Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lesa's Top Ten Picks: Favorite YA Novels

Yippee! This week's Top Ten is favorite young adult novels. Finally, another Top Ten Picks topic that makes me blog wild! Sorry Jillian but the previous two weeks topics (books that make you cry buckets and worst books) just weren't my cuppa. To join in the fun, post your Top Ten Picks and head over to Jillian's Random Ramblings to link up.

Now I already have a reputation for fudging my numbers so I will go ahead and admit that I jotted down twenty seven YA novels today. Yep, twenty seven. All my picks are gush-worthy but I will do my darndest to narrow it down with minimal cheating.

So without further ado, here are a few novels that I adored at age thirteen and beyond:


This was the book of my eighth grade year. I couldn't begin to count how many times my friends and I reread Little Women.

Note that I said friends... eighth grade is the year I met two wonderful friends. Now I had had best friends before but these two girls were truly kindred spirits. You see, I had never before had best friends who read books and to meet not one but two amazing girls who were also bookworms... I really can't express how amazingly wonderful that was at age thirteen.

And the day we discovered each of us loved Little Women... well, none of us could get a word in edgewise. We even acted out a scene for a Gifted and Talented project and went on to perform it in a speech and drama tournament. Too much fun!

After thirty years, I am still friends with both of those delightfully bookish girls. One of them you also know... Yes, it is DeLynne (aka Meg) my co-blogger here at Mrs. BG's Cozy Book Nook. The other, KK (aka Jo), may add her unique perspective to this blog in the future. KK is a fabulously talented tattoo artist and reiki healer who is in the midst of opening a new studio. She is definitely still a bookworm and I hope you get to meet her someday.

So you can see Little Women is very special to me and if you are wondering which March girl I played... Oh, I bet if you read my Top Ten Picks: Fictional Characters you can figure it out...


Another eighth grade discovery shared with my friends. Perfect for adventurous science and magic loving girls. This book led me to explore the wonderful world of science fiction and fantasy created by such authors as Norton, Lewis, Verne , Burroughs, Tolkien and more.


What can I say... I like boys and I like adventures. During my young teen years, I usually reread these every time a Tom or Huck movie played on tv... yes, Tom and Huck were cute in the movies.


Anne of Green Gables already made my Top Ten Favorite Fictional Characters so no surprise that the book is one of my favorite rereads from my teen years and adult years.


I discovered the Xanth Series at age seventeen and I still keep up with it... there are over thirty books in the series now! Xanth is a magical land of parodies and puns that always makes me happy. Xanth's geography resembles Florida and is inhabited by centaurs, dragons, harpies, nymphs, fauns, goblins, rocs, muses, maenads, ogres, curse fiends, demons, zombies and so forth and so on. Humans (unintentional immigrants from our world- Mundania) also call Xanth home. The magic rubs off on humans and their descendents are born with magic talents.

Xanth tickles me. Babies are delivered by storks and the Adult Conspiracy protects underage characters from all 'interesting' information that might cause them harm. I love that foul language is bleeped by the Adult Conspiracy but wilts vegetation. Xanth is so funny, zany, charming and delightful... I hope I never outgrow it.

Favorite young adult novels I discovered after age thirty:


I love the Harry Potter Series. This is the series that reawakened my love of young adult fiction and I will be forever grateful. From my late teens, I reread my beloved children's and ya books many times but didn't read any new ones. I don't even know why except that I was busy reading regency and historical romances and adult sci/fi fantasy and thrillers. Never again will I turn my back on young adult fiction.


Exciting and scary adventures take place on secret nature preserves containing all manner of faerie creatures.


I read this a few years ago and it still pops into my mind at times. The moon is knocked closer to the earth and devastation follows. Civilization crumbles. Frightening book and the fact that the story is told in diary form makes it very powerful. After living through ice storms with no water, heat, toilets, cooking, I can say that the survival angle in this book is spot on.


A very unique interdimensional series-- the Architect of the universe has been missing since the beginning of time and Arthur, a human boy, is the rightful heir of the Architect's Will. The Trustees of the House are not pleased.


I really love a good dystopian novel and this is my favorite one for now. (but I like the Uglies series too)

To cheat or not cheat... that is the question...


This creepy and exciting adventure takes place beneath London. I have a thing for underground novels too... I love Gaiman's Neverwhere and Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander Series.

I really enjoyed creating this Top Ten Picks and didn't cheat too much. It was tough because I really wanted to include so many more like Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy. And currently I'm reading Gone by Michael Grant and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan... I can tell both of these series will be favorites.

