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March 13, 2015

Our Reviewers Pick Their Ultimate Reads

Posted by Shara

We are so excited to have just updated the Ultimate Reading List on! To celebrate, I asked our reviewers and Teen Board members to tell me about their own Ultimate Reading Lists --- what three books would they recommend unfailingly to their friends? Which three do they think are some of the most awe-inspiring, thought-provoking or just plain fun that they’ve ever read? I know --- big question. Read their answers below and see how they compare with your own!

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher - This is a book everyone should read because it connects to the struggles young adults face every day. Plus, it will change how the reader thinks about things.
FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick - This book has a very interesting protagonist who is dealing with a sad reality, one that kids face every day in our society.
NAOMI AND ELY'S NO KISS LIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - This book made me laugh from start to finish. I love how the author gives minor characters their own plot lines.
--- Alonzo D., Teen Board member


SLEEPING FRESHMEN NEVER LIE by David Lubar - This book isn't just entertaining; it's what got me through high school.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee - Lee's unique take on American society and racial issues makes this a book I simply couldn't put down.
VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle - Both funny and emotional, this is one of the most entertaining young adult novels I've ever read
--- Cheyenne C., Teen Board member 


The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien --- These books are masterpieces, both in terms of epic storytelling and the beautiful poetic language of Tolkien.
WICKED: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire -  In this book best suited for older teens, Maguire creates a mesmerizing reimagining of Oz where vivid, complicated characters engage in intense dialogues about religion and politics. This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read and I could not put it down for one second.
JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton - I challenge teens who are interested in both one of the greatest science fiction authors of the modern time and in the extremely relevant conversation regarding genetic engineering to read this book. It’s brilliant, and yes, it's even better than the Spielberg blockbuster.
--- Corinne Fox


THE TEA ROSE by Jennifer Donnelly – This is 600 pages of historical, romantic, adventure fiction.
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver - A futuristic look on the potential dangers of love.
CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare – This book is set in an early world of shadowhunters filled with action, danger and mystery.
--- Sara J., Teen Board member


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken - This series is very fun and entertaining! The characters are lovable, the plot is interesting and the humor is brilliant!
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - This series has been one of my favorite for quite a while --- while it is a little dark, there are bits of humor mixed in and the overall story is amazing!
SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch - This novel came out during the winter of 2014 and it quickly became a hit with my sisters and I! We each have our own copy (that's three copies of the same book!) because we all loved it. The main character is incredibly relatable and the high fantasy setting is interesting and unique. 
--- Kate F., Teen Board member


THE COTTAGE IN THE WOODS by Katherine Coville - I recently read this book and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was so much more than the “read” story about Goldilocks and the three bears. It’s a story about prejudice, faith and love (and so much more). It was written for kids, but I think it’s worthwhile reading for anyone.
THE LOST TRACK OF TIME by Paige Britt – This is a wonderful, witty and punny commentary on how we think about time and those who “waste” time. Again, it was written for kids, but I recommend it for any audience.
WILLOW by Julia Hoban - This is a touching, realistic story about a teen who is a cutter. The narrative is rather graphic, but the story is one that needs to be told.
---Christine Irvin


THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky - This is my favorite book of all time; it hits on every teenage touchy subject with grace and a gentle sweetness. Every time I read it, it gets better.
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins - The first of the big dystopian novel boom, this modern classic features a kick-butt girl in dire circumstances.  It's truly the first of its time.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green - You'd think a book about cancer would be depressing, but it was really inspiring and had wonderful bittersweet humor; it made me laugh and cry at the same time.
--- Maya B, Teen Board member

TIGANA by Guy Gavriel Kay –The book that showed me what fantasy could be.
THE SUMMER PRINCE by Alaya Dawn Johnson - An amazing novel that hurt to put down
TO THE RESURRECTION STATION by Eleanor Arnason - The most fun I've had with a book perhaps ever, and one that had me thinking for a long, long time afterwards.
--- Charles Payseur


THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J Maas - This book basically has something for everyone. Lots of magic, love, political intrigue and kick-butt action.
STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson - This is an action-packed, unique book that makes you love supervillains and heroes.
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson - It's a fantasy book that has a main character who is the most realistic character I have ever read. Enough said.
--- Christa O., Teen Board member.


