Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’d Like to Read in a YA Lit Book Club


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I actually belong to a YA Lit Book Club, a very small and select club of four committed readers. And I teach YA Lit online, which is sort of like having a book club. I challenged myself this week not to repeat any titles from my post last week, 10 Books I Wish Students in #yalitclass Would Read. That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, because last week’s list was about books I love and this week’s list is about books I want to talk about. Often, the books that work best for me in a book club reading setting are books that I actually don’t like very much but that other readers find special and meaningful. Through our conversation, I’m often led to understand and appreciate the book more. Reading for a book club also motivates me to read books that I don’t want to read. Even if I don’t finish (and I’m a perpetual non-finisher of book club books), I read more for the book club meeting than I would on my own.

book thief

I have started and abandoned The Book Thief at least a dozen times, in print and on audio. Someday, I’m going to make it through. After all, the blurb on the front cover promises that it could be life-changing.

brown girl

Something strange happened as I was reading Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. I was in love with the book for the first third or so, then I slowly fell out of love as I continued reading. Was it the book? Was it me?

where the stars still shine

I tend to avoid the contemporary realistic YA problem novel unless it’s by an author I know and trust. I’ve read good reviews of Trish Doller’s Where the Stars Will Shine, but I still feel like I need to have my hand held as I read it.

all the truth that's in me

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to complete the SLJ Battle of the Books booklist last year when I saw All the Truth That’s in Me was on the list. There’s mutilation. I can’t do mutilation! At least not without moral support.

we were liars

I hated We Were Liars. I was mad that I read it. I’d love to hear a passionate defense of the book that didn’t rest on the big reveal.

i kill the mockingbird

I think it’s best to read I Kill the Mockingbird with a bunch of English majors who also really love YA.

how it went down

There is going to be so much to discuss after reading Kekla Magoon’s How It Went Down. I am going to need other readers to help me process it.

weetzie bat

I periodically reread Weetzie Bat, which was first published the year I graduated from high school. It still feels fresh and original to me, and I wonder how a different generation of readers would react to it.


Now that I’ve tackled Markus Zusak and Libba Bray, M.T. Anderson is the next author on my YA Shelf of Shame. How is it that I’ve managed to avoid his entire oeuvre? Given how much I liked the Zuzak and Bray novels I read last year, I should probably stop complaining and dreading and dive right into Feed.

100 sideways miles

Let’s be honest here: the Andrew Smith book I really want to talk about with someone–ANYONE!–is Grasshopper Jungle. Although maybe it’s less that I want to talk about it and more that I want to watch other readers’ eyes pop out of their heads. Because it’s that kind of book. But I promised no overlaps with my list last week, so I’m selecting Smith’s new novel, 100 Sideways Miles, which I haven’t read yet. I try not to read reviews too carefully, but I’ve read enough to know there will be plenty to talk about with this novel too.

Which YA books would you want to talk about in a book club?





13 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’d Like to Read in a YA Lit Book Club”

  1. For the Love of the Page Avatar

    Diverse and interesting! I like that you have some seriously unique reads in here! I’d join your book club. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks! I bet we would have some great discussions.

  2. randomrelevanceblog Avatar

    Great list! 🙂
    The Book Thief and We Were Liars are currently in my to-read pile. I love the cover you chose for To Kill a Mockingbird, so cute!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      We Were Liars was VERY problematic for me, though many of the awesomely nerdy readers in my PLN loved it. I booktalked it in one of my classes last week and have a student reading it–can’t wait to see what she thinks!

  3. Joey @ thoughts and afterthoughts Avatar

    If groupies ever comes chirping your way about your dislike for We Were Liars (and the oh so spectacular reveal), you know who to call to back you up LOL. I am still very amused with the cover for 100 Sideways Miles despite it being on store shelves for a while.

    joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Andrew Smith has been really lucky in his book covers: Winger, Grasshopper Jungle, and 100 Miles all iconic. Marbury Lens strong too. 100 Miles just arrived in the mail today–hoping to get to it soon. I’ll send the We Were Liars protesters straight to your blog!

  4. vgpratt Avatar

    Hi, Elisabeth! I once was a member of a 3 person YA book club– back when I was a lit coach at a middle school for a year (LONG story). I really loved that club because there’s often SO much to talk about in YA books. To this day I still read a good number of YA books just because I’m still in contact with my M.S. teacher friends, and they love to make recommendations! I loved, loved, loved The Book Thief. It roped me in and I couldn’t put it down. I’m not sure what about it holds you back, but … there it is! I think BGD did slow down a bit, but then it picked back up toward the last 1/3 or so.

    Okay, I’m one of the We Were Liars lovers. It kept me turning pages. I knew there was something “not right” with Cadence, but I didn’t think it was anything like it turned out to be. We could have a big long conversation about that one day, maybe…. 😉

    The only other one I know anything about is Feed. I’ve heard enough about that one that I just don’t know if I could read it. It seems a little too far out to me.

    I loved seeing your list! I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts if you finish The Book Thief….

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’ve been amazed at what rich conversations we’ve had in my tiny club about the books we’ve read (so far, This One Summer, Doll Bones, Noggin, Maze Runner, My True Love Gave To Me. Next up, Eleanor & Park.) I wish I understood my issue with Book Thief. I quit at the same point every single time, so I think I’m going to just start my next attempt there and keep going. I’m guessing I will end up loving it if I can just make myself commit!

      1. vgpratt Avatar

        Loved Doll Bones and Eleanor & Park! 🙂 BTW, sent a shoutout your way in my last post. Thanks for being so supportive as I’ve started this new venture of being a “blogger”!

  5. jaydenelizabeth13 Avatar

    This is an interesting list! I may refer to this in the upcoming weeks of YAlitclass

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think you would like a couple of these books.

  6. […] Top Ten post of 10 books I’d like to read in a YA Lit Book […]

  7. kelseyempfield Avatar

    I want to read them all. I guess we’ll start from the bottom up! 100 Sideways Miles for book club in Feb. Yay!

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