Suzanne Collins

2011 in: Recommendations

by sarahenni on December 29, 2011

If you love reading (and my guess is, since you’re here, you do), you know that recommending books for others is an art. Every reader is different, so when your sister/boss/neighbor/niece asks for suggestions, a lot of thought goes into it. I find that my list of favorite books doesn’t always sync up with the list of books that I recommend most—I tend to recommend books that I think have more broad appeal, ones that I’ve seen most everyone pick up and love. So today we’re going to share the books that we’ve evangelized most for in 2011!

The Passage by Justin Cronin

This book made my “most recommended” list last year, too, and that really says something. It’s been more than a year since I read it, but Cronin’s haunting 800-page post-apocalyptic zombie-vampire cross-country journey tale still haunts me. It’s one of my favorites of all time, and I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t enjoy it.

Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore

I’m counting these as one book, because I never recommend one without the other. Cashore’s YA fantasy world has the complex world-building and medieval-style throne lust that typifies epic fantasy, but they feature strong female characters, a paranormal twist, and emotional arcs you can sink your teeth into. I loved getting lost in the stories of Katsa and Fire, and most of the people I recommended it to gave it a thumbs-up.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Though I’ve been recommending it to anyone who’d listen for years, I saw a definite uptick in interest when the Hunger Games movie started filming, most especially when the trailer came out and looked BOMB. The Hunger Games is, frankly, a book I dare anyone not to enjoy, and I’m so excited for it to blow up in March with the film!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

As soon as I started reading this book—and I woke Dr H up because I was laughing so hard—I knew I had to spread the word on the book. I’ve found it’s a great introduction to people that aren’t familiar with YA, or how the YA voice is different from the contemporary lit they’re used to reading. The combination of Green and Levithan makes for such a great balance of humor, angst, outlandish scenarios and real human stories, all in one book.

 Check out what everyone else had to say!

Erin Bowman

Kaitlin Ward

Kate Hart

Kathleen Peacock

Kirsten Hubbard

Kristin Otts

Lindsey Roth Culli

Phoebe North

Stephanie Keuhn

Sumayyah Doud

Veronica Roth


Required Reading

by sarahenni on November 16, 2011

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs.

This week’s topic is:

If you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

For this and so many other reasons, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood should be taught in classrooms, hopefully to inspire kids to talk about the role of government in their lives, feminism, and also to incorporate some sci-fi into the classroom, which was underrepresented in my high school experience.

And you know what? In that same vein, I’d want the kids to read The Hunger Games. Not only is it a current, fast-paced book that I think they’d gobble up, it covers those same issues and then some—government, freedom of speech, reality television.

And finally, a book that covers some similar ground that I hope they never STOP requiring in high school:

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I love this book. LOVE.

What about you?? What books should join the ranks of Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby as required high school fare?