Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Best YA Books You Haven’t Read

This idea was sent to me from Kelly over at YAnnabe Blog I thought it was a great idea so I thought I'd Play along!Thanks so much for this Kelly .

After the kid lit award announcements on Monday, I daydreamed about how those authors’ lives will never be the same. Their winning books will forever more sport a shiny badge, reserving them a spot on crowded bookstore shelves. And other books the authors write? “By Newbery Medal winner Rebecca Stead” certainly won’t hurt sales.

But the flip side of all this is that many wonderful books get published every year without registering a ripple, let alone a splash. And in the YA world specifically, the vast majority of great books don’t approach anywhere NEAR the fervor of Twil—er, The-Series-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. The Cybils help spread the love a little. As does the Nerds Heart YA tourney.

Even so, this is the fate of most great YA books:

1.Get published.
2.Get read by a few people that year, maybe a few more the next.
3.Get dumped on the bargain rack at the bookstore and start the descent into obsolescence.
It’s a damn shame, and we’re here to fix it.

Nobody Expects the Unsung YA Heroes Blog Blitz!
I teamed up with about 40 other bloggers to pick our favorite unsung YA heroes. These are YA books we love and think deserve more attention from the world of YA readers.

But how are we achieving this?

Today and tomorrow, you’ll find our picks on our blogs. Check out our lists! We bet you’ll find a few new-to-you titles you’re interested in reading. But we’re also secretly hoping you’ll think about your own unsung YA heroes and put together your own list. Because we’d really like to see it so we can read your favorites too. You’ll find links to all the lists and instructions for making your own at the end of this post.
Tomorrow, check back on my blog for a round-up uber-list of the titles that were most common across all our Unsung YA Heroes picks.
If you’re on Twitter, you can follow all the Unsung YA Heroes scuttlebutt by watching the #unsungYA tag.
Here's My List
1) Century by, Sarah Singleton 48 members on LibraryThing-
This is a book about 2 sisters who live in a world of night where all colors are muted into blacks & grey . But one sister may have discovered a way to bring color and life back into their world. This is a spooky and really good novel.

2) Boots and the Seven Leaguers: A Rock-and-Troll Novel & Pay the Piper: A Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale 55 and 127 members respectively on LibraryThing-
Boots and the Seven Leaguers is about a troll named Gog who has no luck. He has an annoying smart little brother and a best friend named Pook who is a pookah (Notoriously mischievous beings).The biggest band around is coming to his town and he hasn’t got tickets, but with the help of his friends they come up with a plan, that yep you guessed it went wrong, now his little brother has been stolen.
This book carried a great message, that you don’t need fancy magic or a load of brains to be a hero. I recommend this book to all kids who are looking for something funny and adventurous and who knows what it’s like having pesky siblings and friends who get you in all kinds of trouble.(by, Sarah Schuster-abridged) Pay the Piper is the second book in the series this is a good fun series of unrelated yet similar stories.

3) Singing the Dogstar Blues 90 members on LibraryThing-
Singing the Dogstar Blues is set in futuristic times when spaceships and time travel are the norm. Joss Aaronson is the daughter of a famous news reporter and an unknown sperm donor. She loves music, and she's a student at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. When the Chorians, a race of aliens from the Sirius-B star, request that one of their young ones come and study time-travel at the University, Joss agrees to be its partner. Joss finds out that her partner, Mavkel, lost his birth-pair in a terrible accident and is getting sick because of it. The only way to save Mavkel's life is to pair with it, or join their minds. To do that, Joss has to find her mysterious father because to join she has to know her bloodlines. The only way to find her father is to jump back in time, which is forbidden for first year students....
This is a short novel that's a mix of science fiction, mystery, and adventure. It's suspenseful and makes you want to turn to the last page to see what happens. I thought this was a great book, so I gave it 4 stars!!!(by,Goose)
4) Spellfall by, Katherine Roberts 107 members on LibraryThing
This was a good book.Natakie is a normal girl, so she thinks. Her father has been drunk since the death
Of her mother, she has a stepmother who treats her well but a stepbrother who does not.
She finds a spell laying on the ground and things get very bad for her from there.
She is kidnapped by an evil Caster,Hawk who is trying to exact his revenge for being banished from
Eathhaven.She soon finds out her mother was a Spell Lady and it’s up to her to stop Hawk.
She gets help from unlikely people, and as her stepmother says crisis brings a family closer.
I'm looking forward to reading other books by this author.

5) The Light of the Oracle by, Victoria Hanley 109 members on LibraryThing
It’s been awhile since I read this one but I remember liking it very much. From back cover-Whispers stirred in Bryn’s ears. One word was clear, spoken in a voice that rang through her mind like a bell. Prophecy.

6) Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic Book) by, Patricia Wrede 217 members on LibraryThing
This book is kind of Harry Potter meets Little House on the Prairie, What a great concept!I did enjoy this book it’s the first in a series and I am hoping the next 2 books will have a little more meat to it now that we know the characters. This one was defiantly introducing the characters and with some excitement at the end.Ms.Wrede is a good writer and I have enjoyed her other books so I know this series will be good overall. I also have some theories about certain characters that I will be curious to find out if I am right about.

