Top 20 Young Adult Books of hte Twentieth Century

The List*

  • The Outsiders- S. E. Hinton
  • Catcher in the Rye- J. D. Salinger
  • Go Ask Alice- Anonymous
  • Forever- Judy Blume
  • The Chocolate War- Robert Cormier
  • The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank
  • To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
  • The Giver- Lois Lowry
  • Lord of the Flies- William Golding
  • Weetzie Bat- Francesca Lia Block
  • A Wrinkle in Time- Madelein L’Engle
  • Hatchet Gary- Paulsen
  • The Chosen- Chaim Potok
  • The Color Purple- Alice Walker
  • A Separate Peace- John Knowles
  • Seventeeth Summer- Maureen Daly
  • Maus- Art Spiegelman
  • The Hobbit- J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Pigman- Paul Zindel

*I used to use a website called Lists of Bests to track my lists but it no longer exists.  This is one of the lists that I was unable to find a source for, even though there are a lot of really close lists.

The Breakdown (Numerically)

Books I Read for a Class: 7
Books I’ve Reread: 7 (Not the same books, necessarily.)
Books I Didn’t Finish: 1

I Loved

Part of the reason that I started working on this list was because there were a lot of books that I LOVE on it.  Weetzie Bat, Go Ask Alice, The Chosen, A Separate Peace, The Giver, and To Kill a Mockingbird are all books that I have absolutely adored.  Weetzie Bat and The Giver are two of my favorite books of all time.  I’ve read them both a number of times.

I Didn’t Care For

Look, you guys, I never finished The Hobbit.  I seriously tried.  I tried reading it three times and I tried listening to it once and I seriously just don’t care enough to invest the time in it.  I wish that I had caught it when I was younger because I might have been able to stick it out.  I HATE Cather in the Rye.  I know everyone is in love with it and all of that but it’s not my cup of tea.  I wanted to smack Holden the whole time that I was reading.  Finally, I didn’t really care for Forever or Lord of the Flies.  I’m glad that I read them but I wouldn’t bother again.

Best Reading Experience

I had wonderful reading experiences that I will never forget with two of these books.  I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings while I was on the plane to Las Vegas.  I have very vivid memories of reading it while we took off and how it helped to keep me from freaking out on the long flight.  On the way home I had wine for that.  I read Seventeenth Summer before we figured out what was wrong with the air conditioning at my house.  I read most of it on a blanket underneath my trees in the ridiculous Michigan heat.  The weather was perfect for the book and it was one of the happiest weeks of my life.

Final Thoughts

This was actually a kind of disappointing list for me.  I liked a lot of the books but I expected more from the rest of the books.  On the other hand, I think that it is actually a great list for teens.  It has a ton of variety on it and I’m sure that there is something for everyone.

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