YA Books You Should Be Reading

At Worldcon one of my favorite Panels was titled, “Beyond Harry Potter: What other Young Adult Fiction Everyone – Adults Included – Should Be Reading.” The panelists were Ellen Asher, Susan Chang, Laura Frankos, Dan Wells, and Andrew Wheeler. I took down a 90% accurate list of the suggestions of the panelists, as well as some of the suggestions from the audience.

Many of us graduated with Harry Potter with the desire for more fiction like it. We wanted stories that read quickly, that had fun, and were character and story-based. While YA books have certainly existed for a while, the recent explosion of the genre as we know it in the bookstores was almost a direct result of the Harry Potter books.

If, like me, you fit in this category of readers… feast upon this list:

  • Everything by Lloyd Alexander
  • T.H. White’s Arthurian Novels (Sword in the Stone, etc)
  • The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
  • William Sleator’s science fiction novels.
  • Daniel Pinkwater (many books, including one titled “Young Adult Novel”)
  • Robert A. Heinlein’s Juvenile Novels
  • Andre Alice Norton’s Novels
  • The Foundation Novels by Isaac Asimov
  • Edward Eager’s Novels
  • Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Fields
  • Fred Saberhagen’s Novels
  • John Carter of Mars Books
  • Neil Gaiman (including Stardust, the Graveyard Book, etc)
  • Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games Series
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Brandon Mull (Including Fablehaven and The Beyonders)
  • Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke (translated from German)
  • Joe Walton’s “Among Others”
  • Tamora Pierce
  • Garth Nix
  • Justine Larbalestier’s “Liar”and “How to Ditch Your Fairy”
  • Diane Duane’s Young Wizards Series
  • Patricia Wrede’s “Enchanted Forest”
  • Adam Rex’s “The True Meaning of Smekday”
  • Mary Brown’s “The Unexpected Dragons”
  • Robison Wells “Variant” (coming out in Sept.)
  • Cory Doctorow “Little Brother” and “For the Win”, among others.
  • Gary Paulsen “Hatchet” and others.
  • Robert C. O’Brien “Z is for Zachariah”
  • Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall Trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums)
  • Shannon Hale “Princess Academy” and “Rapunzel’s Revenge”
  • Norton Juster “The Phantom Tollbooth”
  • Scott Westerfeld “Leviathan” (Steampunk Series), “Uglies” (Future Dystopia Series), and more.
  • Steven Gould “Jumper”

As an additional source, check out YALSA, which has lists of Young Adult Books such as the Teen Top 10, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.

3 Responses

  1. Jason on August 23, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    Also, don’t forget to make a visit to your friendly local librarian. They usually know all this and more, and they can hook you up with other books to fit your particular tastes.

  2. Samuel Loveland on August 23, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

    I agree, the library is a good default source. Depends on your local library of course, but usually they can really surprise you with what they’ve got available.

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