February 14th, 2010 by Liza Wiemer

From Classics to New Releases

Liza Wiemer’s Favorite Novels for YA/Teens

Please note that I do not summarize the books on this list.  Publishers and authors usually do an excellent job and I have provided links that will help the reader obtain that information.  When I say favorite novels, I also mean exceptional.  If you’ve read any of these books on the list and would like to add your comments, I’d love to hear from you.  If you have a recommendation, I’m interested, but please explain why you loved it.  Thanks. Liza

My expanded list hasn’t been updated since February 19, 2013.

Here’s an uncategorized PARTIAL list without details and in no particular order of YA and MG novels I’ve enjoyed. Please look at Goodreads for detailed reviews and a full list.

From What I Remember, Just One Day, Alice Bliss, The Iron Fey Series, Time Between Us, Me Before You, Fracture, The Hunger Games Series, The Scorpio Races, A Monster Calls, Delirium, Liesl & Po, The Adoration of Jenna Fox and The Fox Inheritance, If I Stay, Where She Went, The Sky is Everywhere, Hourglass, The Riley Bloom Series (MG), The Unwanteds (MG), The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Split, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Near Witch, The Body Finder Series, Ellen Hopkin’s Verse Novels, Lisa Schroeder’s Verse Novels, The Matched Series, I’ll Be There, Sea, Scars, Hex Hall Series, The Revenant, Princess for Hire Series (MG), Stolen, My Life Undecided, The Karma Club, The Dark Divine Series, Playing Hurt, Curse Works Series, Unearthly Series, Mandy, Anything by Paul Volponi, Will Grayson-Will Grayson, Heist Society Series, Revolution, YA Novels by Jennifer Echols, Okay for Now, The Tension of Opposites, Twenty Boy Summer, Divergent, Stay

This Section Last update: February 14, 2010.


All Jane Austen booksPride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion – I am, undoubtably, a huge Jane Austen fan, which certainly doesn’t make me at all unique in my taste in novels.  What I love about Jane Austen is that she was a woman way ahead of her time.  She wrote about love, male/female relationships, society, values, friendship – all presenting strong female characters who knew their minds – no pansies in her bouquet of her heroines!  To see a review or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/IjFo5

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte.  Another amazing classic, which was first written under a pen name.  Readers did not know if the author was male or female.  What I love about this book is the incredible strong female character, unapologetic for her beliefs, her desire to protect her child from her abusive husband, her incredible determination to stand up to societies injustices, and to utilize her talents to survive.  I don’t think I’ve ever “met” a stronger female character in literature!  To see a review or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/VxnVC


The Tillerman Family Series by Cynthia Voigt – Includes Homecoming, Dicey’s Song, Come a Stranger, The Runner, Sons from Afar, and Seventeen Against the Dealer. These Cynthia Voigt’s books were written over twenty years ago.  They have stood the test of time and have become true classics.  Dicey’s Song was a Newbery Award Winner and A Solitary Blue was a Newbery Honor Book.

To follow the Tillerman children through their trials and tribulations is an extraordinary journey of courage, determination, faith in family (and how a person defines that term), and heroism.  Despite the extraordinary experiences of these characters, the reader can identify with their emotions, talents, fears, and desires. The author’s ability to use words to paint images in the reader’s mind is fabulous.  These characters will stay with you long after you finish the books.  From being abandoned by their mentally ill mother to their determination of staying together as a family and the extraordinary individuals who end up loving them, I promise you will experience an array of emotions that ultimately leave you feeling hopeful and determined in your own quest!  To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/aTLUb


The Mortal Instruments: Book 1, City of Bones, Book 2, City of Ashes, Book 3, City of Glass, By Cassandra Clare  I was standing in the YA section of the library when I saw a boy wearing a letter jacket from our local high school. I struck up a conversation with him and asked him to share his favorite YA novels. He pulled City of Bones from the shelf and handed it to me. He said that he couldn’t put it down.  I couldn’t either.  It was definitely a fabulous recommendation. Clare creates an incredible underworld of amazing characters who will keep you interested from page one.  The locations come alive, including NYC. There are many twists and turns in this fantasy series that will leave you craving more. I loved the entire series, and as of today (February 28, 2010) one of the finest YA urban fantasy series I have ever read. Beautifully written. Now I’m sorry I didn’t ask for the young man’s name. I’d like to thank him! To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/C0oykAuthor’s website: http://cassandraclare.com/cms/home


