This list is a result of the Indiblogger #loveofreading topic, asking bloggers to list their 10 favourite books. So I thought I’d put my own spin on things and make it about the young adult novels I loved most. (Disclaimer: My top 10 is subject to change at any time, without any reason!) So here we are in no particular order:
1. Boys Don’t Cry (Malorie Blackman): Don’t confuse this with the movie. Boy’s Don’t Cry is a story about teenage parenthood — but here’s the catch, the parent in question is the father. Seventeen-year-old Dante’s dreams are dashed when he’s literally left holding the baby daughter he never knew he had. Overnight, he is forced to exchange books and lessons for nappies and formula. A hard-hitting story from an unusual perspective.
2. Maggot Moon (Sally Gardner): More about this one here.
3. Mayil Will Not Be Quiet (Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran): Mayil is an entertaining and irrepressible 12-year-old, and her diary will leave you in splits, and we aren’t even talking about the illustrations. But it’s not all ha-ha-hee-hee, for Mayil Will Not Be Quiet is a telling glimpse in what it’s like to be a youngster in urban India today.
4. Faces in the Water (Ranjit Lal): When Gurmi meets the sisters he never had, he realizes his family’s dark secret. Faces in the Water focuses on our society’s ghastliest evil, its silent complicity in the killing of baby girls and aborting of female foetuses, making just the right song and dance about it, and even ending in an upbeat tone. Only Ranjit Lal could have pulled this off.
5. Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman): An unnamed narrator returns to his childhood home and harkens back to the time when he was seven years old and had a remarkable friend called Lettie Hempstock. Ocean… encompasses an entire universe and more in a farmhouse pond, and compels you to ask if this is indeed one of greatest stories every told.
6. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee): Do I really have to elaborate?
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling): My favourite Harry Potter book. I believe the series peaked with this one and then took somewhat of a downhill slide. Which is quite a telling statement in itself.
8. First Test (Tamora Pierce): Keladry of Mindelan wants to become a knight, and even though the new laws decree that girls may train as knights, small minds question her at every step. Three other books follow this one in the Protector of the Small quartet, all of them great fun.
9. Small Steps (Louis Sachar): It has been a few years since ‘Armpit’ Johnson got out of Camp Green Lake juvenile detention centre and he is determined to turn his life around. He really is a good guy, though people always expect the worst from him. Except Ginny, his 10-year-old neighbour with cerebral palsy, who he takes care of, and together they are learning to take small steps. Then circumstances lead him to meeting teenage popstar Kaira DeLeon. A heart-warming story about loyalty and friendship and doing the right thing.
10. Dog Stories (James Herriot): Not strictly a YA novel, heck, it’s not even fiction. This is a collection of James Herriot’s dog stories from his extensive memoirs. There are stories that will make you laugh and some that will make you cry, but for a reader and a dog lover, I believe, if you haven’t read this, there’s a hole in your life.