Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Top Teen Titles #1

#1 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown and Company, 2005. ISBN:  9780316015844, 235 pp.

Publisher’s Description: Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.

Quotes from Readers: “Romance for teens that is thrilling and safe.”

“The most popular title for teens since 2005″

“This title caused busy teenage girls to stop and read.”

Online reviews: Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, TeenReads, TeensReadToo.

Awards: Georgia Peach Book Award (2007), Kentucky Bluegrass Award for 9-12 (2007), An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2006), Prijs van de Kinder- en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen (2008), Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers (2009); West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award (WAYRBA) for Older Reader Award (2008), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2008), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2008), Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for High School (2007), Gateway Awards (2007), Golden Sower Award for Young Adult (2009), Nevada Young Readers’ Award for Young Adult Category (2007), The Flume: New Hampshire Teen Reader’s Choice Award (2007), Garden State Teen Book Award for Fiction (Grades 9-12) (2008), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Young Adult (2008), Rhode Island Teen Book Award (2007), Evergreen Young Adult Book Award (2008), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2006), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2006), Teen Read Award Nominee for Best All-Time-Fave (2010), Iowa High School Book Award (2008), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2006), Abraham Lincoln Award (2008)

Diane’s note: Romance lives on and takes the #1 slot for Top Teen Titles. This makes sense when you consider the factors that make a Top Teen list as opposed to a children’s book list. Look at the complete list to see the themes of growing up, realistic fiction, drama, and fantasy as a higher level.

Twilight continues to woo new readers every year. Romance became popular again when Twilight was released. Would you believe the page has 503,149 members?  I can recall trying to find romance as a teen and giving up. I read Harlequin Romances, Silhouettes, and more from seventh grade on. My grandmother received hers in the mail so I knew I could always borrow 20-30 a week to read and get me through study hall. I can recall blushing a few times and giggling out loud.

As an adult, there are many titles of paranormal romance available not suitable for early teens. I’ve just recently finished reading 23 books in one series by Christine Feehan and I am a big fan of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. But when teens would ask me for romance books, I’d struggle to find something that didn’t focus on the sexuality as much as the romance. Twilight was an answer to prayers for romance reader’s guidance. Since Twilight, publishers embraced romance again with a twist for teens like the Harlequin Teen series.

When Twilight was released, I read and enjoyed Bella’s story because Bella was not a perfect heroine. She may even be clumsier than I am (those of you who suffered playing volleyball, basketball, and softball with me at Willow High School may disagree), but Bella has a maturity that I admired.

Twilight has been criticized by some people who feel Bella is helpless and passive, needing someone to save her. “Perhaps it was because I was a novelty here, where novelties were few and far between. Possibly my crushing clumsiness was seen as endearing rather than pathetic, casting me as a damsel in distress.”

Since I was able to put Twilight on my lovely Kindle for only $0.99 one day, I have enjoyed searching for words like damsel (occurs once), helpless (four times), and saved (8 times). I knew eventually I’d get to the phrase I remembered.

While in the hospital Bella is telling Edward that a man and woman have to be somewhat equal in a relationship without one of them always “swooping in and saving the other one. They have to save each other equally.” Bella insists she doesn’t want to always be Lois Lane, but wants to be Superman, too.

So for those of you who claim Bella is too passive, just wait because she has her own superpowers still to be released. Much like our teenagers have so much more to reveal in the future.

The detractors from Twilight just don’t get that this is an unusual vampire story and a romance without too much smut or mushiness. Boys and girls have enjoyed reading Twilight. My male middle school students wrote as many positive reviews as the girls did.

The Wrap-up Two years ago I surveyed teachers, librarians, students, and many others asking them to submit their top 3 choices of titles that should be in a teen collection. Little did I know that after I compiled the list and began writing about them, that I would have to go back and re-read all 100 of the top teen titles (plus many of their sequels) and some of them more than one time. It was exhausting, exhilarating, and exasperating to try to write just a little bit about each title, and to hopefully convince others of the merit of these titles.

Did I like every book? No, thank you very much, but then a perfect collection will have something for everyone to like and to dislike. If the survey was taken now, I wonder how drastically it would change. Would the Twilight and Harry Potter series still rank as high? Would Hunger Games score higher now that the movie has been released? How about the new titles that have been released in the past two years? I’m thinking of the YALSA Notable lists, the CYBILS, the Printz award winners, and new series that have captured the attention of our teens. While some of the titles are bound to change rankings, it has been fascinating the chart the interest in the Top Teen Titles.

