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THE Top Zillion Best Reads: Teen Edition

By Jackie Burrell
Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 12:04 am in Books.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman Ah, summer … sacked out with a stack of great books. The only question is, what? So we asked the most prolific readers we know, the members of 24 Bay Area book clubs, to help us assemble a Top 10 list of great summer reads for our Sunday A&E section. But you know, 10 is way too few. And some of these book clubs, including the Not Your Mother’s Book Club for teens and 20somethings, and Storyteller’s dozen-plus groups for kids ages 7 to 18, gave us so many awesome titles, we just had to share them all.

So without further ado, here’s their Top Zillion Favorite Books List for kids, teens and young adults. Browse the list – which we’re arranging by age group and parceling out over the next few days – then click “comments” and add your faves too.

The Not Your Mother’s Book Club‘s top pick was “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. Forman’s intense novel tells the tale of 17-year-old Mia, a Juilliard-bound cellist with a perfect life and quirky, wonderful family, and the fateful February morning when her biggest dilemma — follow her passion for music to New York and leave her family and boyfriend behind? — is suddenly, shatteringly rendered moot. And now, there is only one critical choice to be made.

Says NYMBC’s coordinator, Jen Laughran: The book “is heartbreaking and gorgeously written, about a girl who has everything, until an accident turns her world upside-down. Warning: This will definitely make you cry.”

Also on their list:
Along for the Ride” by Sarah Dessen (June 2009), about a teen who opts to spend the summer before college on a voyage of self-discovery, leaving behind her uber-controlling professor mom to spend the summer with dad, a novelist, his new wife and their new baby. Along the way, the girl learns to ride a bike, get over her social awkwardness, deal with her parents’ divorce and fall in love.

Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler (June 2009), which mixes ghosts, grief and redemption along with the heady notion of teenage love.

The Chosen One” by Carol Lynch Williams, offers a heart-pounding mixture of dangerous threats, self-discovery and a polygamist cult.

The Storyteller, an indie bookstore in Lafayette CA, hosts numerous mother-daughter and mother-son book groups of all ages. Here are their recommendations for the teen crowd:
The Cherub Series by Robert Muchamore
The “Cherub” series by Robert Muchamore is a hot series among the teen guy crowd. It’s about spies – including ten undercover members of the CHERUB squad, who just happen to be kids.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, a semi-autobiographical novel about life, friendships and handicaps on an American Indian reservation.

Wintergirls” by Laurie Halse Anderson, the devastating tale of one girl’s descent into anorexia. Moms, says the Storyteller’s Nancy Bausom, should read it with their daughters and discuss.

Story of a Girl” by Sara Zarr, the story of a teenage girl struggling with the repercussions of a mistake made at age 13.

The “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. Like, duh. Bella, Edward, Jacob … need we say more?

Tomorrow, we’ll hit the tweens list…

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