One Writer’s Journey

August 10, 2017

Top 100 YA Titles according to a SLJ poll

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:26 am
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In November of 2015, School Library Journal (SLJ) sent out a poll asking professionals in the field what books would make it onto their Top 100 Must-Have YA books.  The poll was answered by 274 people responses.  29% said that they work in a public library. 43 percent identified as school librarians. SLJ noted that the list contained both contemporary titles as well as genre fiction.

She did note one disturbing absence.  Only 2 books in the top 10 have diverse characters.  Looking at the top 50 books only expands that list to 7 titles.  SLJTeen and YA reviews editor Shelley Diaz noted this lack of diversity and wrote a blog post, “42 Diverse Must-Have YA Titles for Every Library.”

I have to admit that as I glanced at the top 10, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  After all, I’ve read six of them. Not surprising really since these are all popular titles.

1.The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling.  I actually read the whole series in something like 7 weeks.  In truth, that’s not something I would advise. 
2.The “Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I liked these better than Harry Potter but that’s just me.
3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Loved this one too.
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I have to admit that this is the one John Green I’ve skipped.  It sounds like a bummer book, unlike The Hunger Games which is all flowers and happiness.
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve heard good things about this but . . . romance.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This one I’ve somehow just missed.
7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. One of my all time favorites.
8. The “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth. I’ve read the first book and need to read the rest.
9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This is one I want to read again.  I’ve listened to the audiobook and want to read the hard copy.
10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Amazing.  Difficult.  Not fun. Yes, a bummer book, but amazing.

This part makes me look really well read.  But the rest?  Not so much.  I have to admit that without covers and descriptions, I know that I’ve read that author.  But that book?  I’m just not sure so I didn’t count it.

The Top 100 list includes both new titles and classics.  I’ve read all the classics.  I’ve read a lot less of contemporary books and that includes the 42 diverse books.  A bit part of the problem is that I don’t read a whole lot of YA unless it is a genre book.  The SF/F titles?  Those I’ve read.

So I’ll be heading to the library with my list.  You can request the full list and read the SLJ article about the list here. This includes both the Top 100 and the 42 Diverse Titles.



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