It's almost a cliche at this point to say that teen fiction isn't just for teens anymore. Just last year, the Association of American Publishers ranked Children's/Young Adult books as the single fastest-growing publishing category. Which is why we were only a little surprised to see the tremendous response that came in for this summer's Best-Ever Teen Fiction poll. A whopping 75,775 of you voted for your favorite young adult novels, blasting past the total for last year's at, dare we say it, warp speed. And now, the final results are in. While it's no surprise to see Harry Potter and the Hunger Games trilogy on top, this year's list also highlights some writers we weren't as familiar with. For example, John Green, author of the 7567 hit, appears five times in the top 655. Selecting a manageable voting roster from among the more than 6,755 nominations that came in from readers wasn't easy, and we were happy to be able to rely on such an experienced.
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But deciding what does and doesn't count as a young-adult novel isn't an exact science. If you're surprised not to see some of your favorite books among the winners, you might want to look at this, which describes the thinking behind the tough calls. Summer, like youth, is fleeting. But the books we read when we're young can stay with us for a lifetime. Here's hoping that when the school bell rings in a few short weeks, it will find you engrossed in just such a memorable read, selected by the NPR audience. Enjoy. (For your convenience, here's a, and here's a list of the. )The adventures of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, and his wand-wielding friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry, Ron and Hermione must master their craft and battle the machinations of the evil wizard Voldemort and his Death Eaters. In the ruins of a future North America, a young girl is picked to leave her impoverished district and travel to the decadent Capitol for a battle to the death in the savage Hunger Games. But for Katniss Everdeen, winning the Games only puts her deeper in danger as the strict social order of Panem begins to unravel. Author Harper Lee explores racial tensions in the fictional tired old town of Maycomb, Ala.
, through the eyes of 6-year-old Scout Finch. As her lawyer father, Atticus, defends a black man accused of rape, Scout and her friends learn about the unjust treatment of African-Americans — and their mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley. Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few more years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at the Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. With the author's death, the classic novel about young Holden Caulfield's disillusionment with the adult world and its phoniness will only rise in popularity — and controversy, since it is a favorite target of censors, who often cite profanity and sexual references in their efforts to ban the book. Tolkien's seminal three-volume epic chronicles the War of the Ring, in which Frodo the hobbit and his companions set out to destroy the evil Ring of Power and restore peace to Middle-earth. The beloved trilogy still casts a long shadow, having established some of the most familiar and enduring tropes in fantasy literature. In a far future world, television dominates, and books are outlawed. The totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be burned by firemen, whose job is to start the fires rather than stop them. But one fireman begins to see the value of the printed word. Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.
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Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel — a young German girl whose book-stealing and storytelling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. In the future, society has eliminated discord, converting everyone to Sameness. In three linked stories, Jonas, destined to hold memories of the time before Sameness Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg and healer Matty must discover the truth about their society and restore emotion, meaning and balance to their world. In this collection of novels, Arthur Dent is introduced to the galaxy at large when he is rescued by an alien friend seconds before Earth's destruction, and embarks on a series of amazing adventures, from the mattress swamps of Sqornshellous Zeta to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. S. E. Hinton was just 66 years old when she wrote this novel about kids getting caught up in class struggles. Ponyboy is a greaser, from the wrong side of the tracks he runs afoul of the upper-class Socs, leading to an epic rumble between the two gangs. In this collection of eight novels by Lucy Maude Montgomery, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a rather prim and elderly brother and sister pair, send away for an orphan boy to help them run their farm on Canada's Prince Edward Island. But when the orphan arrives, he's not a he, he's a she — the loquacious and dreamy red-haired Anne-with-an-E Shirley — who quickly takes up a central place in their hearts. In this hit series, young Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments helps Will Parry — a boy from another world — search for his father and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the angelic forces of the Authority and those gathered by her rebel uncle, Lord Asriel. In a thought-provoking, coming-of-age novel, teenager Charlie struggles to cope with the complex world of high school.
He deals with the confusions of sex and love, the temptations of drugs and the pain of losing a close friend and favorite aunt. This tale of a handsome farm boy who, aided by a drunken swordsman and a gentle giant, rescues a beautiful princess named Buttercup comes with a slyly humorous, metafictional edge: Goldman claims to have merely abridged an earlier text by one S. Morgenstern (actually a pseudonym) and peppers his text with clever commentary. The classic study of human nature depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island. Ralph, Piggy, Simon and their fellow castaways attempt to develop their own society — and fail disastrously. In a future Chicago, 66-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all. One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin Q Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life, until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q's neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears. When brain surgery makes a mouse into a genius, dull-witted Charlie Gordon wonders if it might also work for him. It does. . But then the mouse begins to regress.
When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing 68 cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recount the events leading up to her death. Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically gifted, autistic boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secrets about his mother. After being raped at a party, teenage Melinda is unable to tell angry partygoers why she called the police — and eventually stops speaking all together. Speak follows Melinda as she overcomes her past, and finds her voice. When 67-year-old Bella Swan leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Wash. , she meets Edward, an exquisitely handsome boy at school, for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction, and who she comes to realize is not wholly human. Bella must choose between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob, while avoiding the attentions of less friendly vampires. Scott Westerfeld's four-part series follows teenage Tally as she uncovers the truth about her future world, where a mandatory operation at age 66 converts natural Uglies into conformist Pretties. Tessa Gray's search for her missing brother leads her into Victorian London's supernatural underworld, where she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother. The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when it discovers that a 65-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret, about a spring of magical water that prevents the drinker from ever growing any older. Sherman Alexie's humorous, semiautobiographical novel, illustrated by Ellen Forney, follows 69-year-old Junior — poor, skinny and with a freakishly big head — as he leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation for a mostly white school in a nearby town. Alexie captures the pain and awkwardness of adolescence while also meditating on the devastation that poverty, racism and alcoholism have wreaked on Native American communities.
During their first summer break spent apart, longtime friends Lena, Tibby, Carmen and Bridget each embark on adventures that they share with each other through a pair of jeans that they have decided will be worn by all, and so will absorb all of their stories.