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  #1  
Old 10-19-2015, 11:43 AM
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Default YA (Young Adult) novels

Despite being a grownup (age-wise, anyway), there are some books which will always be perennial favorites of mine, even though they're classified as "young adult" books. I'll re-read them for "comfort reading," despite the fact that a lot of people look down on YA books. I don't care--they're great.

That being said, here are the YA books which I've loved for most of my life:

The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley
The Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper
The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

Does anyone else read YA books, and if so, what are your favorites?

Last edited by Mara; 10-19-2015 at 05:28 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2015, 02:20 PM
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You know, it's funny you should mention that, because I was recently thinking about Bruce Coville books, and my favorite of his work, Goblins in the Castle. And now there's a sequel!
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:31 PM
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Sometimes I get the urge to read YA-novels, because some of them are really great, touching in a way that adult literature often isn't. Not better, just feels different to me, maybe because I find the teenage years pretty interesting. That said, most don't really stick with me.

YA-Books which made an impression on me:

The Last Unicorn - it's some time since I've read it, but I think it worked partly as a deconstruction of fairy tales? Great one.
Watership Down (Richard Adams) - I need to reread that one. I only realized in the middle what it did, and was struck by it. Also, has some nice dystopias in there.
The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton) - Rivers recommended me this one, and I found it very enjoyable and interesting to read.
Leben 2.0 (Thomas Fuchs) - About a popular highschool kid who has a bad accident, after which he can't get back into his old life and has a hard time to adjust. I don't think it's technically that well written, but I found it really touching how the fall from popularity was portrayed.
Stuff by Peter Pohl (e.g. Johnny, my friend) - I like the way he writes a lot. All his books seem to contain some autobiographic stuff, and there is always a bit of melancholy around, and the books tend to go into dark places. But nearly all of his books contain a sense of hope threw friendship, as a way out of the darkness. The one that really got to me was "We call him Anna", a book about bullying and one of the bleakest books I ever read - but probably the book that got to me the most.
Harry Potter - I still love it.
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Old 10-19-2015, 03:16 PM
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Anyone who has ever had a conversation with me knows I am a The Chronicles of Prydain fan. I even like the crappy Disney movie (a little).

A Wrinkle in Time is still one of my favorite books.

I read The Dark is Rising as a kid but I confess I only really remember the second book.

I should really read The Last Unicorn some day.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:28 PM
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I'm not aware Watership Down is YA; in any case, it's one of my favorite books of all time.

Always have a soft spot for Animorphs. Memorable these days for meme-tastic cover art, and a bunch of the ghostwritten volumes brought the overall quality down, but I think it's a legitimately good series with great set pieces, nice character development, and surprisingly nuanced take on war, morality, and interracial relationship. Even the obligatory romance is refreshingly mature and understated.

The most recent YA I've really enjoyed is Jonathan Stroud stuff, particulary the Bartimaeus series. Barty's such an awesome protag.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:00 PM
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Neil Gaiman's the Graveyard Book is one I enjoyed from a couple years back. It's like the Jungle Book but with vampires and ghosts instead of jungle animals.

And about a decade back I read Clive Barker's A Thief of Always, which is VERY similar to Coraline in a lot of ways. But to be fair, they both are extensions of stuff like the house made of candy in Hansel and Gretel. I would like to see that one as a film, though.

I'm with Solitayre on the Last Unicorn: I need to tackle that one. Seems like my cup of tea. Wasn't a big fan of the movie (save for some great elements) but I could see how it came from a great book.
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:42 AM
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Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.



also pictured: Snoopy
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post
Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.
That's pretty cool. my favorites were Keep of the Lich Lord and Legend of the Shadow Warriors. I'm sure the books are more common over there than here.
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:15 PM
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I read Dead of Night a lot, but I was never able to finish it.

Would Discworld count as a YA series? Because I, and I imagine a lot of the other people on this board, have read the potatoes out of that.
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  #10  
Old 10-20-2015, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mara View Post
The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley
The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
Yesssssss

So I don't read many YA books myself, but there are a few I accidentally stumbled on and really liked.

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. In general I think Mieville is Just Okay, I Guess. Not a big fan. But I loved this book by him - the first I'd read. It was a little confusing going in and being like "oh, wait, this is YA? Uh okay, I didn't realize he was a YA author" (it was even more confusing going back to Perdido Street Station, for reasons I'm sure you can grasp). Anyway, this has a lot of fun and unique worldbuilding that actually suits a kids' book better than the dark and gritty stuff he normally does, it's got a pretty rad subversion/twist thing going on. It's got a few plot/pacing rush problems towards the end, I think? But had I read this when I was 12 it probably would have been my favorite book ever for a good long time.


When I was in fifth grade my favorite book was Tanith Lee's The Black Unicorn. I don't remember much except the color mauve makes an appearance, it's in a desert, there's a unicorn and it's black. And I don't think I'll revisit it and instead keep it firmly in Nostalgia-land. But I read the shit out of it back then, over and over.


