When I think about being young and having a family, people are always asking, “How do you know what you know?” I’m not sure how to respond to this question other than to say, “Well, like everyone else, I grew up with my share of books and movies and television shows, and I’ve read through almost all of them.” So that’s it.
And you can keep doing this until you’ve read every novel written since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out in 1994, or as long as you can read through all five books of the Star Wars trilogy (the prequel trilogy to Return of the Jedi). I’m not kidding. This list was put together by one Michael L. Pender, former editor to Entertainment Weekly and Newsday, and the man responsible for a lot of books that aren’t currently on sale as I write this, but which are well worth a read. It’s not necessarily comprehensive, but it does give you a taste of some of the world’s best young adult novels. Just remember to read up on those genres as well. Some of these are great, and some of them — I wouldn’t count The Hunger Games on this list at all — are mediocre, but they’re all great books that will help you develop the characters and the world you are growing up in.
1. The Hunger Games
Catching up on the best Hunger Games novels you’ve not read yet is nearly impossible. And for good reason: there’s just so much goodness here. We learn that Katniss Everdeen is not only a good person because she knows her way around a bow and arrow, but that she is a good person because she has learned from her mistakes and put herself in the proper situations on multiple occasions. Also: she has a special relationship with Peeta that allows one of them to be with Katniss and the other can be with Gale. Yes, it’s like the best love triangle and it’s filled with plenty of adorable quips that you won’t be able to put down. As a kid in the Upright Citizens Brigade, I was a big fan of this book, and as an adult, and now as a fan of a new book I can only hope to read many other times over. –Emily E.
2. The Amazing Spider-Man
There’s never a bad Spider-Man story, and that’s just because it can’t happen. He’s a good guy, and his only crime is that he
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