The Complete List:

#100 Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic Press, 2009  ISBN13: 9780545123266
#99 Running Loose by Chris Crutcher. Greenwillow Books, 2003. ISBN: 9780060094911 224 pp
#98 Prama by Jamie Ponti. Simon Pulse Publishing, 2008. ISBN13: 9781416961000 194 pp
#97 The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, December, 2009 ISBN13: 9780385906739. 288 p.
#96 Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. Apple Soup/Knopf, 1995 ISBN 0-679-87088-1 88 pages. Grades 3+. Available from Random House.
#95 Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills by Charles Henderson. Berkley Publishing Group, 1988. ISBN13: 978-0425103555
#94 Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986. ISBN13: 978-0374347963.
#93 The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. Disney Hyperion Books, 2009. ISBN13: 9781423101475. 400pp
#92 The Journeys of Socrates by Dan Millman. HarperOne, 2006. ISBN: 9780060833022 Pages: 352; $14.99; Ages: 18 and up
#91 The House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristen Cast
#90 The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx. Pocket Books, 2007. ISBN13: 9780743486286. 432 pp
#89 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007.  ISBN: 1416914285. 485pp
#88 Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. HarperCollins, 1995. ISBN13: 9780064405843. 224 pp
#87 Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant. Walker & Company, 2006. ISBN13: 9780802777348. 277pp
#86 America by E.R. Frank. Simon & Schuster/Anthenum Books for Young Readers, 2002. ISBN13: 0689847297. 224pp
#85 All-American Girl by Meg Cabot. HarperTeen, 2002. ISBN13: 9780060294694. 256pp
#84 Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. Atheneum, 2002. ISBN13: 9780689853234. 240pp
#83 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Delacorte Press, 1999. ISBN: 0385323069. 256pp
#82 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Warner Books, 1960. ISBN13: 9780446310789. 288pp
#81 The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. Orchard Books, 1994. ISBN13: 0531086798. 311 pp
#80 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Atria Books, 2003; paperback version, Washington Square Press, 2005. ISBN13: 9780743454520. 432 pp
# 79 Night by Elie Wiesel. Hill and Wang; Revised edition (January 16, 2006)  ISBN13: 9780374500016. 128pp
#78 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Currently available: Aladdin (December 26, 2006). ISBN13: 9781416936473. 192pp
#77 Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Bantam pb, 1953. ISBN13: 9780671824495. 258pp
#76 White Fang by Jack London. Puffin Books, June 2008 edition. ISBN13: 9780141321110. 307 pp.
#75 Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Harcourt Books, 2006. ISBN13: 9780152058265. 352pp.
#74 House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers , 2002. ISBN13:  9780689852220. 400pp
#73 We Were Here by Matt de la Peña. Delacorte, 2009. ISBN13: 9780385736671. 386pp
#72 Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor. HarperCollins, 2008.  ISBN13: 9780060890889. 304pp
#71  TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY – Jay Asher. Penguin, 2007. ISBN13: 9781595141712. 304pp
#70  Call of the Wild by Jack London. 1903 Available from Tor Classics ISBN13: 9780812504323 , 128 pp.
#69 Blankets by Craig Thompson . Top Shelf Productions, 2003. ISBN 9781891830433. 592pp
#68 Feed by M. T. Anderson. Candlewick Press, 2004. ISBN 9780763622596. 320pp
#67 Nation by Terry Pratchett. HarperCollins, 2008. ISBN 0061433012, 367pp
#66 Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos. Farrar, 2002. ISBN 374399883. 208pp
#65 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling. Scholastic Press, 2000. ISBN 9780439139595. 734pp
#64 I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
#63 Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers
#62 The Host by Stephenie Meyer
#61 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling
#60 Catching Fire – Collins
#59 Band of Brothers by Stephen E Embros. Simon& Schuster, 1992. 336pp hardcover. Available from Pocket Aug, 2002. ISBN13:  9780743464116.  480 pp.
#58 Holes by Louis Sachar. Yearling Books, 1998. ISBN: 0440414806, 240 pp.
#57 Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. TOR/MacMillan, 2008. ISBN: 978-0765319853. 384 pp.
#56 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle .  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1962. ISBN: 0-374-38613-7. 230 pp.
#55 Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson. Candlewick Press, 2006. ISBN13: 9780763624026. 358pp.
#54 The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. Grand Central Publishing, 2009.  ISBN:  0446547565, 400 pp.
#53 The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Greenwillow Books, 2006.  ISBN13: 978-006083577X. 400 pp.
#52 Just Listen by Sarah Dessen Viking Juvenile, 2006. ISBN13:  9780670061051. 371 pp.
#51 Forever by Judy Blume – 1975 ISBN13: pp.
#50 Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. ISBN13: 978-0-375-82668-8. 497 pp.
#49 Vanishing Act by Jodi Picoult.  Atria Books, March 2005 ISBN:  9780743454544, 432 pp.
#48 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by JK Rowling. Scholastic, 2000. ISBN: 9780439064873, 341 pp.
#47 Paper Towns by John Green. Dutton, 2008. ISBN:  9780525478188, 305 pp.
