Each of us has read dozens of teen books in the last year in preparation to share the Best Young Adult Books of 2016. Not everything we read was a contender L. In the end, we along with two other colleagues have compiled our 50 favorite teen reads. Here are five books that ALMOST made the cut, but not quite.
DARCY SWIPES LEFT
by Courtney Carbone
Jane Austen meets the smart phone in this fun, modern telling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Told via text messages, emoticons, emails, and more; I really enjoyed this version of the classic. The book was fast paced and less detailed than the original, but the story line was still true to the characters that generations have come to love. In the end, I found that there were just a few other books that I wanted to talk about more than this one.
by Susan Dennard
This book is loaded with political intrigue, magic, thrilling fight scenes, mythical creatures, and romance. Two best friends, both gifted with special magical abilities, are faced with a world on the verge of war. TRUTHWITCH just barely missed our top 50 list. The political intrigue and complicated plot (that many people will love) didn’t work for me quite as much as I wanted and other standout novels were able to slide this exciting adventure out of my ‘best of the best’ list.
TELL ME SOMETHING REAL
by Calla Devlin
When the three Babcock sisters learn something that makes them question everything their tight-knit family is founded on, they all have to come to terms with things in their own way. To be honest, I liked this book better than some of the other books I’m going to talk about at Best Books. It kept me guessing all the way through, the writing was beautiful, and I thought it was really well done. The thing that held me back from showcasing this one is the setting. Set in 1976, this book is a little too contemporary for me to classify as historical fiction, but the world has changed a lot since then. Although I think teens will enjoy this book, it feels more like a book written to appeal to adults who read YA, rather than to teens themselves.
THIS ADVENTURE ENDS
by Emma Mills
Emma Mills got a lot of praise for her 2015 book, FIRST & THEN, which I haven’t read. I need to fix this problem immediately, however, because I read THIS ADVENTURE ENDS in almost one sitting. This book, about a group of friends all dealing with the changes that being a senior in high school brings, was so fun! I loved how real the characters felt, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously. It even has a Nicholas Sparks-like character that loses his motivation to write, and finds it again by writing what is basically Vampire Academy fanfiction. At the end of the day, I had to choose, and I felt like some of the award winners I’d read should be showcased more than this one despite my love for it.
HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE
by Jennifer Niven
Jennifer Niven’s books are always well written with great characters and emotional complexity. She doesn’t shy away from harsh topics and this book is no exception. Libby Strout is overweight, but that seems to be the only thing people know or want to know about her. Jack Masselin is a confident boy despite the fact that he is unable to recognize faces. Jack and Libby are not in the same social class at school, yet the more they get to know each other the more they recognize their similarities rather than their differences. Since we recommended Niven’s ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES last year, we decided to give another author some recognition this year.
To see what we did make the cut, join us for The Best Books of 2016 on February 22nd!