Oh, I truly love young adult fiction. Thanks, Jillian, for such a fun Top Ten Picks topic.


  1. Okay so I loooveee the Little Women and Ann of Green Gables. I did think Ann of Green Gables was more of a children's book? Not exactly sure about the whole genre thing. Haha.
    I had A Wrinkle in Time too, of course. Loved that book!
    And Piers Anthony's books look really interesting; I'm going to look into that this weekend if I get the chance.

    Heard a lot of good things about Fablehaven, and I do have a copy of it waiting for me in the library, so.. ;)

    So glad to have you for this week, Lesa!

  2. Thanks, glad to be back on board!

    Yeah, I had trouble with that too-- I seriously considered Heidi, Secret Garden, Hobbit-- When I researched it seems like most of those cross boundaries. Anne's age in the first book ranges from 11- 16 so that is good enough for me. After all, Harry's age covers that same range.


  3. I have to admit this is the genre I have struggled with so have not been able to participate in, when I was 15 I was mosty reading stephen king and point horror books.

  4. Great list! My kids have loved a lot of these but they haven't read any of the Garth Nix stuff. I'll have to go check it out.

    Oh, and I'm your newest follower from FF. Happy Friday!


  5. Hi! I'm a new follower from Friday Follow, please follow back. Thanks! :)

  6. Hi Jessica! Yes, I remember starting on King in ninth grade-- everyone at school even the nonbookish kids were reading Salem's Lot. I read lots of King then and John Saul. I always read a bit of everything but by age 15 I was reading mainly adult fiction-- I had such an addiction to gothic romance and regency romance.

    Do you read YA fiction now? You like Catcher in the Rye, I know. If you haven't dabbled much in YA, give it a go--YA covers all genres and there are great picks to choose from on everyone's top ten!

  7. +JMJ+

    Lesa, I also divided my list in half: five YA novels I discovered as a young adult and five YA novels I discovered as an "older" adult! I just forgot to say so in my vlog. =(

    Anyway, thanks for recommending Xanth! It reminds me of Discworld and the world of The Phantom Tollbooth at the same time.

  8. +JMJ+

    PS--If you like "underground" novels, then I highly recommend Neal Shusterman's Downsiders--which, incidentally, made my own Top 10 Picks! =D

  9. Hi E-- love your video! I have heard of Discworld-- I'll track it down.

    I do have Downsiders but haven't read it yet. I bought it at the Scholastic Book Fair at school a couple of yrs ago-- for the premise and because the characters name is the same as my little boy.
    I'll move it up to the teetering top of my 'you know what'.


  10. I've heard so many great things about the Hunger Games series, I really need to read them myself!

  11. +JMJ+

    Whoa! You named your son Talon??? Very cool . . . ;-)

  12. Little Women/Tom Sawyer/Anne of Green Gables...I hated all of those probably because they were forced reading at school. I was always much more into sci-fi/fantasy and never cared much for the supposed classics.
    Interesting list though...enjoyed reading it.

  13. Thanks E! Talon was my great-grandmother's maiden name and I always liked it-- thought I'd use it for a stage name if I ever needed one-- as if!! ;o) So I gave it up to Little T-- maybe he'll be a rockstar... or a barbarian-- but not much call for barbarians nowadays. btw, his middle name is also the name of a sharp pointed weapon-- OMG, my little sweet boy may grow up to be a brute!!

  14. Oh well, Marc-- maybe the sci/fi-fantasy on my list will pique your interest. Do you read any YA sci/fi/fantasy?

    I do enjoy classic literary novels of various genres-- but contemporary literary novels don't seem too appealing. Funny and interesting how different bookworms can be.

    Thanks for commenting!

  15. Lesa has brought back many memories of friendship and books. Both expand my life in many directions and then bring me right back to the beginning!
    Little Women will always be one of my fav books--along with the little women form 8th grade!

  16. KK, doesn't Lesa have a great memory? I had forgotten that! Well, I thought we were more the Three Musketeers than Little Women!

  17. Thank you, Karen-- What a lovely sentiment-- I agree completely!

    But DeLynne is right-- we probably were more 'Three Musketeers' than 'Little Women'-- such adventurous girls-- and you remember our motto...

  18. Hi! Top10Picks:Young Adults' Mr. Linky had a bit of a technical problem and erased all our links!! :/ If you don't mind linking again, please do so over here. Thanks sooo much and sorry for the trouble.


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