Best Books for Young Adults

The Young Adult Library Services Association puts together a yearly list of best books for young adults. The list includes both fiction and nonfiction and is chosen by committee to identify and annotate a list of significant works for this age group. The committee also identifies the top 10 books of the list, which often runs to as many as 90 books a year. These two books were both identified in the 2004 list, although only East made it into the top 10. Since 2010 this has become Best Fiction for Young Adults list, leaving the nonfiction behind.



Pattou, Edith. East. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005. 528 pages. $8.95 ISBN-13: 978-0152052218

Rose goes to live in the castle of a magical white bear, but after breaking the rules of his spell must try to save him from the Troll Queen.


Age Range: 11 and up

Best Books for Young Adults, 2004

4 out 5 for quality, 2 out of 5 for popularity.

This is a fairy tale that is part Beauty and the Beast, part East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Rose is the wild child of her family, a family run by their mother’s superstitions, especially concerning the direction of their birth born. As Rose grows up she finds the white bear of her dreams is real, and when he asks her to come live with him, she agrees although she finds the cavern castle to be beautiful, but lonely. She makes friends with the White Bear, but also finds  that a stranger joins her to sleep in her room every night. Once the bear prince is taken away after she breaks the rules of the spell, she follows him across the arctic to save him from the troll Queen.  This is a fairy tale love story, but with enough depth of characters to make it more deep and interesting than a simple “Beauty and the Beast” retelling. It is unsurprising to see a book with a spirited, adventurous female lead paired with a quiet, mysterious man, and that is probably the greatest weakness of the book, that this love pairing seems obvious, but not really understandable. I enjoy fairy tale retellings, it is always interesting to see where the author is going to take a simple story to make it last 500 pages, and except for a little bit of dragging in the middle, this was a fun and entertaining read.

Read alikes:

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Beauty: A retelling of beauty and the beast by Robin McKinley

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Book Discussion Questions:

1.Why was it important for Rose to find out she was North born, and how did that change her relationship with her mother?

2. Why can’t Rose and the Bear prince just talk to each other about their feelings?

Book Talking

There is a white bear stalking you, but instead of being afraid, you are excited. Who knew that following the bear could lead to an arctic journey and a battle with a Troll Queen?


Author Website

Author Interview at iglobe

Interview at booktrust


mortal engines


Reeve, Philip. Mortal Engines. Scholastic, 2012, 2001. 269 pages. $14.91 FollettBound ISBN-13: 978-0-329-82272-9

Tom finds himself outside of his roaming city of London, following Hester, a girl trying to kill his hero for revenge.

Science Fiction

Age Range: 12 and up

5 out of 5 for quality, 4 out of 5 for popularity.

Best Books for Young Adults, 2004

Tom lives in a London of the future that roams the European wasteland centuries after the sixty minute war destroyed the cities there. Tom is a member of the historians guild, but it is the engineering guild and the mayor who run the city. After a disturbing assassination attempt of the city’s historian hero, Valentine, Tom and Hester are both pushed off the roaming city and must make their way through the outside world trying to avoid slavery, assassination attempts and the anti-traction league. Inside the city of London, Katherine is trying to understand her father Valentine’s secret and gets the help of an apprentice engineer and the Historian’s Guild. This is an exciting science fiction novel with, rich with social commentary and anti-armament messages. The characters are all multi-faceted and interesting, with a willingness to change their minds in the cause of truth. There are some obvious plot points that make it clear it is a first book, but overall a fun, thought-provoking read.  I have read other novels by this author and have enjoyed them all, which is why they make it onto the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list.


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

Book Discussion :

  1. What finally makes Tom change his mind about Valentine and the Anti-Traction League?
  2. Why does Hester change her mind about her mission?

Book Talking

Tom has just been pushed of his giant moving city of London by his hero. Now he is stuck in the mud with a disfigured, angry assassin and no clear way to get home. Can he get home? Can he uncover the evil plot before it is too late?


Author Website

Mortal Engines Website

Interview with author on Tall tales and Short Stories Blog

Interview with author

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