Last year they asked their readers to nominate, and finally vote on, the Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books for adults “ever written”. Talk about endless debate amongst the fans. I had a lot of fun with that one. I love both genres.
I said it’s a tradition. In the summer of 2009, NPR asked for the Best Beach Books Ever. Great theme for the first time out. In 2010, they asked for “Killer Thrillers”, and made a killing on the poll, with 17,000 ballots turned in.
In last year’s poll, when they asked about SF/F they were very specific that they only wanted adult books in the nominations. NPR promised that young adult books, teen books, would feature in a later poll.
This is that later poll.
There’s a problem of the first part. It turns out that not everyone can agree on exactly what makes a YA book a YA book. Some of the titles that many people think of as classic YA books didn’t pass the expert panel’s muster. A Wrinkle in Time didn’t make it. Neither did Ender’s Game, considered too young and too mature, respectively. The report on the panel’s decision making process is posted at NPR if you’re interested in how they decided.
Just like the Top SF/F poll last year, the Best-Ever Teen Novels poll is just that. A poll. You can vote for the ones you think are the best, even if your teen years are a few decades behind you.
Even though these are teen novels, I read most of the books I voted for when I was an adult. Some of them quite recently, like Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series. And the Harry Potter series is on the list. But it only takes up one entry, not seven (thank you NPR, thank you!)
These are great books. Some of them are greater than others. You get to vote for 10 of the books that you think are greater than the others. I’ve already cast my ballot. What are you waiting for?
Let the debate (and the nostalgia about the much beloved books we read as teens) begin!