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Keeping up With YA: I'd Like Your Help!

Next month, I will be presenting a session at my state library conference on Keeping Up With YA. The goal for the session is to present titles that are "must know" books and books that be paired with those titles to help keep up YA collections. My session is only 45min. long which is not a lot of time to talk books, so my goal is to provide attendees with handouts that will have even more titles in the categories I'll be talking about. I'd love some help putting together a list of "must know" YA reads-I'd like books from the last three-five years that librarians should know and have in their collection. The genres I'd like to cover are:

Contemporary Romance
Contemporary Fiction
Science Fiction
Issue-driven YA

What books would you say are "must know" YA titles that librarians should read and know about? And what books would you say are "must reads" for teens?


  1. These are just some of my picks, but here are some that initially came to mind:

    Contemporary Fiction
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

    Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs

    Science Fiction
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
    Gone series by Michael Grant

    Unwind by Neal Shusterman
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (author allows free downloads of all his books from his website)
    Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (has zombies but distinctly dystopian)
    Hunger Games Series
    Mazerunner by James Dashner

    Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

    Issue-driven YA
    Sold by Patricia McCormick
    The Chosen One: A Novel by Carol Lynch Williams

    Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner and Richard Ewing

    Ash by Malinda Lo
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (steampunk so could also be considered science fiction)
    Graceling (and sequels) by Kristin Cashore

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

    I don't know why my brain isn't working. I could probably find some more semi-important ones if I tooted around on novelist for a little while.

  2. I will probably be coming back to this post as I think of more...
    Dystopian (beyond Hunger Games, obvs.): Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness (in many ways I feel this trilogy way surpassed HG).

    Contemporary: anything by Ellen Hopkins, Hate List &/or Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

    Science Fiction (or dystopian): Across the Universe by Beth Revis

    Humor: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

    Historical: The Twins' Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

    I'll revisit when I think of more!

  3. From this past year:

    Between Shades of Gray (historical)
    The Pull of Gravity (contemporary)
    Stupid Fast (contemporary)

  4. Contemporary Romance
    -Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
    -Anna and the French Kiss

    Contemporary Fiction
    -Five Flavors of Dumb
    -Before I fall
    -Leaving Paradise
    -Perfect Chemistry

    -The morgue and me
    -The liar society
    -Payback Time

    Science Fiction
    -Black Hole Sun
    -The gardener

    -Divergent (could be SciF)

    -Bad Taste in Boys


    -Aubrey, Wait

    -Hex Hall
    -Hold me closer necromancer (could be Paranormal?)
    -Hush, Hush

    -Half Brother

    On a side note, where would you put zombies? Paranormal or Fantasy?

  5. Thank you so much!! This helps a lot!:)

    Allison-I think zombies would go with paranormal/horror. (Which made me realize I forgot a horror genre!!)

  6. This is such a fun question! Hmm. Here are some of my favorites from the last few years:

    Contemporary: Anna & the French Kiss, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Sky is Everywhere, If I Stay & Where She Went, Before I Fall

    Science Fiction: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

    Dystopian: Hunger Games, Divergent, Bumped, Legend, Wither

    Paranormal: The Forest of Hands & Teeth

    Issue-driven YA: Wintergirls, Hate List

    Fantasy: Graceling or Fire, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Plain Kate

    Historical: Chime, Leviathan series

  7. I just made a display of dystopian books at my library! Here are my picks from what I have as the ones to know:

    Birthmarked - Caragh O'Brien
    Bumped - Megan McCafferty
    The Carbon Diaries 2015 (and 2017) - Saci Lloyd
    Whither - Lauren DeStefano
    The Declaration (Resistance & Legacy) - Gemma Malley
    Delirium - Lauren Oliver
    Divergent - Veronica Roth
    Enclave - Ann Agguire
    Feed - M.T. Anderson (little older, but a good one)
    Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
    Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
    Matched - Ally Condie
    Maze Runner - James Dashner
    Skinned - Robin Wasserman
    The Compound - S.A. Bodeen
    Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
    The Unidentified - Rae Mariz
    Unwind - Neal Shusterman
    XVI - Julia Karr

    Good luck!

