If you devoured the Divergent series as soon as it came out, and if you could meet anyone in the world it would be John Green, then this news is going to make you very excited. Amazon just announced its official list of “100 Books YA Lovers Need to Read in a Lifetime” and their choices couldn’t be more spot on. From coming-of-age classics like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to today’s book blockbusters like Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, the list has enough variety to pump up any YA reader.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to challenge yourself to read all 100 by next summer? Chances are, you can already scratch quite a few off the list. Still overwhelmed? Today, Amazon launched its YA Book Club featuring one book a month, making it an easy way to jump in and get cracking. The inaugural book pick is I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. It’s about two twins who used to be best friends as well as siblings, but at 16, they now find each other practically strangers. The book’s chapters alternate time and narratives, taking the readers on a journey to discover what happened to drive the two sisters apart. Juicy, right?
If you want to take a go at it on your own, here are three books on the list we think would make great picks to start with. For the full list, head to Amazon.
1. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: There are so many gems of wisdom in this ’90s book about an introvert named Charlie who processes his anxieties by writing letters to a stranger. Charlie’s best friend Michael committed suicide, and Charlie is struggling to come to grips with that as well as dealing with things every teenager experiences, like making new friends and falling in love. The book is heavy for sure, but it’s also smart and funny, and will make you think about friendship, love and life in ways you might not have considered before. The best part? When you’re done, you can rent the movie starring the adorable Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: If you somehow escaped reading this one in high school — or got away with only reading the CliffNotes — now is the time to give it a real, fully committed read. Harper Lee is releasing a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird called Go Set a Watchman this summer, and it is getting crazy, crazy buzz. And obviously you can’t read the sequel until you finish the first one. We promise it’s a good read, full of courtroom drama. It didn’t get a Pulitzer Prize for no reason, right? The story is told from the perspective of six-year-old Scout. Her father, a widower, is the most respected lawyer in their sleepy southern town. For his latest case, he must defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. The book is set in the 1930s, so you can only imagine the uproar this brings. With racial tension still making front page news today, To Kill a Mockingbird is more relevant now that we might want to admit.
3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: Need proof that this teenage love story is worth your time? It’s endorsed by YA King John Green. Yep, he loves it, and you will too. Set in the ’80s, it’s about a guy and a girl who know the (pretty slim) chances of first love lasting, but decide to give it a go anyway. And if you remember anything about your own first love, you know how all-consuming it can be. Everything is just so much “more” — more amazing, more tragic — when you’re experiencing it for the first time. Sigh.
What’s your favorite YA book of all time? Share it in the comments.