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Timeless YA Books
Lucy Silag
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 1:04 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Lots of adults read YA books, especially now that the genre has really exploded into a diverse, risk-taking, forward-thinking dynamic area of publishing and bookselling (not to mention the book-to-film adaptations and the hype around those). As an adult who reads a ton of recently published YA books, I often think about how drastically the genre has changed since I was a young reader. The covers are radically different, obviously, but the content and the themes are much different, too. I love that books aimed at young people now are more inclusive and creative than ever before, but I still think back SO fondly on a few YA titles . . . and not just for the kitsch factor (Sweet Valley High anyone?).

 

These include THE CAT ATE MY GYMSUIT by Paula Danziger, GIRL by Blake Nelson, THE WIND BLOWS BACKWARD by Mary Downing Hahn, FOREVER by Judy Blume, and ANASTASIA KRUPNIK by Lois Lowry (which is really more of a Middle Grade book now that I think about it). These books are so timeless to me, even though they bear all the markings of the times in which they were written. I read them now and think they are just as entertaining and powerful.

 

What are YOUR most beloved YA books, the ones you actually read when YOU were a YA?

 

Share them below! Let's see if we have any in common!

 

Lucy

Book Country Community and Engagement Manager


Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 6:18 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438


I haven't read any of these books, Lucy! Is there one book I really MUST read? 


I realize my answers will be a little out of the ordinary, but after all I didn't grow up in an English-speaking country. There weren't any YA books in Bulgaria when I was a teen.

 

So, the book that made me realize that I'm going to be a reader was PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, which I guess is technically Middle Grade. THE THREE MUSKETEERS was another one. 

 

On the other hand, I'm going through a YA renaissance at the moment, reading all kinds of YA books, from dystopian, to paranormal, to contemporary. I think John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is already a timeless book! =) Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT will always be fun to read, although I wonder whether her vision of dystopian Chicago will age. 


Toni Smalley
Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013 4:17 PM
Sweet Valley High, yessss! I remember my mom's friend bringing a whole box full of them to me, because her daughter had finished reading them. I also read The Baby-sitters Club, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. Another one of my favorite books as a child was The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. Talking about these books makes me want to go dig them up and reread them!
Aira Philipps
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 7:18 AM
Joined: 8/18/2013
Posts: 31


      I thought really hard what I might have read in young adult when I was that age, and couldn't come up with one thing. So I went through the list (I had to google) to see what was YA back then. Wow times have changed, I had read a good part of that list in middle school. By the time I hit high school even V.C. Andrews was too young for me. I was reading several books a week by the time I hit 5th grade, I was a book worm you could say, and YA back then was 200 pages if you were lucky, not enough to keep me busy for one day. The content was more adult but it still had shades of middle school reading, no challenge. That is not the case these days, thankfully.

 

     One writer I think of as YA is Mary Stewart. She was passe' in my day, but my mother turned me on to her. Like most people who know her, I love her Merlin series, but I own and have read everything she has ever written. Books I like to revisit from those days besides Mary are, The Push Cart War, Watership Down, James and Giant Peach, Baba Yaga series by Nancy Ford, Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer. They were older books even then, I guess that is where my love of old books comes from.

--edited by Aira Philipps on 3/15/2014, 10:03 AM--


TheresaReel
Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013 6:19 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Forgotten Daughter

Ramona (about a Native-American girl in CA; I think it was controlled by Mexico)

Here's one I need help with:  it made a big impression on me, but I can't remember the title.  For some reason, I think it was called, "I Heard The Seagulls Call My Name" but I can't find it on the internet.  It is about a girl who works as a waitress at a summer resort (in Maine, I think).  Please help if you recognize it; I would love to read it again to see if it lives up to my memory of it.


Mimi Speike
Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013 10:24 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


In seventh-eighth-ninth grades I ate up the Nancy Drew series. I know how old I was because it was a teacher in Florida - we later moved to NJ - who mortified me, after I gave one too many book reports on Nancy, with the comment, "Why don't you read something worthwhile?"

.

I was humiliated. I plowed into Dickens big time. Aside from Nancy Drew, I can't think of anything else I read that might today be called YA. In that same period I also read Gone With The Wind and Lady Chatterley's Lover, both found on my mother's bookshelf. I loved Wind. I read it in a day and a half. I found the Great War flotsam of Lover poetic but terribly depressing.


Lucy Silag
Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 10:15 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Ahhh! THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND!!! So so so good.

 

What teacher would discourage a student from reading Nancy Drew??? Those books were amazing. I have a Nancy Drew post on the wall of my office. I read the classics and the souped-up "Nancy Drew Files" from the eighties and loved them all.

 

 


Mimi Speike
Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:23 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


Well, Lucy, in retrospect I figure that barb was a compliment. I was one of the best students, and a reader, and I think he was pushing me to try more substantive material. It has only taken me fifty-five years to come to that conclusion.
Lucy Silag
Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:28 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Yes, I am sure he wanted you to broaden your horizons. But I always think: let kids read what really interests them (so long as it is age-appropriate), and they'll always associate reading with pleasure. Then they'll get bored (or come to the end) of what they know and like, and they'll expand on their own.

 

@ToniSmalley--I can still remember all the identifying details of every member of The Baby-Sitters' Club. I always liked Claudia and her grandma!

 

And I thought Logan Bruno was dreamy.



TheresaReel
Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 7:09 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


The Sea Gulls Woke Me!
Lucy Silag
Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 10:54 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Ha! Theresa, I haven't read that one, but I am so glad you remembered the title!
TheresaReel
Posted: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 5:15 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


I just remembered:  The Summer of My German Soldier really affected me.
Lucy Silag
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2014 3:31 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


@Theresa--that was a great one! I'd forgotten all about it.
TheresaReel
Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014 6:51 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


These aren't YA books, but my best friend and I read A LOT of Victoria Holt novels from 9th - 12th grade.  My mother didn't approve, but, hey, they were in the high school library.
Lucy Silag
Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 6:08 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


@Theresa--just checked out those Victoria Holt books on Goodreads--YOWZA! Looks like some steamy stuff!

 

Reminds me of how ardently I read the canon of Danielle Steel in middle and high school . . . how great is the romance genre!?! I was always trying to do book reports on those books and my teachers were horrified.


TheresaReel
Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014 1:58 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65


I read them in the seventies in a Mississippi high-school, so at the time they were considered risque, but now they are nothing compared to all the graphic sex scenes in today's romance novels.  There was a basic formula:  good, smart but poor young woman takes a position as governess/companion/nursemaid to a well-off, but troubled family; falls for "bad" (just misunderstood) black-sheep son; danger ensues; heroine saves the family; heroine and bad boy live happily ever after.  I enjoyed the plots and felt very grown up reading them.  I always wanted to see a movie made of my favorite, "The Shivering Sands".
 

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