We love when authors share their favorite books. It gives us a way to see if we’ll like their book – or if we’ll like their favorites! This week, author Kat Spears is sharing her favorite YA books.
In Kat Spears’ newest novel Breakaway, Jason Marshall lost his younger sister, but he knows his best friends will be there for him. When Mario starts hanging with a different group and Jordie finds a girlfriend, Jason is left with only quiet Chick. Then he meets Raine, the girl of his dreams. Can he find a new relationship, his friendships, and grieving for his sister?
For more on Kat Spears, follow her on Twitter.
The books that have had the most profound impact on me have been with me for many years. I’ve read them dozens, if not hundreds, of times. I wear out copies of these books on a yearly basis and I always find comfort when I return to them. I know these books so well that I can sit down, open the book to the scene I most want to read at that moment, and feel exactly what I want to feel.
Reading is not a hobby for me. Reading is the same as breathing. I read in the shower (yeah, sometimes on a Kindle). I read while I brush my teeth. I read while I eat.
If I really like a book, I’ll read it a hundred times. No lie. If I like a particular sentence or if it moves me in some way, I dissect every word. I try to figure out exactly why I connect with the words as well as I do. I read sentences to hear cadence and word choice and to explore shifting wisdom.
I like YA books that don’t pander to some adult concept of what it means to be an adolescent. I dislike message-driven YA because it belittles the human experience, and treats young adults as if they are just dumber, more inexperienced versions of adults.
The YA books I love and cherish are those that are written just as a book for adults would be, but with all the depth-of-feeling and humility and self-awareness that defines adolescence. My favorite YA books are timeless, and speak to the universal experience of humans coming of age.
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
Katherine Paterson is a genius. You can read and enjoy any of her books, but Jacob Have I Loved holds a special place in my heart. I weep when I read this book. Every time. Now that I am sitting down to write this list, I realize that many of the young adult books I love are historical, yet the feelings of isolation and confusion are so universal they could be set in any time or place and be relatable. This book is particularly powerful for anyone who has struggled to learn how to love a sibling, which is pretty much anyone who has a sibling.
Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
I like books that make me laugh and Catherine Called Birdy, though set in 13th century England, is hilarious. It is almost accidentally educational and, in a few parts, move-you-to-tears poignant. The most valuable lesson within this painfully-accurate historical novel (told in the form of a young noblewoman’s diary) is that the human condition has not changed at all in the past 800 years. I wish Karen Cushman was my aunt, or my very witty friend who I visit for tea on a regular basis.
Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck
There is no fictional character more scrappy and full of pluck than Blossom Culp, the heroine of Ghosts I Have Been. She lives in excruciating poverty, describes herself as ugly, but never lets much get her down. She lives by her wits and always takes her revenge on the mean-girls who bully and ostracize her at school. I dare you to find a heroine you respect more or who has more outrageous adventures. There are several Blossom Culp books, but this is by far my favorite.
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg
Sigh. E.L. Konigsburg. Quite honestly, I could have put any one of her books on my top five. I have my mother to thank for turning me onto her books. All of Konigsburg’s books are sheer beauty. I like to wonder what terrible/magnificent things happened to E.L. Konigsburg when she was thirteen that make it impossible for her to forget what it felt like to be a young adult.
The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane by Polly Horvath
For me to say that I am captivated by a book — can’t put it down and love it like one of my children or bacon — is an extremely rare thing. So, when I tell you that this book is brilliant, I really mean it. I will never be without a copy of this book in my home. If you don’t fall in love with it, you and I should not hang out.
Do you have any favorites in common with Kat Spears? Sound off in the comment below!