At EW.com, book editor Tina Jordan asks, What’s the best YA novel of all time?
As the book editor for EW, I read a lot. I mean, a lot—at least a book a day. (It helps that I have a long commute—at least an hour each way on the train.) And what I’ve been finding of late is that I read more YA than anything else. Not because the books’ plot-propelled arcs make them satisfyingly swift reads (though I find that’s true), or because I don’t have the attention span or chops for “adult” books (please: can we dispense with the belief, once and for all, that YA is meant just for the under-21 set?). No, I’m reading a lot of YUA because I’m finding that some of the best, most innovative work in fiction these days is being done in the genre: gutsy topics, imaginative storylines, utterly fearless writing styoles (like blank verse).
Then Jordan goes on to say how flustered she became when someone asked her what was the best YA novel of all time. I find this question challenging too, because there are books that are great, that are considered great, and those that are no t necessarily “great,” but favorites. Especially because YA has become such a huge category spanning such a long period of time—from L.M. Montgomery to Madeleine L’Engle to Judy Blume to J.K. Rowling to John Green—and now includes the new NA (New Adult) category.
I do think the Harry Potter series is the best because of its many layers, its depth, its characterization and themes, its literary and alchemical scaffolding, its symbolism, and for all the reasons we here love it.
Starting tomorrow, EW is running a bracket game that asks this very question.
You might want to participate, but let’s discuss it here, too. Instead of just the best, let’s have categories.
1) What do you think are the all time five best YA novels (and include a best, if you wish) and why?
2) What do you feel are the most influential YA novels and why?
3) What are your favorites and why?
4) If you could only have ten YA novels (this includes series) to keep, what would they be?