With all the hoopla surrounding a recent WSJ article which Shall Not Be Named, I noticed there are a lot of adult readers who, for various reasons have avoided/shied away from YA. This is part of a series of posts where I recommend “gateway” novels– novels that will help ease reluctant adult readers into the Behemoth known as the YA world.
I’m back! Kinda.
In honor of national banned book week, here are some of the top banned/questioned YA books that you need to read. Please excuse the lack of pictures, the internet was being a rabid porcupine.
1. Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
With his first foray into teen literature, acclaimed author Sherman Alexie packs a punch in this absorbing novel about a Native American boy searching for a brighter future. At once humorous and stirring, Alexie’s novel follows Junior, a resident of the Spokane reservation who transfers out of the reservation’s school — and into a nearby rich, all-white farm school — in order to nurture his desire to become a cartoonist. Junior encounters resistance there, a backlash at home, and numerous family problems — all the while relaying his thoughts and feelings via amusing descriptions and drawings.
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
When Melinda Sordino’s friends discover she called the police to quiet a party, they ostracize her, turning her into an outcast — even among kids she barely knows. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide.
3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
A high school student is first a hero and then a victim in this novel of intimidation and the misuse of power.
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.
5. Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks
A sensation when it was first published and a perennial bestseller ever since, this real-life diary charts an anonymous teenage girl’s struggle with the seductive–and often fatal–world of drugs.
Not sure if this is YA or not, but I’m including it anyways…
6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farmis the most famous by far of all twentieth-century political allegories. Its account of a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their vicious human master, only to submit to a tyranny erected by their own kind, can fairly be said to have become a universal drama. Orwell is one of the very few modern satirists comparable to Jonathan Swift in power, artistry, and moral authority; in animal farm his spare prose and the logic of his dark comedy brilliantly highlight his stark message.
Taking as his starting point the betrayed promise of the Russian Revolution, Orwell lays out a vision that, in its bitter wisdom, gives us the clearest understanding we possess of the possible consequences of our social and political acts.