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Top 100 YA Novels

Remember Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll?

Wondering what the Top 100 YA Novels Poll would be?

Wonder no more! Persnickety Snark put together a poll (using Bird’s system), crunched the numbers, and posted the top 100 YA Novels.

The blog is by an Australian teacher currently living in Japan. Part of the fun of reading through the posts is seeing non-USian book covers. Also fun are the tidbits included about the authors and books.

It’s a nice mix of new and old, and a variety of genres. I confess that I haven’t read some of the books, such as the Morganville Vampires. I’ll be adding it (and others) to be ever-growing To Be Read list. Looking for Alibrandi is on the list, yay (and wow, I love that film!).

I confess that I haven’t counted the titles to see how representative they are of race, gender, ethnicity, sex, year published, genre, etc. But I also confess I didn’t participate in the original poll or voting, so didn’t take the opportunity to suggest, nominate, or vote on books.

Part of the fun of a list like this (after the usual recognizing favorites, discovering new titles, and counting the ones you’ve read) is it is a great conversation starter about what makes a great YA book and what books you would have on your personal top 100.  Or, what books you cannot believe other people consider “great.” 

Is it bad that my two main wishes were that Jellicoe Road was on the list and that Twilight wasn’t number one? Click through to see if wishes do come true.

Read the top 100 as compiled by Persnickety Snark and let me know — do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. Good Books and Wine also did a top 100 list using different methodology. However, the same book was #1 on both lists. 🙂 The list can be found at

    And I hope that Practically Paradise’s list will eventually be revealed in its entirety (since I did nominations for that one).

  2. One thing that I thought was interesting about Betsy Bird’s Top 100 list was that a good chunk of it was comprised of what a librarian friend called “books that adults think children should read”, and not necessarily the books they’re all reading. The Top 100 children’s novels were all good books.

    I think, since teens are online a lot more, there were more teens voting in the YA poll, or at least more teens than children in Betsy’s poll. So Adele’s list is a funny mix of the good and the popular.

    I’m more disappointed that Twilight and The Hunger Games beat out Jellicoe Road and Thirteen Reasons Why and The Outsiders… and that The Hunger Games beat To Kill a Mockingbird – huh? The only thing I can think of to explain that is that people voted for both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and the votes for both were combined.

    I think that certain books will fall significantly by next year, while the classics will hold their ground or climb. Here’s to hoping, at least!

  3. It took me a bunch of visits to the Persnickety Snark list before I figured out it wasn’t a US-based blog. The list–and the comments people were making– wasn’t making sense! Why were books I’d never even HEARD of scoring above books I expected to be in the top 20? Why were people in the comments saying, “I’ve never heard of that one” ABOUT said books I expected to be in the top 20? But ah, it’s a completely different market area. It makes much more sense that way (I still weep for the person who never heard of Ring of Endless Light. Though apparently they’re going to read it now, so it’s all good).

  4. Thanks for the link!

    In terms of respondents there was a great mix of adult and teen readers that had their say. As for the Australian representation, the industry is pretty small over here and I can say that the representation was small in relation to the 735 people that voted. I don’t think it had much of a baring on the results. But many books that are considered American classics aren’t that well known in international waters (outside of the obvious).

    Beth brings up an interesting point about what teens like to read versus what adults think teens should read. I was referred to a post by an American librarian that commented that she believed that individuals under the age of 20 shouldn’t have been allowed to vote. That defeats the purpose of the poll in the first place and isn’t a great attitude to have. What I liked when I was a teen is both the same and vastly different to what I like now. Looking for Alibrandi came out when I was 12 and I still LOVE it but you couldn’t catch me reading some of the crap that I devoured now.

    It’s all food for thought!

  5. I’m a list maker. Love to read them love to make them. This was right up my alley. I have Persnickety Snark in my feedreader and have seen some of the posts announcing the countdown but haven’t quite gotten though them all. I’m really enjoying the approach Adele had taken with the snippets of reviews from bloggers and such. She did a tremendous job.

  6. It’s definitely a great list of book…some even classics. I’ve read about half of them…some are even required reading in school. Interesting it’s an internationally compiled list.

    I’m currently reading a wonderful YA Christian book called Ben’s Big Bang Botheration by author David Millette. It’s the first book in a new series called, Today in Science Class. It discusses the the theories of creation…the big bang theory and the God created theory. I’ll be ready for all the questions my kids bring home this year from school.

  7. Liz, thanks for the list. When I have some free time (ha ha ha), I hope to compare the lists.

    Beth, meanwhile I was thinking “but To Kill A Mockingbird wasn’t published as YA!” And yes, in terms of voting, there’s the whole, but who is online? And what ages? And why shouldn’t it count to have older people (um, like me) vote both for what they loved as teens and love now? And there is always the “last five years” factor, where I think books from the last few years (so those read more recently) may get more attention than something published earlier.

    rockinlibrarian, half the fun of these lists is responses like that. I had a few titles where I was like “really”? I have now read the first two books in the Morganville Vampires and am enjoying it very much.

    Adele, I had books I loved as a teen that I still think are great (books by Norma Johnston, Norma Klein, Julian Thompson) but have just fallen out of favor right now. But would I have voted for those on this list? I’m not sure; not because I don’t like them but because they are not really available anymore so them being on a list is a bit of a lost cause/ only is known by those in my age group. Anyway, thanks so much for doing this! So much fun and so much work. I’m impressed.

    Michelle, Adele did a fab job. Very impressive.

    Betty, thanks for sharing.

  8. little_stranger says

    Beth – I helped tally the poll, so for the record I should point out that books in the same series didn’t have their votes combined – each was treated separately. Catching Fire came in at #38.

    @ Beth “I think that certain books will fall significantly by next year, while the classics will hold their ground or climb. Here’s to hoping, at least!”

    Quite possibly. There will be bias towards recent books, but over time, I think some type of consensus over the best YA books will build. In particular, I will be interested to see how the release of Mockingjay will affect The Hunger Games i.e. will they split their votes? Adele’s stated her intention on her blog to run the poll 2011, so keep an eye out if you want to have your say!

    Liz B – Your wishes about Jellicoe and Twilight were shared by me too!

  9. Alison Hendon says

    My biggest disappointment was that Go Ask Alice was listed.