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YA Wednesday: Best Teen Books of theYear

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2012 has been an embarrassment of riches for Young Adult literature.  Some of our favorite series (Maze Runner, Matched) have come to a bittersweet end, but we've discovered a few new series to love (Cinder, Grave Mercy, The Diviners), and read some incredible titles that stand on their own.

Thanks to The Hunger Games, 2012 has also seen more and more adults reading and sharing teen books. Really good YA novels get right to it--they draw the reader in within the first 10 pages and hold you captive to the very last one with action, atmosphere, and raw emotion. What's not to love?

This week we revealed our Top 20 favorite Teen books of this year and, I will tell you, it wasn't easy narrowing it down and even harder to decide on the #1.  But John Green's The Fault in Our Stars stole our hearts this year. I think Hazel and Gus will always feel like people I knew and their story of love, friendship, and impossible humor in the face of some seriously scary stuff, is, for me, unforgettable. I've written about Fault before, it was our spotlight pick when it first came out in January.  That's saying something, too--not only did Fault in Our Stars stand the test of time across one year and still evoke such strong feelings that we considered it the best teen book we've read in 2012 (and we are a group that reads a LOT of books), but I feel certain The Fault in Our Stars belongs with other classics of teen literature like Speak and The Book Thief, destined to be read and re-read for years to come.

We asked John Green about his favorite reads this year--you can see what he had to say after the list of our Top 20 Best Teen Books of the Year.  

What is your favorite YA book of 2012?

Best Teen Books of the Year:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green
  2. Every Day by David Levithan
  3. Son by Lois Lowry
  4. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  6. The Diviners by Libba Bray
  7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
  8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  9. Shadown and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  10. Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I by R. L. LaFevers
  11. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  12. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  13. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  14. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
  15. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
  16. The Kill Order by James Dashner
  17. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  18. Reached by Ally Condie
  19. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  20. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

John Green's Best Reads of 2012:

Amazon: What is the best book, published in 2012, that you read this year and why?

JG: The best book I read this year published this year was Katherine Boo’s BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS, the story of several families in a Mumbai slum. It’s a thrilling page-turner that also captures the complex results of globalization and the spread of industrial capitalism.

Amazon: Name two other books that you read and enjoyed this year.

JG: I also really loved John Barnes’ LOSERS IN SPACE and D. T. Max’s EVERY LOVE STORY IS A GHOST STORY, two books that could hardly be more different but together capture the encouraging breadth of contemporary American literature.

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I am not nearly as enamored by The Fault in Our Stars as everyone else. (I would feel like a freak, but my writing group mostly agrees.) I've only read about four of the others on the list--all of which I enjoyed--so I need to get on it!

Seeing any best-books-of-the-year list is enjoyable in itself, but I'm always a little disappointed when it's just a bare list, like this one. I always like to see some comments attached to each book, explaining what it was about each book that put it on this list. Maybe that's hard to do when the list is a group effort, but I don't know that the comments need to be agreed-upon by everyone. I'd be satisfied with a few individual comments from the selection panel about the books.

Still, that's a quibble. Thanks for the list. I might have missed some of these otherwise.

The Fault in Our Stars is by far the best novel I have read in a LONG time, without a doubt. It is heartfelt, and amazing. I would recommend it to anyone. It is categorized at YA, but I believe older generations will love it just as much as I do. It is a book that will literally make you laugh out loud, and then two pages later, make you cry your heart out. I am very glad it achieved the number one spot. It deserves to be there. I will be passing this book down to my children (when they're a good age), and that is saying something, since 18 is far too young to be having children. I can't say enough good things about this novel. It has come with me to college, and will be a constant companion for the rest of my life. Thank you, John Green.

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