Sunday, November 24, 2013

YA book recommendations by my daughter (for ages 11 and up)

I asked my daughter, who is 11, what she has read this year that she would happily recommend to other kids her age and older. She has given brief summaries for many of the books. They are in no particular order but her top 5 picks are starred.

* Wendy Mass, A Mango-Shaped Space (about a girl with synethesia who learns to accept and embrace her ability)

Wendy Mass, 11 Birthdays (a series of 4 books, all connected, set in the real world but involving magic & time travel)

Holly Goldberg Sloan, counting by 7s (a girl who thinks very mathematically, is quirky and different, and whose life changes very suddenly)

Ashley Elston, The Rules for Disappearing (a girl who has to live a completely fake life but she has no idea why. She thinks it has something to do with her father. Every few months her family has to move to a completely location and change their identity. Spooky and haunting)

Rebecca Stead, When you reach me 

Laurel Snyder, Bigger than a bread box

Anne Ursu, Breadcrumbs 

Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again (winner of the YA National Book Award, about a Vietnamese refugee who flees to America)

Joan Bauer, Almost Home (homelessness, foster care, and writing to get through it all)

* Sharon M. Draper, Out of My Mind (about very intelligent girl who is wheelchair bound and cannot communicate and what happens after she gets a machine that can speak for her)

R. J. Palacio, Wonder

Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone (an English girl's family visits America to help find her father's old friend who has disappeared after the car crash that killed his son)

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars 

Cynthia Lord, Rules (a girl with an autistic brother who struggles with just wanting to fit in)

* Paula J. Freedman, My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Cathy Cassidy, Indigo Blue

Cathy Cassidy, Scarlett (and many others, all read from the bookshelf of vacation home)

Grace Lin, Dumpling Days

Phoebe Stone, The Romeo and Juliet Code (a girl from England who is sent to America to live with her mysterious aunts and uncles. There is a big secret in their house hiding behind a door)

Patricia Reilly Giff, Pictures of Hollis Woods (a child in foster care, her carer is an artist who is getting dementia. She must keep this secret or risk being taken away from her)

Sarah Weeks, So B. It

Natasha Farrant, After Iris (after a girl's twin sister dies her family falls apart)

Anne Frank, Diary of Anne Frank

* Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes

* Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (warning: very scary, nightmare inducing in fact)

Carol Antoinette Peacock, Red Thread Sisters (about two girls who grow up in an orphanage in rural China. One is adopted at age 11 by a wealthy American family. She tries to find a family for the other girl who has a disability)

Jackie French, Nanberry: Black Brother White (this is a tough read but recommended. It is about an Australian Aboriginal boy during the period of the first invaders. There has been an outbreak of smallpox and almost all his people have died. He is taken into custody by a surgeon who is actually quite kind hearted compared to the other officials)

Three books on her wish list:

Melanie Crowder, Parched

Lindsay Eland, A Summer of Sundays

Regina Sirois, On Little Wings


  1. Wow! Thank you so much for this list. I have never even heard of any of those books, save one, but will be tracking them down. Hope I can in Aus anyway- though there is always the Kindle :) Thank you so much for asking her!!

    1. It was so much fun to sit down with my bookworm and do this. She loved being asked. And if Cam has ideas for my Emma pass them on. It is so much better to hear from kids direct.

  2. Brilliant, just what I need, dd will love this list!

    1. Oh thanks! That is great to hear. I am always on the hunt for books for this age group too.

  3. Danielle M (wotisunique)November 25, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    I loved this too - so many great books I hadn't heard of. love love love hearing kids talk about the books that have 'grabbed' them.
    I am trying to steer my miss6 away from princess and pony books but console myself with "at least she is reading".
    I have been reading the Ranger's Apprentice series to my two older ones this year (a chapter a night, although tonight I snuck in a couple of extras!). It's my favourite time of the day.

    1. At 6 I would be thrilled she is reading. I remember reading all the horse books during primary school. I moved on ;-)

  4. Z read Wonder at school - he and the whole class loved it.I have it on my to read list as well.

    1. I haven't read Wonder but seems to be universal agreement on its goodness. E's 5th grade teacher read it aloud to the class.

  5. Z had Wonder as their first in class reader this year, he loved it. It's now on my bedside table waiting for me to read too.