#46 A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Delacorte,  2003. ISBN:  9780689875342,  403 pp.
#45 The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #4) by Phillip Pullman. Knopf, 1966. ISBN: 9780679879244,  399 pp.
#44 A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck. Dial, 1998 ISBN 0803722907 ,  192 pp.
#43  The Thief (Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner. Greenwillow, 1996. ISBN: 9780688146276 , 224 pp.
#42 If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson. Puffin, 1998. ISBN: 9780142406014 , 192 pp
#41 I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. St. Martin’s Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, 2003. ISBN: 978-0-312-31616-7, 352 pp.
#40 Wednesday’s Letters by Jason F. Wright. Penguin Group, 1998. ISBN:  9780425223475, 288 pp.
#39 Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. Puffin, 2004 (First published in the UK 2000). ISBN:  9780142401651,  256 pp.
#38 Ring of Endless Light (Austin family #5) by Madeleine L’Engle. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1995. (First published Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1980.) ISBN:  9780440910817.
#37 The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger. Hamish Hamilton, 1951. ISBN: 0316769177. 288 pp.
#36 The Body by Steven King. Penguin, 1999. ISBN: 9780582418172, 80 pp.
#35 A Child called “It” by Dave Pelzer.  Health Communications Inc., 1995. ISBN:  9781558743663, 184 pp.
#34 The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Greenwillow Books, 2000. ISBN: 9780688174231, 288 pp.
#33 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Knopf, 2005. ISBN:  9780375831003, 512pp.
#32 Sabriel (Abhorsen series #1) by Garth Nix. Harper Collins, 2008 (first published in 1995). ISBN:  9780061474354, 336 pp.
#31 The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 1995. ISBN:  9780385321754, 224 pp
#30 The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Vintage, 1996 (First published as Tiger, Tiger in 1956). ISBN:  9780679767800, 272 pp.
#29 The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum. Deseret Book Company, 2005. ISBN: 9781590383995 , 352 pp.
#28 Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1982. ISBN:  0374303665, 233 pp.
#27 Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. Harper Collins, 2004. ISBN: 9780060736255 , 128 pp. (Originally published 1989)
#26 The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Macmillan Children’s Books, 2001. ISBN:  033048205X, 240 pp.
#25 Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Harper Collins, 2008. ISBN: 9780061431838 , 432 pp.
#24 Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The by E. Lockhart. Hyperion, 2008. ISBN:  9780786838189, 342 pp.
#23 Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. Scholastic Press, 1988. ISBN:  9780545055765, 320 pp.
#22 Goose Girl, The by Shannon Hale.Bloomsbury, 2003. ISBN:  9781582349909, 400 pp.
#21 Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Simon Pulse, 2005. ISBN: 0689865384 , 448 pp.
#20 The Fellowship of the Rings (and The Lord of the Rings series) by J. R. R. Tolkien. George Allen & Unwin, 1954. 424 pp. My versions are from Houghton Mifflin.
#19 Blue Sword, The by Robin McKinley. Greenwillow, 1982. ISBN:  9780688009380, 288 pp.
#18 Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. Warner Books, 2007. ISBN: 0446528056 , 224 pp.
#17 Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Greenwillow, 2001. ISBN:  9780688180191, 224 pp.
#16 Tears of a Tiger (Hazelwood High #1) by Sharon M Draper.  Simon Pulse, 1996. ISBN: 9780689806988 , 180 pp.
#15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows #7 by J. K. Rowling. Scholastic, 2007. ISBN: 9780545010221, 759 pp.
#14 Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN:  9781416912040, 335 pp.
#13 The Giver — Lois Lowry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1993. ISBN: 9780395645666  , 192 pp.
#12 Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. Little Brown & Co, 2007. ISBN: 9780316160209, 629 pp.
#11 Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. Little Brown & Co, 2008. ISBN: 9780316067928 ,754 pp.
#10 Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Scholastic nonfiction, 2005. ISBN:  9780439353793, 176 pp.
#9 Looking for Alaska by John Green – 2005. Puffin, 2005. ISBN: 9780142402511 ,221  pp.
#8 Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Tor, 1985. Tor Science Fiction, July 1994. Revised Edition, ISBN:  9780812550702, 324 pp.
#7 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Scholastic, 2008. ISBN: 9780439023481, 374  pp.
#6 New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. Little Brown, & Co., 2006 ISBN: 9780316160193, 563 pp.
#5 Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007. ISBN:  9780316013680, 230 pp.
#4 Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone (Book 1) by J.K. Rowling. Scholastic Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780439554930, 310 pp.
#3 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Puffin, 1999. ISBN:  9780141310886, 208 pp.
#2 Outsiders, The — S. E. Hinton. Viking Children’s Books, 1967.  ISBN: 9780670532575 , 192  pp. Available today from Viking Children’s; 40th Anniversary edition (September 6, 2007) ISBN: 978-0670062515.
#1 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown and Company, 2005. ISBN:  9780316015844, 235 pp.