Sea Change, By Aimee Friedman – Paranormal Romance Novel

When I picked up Aimee Friedman’s book, Sea Change, I had no idea what it was about…but I just knew I had to read it. From page one I was absolutely hooked. Extraordinary characters with depth, mystery, and intelligence. The only disappointment was reaching the last page. Friedman’s description, characterization, prose, settings, etc are, in my opinion, masterful! I hope to see these characters in a sequel.  To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/FrXj8

Author’s website: http://www.aimeefriedmanbooks.com/


Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles – Urban Romance Novel, Author’s website:  http://www.simoneelkeles.net/

This YA novel was such a refreshing surprise. I couldn’t put it down. Exceptional characters, great settings, beautiful exchange of voice between the two main characters. It’s one of those books you could read more than once and get to know the characters from different layers that you may have missed the first time around. Three cheers to Simone!  I highly recommend Perfect Chemistry for YA 18+.  Language, gang related activities, sexual content is extensive and intense. With that said, however, I think this novel is extremely authentic on so many different levels, that I can’t imagine Simone writing these characters in any different way.  It is the authenticity that makes this so exceptional.  It’s a very rare occasion when I absolutely rave about a novel to everyone I know, but without exception, this is it! Loved it, loved it, loved it.  To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/NUaNA

In addition to Perfect Chemistry, Simone Elkeles is the author of the following novels, all of which I highly recommend.  The sequel to Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction…. Leaving Paradise (The sequel, Return to Paradise is due out  9/28/10), How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, How to Ruin My Teenage Life, and How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation

Simone Elkeles’s Return to Paradise is an outstanding sequel to Leaving Paradise! I couldn’t put this book down. I rarely would describe a novel as exquisite, but it fits. Once again, Simone Elkeles draws the reader in by alternating between Caleb and Maggie’s narration, and it works beautifully.
Return to Paradise is a richly written, emotionally charged novel that will leave you satisfied, but also wishing that the last page didn’t come so quickly.
What makes Simone Elkeles’s books (including this one) so fabulous is the realistic portrayal of characters from all different life experiences. She doesn’t shy away from the tough issues that teens face today. She seamlessly integrates sexuality, disabilities, race, religion and faith, love, family dynamics, drug use, and divorce. All of Simone Elkeles’s main characters face difficult challenges and Caleb and Maggie are no exception. There is no sugar coating life, but love can make a person better, can help to overcome obstacles, and can give strength when you’re feeling weak.


Hate List, by Jennifer Brown – Fiction – Social Issues

Hate List should not be missed!  This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Teens, teachers, parents MUST read this book. Hate List shows the fragile line between being bullied and bullies and the horrendous consquences that can occur when an individual has had too much or has been pushed over the edge. I’d love to see this as required reading for middle school and high school students. To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y9a8m5w

Readers may find up-to-date information about Jennifer Brown and a book trailer on her website: http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver – Fiction – Social Issues

February 12 – Samantha Kingston wakes up, goes through “Cupid’s Day” at her high school with her friends and boyfriend, heads to a party and later “wakes up” to relive February 12 all over again – seven times!

Impossible to put down! Another must-read for teachers, parents, and of course HS students. BEFORE I FALL will leave you breathless and wondering until the very last page. Brilliant, extraordinary… the characters will jump off the page and become a part of you. This is a novel you need to read more than once because you don’t want to miss any nuance or angle. Lauren Oliver-a standing ovation! To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y6ljdb8

Author’s website: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/

Response by Paul Volponi – Fiction – Social Issues/Race Relations

Paul Volponi’s book RESPONSE was a 2010 Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Honor book so I was immediately intrigued. What was so powerful about this book was the honest portrayal of racial relations, especially among teens in this nation. It’s a tremendous eye-opener and an important read. As a teacher I know our high schools introduce teens to fantastic American Lit, but I would love to see an elective course in high schools on MODERN or RECENT American Lit – works that have come out in the last ten years. This would be a one to have on the reading list!  To see reviews or for more information here’s the link to Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/2cr6ma9

To learn more about award-winning author Paul Volponi please visit the official website: http://www.paulvolponibooks.com/




Liza’s bookshelf: read

Liza’s bookshelf: readHate ListThe Nature of JadeEighth Grade BitesHow to Ruin Your Boyfriend's ReputationHow to Ruin My Teenage LifeHow to Ruin a Summer Vacation

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