Category Archives: Reading Lists

20 YA Literature Heroines (in Response to Flavorwire’s Bonkers List)

The other night I came across a post on the delightful website Flavorwire titled “20 Classic YA Literature Heroines, Ranked.” The post immediately pounced on one of my pet peeves: the inability to understand the difference between “Juvenile” and “Young Adult” literature. It’s not always a clear line, to be sure, and I have been known to take some liberties with what I consider “Young Adult.” That said, my general rule is this: if the protagonist is a teenager and the book would be relatable/interesting to a teen audience (subjective, I know), then it’s YA. It’s by no means a perfect definition and while there are a many other factors to debate and consider, for the purposes of this list, I’m just going to keep it to my definition (mentioned above).

However you define YA, a quick glance at the Flavorwire list should be enough to give you some indication of the difference between Juvenile and Young Adult Literature (Eloise? Pippi Longstocking? I beg to differ). While these ladies could certainly be on a list of heroines of Children’s/Juvenile Literature, the majority of them don’t make sense on a YA list. Hence, I bring you my own list (based only on the YA books I have read. I am sure there are plenty more out there and I would love to hear any suggestions in the comments). One last note, it was hard enough to decide on 20 heroines, I can’t possibly imagine ranking them. So here they are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alex from The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

  2. Alice from Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

  3. Astrid Jones from Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

  4. Cat from Shine by Lauren Myracle

  5. Door from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

  6. Eleanor from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  7. Elle from Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

  8. Frankie L. Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart

  9. Hazel Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  10. Ismae from Grave Mercy by Robin La Fevers

  11. Joi from How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kristen Miller

  12. Judy from Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoski

  13. Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore

  14. Lee Fiora from Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (I know most people don’t consider it YA, but it fits my criteria, so I am going for it). 

  15. Maddie/Julie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  16. Meg Powers from The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White (I love love love this book but what did they do to the cover? I much prefer the original.

  17. Melinda from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  18. Noa from  Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

  19. Sophie from Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

  20. Yessica from Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

Honorable Mention (as a sort of anti-hero): Sheenie from Youth in Revolt (she’s a little evil and manipulative, but also pretty hilarious and hard not to love…at least through the eyes of Nick Twisp).

Honorable Mention: Leisel in The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (she’s only 10 when the book ends, so she doesn’t really fit the criteria I agreed to adhere to, but damn if she ain’t a hero).

So, those are my thoughts. Feel free to share if you think I have missed something, gotten something wrong (I’m expecting some hate for not including Katniss and Triss, so don’t be shy) or, even better, you agree with everything I say! 

~Katie

New YA Books

 

hspace=2Living with Jackie Chan
by Jo Knowles 
Published 2013 by Candlewick Press (MA)Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763662806

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive. 

This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just “not knowing” are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man? Readers first met Josh in “Jumping Off Swings” which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In thiscompanion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.

hspace=2Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
by Chip Kidd 
Published 2013 by Workman PublishingHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780761172192

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

An excellent introduction to graphic design through [the author s] own excellent work. Anyone interested in the subject, including most practitioners, will find it delightful. Milton Glaser

Kids love to express themselves, and are designers by nature whether making posters for school, deciding what to hang in their rooms, or creating personalized notebook covers. Go, by the award-winning graphic designer Chip Kidd, is a stunning introduction to the ways in which a designer communicates his or her ideas to the world. It s written and designed just for those curious kids, not to mention their savvy parents, who want to learn the secret of how to make things dynamic and interesting.

Chip Kidd is the closest thing to a rock star in the design world (USA Today), and in Go he explains not just the elements of design, including form, line, color, scale, typography, and more, but most important, how to use those elements in creative ways. Like putting the word go on a stop sign, Go is all about shaking things up and kids will love its playful spirit and belief that the world looks better when you look at it differently. He writes about scale: When a picture looks good small, don t stop there see how it looks when it s really small. Or really big. He explains the difference between vertical lines and horizontal lines. The effect of cropping a picture to make it beautiful or, cropping it even more to make it mysterious and compelling. How different colors signify different moods. The art of typography, including serifs and sans serifs, kerning and leading.

hspace=2Guardian of the Gate
by Michelle Zink 
Published 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316034470

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she’ll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister’s role in the prophecy, and that’s not the only thing she wants: There’s also Lia’s boyfriend James. 