  8. Here's my list :)
    Contemporary Romance:
    -Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
    -Where She Went by Gayle Forman

    Contemporary Fiction:
    -The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
    -Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
    -Rival by Sarah Bennett Wealer
    -Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupula
    -Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
    -Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

    -Clarity by Kim Harrington
    -The Body Finder & Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

    Science Fiction:
    Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

    -The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
    -Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
    -Divergent by Veronica Roth

    -Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
    -A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

    Issue-driven YA
    -Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman
    -Sold by Patricia McCormick
    -Something Like Hope by Shawn Goodman
    -Shine by Lauren Myracle

    -Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
    -Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (also paranormal)
    -Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (zombie/paranormal)

    -Graceling by Kristin Cashore

    -Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

    This is a long list and I know I could add more! I hope this helps and that you get more recommendations.

  9. The only other titles I have not read on other comments would be titles by Sarah Dessen.
    Also, the Series by Lauren Kate-Fallen, Torment, and Passion.

    And series starting with Hush Hush and then Crescendo.

  10. In addition to the books already mentioned:

    The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
    Incarceron & Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

    Contemporary Fiction
    After by Amy Efaw
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Boot Camp by Todd Strasser
    Hold Still by Nina LaCour

    Historical Fiction
    The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

    Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

  11. Marcelo in the Real World: contemporary, issue driven?
    Graceling and Fire by Kirstin Cashore: fantasy
    Feed: sci-fi, zombies
    the 10 PM Question: isse-driven
    The beautiful between: contemporary
    The Absolutely True Diary of a part time Indian: issue-driven, contemporary
    The evolution of Calpurnia Tate (is this children's?): historical
    The Hunger Games Trilogy: sci-fi, dystopian
    Going Bovine: contemporary, slightly issue-driven
    Shine: contemporary, issue-driven
    Paper Towns: contemporary
    Mistwood: fantasy
    Chime: Historical Fantasy
    A Long, Long Sleep: sci-fi
    The Monstrumologist: Historical Horror (or paranormal, i guess)
    The Chaos Walking Trilogy: sci-fi
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox: sci-fi
    Beauty Queens: humor
    Anna and the French Kiss: contemporary romance
    The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks: contemporary
    Speak: issue-driven
    Wintergirls: issue-driven
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Zombies, sci-fi
    This World We Live In: Sci-Fi
    the book thief: historical

    and this might be a children's book, but it seriously is beautiful and funny and quirky and amazing:
    the girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making: fantasy

  12. Audiobooks!!!

    Leviathan & sequels, read by Alan Cumming

    Carter Finally Gets It, narrated by Nick Podehl

    Will Grayson, Will Grayson, narrated by Nick Podehl and Macleod Andrews

    The Jacky Faber books, narrated by OUR BUDDY Katy Kellgren

    Dairy Queen, narrated by Natalie Moore

    The 39 Clues books, narrated by David Pittu (maybe too middle-grade but I have teens who love them)

    Feed, narrated by David Aaron Baker (okay, TOO OLD... 2003... but still! I heart this one!)

    Nation, narrated by Stephen Briggs

  13. Dystopian
    Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    Divergent by Veronica Roth

    Contemporary Fiction
    American Born Chinese
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

  14. Forgot to add that American Born Chinese was by Gene Luen Yang

  15. I can't recommend Sarah Darer Littman's Want to Go Private? enough as both an issues/realistic fiction book. Touches on the dangers of the internet and is very well done. And frankly, anything by Stephanie Perkins is guaranteed for the teen romance readers.

  16. a lot of people have already commented on dystopian, sci-fi, etc.

    some contemporary titles that I would recommend:

    Courney Summers "Cracked Up to Be," "Some Girls Are," "Fall for Anything" (also double as social issue books)
    I heartily second "Five Flavors of Dumb" by Antony John
    Emily Horner's "A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend" (lgbt, contemporary, and issue-grief, death, dying)
    Julie Anne Peters' "Rage" (lgbt, dating violence)
    Jay Asher's "Thirteen Reason's Why" (issue)
    Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"


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