My 10 Most Favorite Youth Fiction Books

Ones that I’d recommend to just about everyone. Granted, some are not single books, but series. In no particular order:

  1. The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley: The Blue Sword is full of adventure, magic, romance, swordplay… it would probably make a pretty good movie if anyone ever thought of it. It was an engaging book, well-written and the heroes were believable and interesting (there’s a lot of believable tension and chemistry between the two lead characters, which makes it fun). Hero and the Crown is a pre-quel to The Blue Sword. Anyway, this is a story about Aerin, a backwards princess with flame-red hair, and how she finds her calling in life (fighting dragons, of all things) and how she overcomes her insecurities and wins the hearts (rather than the suspicions) of the people in her father’s kingdom. It’s a great “hero” book where the hero is a girl, and it works wonderfully!
  2. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson: I picked this one up on a whim (and because I decided to read all the Newbery Award winners) and I was captivated by it. It’s a wonderful story about being different, about imagination, about friendship, and most of all, about strength. I sobbed at the end (there’s a tragic ending); I’ve never read a more accurate or touching portrayal of grief. An excellent book.
  3. The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince): Rowling has created a wonderful, intricate – though not deep or profound – world. It’s an easy read (eye candy) and fast-paced. It’s fun, though not necessarily something to be savored. Though, I have read it more than once. She’s gotten better, to. I read that she really enjoyed writing Book 6, and it shows. It’s much tighter than the last two, and has an incredible cliff-hanger ending. I can’t wait until she gets around to writing the last one.
  4. The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale: Aside from the annoying author blurb and the mildly predictible ending, this is a wonderful fairy tale. A princess, made dull and lacking inner strength by the fact of her birth, finds strength, hope and frienship through adversity. Excellent.
  5. The Dark is Rising Series, Susan Cooper (Including Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree): A great series of myth and magic and power for good or evil. I have problems with books with Welsh in them; I love them but I can’t pronounce anything in it. It’s a fabulous series.
  6. Inkheart, Cornelia Funke: A book-lovers book. And a wonderful story. (see the full review here.)
  7. The BFG, Roald Dahl: My absolute hands-down favorite Dahl book. It’s sweet, it’s weird (what Dahl book isn’t, though?), and it’s a lot of fun to read.
  8. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine: A fun take on the Cinderella story. The heroine is admirable: strong, intelligent, funny, assertive, yet she is human, and not “perfect”. The romance is tactfully, and simply done (They’re friends first! Yay!) and you come to really like all the characters. It’s funny, well-written and a charming book. And for an additional Cinderella variation, Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix is an excellent read.
  9. The Giver, Lois Lowry: An excellent little fable about a society without feeling and how one boy comes to realize the good in differences. The other one I’ve read by her, Number the Stars, is also excellent.
  10. Crispin, Avi: I loved this book. It was a good, simple tale of a boy in the Middle Ages learning to think and act for himself. Avi’s a great writer – the good and the bad of the Middle Ages are eloquently portrayed. It’s a fine, engaging historical novel. It won the 2003 Newbery Medal.

3 thoughts on “My 10 Most Favorite Youth Fiction Books

  1. Tammy says:

    Hey!From your list i know just over half of them. However,i can see your taste in books and it’s similar to mine so i will surelly find the books in your list which i have not yet read and find out for myself if they’re as good as you claime (i’m sure they are).I saw Inkheart in your list, yet i did not see the sequel to it, Inkspell (which i thought was also very nicely written). I was wondering if you have read it, and if you have, what you thought of it.


  2. Thanks for the list. I did a whole novel study with my class on The Giver. It’s such a fabulous book.Looks like I still have a lot of good things to explore. I’m teaching grade 8 for the first time this fall so I have to read a whole new set of books.


  3. I would like to reccomend the book series Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda, if you haven’t already read them. The books look short, and they are,(only 31,000 words) but they are written better than you’d expect. They also come in two big thick books of the whole series put together. The first series is great, but then the author made two seqal series (Deltora Shadowlands and Deltora Dragons) that kind of ruin the good ending of the first series, even though the last few Deltora Dragons books were good. It is about a boy named Leif, a kind of wild girl named Jasmine, and a man named Barda, who have to go on a quest to find seven magical gems that fit into The Belt of Deltora, a belt that, once complete, has the power to banish the evil Shadowlord. The books are better than I described them, but I must say Emily Rodda isn’t very good at character development. Please read these books!


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