dig into YA. I’m not thinking that I’ll be able to convince 14 year old freshman to read Babymouse.

I’m going to start by trying to knock out some of the 2011 Nerdies. Earlier this week I finished A Monster Calls, so I already have 1 YA book read. Up next I am going to read The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner. Gae has been a giant Nerdy supporter from day 1, which makes me really want to read her book.

Setting this goal, didn’t really have to turn into a blog post, but it will help to hold me accountable.

Do you have any suggestions for great YA books that Mr. Sharp should read? Please leave me a comment and let me know. I’m going to need some help in this area.

24 thoughts on “Reading More Young Adult Fiction

  1. Starting with the Nerdies is a good plan. There were amazing books on both the finalists list, and of course the winners were super. YA is tricky, because it’s such a wide range. As you know, it’s mostly what I read, and some I can share with my seventh graders, but a lot I can’t because of the content. I think one of the reasons I love reading YA so much, though, is because there are so many books written across so many topics for teens now. When I was a teen, there was Judy Blume, who I loved but outgrew by eighth grade. Most of the people I know who read jumped right into adult books by eighth grade. I’m not sure I needed to read Flowers in the Attic in eighth grade! πŸ™‚


  2. YA is really addicting! I don’t have much time to read YA either but it is my favorite. I tend to make time to only read those that are highly reviewed by fellow readers. You will LOVE Pull of Gravity.


  3. I LOVE YA books. I teach fifth and I have a fair share that read them so I feel like I’m always trying to stay a step ahead to know which ones to recommend to them. By far the most popular YA series in my classroom is Hunger Games. We used the trailer for the movie yesterday to discuss all aspects of setting. Then Divergent and Matched. (The kids are a bit obsessed with Fantasy). I also personally loved Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater but wouldn’t give that one to my students. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing. I have a copy to hand to my former students when they come in the room. And Pull of Gravity is on my list to read as well.


  4. I would recommend Pam Bachorz’s Candor: In the book, there’s a subdivision where music is used to keep people in line.

    Ally Carter’s Heist Society is young YA fun.

    Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is an interesting work of alternate history and steampunk. It is loosely based on World War I. It is the first book in a trilogy, but it could be read as a stand-alone. I also like Holly Black’s Curse Worker books. The first one is White Cat. Magic is illegal and there are magical mob type families. The book starts with Cassel waking up on the roof of his prep school with no idea how he got there. It’s a fun book in that what the narrator knows isn’t necessarily what’s true.

    I also have a whole stack of other YA fantasy recommendations, but I’ll hang on to those for now.


  5. I love YA, too. When I first got crazy excited about reading kidlit again, I think I lived in YA because I could relate to it more, then I switched to reading more middle grade and early chapter books for my students. I don’t feel like I really got into picture books until I had kids. I wish I had been encouraged to read more when I was in college…but that’s not the point. The point is, YA is awesome.

    When I think about the books you enjoy in MG, I feel like you seem to lean towards realistic fiction. I think you would adore Jordan Sonnenblick. He is amazing at realistic fiction in YA. Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie, Notes From a Midnight Drive, or After Ever After are all awesome. And I think Jerry Spinelli would be another author you’ll like in YA. I love Maniac McGee, Stargirl, and Love, Stargirl.

    I’ll keep brainstorming! Go YA! πŸ™‚


  6. I have loved YA for a long time and if I had to choose kid lit, adult, or YA only, YA would win. When I am stressed or down, YA is where I go. I am not sure why, but I am glad it’s there and I’m also glad that in the nerdy book club, age doesn’t matter when you are choosing what to read. I haven’t been a young adult for quite some time.

    I am eagerly awaiting my copy of Pull of Gravity. It is in the mail and I should get it any day now. I’m with you working through the Nerdies list. So far, I have enjoyed every single one I have read.

    YA is awesome!


  7. These are my recommendations to add to your list if you haven’t read them: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. πŸ™‚ Hooray for YA! I’m the opposite; read mostly YA in the last couple of years and am trying to read more MG this year.


  8. I love YA and I am so excited that you’re aiming to read more this year! I couldn’t help but smile that you’re thinking about how to be ready with recommendations for your first class of students as they get ready for high school. So sweet!

    Look for some John Green books – Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns.

    Chris Crutcher has always been a favorite also – Whale Talk, Deadline, Angry Management. Don’t miss his memoir King of the Mild Frontier. πŸ™‚

    I have been on an A.S. King streak also over break – Everyone Sees the Ants and Please Ignore Vera Deitz.

    Sooooooo many good titles. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of recommendations over the course of this year!


  9. I agree with the recommendations for Leviathan (I have the second book on my shelf for when I need a Nerdbery break) and for the Stargirl books (though they are a bit in between MG and YA I think).

    I’d highly recommend Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It’s an older work, and straight up science fiction. I’ve found that kids are reading a lot of fantasy “these days” and a bit of science fiction is a nice addition to their diet. The book is about kids, but I enjoy rereading the book as an adult as well.

    For the “vampire fans” (yes, those kids who are reading Twilight) I’d suggest giving Sunshine by Robin McKinley a try. The protagonist is a much stronger character in that book, and I think it might give kids who read about Bella a nice alternate female to consider.


  10. Colby,
    this is an awesome goal! I am an AVID YA reader and have to remind myself to read other things! That’s why I’m doing the genre thing! Maybe you can join the Mock Printz Goodreads group? We read 1 or 2 books a month that could win the Printz Award. We are finishing up now and won’t start again until April/May but in the meantime:

    Revolutions by Jennifer Donnelly
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
    Looking for Alaska by John Green
    Feed by MT Anderson
    The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    The Awakening (Quantum Prophecy Series) by Michael Carroll – superheroes!
    I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
    The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
    Split by Swati Avasthi
    Scrawl by Marc Shulman
    Unwind by Neal Shusterman
    Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
    Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork
    The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
    Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
    Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
    The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – a series that crosses both MG/YA
    The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
    First Part Last by Angela Johnson
    Happyface by Stephen Emond – most passed around book last year
    Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
    Slam by Nick Hornby
    She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva

    Heavy on the boy books – I’ll stop by later in the month with some girl books!


  11. Oops! I forgot to leave you some recs. My favorites recently are mostly on the Nerdies List, but I think the Hunger Games and Chaos Walking Series (Patrick Ness) are fantastic. For realistic fiction John Green cracks me up every time (though pretty adult subject matter sometimes) and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian (Alexie) is another great one. Could go on forever, but those are some that are pretty wonderful.


  12. Jay Asher, Jordan Sonneblick, Maureen Johnson (And her Twitter is hilarious), Scott Westerfield, Sarah Dessen, Ally Carter, Ally Condie, Suzanne Weyn, Dean Hughes, Michael Grant, Cinda Williams Chima, April Henry, Amy Efaw, James Dashner.

    I didn’t sort by genre, I pretty much just went down the first page of my goodreads list.


  13. I love the fact that you are still recommending books to your high schoolers. That’s awesome. My grandmother taught 4th grade until she retired, and some her students were at my grandfather’s funeral.

    I read YA with my daughter. I love anything by Maureen Johnson (specifically her Suite Scarlett series and her newest, the Name of the Star). Also just recently “discovered” Jordan Sonnenblick. He’s awesome too. Both are perfect for older middle school and younger high schoolers.


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