Time for another Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. It brings books and readers together to discuss 10 interesting bookish topics each week.
This week’s Top 10 is a list of the books that would be on my course syllabus for YA Contemporary 101. Pee-Chee folder and fuzzy head ballpoint pen optional. Cell phones on silent, please.
Week 1: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
Anything with a mention of mixed tapes must be read. Good luck trying not to fold down each page corner with memorable quotes and personal connections.
Week 2: The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen
Intro to one of the staples of YA contemporary. Maybe not Oscar-worthy writing, but the pages turn and you’ll always lose yourself in the story.
Week 3: Perfect Chemistry, Simone Elkeles
Dual POV. Loveable bad guy. And well, loveable bad guy. Every good girl needs one of those.
Week 4: Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
Sometimes the world is dark. Better to learn it now. And sarcasm is the next best thing to cookies. Learn both from this book.
Week 5: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
EVERYTHING is better in a British accent. Plus, this book will introduce you to binge-reading, the sister to Netflix binge-watching. There are 10 books in this series, and trust me, you will want to read each next one immediately. There will be no mid-term to allow you time for binge-reading. (*Warning..may lead to binge-reading series such as Harry Potter, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Princess Diaries.)
Week 6: Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
Everyone loves pictures. Learn creativity here. And who hasn’t broken up with someone? (You? Well, congratulations and goodbye. YA contemporary stories aren’t for you. Enroll in Fantasy 101 or The Classics: Heroines Making Bad Decisions, Do Not Emulate)
Week 7: Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
I consider this YA contemporary. Is it? Well, this is my class; I can do what I want. Emotional roller coaster and great concept. Did you ever see the movie Groundhog Day? Exactly. But so much better.
Week 8: An Abundance of Katherines, John Green
John Green is essential, but let’s choose a novel that’s not wrapped in so much hype. It’s time to learn that the lesser-known books are sometimes and often better than the trendy ones. (If you like trendy reading, please drop this class and enroll in Mona Lisa 101: Taking the Selfie and Not Even Glancing at the Painting.)
Week 9: Deadline, Chris Crutcher
We already learned that life can be dark. It’s also full of secrets and well, death. Please also feel free to substitute in any Chris Crutcher novel. I’ve edited this week five different times, trying to decide on the right Crutcher novel to choose. So I give up. You choose. There’s no way to go wrong.
Week 10: Parrot in the Oven, Victor Martinez
This is the fireworks of writing. (I told you this isn’t Trendy YA 101.) Most beautiful descriptions I’ve read. Each chapter is a masterful short story of its own. Pieces of a difficult life fitting together to create a beautiful portrait. I’m crying just thinking about it.
Final Exam: Read The Sky is Everywhere or Eleanor and Park or Open Road Summer. Just read it. You will be schooled.