Well, I did something similar for my 2009 book lists, but amazing blogger Kelly of YAnnabes has put together a massive blog blitz, in which thirty-something book bloggers with LibraryThing accounts will post today about The Best YA Books You Haven't Read! Now, most people in the blogosphere use Goodreads, and it's certainly an excellent platform if you're looking for livestream updates of what your friends are reading, but LibraryThing focuses more on comprehensive individual book stats, the similarities of your reading tastes to other LTers, and so on and so forth. She has done an incredible job of helping thirty-something bloggers figure out which of their highest-rated books in their LT account are the most overlooked, and is helping everyone spread the word about these worthwhile titles.
Since I did a similar post in my Most Overlooked list of from my 2009 book lists, I'll keep this one shorter and sweeter, with quick summaries and "mini-reviews." So, without further ado...
Steph Su's List of the 7 Best YA Books You Haven't Read
Random House / Oct. 13, 2009 / Hardcover / 336pp. / $16.99
One-sentence synopsis: Plus-size Cat embarks on a caveman diet as part of her year-long science project, hoping to beat Matt McKinney, her ex-best friend who broke her heart years ago.
Why You Can't Miss It: Brilliance like this unfortunately still rarely exists in YA lit, and it’s a real shame, because YA lit needs more authors like Robin Brande. It’s the kind of book that makes you smile as you remember why you still enjoy and read YA contemporary realistic fiction. Brande does not dumb down her fictional teenagers, with the surprising yet joyful result that they will end up appealing to everyone. FAT CAT is a story you catch yourself thinking about randomly even weeks after reading it.
[see my full review here]
HarperCollins / Jan. 2008 (reprint) / Paperback / 304pp. / $8.99
One-sentence synopsis: Someone takes and circulates a picture of snarky good-girl Audrey in a compromising position with a boy.
Why You Can't Miss It: GOOD GIRLS is a gem of a good read. It’s raw and explicit, yet hilarious and touching. Audrey is a great, strong protagonist with a wonderful voice. Not everyone has been in Audrey’s particular situation, but I’m sure that everyone can empathize with how it feels to be hurt, and then to rise above it with spectacular results.
[see my full review here]
St. Martin's Press / Jan. 2002 (reprint) / Paperback / 288pp. / $14.99
One-sentence synopsis: Strangers Elizabeth and Christina became fast friends through their schools' pen-pal system, and via notes and letters, they unravel one another's problems, most especially those involving Elizabeth's erratic best friend Celia.
Why You Can't Miss It: It’s impossible to sum up this amazing book in a few sentences. Let’s just say that this is one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ll never get sick of it. FEELING SORRY FOR CELIA will make readers laugh, cry, and wish they could be part of Elizabeth’s crazy but wonderfully interesting life. It's a celebration of uniqueness, personal dreams, and the sustaining love of friendship over distances.
HarperCollins / Aug. 2009 / Hardcover / 300pp. / $16.99
One-sentence synopsis: When Jinn, a genie, comes to the heartbroken and lonely Viola to grant her three wishes, neither is prepared for the emotions they end up feeling for one another...nor the obstacles they must overcome if they want to have any hope of ending up together.
Why You Can't Miss It: The development of Viola and Jinn’s feelings for one another was extraordinarily well done, subtle and likable. It is rare nowadays to find a romance that doesn’t start off from insta-connection and physical attraction, so their relationship stands out to me in the best way. Also, how many authors can tell a truly charming story out of a concept that rides the fence on being sweet and too saccharine? This is magical realism at its best, completely worth the list price, and one of the best love stories I’ve read all year.
[see my full review here]
Penguin / Dec. 2008 / Hardcover / 544pp. / $19.99
One-sentence synopsis: Crippled Eon--who is actually Eona, a girl disguised as a boy--trains for and is chosen to be a rare and powerful dragon's Dragoneye apprentice, thus entering a dangerous world of politics, conspiracy, and magic.
Why You Can't Miss It: If you want a hardcore fantasy set in a deliciously elaborate and complex world, pick up this majestic tale, which will bring to mind the works of fantasy masters like Garth Nix, Robin McKinley, Diane Wynne Jones, and more. Alison Goodman weaves for readers a multisensory setting that’s a treat to experience. I'm salivating in anticipation for the sequel, so that I can read more about Eon/Eona and his/her adventures in this magnificently complex world.
Alfred A. Knopf / May 2006 (reprint) / Paperback / 256pp. / $8.95
One-sentence synopsis: Francesca must work the ups and downs of her new school while dealing with her mother's severe depression and its effects on the rest of the family.
Why You Can't Miss It: Australian author Melina Marchetta's second book is jam-packed with wit and poignancy. It will make you laugh over and over, and also draw tears to your eyes. A colorful and eclectic cast of supporting characters keeps things fresh and interesting. SAVING FRANCESCA is nearly perfect; now it just needs a large fan base.
Penguin / April 2009 (reprint) / Paperback / 320pp. / $8.99
One-sentence synopsis: When her musician ex-boyfriend writes about her breakup with him in a chart-topping hit song, Audrey must navigate false friends and publicity if she wants to find happiness, love, and peace.
Why You Can't Miss It: I loved Audrey in this refreshingly exciting novel! Audrey is the kind of cool and witty character who doesn’t get enough attention in the young adult genre. This book will make you laugh and cheer out loud in places where you shouldn’t be snort-laughing at Audrey’s hilarious narration. Read in public places at your own risk of embarrassment by laughing out loud.
That's it! I hope you keep these incredible titles in mind the next time you take a trip to the library or bookstore. Trust me: they're all well worth the money and time. And don't forget to check out YAnnabe's post to see what other oft-overlooked YA books other bloggers think you shouldn't miss!