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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

National Book Awards & AB4T Best of the Year

No, not the Young People’s Literature category. Many, many others have done a great job of writing about those unfortunate events. I would like to take a brief look at the NBA Fiction finalists.

They are (from the NBA website):

Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn (Bellevue Literary Press)

Tea Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife (Random House)

Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House)

Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision (Lookout Books, an imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA)

I was happy to see three titles among the five nominees with genuine appeal for teen readers. Click on the links to see our AB4T reviews.

In my library, the most popular of the three is The Buddha in the Attic. Not only was it one of the first two books checked out this fall when we returned to school, it was placed on hold the very next day by a student who talked to me about her love for Otsuka’s first novel, When the Emperor was Divine.

Speaking of the best of the year, all of us who review for this blog are right now embroiled in choosing the Best Adult Books 4 Teens, 2011. We are narrowing our year’s reading down to the 15 to 20 best. It’s a challenge. What are we really looking for? As one reviewer, Mark Flowers, wrote in an e-mail today, are we looking for “great books with teen appeal, books with great teen appeal, or great books with great teen appeal?”

Ideally the latter, but it’s hard not to be swayed by a truly great novel that might only appeal to a certain segment of teens, or that popular genre thriller that has appeal in spades and less literary panache. I speak in suppositions, of course!

So, tell us. What were the best adult books (fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel, poetry, you name it) with teen appeal that you read this year? What adult books did the teens you know enjoy?

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


  1. I was very happy to see Salvage The Bone on the list. The voice of the main character, Esch is so strong.

    Silver Sparrow by Jones is one of my favorites of the year
    The Twisted Thread by Bacon. I don’t know if this will break your top 20 but it was a solid mystery