Happy Teen Read & Giveaway Week!


How did this important holiday get past me?

Teen Read Week was created by ALA, who believe in celebrating YA reading at your library. It's the perfect blend of awesomeness. I love teen books. And I love libraries. AND I love a giveaway. Keep reading to find out how you can win a $20 dollar gift card from Barnes and Noble. (Which you could use to buy a book. Then after your read the book, you could donate it to your favorite library. That is so pro-Teen Read Week.)

There weren't a lot of YA books out there when I was growing up, so I read mostly stuff for grownups. I can't even imagine being a tween/teen and having all the book choices you guys have. I'd never have left my yellow and white bedroom with the posters of Tom Cruise and Kirk Cameron. The book I remember the most, which WAS YA, was Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. This book has been on quite a few banned lists, but in my small town we didn't do banning (but we did do mule jumps). This is a coming-of-age story about (you guessed it), Margaret. All my friends read it. We passed it around and reread all the juicy parts. I learned a lot from this book. I will never forget the phrase, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!” for as long as I live. (I find it still comes in handy when there are lulls in conversations on dates, professional meetings, or when running into my pastor at Wal-Mart and I'm stuck for conversation.)  This book educated a lot of girls on things nobody else was talking about. Judy Blume is the original queen of YA, and I'm still in awe of her.

When I got to grad school, I had a professor who was SOLD OUT on YA books. This was pretty much a new phenom to me, but I immediately got on board. She would do book talks–bringing a bunch of young adult novels, talk for a few minutes on each one (just enough to get you all invested), then pass the books around so you could hold them in your hands and stare adoringly at the covers (which were better than the one on poor Judy's Scholastic Book Club cover above). From Dr. Morrow I learned about books like Hatchett, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Out of the Dust, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Authors like Richard Peck, Robert Cormier, Sharon Creech, Spinelli, Sachar, Myers, Cooney, Levine, Mazer, Soto, and a ton more. YA was exploding, and it was…total book nerd nirvana.

And now thanks to authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, YA isn't just for kids anymore. It's lit everyone is getting into. Everyone's reading them!

So what about you? What books will you look back on and say, “Those were my favorite reads as a tween/teen?” To enter the contest this week, just leave a comment with your answer. You have until Saturday at midnight, CST to enter. Winner will be randomly drawn and will be given a twenty dollar Barnes and  Noble gift card for playing along.

Let's hear your answers!

**I'd love to hear from you all, but contest open to US residents only.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 49 comments
Deborah - October 20, 2010

so i started young and was reading stuff like Fear Street and Sweet Valley High when I was in 4th grade, in addition to stuff like The Baby Sitters Club and Girl Talk books. Also enjoyed Caroline Cooney and Lois Duncan. Actually now that I think about it, even though I was in my teens less than 10 years ago, we didn’t have that many good YA books. It’s only in the past few years that the YA lit has really expoloded, which is why I’m 27 and still going back and reading YA.

Bethany Ellis - October 20, 2010

Well, I have a list of favorite YA books… Let me see…. My all-time “Wow-that-was-incredible” is The Rivers of Judah by Catherine Farnes. I haven’t read a lot of YA because I only like reading Christian fiction, so that narrows the choice a bit, and by the time all these new Christian YA people came out, I had already moved on to older stuff :-). I did used to LOVE the Mandie books when I was younger… all the way into my early teens. I’d have to say that when it comes to YA, your books are always the first I recommend. Not being facetious 😛 but it’s true. I absolutely adored the Katie Parker books and even more the Bella books. They are definitely my favorite YA. 🙂

Ruth - October 20, 2010

Gosh it’s really stretching my brain to remember what I read most back in the ol’ days… 😉 I was a big fan of serial mysteries when I was probably 9-10-11…started with The Bobbsey Twins, then moved on to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I have a very distinct memory of devouring L.M. Montgomery’s Anne books starting in the 4th grade (random I know!). I also was a HUGE fan of horse lit, especially Marguerite Henry and Walter Farley. Starting in the 8th grade, I started reading adult Christian fiction…everything from Brock & Bodie Thoene to Gilbert Morris to Francine Rivers. I’m with Deborah…I started reading YA lit well after my teen years…the whole world of YA lit really seemed to explode when I hit college and then I took every Children’s Lit/YA Lit class I could. I discovered I LOVED Rowling and Robin McKinley and the like.