Also I have to drop this plug: NYT bestselling YA author Cinda Williams Chima is my childhood friend's mom. She used to make us sandwiches while we played SEGA in the basement, and when I was in college she started releasing YA novels. Her first series, starting with The Warrior Heir, has some neat stuff going on. I've been meaning to get into her second series, which is more high fantasy, and according to my friend better than the first. Check them out!
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:25 PM
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Dragonlance, obviously.
Beyond that, The Little Prince, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, the redwall series, and of course my most recent favorite book, Night Circus.
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  #12  
Old 10-20-2015, 06:58 PM
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I think I would decline to call the Night Circus a young adult book.
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:16 PM
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you're welcome to decline, but that's what the publishing industry has chosen to categorize it as.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:34 AM
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Really?! Seems a bit mature for YA. To answer Octopus Prime, I think really only the Tiffany Aching books are considered YA
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:41 AM
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Eh, it's a book about wizards at a magic circus where half of the main characters are children. There's one F-bomb and some rated-PG sex, but there's really nothing in it I think young adults couldn't handle.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masterthes View Post
Really?! Seems a bit mature for YA. To answer Octopus Prime, I think really only the Tiffany Aching books are considered YA
The Aching books might be the ones marketed most towards the YA audience, but almost the entire series has the same sort of tone and temperament I associate with the genre.

Even the Watch books, which have a late middle-aged recovering alcoholic as their central character.
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:10 AM
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I assume that YA is somewhere between Dr. Seuss and Stephen King, but reading this thread only assures me that I have no clue where to draw the lines. I had assumed that Discworld's mature themes and far-flung references would disqualify most of those books, even if they could be read and understood well enough at a surface level by most teens. Anyway, some excellent novels that haven't been mentioned and may fit the criteria, whatever they are:

The Neverending Story
The Hobbit
Peter Pan
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:32 PM
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There are kids books, middle grade books (things like bridge to terabithia, the egypt game, tales of a fourth grade nothing, etc), young adult books (anything from hobbit/watership down through twilight/hunger games/etc), and then adult.
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Old 10-22-2015, 04:06 PM
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if we're going to get pedantic as fuck: johnathon livingston seagull is a dirty hippie book, not a YA book
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Old 10-22-2015, 04:07 PM
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you could ask for a list of my favorite textbooks on concrete and gravel and i'd still say seagull.
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Old 10-22-2015, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivam View Post
There are kids books, middle grade books (things like bridge to terabithia, the egypt game, tales of a fourth grade nothing, etc), young adult books (anything from hobbit/watership down through twilight/hunger games/etc), and then adult.
Kids books are "hey kids, let's learn how to read!" Middle grade books are "hey kids, let's have an adventure!" Young adult books are "hey kids, let's talk about genocide!"
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  #22  
Old 10-26-2015, 07:56 AM
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(1) I think it's more or less anachronistic to classify things like The Last Unicorn, The Little Prince, or A Wrinkle in Time as "YA."

YA as we talk about it now seems like a construction defined by the success of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight. Putting The Last Unicorn,The Little Prince, or A Wrinkle in Time into the same genre as those feels awfully forced to me, like an attempt to take this very contemporary phenomenon and retroactively applying it to things that are just categorically different.

(2) Apparently there's going to be an official 8th Harry Potter story featuring the next generation, and it's going to be a stage play???
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:11 AM
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I liked The Last Book In The Universe when I was an actual young adult.
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estragon View Post
(1) I think it's more or less anachronistic to classify things like The Last Unicorn, The Little Prince, or A Wrinkle in Time as "YA."

YA as we talk about it now seems like a construction defined by the success of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight. Putting The Last Unicorn,The Little Prince, or A Wrinkle in Time into the same genre as those feels awfully forced to me, like an attempt to take this very contemporary phenomenon and retroactively applying it to things that are just categorically different.
I agree that the 3 novels you list are really "proto-Young Adult", but YA was around as a classification and marketing term long before Harry Potter, et al. "Young Adult" as a classification / marketing term began in the 1950s and really took off as a commercial endeavor in the 1970s. The first five of the big successful novels marketed to young adults are considered to be I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Friends, The Bell Jar, Bless the Beasts and Children, and Deathwatch.
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:10 AM
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That's definitely true. Good point.

The particular books you list as early examples of Young Adult literature are also interesting in terms of their contrast from what contemporary "YA" has become.
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:57 AM
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What about The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew?
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:13 AM
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What about The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew?
Those feel like an entirely different formula than (1) just good literature written at a level anyone can understand (The Little Prince), (2) early and less codified YA (The Bell Jar) and (3) industrialized contemporary YA (The Hunger Games).

Wikipedia lists them in a genre called "juvenile series books" that existed from 1930-1979. Hmmm.
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:36 AM
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Diane Duane's Young Wizards series is love and everyone should read it.

I'm also really fond of Artemis Fowl.
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  #29  
Old 10-26-2015, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
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What about The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew?
middle grade
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  #30  
Old 10-26-2015, 12:04 PM
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I'm also really fond of Artemis Fowl.
Artemis Fowl kind of jumped the shark around the time it started to feature time travel and the medicinal use of the brain fluid of a critically endangered lemur, but even after that it's still suitable for goofy, mindless fun.
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