YA Fiction

#TBT The Teen Read Week Edition

We’re celebrating Teen Read Week™ with our friends from YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association. Teen Read Week began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. We’re so down with that.

Chronicle staffers share the books they loved as teens, and the Chronicle books they wish their teen selves could have read. And, because it’s Throw Back Thursday, we’re including photos of ourselves as teens (the hair!).

Kelli Chipponeri, Executive Editor

Teen Kelli, Sports Editor of the Thomas Downey High School Yearbook

Teen Read Raves

I went through a Big Dean Koontz phase. I must have read 12-15 of his books back to back.

We read The Haunting of Hill House my sophomore year for class as well (love the new jacket from Penguin!). I was into dark stories that had elements of fantasy and mystery.

Chronicle Crushes

At that point of my life I would have wanted to read: The Space Between Trees, Under Shifting Glass, The Clockwork Scarab, and Nobody’s Secret. All have the same dark mystery elements with a touch of the fantastical.

Amy Treadwell, Editor

Teen Amy circa 1975

Teen Read Rave

Go Ask Alice was the book of choice when I was a sophomore in high school. All my friends passed this book around, hiding it from parents and teachers. The fact that it was written by “anonymous” made it even more thrilling. I completely believed everything it said and thought if I tried drugs once I would have a bad trip and die. I guess as a cautionary tale it did its job!

Chronicle Crush

I still love young adult fiction. Recently, I read Prisoners of the Palace by Michaela MacColl. The combination of history and mystery sucked me right in. And I learned so much about young pre-Queen Victoria. I can’t imagine having to deal with all that political intrigue and infighting at such a young age.

Liz Marotte, Client Account Manager

Teen Liz, just add type and we’ve got a YA book cover!

Teen Read Rave

Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger. Although, I acknowledge how cliché it is to pick this title, it was, to my 15-year-old self, an extremely unique and meaningful read. Who didn’t fall hard for Holden Caulfield’s laissez faire fashion sense and his love for scotch and sodas? No character since Holden has made afternoon matinees seem so rebellious.

Chronicle Crush

I would have lost my mind over Chronicle’s upcoming Young Adult spring release, The Falconer. Its strong female protagonist, fast-paced plot, and fantastical elements would have been right up my alley. Reading The Falconer felt joyful, the characters’ development was either whimsical or intriguing and the final chapter is the stuff of great debates and lively discussions with friends. Do yourself a favor and preorder this book ASAP!

Lara Starr, Publicist

Teen Lara, circa 1986

Teen Read Rave

While my reading taste as a teen was wide-ranging and often sophisticated (or pretentious, depending on who you ask), oh how I loved Flowers in the Attic by V.C. (“Very Creepy”) Andrews. The high-camp gothic page-turner had it all: Crazy mother! Tortured children! INCEST! The story of deprived, damaged, deranged Dollanganger kids held me as captive as they were in that dusty attic. And the best part? Once you read FITA you could explore the entire Andrews oeuvre, which includes the further adventures of the Dollangangers in Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows and My Sweet Audrina, which has the distinction of featuring the dumbest protagonist in YA History.

Chronicle Crush

Decidedly more literary yet no less page-turny, Katie William’s The Space Between Trees would have been a favorite. Katie’s ear for teen dialogue is pitch-perfect, as is her understanding of the nuances, drama and complications of friendships between girls. Reading Space brought me right back to high school, in the best and worst way.

Taylor Norman, Editorial Assistant

Teen Taylor, with the rest of the French 5 class

Teen Read Rave

In my junior year Ms. Cecchini assigned Invisible Man for our Outside Reading Project.

“It’s so looong,” everyone said. “This is a hard one,” everyone said.

“What are you talking about?” I’d say. “What amateurs,” I thought.

I accidentally read The Invisible Man.

I still got an A- on the in-class essay. Amateurs.

Chronicle Crushes

My teenage self would appreciate…

indivisible guys…

rebelling.

Tamra Tuller, Editor

Teen Tamra, early 90s

Teen Read Rave

When I was a young teen, I was obsessed with Lois Duncan, and I devoured all of her supernatural/paranormal books. But Stranger With My Face was far and away my favorite. I read it over and over, and I even wrote my own (terrible) fan fiction based on the novel. Over the years, there have been many covers for this book.