Courtney Walsh - October 20, 2010

I am going to sound totally unoriginal reading the comment before mine, but Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter’s Club were big faves when I was young–in high school I really didn’t read (I know, awful, right?) except for my school work… I don’t think I rediscovered how much I love it till after college. Perhaps I should go back and see what I missed!!

Amy K - October 20, 2010

Judy Blume is my hero. I used to have all of her books, and they were falling apart at the seams from being read so many times. The ultimate fave of them all was Forever. But the others weren’t far behind!

Suzanne Schaffer - October 20, 2010

I read the Judy Blume ones and learned a little too much at a young age *blush*
My favorite reads as a teen in the 80s were the Sweet Dreams romance novels. My absolute favorite was P.S. I Love You by Barbara Conklin (and the sequel, Falling In Love Again). I still have them on my bookshelf.I also liked Class Pictures by Marilyn Sachs and Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. I devoured books as a child, teen and now as an adult. I can never read enough!

Paris - October 20, 2010

I read just about everything my school’s library had. Seven Sleepers, Daystar Voyages, and other series by Gilbert Morris was prob when I first got into fantasy and sci-fi books. I LOVED Hilda Stahl’s Best Friends series and Elizabeth Gail series. Plus Pamela Wall’s South Seas Adventure series. Good stuff! (:

Cindy Springsteen - October 20, 2010

I loved the Judy Blume books growing up. In recent times I still love reading these types of books. One of my new favorite books/author is Nicole O’Dell. I love the way her books give choices to the teen reader, helping them to make good decisions and be able to read the outcome both ways.

Abby Minard - October 20, 2010

Love Judy Blume! I remember reading Island of the Blue Dolphins in 6th grade and it had a big impact on me. I remember so much of it for some reason. I loved Hatchet and The Cay and those types of books. I read Gordon Korman, and I fell in love with Patricia C Wrede- her books are what really stuck me on fantasy. Then I graduated to Anne McCaffrey even though her dragonriders series can soemtimes be classified as adult, they are sometimes as YA. Then there was the Golden Compass and all of Garth Nix’s books. So many of these YA books had huge impacts on me. I was a teen in the 90’s, right around when YA started to beef up. And I’m so glad for that. I still pretty much exclusively read YA and I am VERY proud to say it.

Suzy Rappard - October 20, 2010

In my tween/teen years I was really in to the Dragonriders of Pern. I also read the Nancy Drew books through out those years. When I ran out of those I read the Hardy Boys but they just weren’t the same. I read some Sweet Valley High as well. Kind of all over the map!

vanessa - October 20, 2010

I am a teenager, and my favorite “reads” that I can think of would definetly be the Christy Miller books, by Robin Jones Gunn, and the Katie Parker Production and Bella Kirkwood series by you! (And I am not trying to butter you up. I seriously love those books! They are hilarious, and just all-around-awesome! 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Allie - October 20, 2010

I started out on Nancy Drew and this Merlin series I don’t remember so well. I read all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and whatever else my church library had. However, my favorite YA books are the Harry Potter series. I got into the HP fan group pretty late in the game, but I don’t think I’m ever coming back out.

tammy c. - October 20, 2010

I think a book that I will look back on has to also be the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. Everytime I read her books I get something new out of it. I know that when I get married and have kids I will want my daughters to read them because of how Mich that those books have helped me 🙂

