Here’s where it gets a bit dicey. My favorite book from this period of my life is The Count of Monte Cristo. But, though it’s full of intrigue and is utterly fantastic, it’s not technically a Teen novel. Most of what I read back then would not classify as Teen. Tons of Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Austen, Hemingway. Anyway, I’ll try my hardest to pick books that might be classified as Teen.
Uglies Trilogy, by Scott Westerfeld: I still count it as a trilogy even though he came out with that fourth book, way after the fact. I’ve not read it and I’ve got no interest in reading it because the trilogy (Uglies, Pretties, Specials) is such a special and cohesive series. Westerfeld’s approach to image is unique, truthful, and thought provoking.
I also proudly sport an oversized tee that states, “I’m an Ugly”.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky: This book speaks volumes to any kid who’s always felt a bit on the outside of life. Charlie’s struggles and final acceptance of himself is incredibly heartfelt. You can’t come away from this book without its making a profound impact on your life.
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore: Cashore’s book is, in my opinion, at the top of contemporary Teen fantasy. It’s incredibly well-written and has a unique approach to the fantasy genre. Rather than use your typical witches, vampires, elves, etc – Kristen Cashore invents a new kind of people. And she doesn’t disappoint. I really love this one.
Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien: YES, I read it before the movies came out. Way before, actually. I’m proud of me. Are you?
Hamlet, by Shakespeare
Yes. An in class reading assignment in high school, I think it counts! Hamlet is my favorite Shakespearean play, with all of its madness, betrayal, ghosts, and plays within plays. Not to mention, we got to take a ‘field trip’ to the Academic Learning Center and watch the Kenneth Branaugh movie version of the play.
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