breaking news (for me anyway, because I just saw it): YALSA Top Ten

Announced today: 2009 Teens’ Top Ten from YALSA and the American Library Association.

From the YALSA site: More than 11,000 teen voters chose Paper Towns as their favorite book in the 2009 Teens’ Top Ten!  The online poll took place from Aug. 24 through Sept. 18, with the winners announced during Teen Read Week.

(this week! on now!)

Top three books:

  • Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin/Dutton)
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)

For the rest of the list, click here.

I’m excited that two of the top three are books I’ve read – they are each excellent in wildly different ways.  (I probably won’t read Breaking Dawn.  Sorry.)

Earlier today on twitter, John Green was very humble about Paper Towns’ position on the list,


There’s a simple explanation for this.  Paper Towns was voted for by teens.  Paper Towns is an awesome book.  John Green is made of awesome.  Nerdfighters get that.  AND nerdfighters vote.

I love it when John Green talks about being a nerd, as in this video, where he says,

nerds are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff

nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in the-chair,
can’t-control-yourself LOVE IT

when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is,
“you like stuff,” which is just not a good insult at all

I’m a nerdy girl.  And totally proud of it.  I’ve raised an even nerdier girl, who is equally totally proud of it.  And we are unironically enthusiastic about John Green.

Congratulations to John Green (and all the other authors on the list).  Please come to Seattle.


  • I have been trying to figure out: What’s the deal with Stephanie Meyers? I have read the twilight books, and I try to figure out what the attraction is (I DID read more that one, so there is a strain of ‘mea culpa’ when I try to figure it out.) I know that there seems to be a bimodal demographic for these books: tweens/teens and their moms – are they gettign the same thing out of it? What has made it such a phenonmenon?

    Now I’ll settle comfortably back into making fun of the books and pretending not to care when the next STV (shitty teen vampire) movie comes out.

  • So this is actually a comment about catherine’s comment. My two cents about the Twilight series (and other vampirish) attraction is based on years of working with tweens and teens. I think vampire storylines provide a few themes that they find particularly attractive. First, vampires are (if they avoid wood in the heart) immortal. There are days when I wish I still had that teenage point of view that I am going to live forever so Carpe Diem to the max, dude!! Second, teenagers are striving to be part of a group that they can identify with while still maintaining a sense of uniqueness. Third, I have yet to meet a teenage girl that doesn’t have a romantic side. The term boy crazy, like many stereotypes has some roots in reality. And one final point, vampires are powerful which can be particularly attractive to the teenager who may feel that adults have way too much power over life.
    Oh and I read the entire series and like many such series was dissapointed that it didn’t hold up through all of the books.

  • By all means, comment about each other’s comments, PLEASE.

    I’m beyond excited to even have comments, to know that you are reading. To have a conversation taking place here thrills me to bits. *contemplates cleaning up the bits* Okay, it thrills me a lot.

    Catherine, I have not read all of the Twilight series. I wasn’t impressed with the writing, and as there are SO MANY books to read, I find myself spending less time with work that doesn’t… um… work for me.

    That said, my sense of the appeal is that Meyers speaks very well to that universal sense of longing that characterises the lives of many young women (and perhaps, of their mothers as well – by the time you have a teen/tween, you realise that there are some things you are not likely to do in your life again).

    Also, I wonder about the effect of the movies – I’m not a fan of that pale, brooding look Edward/Robert has (heresy, I know), but it works for a lot of girls/women. For that audience, the books were made even more popular. For the rest of us (me), it was a turnoff.

    Also, Stephanie Meyers finished and published four books in a series, plus an adult novel. I’m working on finishing my first. So, it’s fine that I have an opinion on this, but perhaps I should get typing. 😉

    Kim, great perspectives on the vampire appeal (independent of Meyers’ treatment). I think you’ve captured it well, and I’m sure those things are at work in the Twilight series. Thank you! For a more adult look at vampires (and the werewolf/lycan mythology), try the Underworld movie series. I like the first and third best.

    I talk about The Hunger Games here.

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