Kristin - October 20, 2010

I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember, so I read just about anything I could get my hands on. As a tween/younger teen, I loved the Narnia series, the Babysitter’s Club, the Harry Potter series, Gail Carson Levine, Shannon Hale, the Series of Unfortunate Events, any horse books (The Saddle Club), anything by Melody Carlson (especially Diary of a Teenage Girl), Judy Blume books. Pretty much anything I could get at the library or for a couple of dollars at the book fair. =)

I still read a lot of YA, Christian and otherwise. Especially classics or historical stories, or fairy tale retellings. And I still love most of the ones that I used to read. =)


Sofie - October 20, 2010

I was a total book nerd when I was little, and still am! I was particularly obsessed with the Nancy Drew books, Little House of the Prairie, anything Judy Blume, and the Boxcar Children. I also read repeatedly The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and went through an obsession with Jack Kerouac and On the Road when I was 12 or 13.

Brittanie - October 20, 2010

I love Are You There God. I used to read the Sweet Valley books, the Babysitters Club, L. M. Montgomery, Ann Rinaldi, and many more. 🙂

Jenny B Jones - October 20, 2010

Brittanie, Ann Rinaldi is another good one!

Sofie, Little House on the Prairie is great. My mom used to read Nancy Drew to my brother and me. Good times! But Hitchhiker’s Guide at 12? wow.

Kristin, I did not have you pegged as a Potter reader! Don’t you love the whimsy of it? And Shannon Hale is great too.

Tammy C, that is a great story. What an impact those books had.

Allie, did Amy Andersen force you to read Harry P?

Vanessa, thank you!

Suzy–so right. Hardy Boys just weren’t as good as ol’ Nance.

Abby, I’m such a fantasy idiot. I have got to read up and get caught up some. I’ve heard all those authors are great. Not as great as the story you pitched on your blog, but still.

Cindy, I passed on your comment to Nicole. I love that!

Paris, I hadn’t heard of some of those. I’ll have to check them out.

Suzanne, Jacob Have I Loved is great. It used to be taught in all our middle schools.

Amy, this makes me want to go back and reread them. I can’t even remember Forever.

Courtney, I kinda forgot about SVH, but I loved those too.

Ruth, I know the Bobbsey twins! We used to have my dad’s set. Old school! That was back when a series was a SERIES! 100 books later…and yet we were all hooked. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.

Bethany, thank you so much. : )

Deborah, Lois Duncan. ANOTHER great one. Now that’s a woman who has written a book or two. Or two hundred.

Diana - October 20, 2010

That was a longggg time ago;almost 45 years. I read so many books that if I don’t write them down I’ve forgotten them a week later!

Annie - October 20, 2010

Harry Potter is my favorite for sure! But I also enjoyed L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books and True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, among others.

Katelyn - October 20, 2010

ohh so many to choose from! Sadly, I am a picky reader…but I choose to think of it as sensetive. I get really hooked on Karen Kingsburys, the Christopher Killer series by Alane Ferguson, and I really like Kristin Billerbeck’s books! And of course yours!!

Melena - October 20, 2010

I’m a teen and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a book I’ll definitely remember for a long time! : )

sheree - October 20, 2010

i read and reread over and over again the anne of green gables series in my tween/teen years! i loved them and even 20 years later i still do!

neednspace at aol dot com

jess - October 20, 2010

I have been an avid reader for a LONG time and my teen (YA)years are not too far behind me,(still in my 20’s)but I didn’t really read too much YA. I just stole whatever my parents had on their bookshelves which was a lot of Dean Koontz, Steven King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy. I have since then moved on to less creepy and heavy reading, more christian authors. I do remember devouring the Babysitters Club books when I was really young but I actually just really got into YA reading with Twilight, and Harrry Potter. Now I LOVE LOVE LOVE YA novels. And you are by far, one of my favorite YA authors!!!

