What is my favorite YA novel?
by Rebecca Cantrell
I hate these favorites questions. I don’t play favorites. But I know, as someone who now writes YA, I’m going to run across this question again. So, I'm giving it a try. But it's not definitive.
From the time I could read, which is before I remember but my mother says I was about three, until the time I had to get a job, which I sadly do remember and I was thirteen, I read a book a day. Or more. So, that’s about a decade or 3,650 books. I still read a lot, but not that much. If I had but worlds enough and time…
I read anything I could get my hands on. As a child and now as an adult, I read way above my age level and way below. I read sci-fi and fantasy and detetectives and literature straight from the library’s reading list. I read romance and thrillers and suspense and comedy. The summer after fourth grade I read nothing but Shakespeare plays. Yes, I know that’s weird, and yes, I know I was awfully young to be doing that, but I decided it was something I needed to add to my education.
I went through lists of YA books to remind myself of what other kids read as teenagers so I could write this blog. It was a wonderful stroll down the pages of my reading history. But I don’t have a single favorite. I have too many favorites to list.
So I decided to wimp out and pick a category I seem to have read the most deeply in. That category? The outsider coming into or leaving a community and trying to make her way (not a big leap for a kid who went to 21 schools before graduating high school).
In this category I count: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, and This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.
But that still doesn’t leave me room to talk about all the wonderful nonfiction (Little House on the Prairie? Farley Mowat? Gerald Durrell? James Herriot?), horror (traditional Dracula, Frankenstein, Dorien Grey, Stephen King), sci-fi and fantasy (anyone grok my Heinlein phase? Jules Verne, H. G. Wells), romance (OK, I don’t remember titles, but I sure remember some scenes very vividly) and and and…
I have to stop now. I feel a strong urge to go read a book.