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn’t know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.

 

hspace=2I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai 
Published 2013 by Little Brown and CompanyHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316322409

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. 

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. 

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. 

I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

 

hspace=2Reality Boy
by A S King 
Published 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316222709

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” struggling to break free of his anger.

Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth–which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle–and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they’re all just waiting for him to snap. And he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that…until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

hspace=2Allegiant
by Veronica Roth 
Published 2013 by Katherine Tegen BooksHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780062024060

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

What if your whole world was a lie?What if a single revelation–like a single choice–changed everything?What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

 

hspace=2Just One Year
by Gayle Forman 
Published 2013 by Dutton BooksHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780525425922

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, “Just One Year “is Willem’s story, picking up where “Just One Day “ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

 

hspace=2Eye of Minds
by James Dashner 
Published 2013 by Delacorte PressHardcover, English. ISBN: 9780385741392

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

From James Dashner, the author of the “New York Times” bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares. 

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific–the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom–and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

hspace=2Sick
by Tom Leveen 
Published 2013 by ABRAMSHardcover, English. ISBN: 9781419708053

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Jacket Notes:

Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers–the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.

The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department–far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates. 

hspace=2Juvie
by Steve Watkins 
Published 2013 by Candlewick Press (MA)Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763655099

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

Heart-wrenching and real, “Juvie” tells the story of two sisters grappling with accountability, sacrifice — and who will be there to help you after you take the fall. 

Sadie Windas has always been the responsible one — she’s the star player on her AAU basketball team, she gets good grades, she dates a cute soccer player, and she tries to help out at home. Not like her older sister, Carla, who leaves her three-year-old daughter, Lulu, with Aunt Sadie while she parties and gets high. But when both sisters are caught up in a drug deal — wrong place, wrong time — it falls to Sadie to confess to a crime she didn’t commit to keep Carla out of jail and Lulu out of foster care. Sadie is “supposed “to get off with a slap on the wrist, but somehow, impossibly, gets sentenced to six months in juvie. As life as Sadie knew it disappears beyond the stark bars of her cell, her anger — at her “ex”-boyfriend, at Carla, and at herself — fills the empty space left behind. Can Sadie forgive Carla for getting her mixed up in this mess? Can Carla straighten herself out to make a better life for Lulu, and for all of them? Can Sadie survive her time in juvie with her spirit intact?

 

Exercise Your Freedom to Read! by Jenny Staller

bannedImagine being told what books you are and aren’t allowed to read. Imagine people limiting your reading options “for your own good”—because you aren’t mature enough, because the content is too racy, or because they feel you need to be protected. It sounds like something out of a dystopian novel, but the truth is books are challenged and banned all the time. In 2012 alone, 464 challenges were reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Many challenged books are familiar favorites, ranging from Harry Potter to Gossip Girl to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Banned Books Week, September 22nd-28th, shows us the dangers of allowing censorship to infringe on our right to access information as well as celebrates the work of teachers, librarians, publishers, journalists, and members of the community who fight to ensure that we can decide for ourselves what we want to read. Exercise your freedom to read during this year’s Banned Books Week by checking out some of the titles below that have been challenged in the past year, or investigate some of the books that have been the most frequently challenged during the 21st century. Get caught reading banned books today!

YA Banned Books 2012-2013:

Check out the most frequently challenged books of the 21st century.

Want to learn more? Like Banned Books Week on Facebook!

 

Clara’s Picks

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Clean by Amy Reed

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Girl, Interrupted by Susana Kaysen

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Alphabet Soup: LGBTQ Books

Back to the Future (or other Times, Planets and Dimensions): Science Fiction

Bon Appetit: Books about Food

Brains for Dinner!: Zombie Books

A Dish Best Served Cold: Books about Revenge

Drop a Beat: Books on Music