Mattie - October 20, 2010

I love all the book choices we have now! I can’t get enough! Some of my absolute favorite books are Only the Good Spy Young and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter… They are so amazing! 🙂

Amy N - October 21, 2010

Okay, I seriously have so many! But some of my favorites are and forever will be:
– The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books
– The Westing Game
– The Giver
– Ella Enchanted (of course!)
– Holes
– Ramona Quimby: Age 8
I could go on. But I’ll stop there : ) I love YA books!

Macy - October 21, 2010

I can’t imagine picking just one!!!! I am such a bookworm!!!!! When I was younger my favorite books were the babysitters club and 10kids, NO pets! Both by Ann M Martin. Right now my fAvorite books would HAVE to be yours And mageret Peterson Haddix books!!!!!! Thanx Jenny for your awesome blog and all the cool wins!!!!!!

Katie - October 21, 2010

I loved the True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle! I read everything, really. Right now, the Hunger Games. AMAZING. I want to be Suzanne Collins when I grow up.

I finished Just Between You and Me earlier this week. It was great! I love your books, Jenny 🙂

Olivia - October 21, 2010

My fave YA book is every book that is ‘laugh til you pee in your pants, annoy your neighbors, and concern your parents’ funny!!!

P.S. your books qualify as ugh, that.

Shauna - October 21, 2010

I don’t want to even mention the author’s name (it rhymes with Bee Gee Canned Brews) of my favorite books as a teen, as they have no redeeming value and deal with some pretty depraved themes. But I’m so glad there are so many choices for teens today! I’m a grown-up YA fan and have recommended a lot of YA fiction to teens and adults. Besides your books, I loved Lois Lowry’s The Giver and the rest of that trilogy, Cathy Gohlke’s William Henry Is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, Lisa Samson’s Hollywood Nobody series, The Hunger Games series, the Harry Potter series, Ella Enchanted and pretty much any other fairy tale retellings by Gail Carson Levine, Brad Whittington’s Fred, Texas series, and many others. I also love Kate DiCamillo, but I suppose she’s more middle-grade than YA.

Laura G. - October 21, 2010

I’m 21, which is still close to the teen years… and I still read YA all the time. Along with Children’s. And Adult…If a book is good, I pay no attention to the “suggested age”!

I always loved historical fiction. And fairy tales. So authors like Ann Rinaldi and Gail Carson Levine were high on my list. Also loved Shannon Hale. And Lemony Snicket. The Harry Potter series, of course! The Hunger Games series I read this year so I wasn’t really a teen…

Since I was probably too young I’ve been reading books meant for adults…even things like the Mitford series by Jan Karon! When it came to Christian fiction I was into Francine Rivers and Lynn Austin.

I could go on and on and on!

ashley - October 21, 2010

just wanted to share my reads:

1. Bridge to Terabithia – I still have my original copy
2. Box Car Children; loved every book

Ashley - October 21, 2010

My grandma worked at a bookstore so I read all of the Babysitter Club books, Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, and of course, Robin Jones Gunn’s The Christy Miller Series. I love that she continued the series into their college years, but it wasn’t lame like Saved By the Bell: The College Years. 🙂

ashley - October 21, 2010

My instant, random thoughts:
-The Babysitter’s Club
-The Boxcar Children
-Robin Jones Gunn
-The Magic Treehouse
-Janette Oke
-The Saddle Club
-Rachel’s Tears
And there are MANY more! 🙂

Erica - October 21, 2010

I always loved the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew, and then, in middle school/beginning of high school I was obsessed with the Christy Miller/Sierra Jensen series and anything by Nancy Rue. 🙂

Tracy - October 21, 2010

My all-time favourite books from about 9yo-14yo were my Elizabeth Gail series, by Hilda Stahl. And then somewhere along the line Hilda wrote the Tina series and I adored them too.

About the time I turned 12 or so Janette Oke had become popular in the wild jungles of PNG and so I began reading those. All with a little Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew and Famous Five thrown in for good measure.

