A division of the American Library Association, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), is dedicated to supporting libraries to provide and promote services to teens. Each year since 2003, YALSA has sponsored the “Teens’ Top Ten.” A select group of teens nominate young adult titles and then teens across the country read and vote for their 10 favorites. The 2017 winners were announced during Teen Read Week in October and these titles are great reading suggestions for fans of young adult fiction.
Nicola Yoon’s “The Sun is also a Star” earned starred reviews from many sources and was a favorite of teens in 2017. In this realistic fiction novel, pragmatic Natasha is facing deportation in a matter of hours, and dreamer Daniel is preparing for an interview for an Ivy League school. Their paths cross and Daniel becomes convinced they are meant to be a couple, but Natasha is difficult to convince given she’s struggling along with her family to stay in the country. The characters trade off the narration and Yoon creates a clear picture of Natasha, Daniel and the people around them.
A reviewer for Kirkus gave this novel a star and said, “This could be a sappy, saccharine story of love conquering all, but Yoon’s lush prose chronicles an authentic romance that’s also a meditation on family, immigration and fate. With appeal to cynics and romantics alike, this profound exploration of life and love tempers harsh realities with the beauty of hope in a way that is both deeply moving and satisfying."
Neal Shusterman has been a favorite of local young adult readers who particularly enjoyed his dystopian, science fiction novel “Unwind.” It’s no surprise that the opener for a new series, “Scythe,” made it into the top 10 in 2017. Shusterman has imagined a world in which humans have overcome death. In order to control the population, an elite group is trained to “glean” people. It’s not a job our protagonists wanted in the first place, and things get even more complicated during their apprenticeship.
About “Scythe," the School Library Journal wrote: “A truly astounding, unputdownable read and a fast-paced beginning to an excellent sci-fi series. A must-have.” The follow-up, “Thunderhead,” is collecting more starred reviews and will be on the new shelf in the teen space this January.
“Heartless” by Marissa Meyer is an imagining of life before Wonderland for Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts. Catherine wants a simple life, doing what she loves — baking. When the King of Hearts takes an interest in her, Cath’s parents see an opportunity to climb the social ladder and push her in that direction. Unfortunately, Cath’s own heart is occupied by another.
Booklist wrote: “Readers familiar with Carroll’s classic will notice all the details of Alice’s Wonderland falling ominously into place, but newcomers, too, will be swept up in Cath’s doomed quest for freedom. Clever, whimsical and mournful, this story of an infamous villain who was once just a girl will capture plenty of hearts of its own.”