WONDER by R.J. Palacio - It really challenges its readers to reconsider the way they act towards people who are "different."
The Secret series by Pseudonymous Bosch --- Every time you turn the page, something new and exciting jumps out at you!
ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell - It is awesome to read a book where you can learn a valuable history lesson while still enjoying every part in the story.
--- Aliza M., Teen Board member 


THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins - This is quite a popular one, and for good reason! I loved that this novel was centered around a courageous and intelligent heroine who can really put up a fight.
HATCHET by Gary Paulsen - This used to be one of my favorite books back in middle school. I tend not to reread books but I had to for this one. I loved that the realistic plot that made me sympathize with him almost as if he were a real person.
THE POWER OF HABIT by Charles Duhigg - Seldom does a book ever stick with me for as long as this one has. Although it's more on the science side, I found the book to be fascinating and a rather easy read.
--- Lynn W., Teen Board member


I would definitely choose these books because while each is set in a different country, all three stories represent young women who were able to rise above their struggles.
HOLD TIGHT, DON’T LET GO: A Novel of Haiti by Laura Rose Wagner
I LIVED ON BUTTERFLY HILL by  Marjorie Agosin and Lee White
--- Anita Lock


THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak - The power of words. The importance of life. Trust and love. Wartime and loss. So many tears. SOOO good.
CASTLES BURNING by Magda Denes -This is an eye-opening, horrifying, funny, witty and deeply emotional view of World War II from the eyes of nine-year-old Magda Denes. It encompasses the day-to-day experiences of war and far more than that, the wreckage after, in a brilliantly unique way that is far from platitudes and tired plots. It's a true novel, and one that is so worth reading.
THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom and Elizabeth Sherrill --- THE HIDING PLACE examines the morality of what was being done during the Holocaust, particularly to the Jews. While it’s easy to denounce it now, it was a very meaningful and dangerous thing to stand up against the Nazis when your country is occupied by said Nazis. When you are imprisoned by said Nazis. When your family members die because of said Nazis. And when, through it all, you come out of the camps and are able to forgive them. It's incredible.
--- Mary M., Teen Board member


Without a doubt, I always recommend THE CURIOUS ANGELFALL by Susan Ee because of its dark but witty sense of humor, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor for its creative plotline, and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon for having one of the best narrations I have ever read.
---Sydney L., Teen Board member


I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson
--- Brianna Robinson


WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart - The writing was so beautiful it genuinely made me cry because of its sheer perfection.
MY MOST EXCELLENT YEAR: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger – It’s happiness and laughter in a physical form.
CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare - It gives you the perfect glimpse into a fantasy world that makes me yearn to be a Shadowhunter.
--- Katherina T, Teen Board member


THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern - This is a masterpiece in the realm of magical realism --- the most beautiful piece of work I've ever read.
THE CHOCOLATE WAR by Robert Cormier - This book shocked me and opened my eyes to the world with its depiction of human brutality.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Márquez - I went on a rollercoaster of emotions as Marquez describes truths of human existence ironically set in the magical realism town of Macondo.
--- Cassandra H, Teen Board member


MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE by Eloise Jarvis McGraw - Espionage, romance and ancient Egypt are rolled into one.
ALANNA: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce – Girls kick butt --- and evil.
THE ODYSSEY by Homer --- It deals with every aspect of the human condition.
--- Carly Silver


LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green - I remember reading this book two years ago, and I still love re-reading it today!

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee - This is honestly such a great book and everyone should read it, it's a classic!

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak - This compelling story pretty much left me speechless. It's a really amazing piece of work so I recommend everyone to check it out!
Rachel D., Teen Board member