Time’s 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time

As I was sitting here, wondering what to write and scrolling through the Reader, I came across a list of the top 100 best young-adult books on two different blogs and realized that it was something I wanted to do, too. (Also, thanks be to Thrice Read & A Cup of Wittea for going ahead and placing these all into a nice table, because I never would’ve had the patience otherwise!)

I’ve read 38/100 of these books. There are several of them that I haven’t even heard of, and that’s what’s weird to me. I feel like I should’ve at least heard of all of these books, especially if they’re considered the “Best” Young-Adult books of all time.

There are several books on this list that I would strip their title from, to be honest. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, for one, doesn’t deserve to be on this list because it romanticizes abusive relationships (no wonder I fell into three of them) and is very poorly written. Harriet the Spy is the most obnoxiously horrible child I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet (aside from Junie B. Jones, of course). Looking for Alaska was contrite and boring and conventional. To Kill a Mockingbird…well, let’s not even go there again.

Some of these shouldn’t be on the list because they’re not young-adult books (where do you even draw the line with that?). Things like Huckleberry Finn and Lord of the Rings, for starters, don’t belong in with a young adult list. Yes, they’re most often read by young adults, but they weren’t written for young adults, and as such I don’t think they belong on this list.

This list just seems to be a mish-mash of several things throughout the years, with no real rhyme or reason as to why some are on here and others are not. I would love to have some time to myself to go back through my own bookshelves and figure out which books really defined me as a child, and which books I would add to this particular list. It might be something I get around to doing one day, but for now, it’s just a dream.

Several of the books that I don’t recognize are very old, and it makes me wonder how a list like this will change in just a few more years or so. I see books like Looking for Alaska alongside Little Women, and it makes me wonder how, exactly, they came up with this particular list. It says there was a survey among several well-respected book groups, but honestly, I would like to see this compiled from data such as the best-selling books from the past few years juxtaposed with those “expert” lists. Several of these books could only be on this list because they are “forced” on middle and high school students through summer reading, under the guise of them being classics and therefore must be read by everyone. (Personally, I don’t agree with that. I think there are plenty of modern books that have literary merit that rivals those of the classics, but to each their own.) The fact that there are people out there dictating what you should and shouldn’t read is ridiculous. I would like to see a more accurate poll of high school students in order to figure out what really is the best book of them all.

(Also, they’ve got a Children’s list out there? Keep an eye out for me wasting time and attempting to put together a table like the one below in order to figure out if I’ve made the cut on that one or not…)

RANK & TITLE

READ?

1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian No
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Yes
3. The Book Thief Yes
4. A Wrinkle in Time Yes
5. Charlotte’s Web Yes
6. Holes Yes
7. Matilda No
8. The Outsiders Yes
9. The Phantom Tollbooth Yes
10. The Giver Yes
11. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. No
12. To Kill A Mockingbird Yes
13. Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry Unfinished
14. Anne of Green Gables No
15. The Chronicles of Narnia Yes
16. Monster No
17. The Golden Compass No
18. The Diary of a Young Girl Yes
19. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Yes
20. Looking for Alaska Yes
21. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time No
22. Little House on the Prairie Yes
23. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane No
24. Wonder No
25. The Sword in the Stone No
26. The Catcher in the Rye No
27. Little Women Yes
28. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Yes
29. The Hobbit Yes
30. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz No
31. Lord of the Flies No
32. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory No
33. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Yes
34. Bridge to Terabithia Yes
35. The Call of the Wild No
36. A Separate Place No
37. Harriet the Spy Yes
38. The Chocolate War Yes
39. Jacob Here I Loved No
40. A Series of Unfortunate Events Yes
41. Hatchet No
42. The Lord of the Rings Yes
43. Feed No
44. The Alchemyst Yes
45. The Princess Bride Yes
46. Beezus & Ramona Yes
47. Tarzan of the Apes No
48. Johnny Tremain No
49. The Westing Game No
50. The Wind in the Willows No
51. Speak No
52. Mary Poppins No
53. The Faults in Our Stars No
54. A Northern Light No
55. The Yearling No
56. The Hunger Games Yes
57. For Freedom No
58. The Wall No
59. A Monster Calls No
60. Percy Jackson & the Olympians Yes
61. The Illustrated Man No
62. A Wreath for Emmett Till No
63. Every Day No
64. Where Things Come Back No
65. Number the Stars Yes
66. Blankets No
67. Private Peaceful No
68. The Witch of Blackbird Pond Yes
69. Dangerous Angels Yes
70. Frindle Yes
71. Boxers and Saints No
72. The Graveyard Book No
73. City of the Beasts No
74. American Born Chinese No
75. The Lost Conspiracy No
76. Dogsbody No
77. The Pigman No
78. Alabama Moon No
79. Esperanza Rising Yes
80. The Knife of Never Letting Go No
81. Boy Proof No
82. Fallen Angels No
83. A High Wind in Jamaica No
84. The Tiger Rising No
85. When You Reach Me No
86. Saffy’s Angel Yes
87. The Grey King No
88. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH No
89. The Thief Lord Yes
90. The Mysterious Benedict Society No
91. The Invention of Hugo Cabret No
92. Sabriel No
93. Tiger Lily No
94. Secret No
95. A Wizard of Earthsea No
96. Tales of Mystery and Imagination No
97. Whale Talk No
98. The Chronicles of Prydain Yes
99. Danny the Champion of the World Yes
100. Twilight Yes

What do you think? Am I way off base in my exploration of this list? How many have you read? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.

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Word Counts:

Blog: 13,812/10,000 || Thesis: 1,819/10,000

(Yeah, I’m not doing too well on that thesis word count, and the month is almost half-way over already…)

One thought on “Time’s 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time

  1. I remember that I’d read 34. I’m sure I hit some of the others when I was younger and just can’t remember their names. It seems like a solid list. I hate A Separate Peace, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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