7) Waiting for Normal by, Leslie Connor 279 members on LibraryThing
This is a great book I see why it won awards! Addie is a young girl hoping for a normal life, but with a mother (mommers) who is an all or nothing type of person normal isn't likely to happen. This book shows that heroes are everyday people who care about each other. The characters in this book are compelling and real. Addie is the true hero in this book though through it all she keeps a positive attitude even when left alone for days on end. I highly recommend this book!!!!
ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2009) School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2008)
8) The Society of S: A Novel by Susan Hubbard 329 members on LibraryThing
I enjoyed this book. Was a very different vampire story than Twilight. Even though the heroine is a young girl it doesn't have the teen angst which I found refreshing. Am defiantly looking forward to the next book!
9) Elsewhere & Neverwhere by, Will Shetterly have 348 & 266 respectively members on LibraryThing
Elsewhere- When Ron runs away, he ends up in Bordertown, a grim city that lies between the real world and the world of faerie, a place where elf and human gangs stalk the streets side by side, and where magic works better than technology. If the city doesn't kill him, it just may teach him what it is to be human.
Neverwhere- In the sequel to Elsewhere, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, Will Shetterly continues the adventures of Wolfboy. Ron's quest is to break the curse that has turned him into a werewolf; but there's a more dangerous game that that being played on the Border. The true Prince of Elfland is missing,fled across the order and into Bordertown. many are those who would find this Prince, some to guard the Power of Faerie, and some to take possession of it.
Ron is about to get caught in the crossfire--and he my just decide that being a werewolf isn't so bad after all...when you consider the alternatives.

10) Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman by, Eleanor Updale 408 members on LibraryThing
When a petty thief falls though a glass roof in his attempt to escape from the police, what should have been the death of him marks the beginning of a while new life. After his broken body is reconstructed by an ambitious young doctor, he is released from prison, and--with the help of Victorian London's extensive sewer system--he becomes the most elusive burglar in the city. He adopts a dual existence as a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency, and his degenerate servant Scarper. But Montmorency must always be on guard. The smallest mistake could reveal his secret and ruin both his lives. Fans of Pullman and Lemony Snicket will love this mystery story.
Make Your Own List!
If You’re on LibraryThing

1.Visit your LibraryThing catalog.
2.Click the Rating column to sort by that column, which will put the 5 stars first.
3.Click the Edit sort order button, which is in the toolbar that’s right under the tabs at the top—the toolbar with the A, B, C,… buttons. The Edit sort order button is the one with two blue arrows.
4.Under Subsort by, select total members and click the Up button next to it.
5.Click the Sort button.
6.If you want, use the Search your library box in the upper right corner to narrow your search, such as to a YA tag you use.
7.In your catalog, start at the top with your 5 stars and look for any titles that have less than 500 members. To see number of members, look in the rightmost column and check the number next to the little person icon.
8.Record any titles with less than 500 members, and keep going til you’re happy with your list!
If You’re Not
If you use Goodreads or some other book-tracking site, they probably have an export feature. So use that, then create a free account on LibraryThing, import your information, and follow the instructions above.

If you’re not in the book-tracking habit, haven’t you realized by now all the fun that can be had by joining a site like LibraryThing? I’m sure you will discover an awesome feature or two that you can exploit in your book-related endeavors.

But if you’re really not in the mood to join, you’ll have to search titles one-by-one:

1.Visit the LibraryThing Search page.
2.In Works, enter a title you think might be lesser known.
3.Click the Search button. Don’t stop when you get the search results! That will show you only how many actual copies members have claimed, not everyone who’s added the title to their catalog (such as to a wish list or a to-be-read list).
4.Click the appropriate search result. If there are multiple results for the title, just click one. They’ll all get you to the same place.
5.On the work page, look for the table right under the title and author’s name. The first column is titled Members. Look at the number in that table cell. If it’s below 500, the book isn’t well known, so add it to your list.
6.Rinse, repeat, lather.
For the Geekiest of Us
This post is already approaching the realm of novella, but I know you might be wondering a few things.

Why LibraryThing? Why not Goodreads, Shelfari, etc?
LibraryThing makes it easy to see the “other members” stat right from your catalog. Goodreads has a “num ratings” stat, but it shows just the number of ratings for a specific edition of a title. The LibraryThing member count includes every edition of the title. I’m not familiar with Shelfari or any other sites, and in the interest of time I went with what I know.

Why 500 or less members?
Completely arbitrary, but we needed some sort of cutoff to use as a guideline. Some of us even included titles with a few more members, so it really was just a guideline. For comparison, the first book of the Twilight series has 25,974 members and The Hunger Games has 3,929 members.


  1. Haven't heard of a lot of these. Thanks for your list.

  2. i just brought the 13th Child home to read and I bought a few copies of Waiting For Normal in order to use it for a book club! Excited to read about them here!

  3. Same as Lenore, I haven't heard of any of these. I love it when that happens, but it also kind of scares me since I feel like I watch a lot of the YA world. Haha.

    Thanks for putting a great list together!

  4. The brain Lair- I think Waiting for Normal is a great book club book. There's a reason it won the awards it did.I hope you enjoy it!The Thirteenth Child is a great beginning to what I think is going to be an interesting series.
    Thanks Lenore & Kelly it was a great experiment and I know have a HUGE Ya list to buy!

  5. I've heard some really good things about The Thirteenth Child!