Thursday, May 27, 2010

18 Underappreciated YA Poll Results!

You have spoken! The votes are in for our underappreciated YA book list poll. Congratulations to the books that have captured the top spots!

1. The Siren by Kiera Cass @kieracass

  • You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won't lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time. . ."The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can't bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she's been waiting for doesn't seem nearly as important as the one she's living now. -Courtesy
2. Candor by Pam Bachorz @pambachorz
  • In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town's founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause. But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar' s built a business sabotaging his father's scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they're turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks? Then he meets Nia, the girl he can't stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more. -Couresy 
There was a multi-way tie for the remaining spots!

The Emerald Tablet (The Forgotten Worlds) by PJ Hoover @pj_hoover
  • Benjamin and his best friend Andy are different from normal. They love being able to read each other's minds and use telekinesis to play tricks on other kids. In fact, they are getting all set to spend their entire summer doing just that when Benjamin's mirror starts talking. Suddenly, Benjamin's looking at eight weeks of summer school someplace which can only be reached by a teleporter inside the ugly picture in his hallway. And that's the most normal thing he does all summer. -Courtesy
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore @jackiedolamore
  • Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement in a group of corrupt sorcerers for whom the rules of the living and dead are meant to be broken for greater power. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world. -Courtesy
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff @megrosoff
  • This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Manhattan native Daisy, the novel follows her arrival and her stay with cousins on a remote farm in England. Soon after Daisy settles into their farmhouse, her Aunt Penn becomes stranded in Oslo and terrorists invade and occupy England. Daisy's candid, intelligent narrative draws readers into her very private world, which appears almost utopian at first with no adult supervision (especially by contrast with her home life with her widowed father and his new wife). The heroine finds herself falling in love with cousin Edmond, and the author credibly creates a world in which social taboos are temporarily erased. When soldiers usurp the farm, they send the girls off separately from the boys, and Daisy becomes determined to keep herself and her youngest cousin, Piper, alive. Like the ripple effects of paranoia and panic in society, the changes within Daisy do not occur all at once, but they have dramatic effects. In the span of a few months, she goes from a self-centered, disgruntled teen to a courageous survivor motivated by love and compassion. How she comes to understand the effects the war has had on others provides the greatest evidence of her growth, as well as her motivation to get through to those who seem lost to war's consequences. Teens may feel that they have experienced a war themselves as they vicariously witness Daisy's worst nightmares. Like the heroine, readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity. -Couresty Publishers Weekly  

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan @margolanagan
  • In her extraordinary and often dark first novel, award-winning story writer Lanagan (Red Spikes) creates two worlds: the first a preindustrial village that might have sprung from a Brueghel canvas, a place of victims and victimizers; the second a personal heaven granted to Liga Longfield, who has survived her father's molestations and a gang rape but, with one baby and pregnant again, cannot risk any further pain. As she raises her two daughters, placid Branza and fiery Urdda, she discovers that her universe is permeable: a dwarf or littlee man, in Lanagan's characteristically knotted parlance, slips in and out of her world in search of treasure; and a good-hearted youth also enters, magically transformed into a bear in the process. A less kind man-bear follows, and then a teenage Urdda, avid for a richer life with the vivid people, figures out how to pass through the border, too. Writing in thick, clotted prose that holds the reader to a slow pace, Lanagan explores the savage and the gentlest sides of human nature, and how they coexist. With suggestions of bestiality and sodomy, the novel demands maturity—but the challenging text will attract only an ambitious audience anyway. -Courtesy Publishers Weekly

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice.
    -Courtesy Publishers Weekly 
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967. -Courtesy

Thank you for your votes and for generating a fabulous list of underappreciated YA!

Happy Reading!
Martina & Marissa


  1. The Siren, I've been wanting to get that. This is a wonderful list! So glad to see some awesome titles. Lastly, THE OUTSIDERS...yes!! I totally agree. First book that spoke to me and said, "Wouldn't it be cool if YOU started writing?"

  2. What an excellent excellent idea! Thanks for doing this! Looks like some really great stories up there.

  3. S.A. Larsen, get your hands on a copy of The Siren soon! It's so good :)

    Christine, we're glad! We hope you can find something you haven't come across yet to read.

  4. Creepy Query Girl, thank you! We thought it might give everyone some new book ideas for awesome YA finds :)

  5. what a fabulous list, ladies! thanks for spreading the love!!

  6. I knew my TBR list was getting too short! It was starting to actually fit in the house...

  7. Tahereh, if we can entertain you half as much as you entertain us, then our job is done :)

    Lisa, you sound just as bad as us! It just keeps growing...

  8. Thanks for doing this! I'm glad the one I picked made the list!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. Great list. Thanks for posting this.

  10. Great list!!!! I've only read ONE of these. Looks like I have some reading to do. : )

  11. I can't say enough good things about Candor. I'm honestly surprised this book hasn't blown's got a really unique concept, sharp writing, a bad boy MC who you can't help but root for, and an ending that leaves you wanting more. Seriously -- I think Pam Bachorz is a writer to watch.

  12. Angela and Natalie, hope there's something new on the list that interests you. Too many good books and too little time!

    Casey, I have a lot of catching up to do, too! I picked up The Emerald Tablet because it seemed to be garnering a lot of praise when we first opened the underappreciated YA list. Martina just passed me Hush Hush last night. My TBR stack is outpacing my reading speed, though!

    Cambria, I'm going to grab that after reading your comment! I thought it was sweet of Kiera Cass to tweet her followers to go vote for Candor. Thanks for the recommendation :)


  13. Thanks! I've only read one of these--The Outsiders. I've been wanting three of these and keep forgetting to buy them. And the others I'm only now hearing about. I'm off to the kindle store. :)

  14. This list is full of awesome! I've read the last 2, had a couple on my wishlist for a while now. Now I've got more! Thanks so much :)

  15. Sally, a kindle is dangerous for us book-a-holic types! Don't say I didn't warn you :)

    Jemi, enjoy! There are great titles here.

  16. A million thank yous! I am totally flattered and appreciative!


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