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Books of the Past Decade

| Jemma Schroder | jschroder20@dtechhs.org | January 28, 2020 |

In the 2010s, the Young Adult market had large shoes to fill after the worldwide hit of the Harry Potter series. With the gold rush of literary opportunities, authors filled the YA novel appetite, expanding into what has become the many beloved books we know today. Overall, the 2010s was a decade of evolution, representative of the rapidly changing values of the common teenager.

While everybody may have their own opinions on the best ten YA novels of the decade, here is the Dragon’s list, compiled by cross-referencing multiple online sources (in no particular order).

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline – 2011

Ready Player One is a dystopian novel that works. Set in the future, yet rife with references to 80’s pop culture, the book has both a nostalgic feel and complex storyline, appealing to gamers (like the protagonist, Wade) and non-gamers alike. 

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas – 2017

Gut wrenching and frustratingly familiar, The Hate U Give tells the story of gun violence through the eyes of an African-American girl. Balancing the life of a teenager with political activism, the story powerful allows readers to realistically experience systemic racism. 

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green – 2012

Whether you love it or hate it, The Fault in Our Stars is a defining text of the decade. Green’s brainy yet youthful humor is a perfect juxtaposition to his story tackling the inevitability of death—the modern tale of the star-crossed lovers. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli – 2015

In her debut novel, Albertalli explores the life of Simon, a gay teen who is not out of the closet…yet. Free of stifling cliches and filled with unforgettable characters, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a novel stuffed with humor, heart, and the true reality of the modern gay teenager.

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart – 2015

Cool, bitter, and emotionally raw, We Were Liars explores the life of seventeen year old Cadence Sinclair who appears to hold every privilege, yet whose family is broken and selfish. Lockhart shatters the illusion of the perfect family, uncovering ugly secrets to reveal a stark and dispassionate world.

This Is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp – 2016

A harrowing and moving narrative, This Is Where It Ends takes place during a frame of 54 minutes: a school shooting. Detailing the experiences of students trapped inside the school and out, Nijkamp’s theme is patently clear: America must take a stand against gun violence. 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han – 2014

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a fresh look on the teenage love story, (mostly) free of the ever present adolescent angst. Exploring Laura Jean’s experiences with love as she strives to maintain a connection to her Korean heritage, this book is undeniably a decade classic. 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein – 2012

With vibrant, relatable characters and a perfectly constructed plot, Code Name Verity stands out as a must-read. Set during World War II, it tells the story of a British Allied pilot and her captured spy best friend, and manages to channel humor amidst the tragic reality of WWII. 

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi – 2018

Children of Blood and Bone is a divergence from the Greek and Roman myths that defined fiction during the late 2000s. Drawing from African folklore, Adeyemi tells the story of a young woman avenging her mother’s death in a world both magical and dangerous. 

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell – 2012

Rowell’s debut YA novel, Eleanor & Park embodies dark and heavy themes with a light and youthful touch. A romance novel set in 1980’s Nebraska, Eleanor & Park is greater than the average teenage romance: a narrative embodiment of light at the end of the tunnel. 

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