Sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the Teens’ Top Ten is a teens’ choice list where teens nominate their favorite books from the previous year. Nominations are posted in April, and teens ages 12 to 18 can vote on their favorite titles. The winning books are announced in mid-October. This year, there are 28 nominated titles representing a wide cross section of genres. If you are the parent of teens who are struggling to find something to read, this list is a good place to start. It also is a good opportunity for parents to find out what types of books their teens might already be reading. Many of the books have wide crossover appeal to adults as well. Here are a few examples of the nominated titles:
• “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein
In 1943, a British fighter plane crash lands in Nazi-occupied France. Verity, a young female wireless operator, is captured by the Gestapo. To avoid torture or immediate death, Verity begins to pen her confession and any details she can remember of the British war effort. Along the way, she reveals details about her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them into France, and the history of her current situation. Her confession is definitely more than it appears at first glance. The well-developed characters, suspense, and plot twists will keep you turning the pages.
• “172 Hours on the Moon” by Johan Harstad
NASA is struggling with its space program. To revive it, someone comes up with the brilliant idea to hold a worldwide lottery where three teenagers will be chosen for a mission to the moon. Little do the teens know there was a reason that space exploration ended on the moon years ago. Something sinister happened that no one will talk about. Now the three teens and the crew will face a life or death situation with no one coming to save them. Will anyone make it out alive?
• “I Hunt Killers” by Barry Lyga
Jazz is trying to be an ordinary teenage boy, but there is one minor problem. He was raised by the most notorious serial killer ever to walk the earth. Dear old dad, Billy Dent, killed 123 people before finally being caught. Right up until his incarceration, he taught Jazz all of the tricks of the trade, hoping that one day Jazz would follow in his footsteps. Jazz lives with constant insecurity that he really will be just like Billy. He tries to redeem himself by helping the local sheriff out with a string of new murders that seem to be copycat killings of his father’s murders. Warning: There are definitely some gruesome, disturbing scenes, so this may not be for every teen or adult.
• “The False Prince” by Jennifer Nielsen
In the fictional kingdom of Carthya, the king and queen have died. To prevent a civil war, Conner, one of the king’s regents, rounds up three orphans to vie for the role of Prince Jaron, the king’s long lost son and heir to the throne. In a matter of weeks, Conner will bring one of these boys forward and announce that he has found the presumed dead prince. This imposter will be presented as the true heir and crowned king of Carthya. Which one of the boys will prove he has what it takes to be king? What will happen to the boys who are not chosen?
For the full list of nominated titles with brief descriptions go to: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/teens-top-ten. Or, come into the library and pick up a list along with one of the nominated books. You can find them all on the Teens’ Top Ten Display in the YA area. If your teens have read any of the nominees and would like to vote for their favorites, they have until Oct. 19 to vote at the above website.