My second daughter follows in my reading footsteps and is currently devouring whatever I will allow her to read off my bookshelves.

Robin Ann Apicella - October 21, 2010

My all time favorite YA lit book is Bridge to Terabithia. Likewise, I love Jacob, Have I Loved, same author, you know. I also read the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High books, but only because there wasn’t much to choose from, I think. (I hope. Maybe I shouldn’t admit to that)
I, like you, devoured any and everything I could get my hands on. We’re kindred spirits, I would say, (Anne of Green Gables reference) because I am also a ninth grade English teacher and your sense of humor reminds me so much of me. My sister told me about your blog because it reminded her so much of me! Crazy! Maybe I’ll get to meet you one day! BFFs in the making! ha!

Amy - October 21, 2010

It was a long time ago, but my favorites were:
Are You There God…
Forever (which I read inside another book so my mom wouldn’t know what I was reading. Oops.)
Flowers in the Attic & Petals on the Wind (awful to admit now)
Tiger Eyes
Anne of Green Gables
Every Janette Oke book
Every John Benton book

Wish I could find them all now!

Jill - October 22, 2010

I loved Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume and I think it was one of my first favorite true YA books. I’m excied to learn it’s being made into a movie with Judy Blume writing the screenplay!!!

Liv - October 22, 2010

I love your books and of course stuff like Mysterious Benedict Society, Pseudonymous Bosch, and Lemony Snicket. You write some seriously funny stuff so you make the top 5. Twilight comes 1st, no doubt about it!!!

Madi A. - October 22, 2010

Oh, I have no idea. Maybe the “Miss Match” books by Erynn Mangum? They are funny, yummy, and sweet. Bit I don’t know if that’s really a good eexample of YA…..
Haha, thanks for the chance to win!

Mariya T. - October 22, 2010

I remember the first book I read was Nancy Drew, and I all the old ones and the most of the new ones, and then I stopped in sixth grade. Then I started reading things like the The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Lightning Thief (all of them), and books by Elizabeth Chandler.

Hannah - October 22, 2010

Judy Blume has always been a favorite…but Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon I grew up reading. Also the Boxcar Children Mysteries. Mysteries were always my thing. I also loooved the Babysitters Club. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. I grew up on all of them. All of those books taught me alot about teens/tweens. 😀

Hannah Y. - October 22, 2010

I’m a fantasy-lover/oddball, so my favorite book has always been Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (ever since I was ten). However, a YA novel I read recently was…A Year Down Yonder. I found it in a local bookstore and remembered that you mentioned on your blog how much you loved it. Thanks for the tip, because I loved it too! Absolutely hilarious, and true to life.

Sarah - October 22, 2010

I am still a very big fan of YA literature, and I would have to say the one that I still love to read over and over again is The Frog Princess Tales series. E.D. Baker just released the last book, and it is calling to me to read it! Another YA book series I am in love with, and is my favorite is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians! I just love the whole concept! Of course, I can’t leave out any Jenny B. Jones YA book! I LOVE them, too! These are a few of my favorite ones, though. 🙂

Nikki - October 23, 2010

I was crazy for Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley, and Sunfire Romances (those books that were titled just by the main character’s name and there were always two guys pursuing her and she had to make a choice between them….sounds cheesy now, but I loved them). I also lacked much choice as well, so I read General Christian fiction like Grace Livingston Hill, the Heartsong books, Seranade books, etc. (sort of like today’s Love Inspired books.)

I so love YA lit now…your books and Janette Rallison’s are my absolute favorite thing to read now. Oh, and Sammy Keyes, which isn’t quite YA but close. And hysterical.

Paula - October 23, 2010

My favorite YA book is Twilight. I liked the moral choices the characters made.

Kenny - October 23, 2010

I really enjoyed ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’ when I was a teenager.

Kristen - October 23, 2010

I liked The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot.

Liv - October 24, 2010

Soo… Who won????


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