But this one, the classic, will always be how I remember it. And will always be my favorite.

Chronicle Crush

The teen me would have definitely loved Absent by Katie Williams. I would have been totally into the idea of the ghosts of students roaming the halls of a high school. I would have definitely fantasized about my own ghost wandering around my own high school. I may have even written some fan fiction about it.

Ariel Richardson, Assistant Editor

Teen Ariel, Graduation Day!

Teen Read Rave

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry were my two favorite novels as a young teen. I wish I had counted how many times I read each, but all I can tell you is that I reread them over and over again—I’m sure at least ten times a piece. I have two copies of each—in both cases one so loved, and reread so often, that it is stained and tattered and unreadable, and a second copy bought as an adult good for proper rereading.

 

Both books have immersive settings—Egypt and Scotland, respectively—and are filled with royal political intrigue, unexpected romances, strong female protagonists, otherworldly overtones, and surprising endings. (For a sense of the romance in Mara, Daughter of the Nile—and how committed that book’s fan base is!—check out these Mara and Sheftu Barbie dolls.

Photo courtesy Sailordonut.deviantart.com.

Chronicle Crush

I know I would have loved the first book in the Stoker & Holmes series as a teen. With two smart and feisty female protagonists, at least three charming romantic suitors (Team Grayling!), a vivid Victorian steampunk setting, and overtones of Egyptian mythology, The Clockwork Scarab is absolutely riveting.

Claire Fletcher, Assistant Managing Editor

Teen Claire, Zombie Prom Queen?

I’ve always been a sucker for a good ghost story, and I always felt betrayed when a book promised a ghost story and instead give me a Scooby-Doo ending where all the unusual occurrences just ended up being Mr. Henderson from the general store. Here are two books that actually deliver the ghosts.

Teen Read Rave

I opened up Remember Me, and I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator is a ghost! Awesome. She’s been murdered, and she has to figure out the mystery of who killed her before the murderer kills again!! Even more awesome. She has a ghost love interest. What?! Ghosts, mystery, and romance—I could have died and gone to heaven.

Chronicle Crush

I opened up Absent, and I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator is a ghost! Awesome. She’s not quite sure how she came to be dead and is trying to figure out the mystery of her death. Even more awesome. She figures out how to inhabit her living classmates to help her solve the mystery. What?! Ghosts, mystery, and possession—I could have died and arisen as the narrator in a ghost novel. If this book had been around in my high school years, I would have pounced on the more grown-up version of your typical teenage-ghost-trapped-on-earth-until-they-solve-the-mystery-of-their-own-death novel. On top of the ghosts and enthralling mystery, the author delivers strong and interesting characters. If you aren’t sold already, let me tease you with one spoiler: ghost frogs. That’s all I’m going to say.

Ginee Seo, Publishing Director

Pre-Teen Ginee. One day, guys, I promise I will post a picture of me in my Disco Queen years—wearing the pride of my wardrobe, a white polyester pantsuit and Huckapoo shirt. (It spawned a trend in my junior high school, it was THAT spectacular.) Alas, that famous picture is with my mom in Philly, and she is seriously tech-challenged. So we’ll see that one another time. Meanwhile, here I am at six, with my younger brother. (Cheating, I know, but it will have to do.)

Teen Read Raves

THE book when I was a teenager was Judy Blume’s Forever. It was scandalous. It was exciting. A copy of the book went around the classrooms, dog-eared at the good parts.

I was and still am a big fan of Judy Blume, but I was also deep in my Victorian phase. Vanity Fair was a book I used to read over and over. I was fascinated by the idea of Becky Sharp; it was amazing to me that a heroine in the 1800s could be so nasty and manipulative and modern. Also, Charlotte Bronte loved the book, and Charlotte Bronte had written Jane Eyre, another favorite. The ghoulish side of me was entranced by the madwoman in the attic. This may also explain my fondness for Dracula (although does that one really need explaining? It’s a fantastic book.)

Chronicle Crushes

So my teenage self would have loved Prisoners in the Palace, with its upstairs-downstairs intrigue and scandal. I would have delighted in Always Emily (pubbing in Spring 14) because the Bronte family was a never-ending source of mystery, tragedy, and romance to me. And I would have devoured The Clockwork Scarab. Because really, who WOULDN’T want to be a mystery-solving vampire hunter society girl in Victorian London?

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