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Teens' Top Ten Nominees 2014 and Book Review Musings

Celebrate Teen Literature was on Thursday, and YALSA announced this year's nominees for Teens' Top Ten.

This is a teen choice list, selected by participating teen book groups throughout the country, and their top 25 titles are this year's nominees.

Starting in August, any teen can vote online for their favorite nominee and the final Top Ten will be announced during Teen Read Week in October.

I promote Teens' Top Ten nominees as much as I can in the library because I know these are books that teens already love. I already had most of the nominees on the shelves and only had to order a few to round out the list.

But what I found interesting is that the few I hadn't ordered had mixed or even bad reviews from the publications I use most to select books - Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and VOYA. The main complaint with the reviewers was that they couldn't connect with the main character, and therefore, couldn't connect to the story.

Yet these teen reviewers had no problem connecting with either the character or the story. What could cause this divide between adult and teen reviewers? Are adults too sophisticated and teens too naive? If the story is good enough, are cliched characters worth putting up with? Do characters that are considered underdeveloped by adults give teens an opportunity to better see themselves in that character?

As someone who reviews books, I think these are important questions. When I review a book, I try to make clear that my perceptions of the book are my own. Then I try to think of who else might have the same feelings about the book as I did. One size does not fit all when it comes to books.

That's why I think a teen review list like the Teens' Top Ten is so important. Because sometimes the adults get it wrong.

2014 Teens' Top Ten Nominees:

  • The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
  • Of Triton by Anna Banks
  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  • Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
  • The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
  • Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
  • The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
  • Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray
  • The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry
  • Splintered by A.G. Howard
  • Teardrop by Lauren Kat
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
  • Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  • This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Winger by Andrew Smith
  • A Midsummer Night's Scream by R.L. Stine
  • Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke
  • In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Bonus Video: Teens' Top Ten Nominees