the alternative reading list

these lists of books to read before you die that are full of classics are all well and good but what if you don’t like classics? and what about the ya ones that are just full of popular series? so this is an alternative list of ya books you should read before you die. thanks to everyone who contributed books; i’ve had to miss some off because i’ve got more than 100, so i’ll probably include them on a second list. (also, i’ve not actually read all these books. it’s a group effort)

  1. under the lights by dahlia adler
  2. the wrath and the dawn by renee ahdieh
  3. throne of the crescent moon by saladin ahmed
  4. simon vs the homo sapiens agenda by becky albertalli
  5. the absolutely true diary of a part time indian by sherman alexie
  6. last night i sang to the monster by benjamin alire sáenz
  7. aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe by benjamin alire sáenz
  8. mosquitoland by david arnold
  9. pure trilogy by julianna baggott
  10. the fixer by jennifer lynn barnes
  11. the last leaves falling by sarah benwell
  12. ashes trilogy by ilsa j bick
  13. the darkest part of the forest by holly black
  14. curse workers by holly black
  15. noughts and crosses by malorie blackman
  16. anna duology by kendare blake
  17. the princess and the captain by anne-laure bondoux
  18. the diviners by libba bray
  19. gemma doyle trilogy by libba bray
  20. fire and thorns by rae carson
  21. gallagher girls by ally carter
  22. heist society by ally carter
  23. graceling realm by kristin cashore
  24. a hero at the end of the world by erin claiborne
  25. artemis fowl by eoin colfer
  26. the miseducation of cameron post by emily m danforth
  27. i’ll meet you there by heather demetrios
  28. just listen by sarah dessen
  29. spiderwick chronicles by tony diterlizzi & holly black
  30. penryn and the end of days by susan ee
  31. engelsfors trilogy by sara b elfgren & mats strandberg
  32. fearsome dreamer by laure eve
  33. dragonfly by julia golding
  34. since you asked by maurine goo
  35. half life trilogy by sally green
  36. to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han
  37. burn for burn by jenny han
  38. saving june by hannah harrington
  39. the outsiders by s e hinton
  40. shades of london by maureen johnson
  41. shadowshaper by daniel josé older
  42. everybody sees the ants by a s king
  43. in honor by jessi kirby
  44. charm & strange by stephanie kuehn
  45. everything leads to you by nina lacour
  46. micah grey by laura lam
  47. momentum by saci lloyd
  48. huntress by malinda lo
  49. adaptation by malinda lo
  50. we were liars by e lockhart
  51. legend by marie lu
  52. the lost girl by sangu mandanna
  53. the lumatere chronicles by melina marchetta
  54. on the jellicoe road by melina marchetta
  55. wicked lovely by melissa marr
  56. since you’ve been gone by morgan matson
  57. yaqui delgado wants to kick your ass by meg medina
  58. the lunar chronicles by marissa meyer
  59. conquered earth by j barton mitchell
  60. if you find me by emily murdoch
  61. i’ll give you the sun by jandy nelson
  62. chaos walking by patrick ness
  63. a monster calls by patrick ness
  64. the summer of chasing mermaids by sarah ockler
  65. before i fall by lauren oliver
  66. wonder by r j palacio
  67. even in paradise by chelsey philpot
  68. his dark materials by philip pullman
  69. the demon’s lexicon by sarah rees brennan
  70. the lynburn legacy by sarah rees brennan
  71. slice of cherry by dia reeves
  72. falling kingdoms by morgan rhodes
  73. how i live now by meg rosoff
  74. bone gap by laura ruby
  75. the winner’s trilogy by marie rutkoski
  76. written in the stars by aisha saeed
  77. persepolis by marjane satrapi
  78. the archived by v e schwab
  79. between shades of grey by ruth sepetys
  80. the bone season by samantha shannon
  81. far from you by tess sharpe
  82. more happy than not by adam silvera
  83. jasper jones by craig silvey
  84. unwind dystology by neal shusterman
  85. grasshopper jungle by andrew smith
  86. the secrets of lily graves by sarah strohmeyer
  87. all the rage by courtney summers
  88. an ember in the ashes by sabaa tahir
  89. because you’ll never meet me by leah thomas
  90. my heart and other black holes by jasmine warga
  91. ms marvel by g willow wilson
  92. don’t touch by rachel m wilson
  93. brown girl dreaming by jacqueline woodson
  94. howl’s moving castle by dianna wynne jones
  95. dirty london by kelley york
  96. made of stars by kelley york
  97. how to save a life by sara zarr
  98. falling into place by amy zhang
  99. i am the messenger by markus zusak
  100. wolfe brothers by markus zusak
so many AUs, i'm not sure what to do with them all

+air conditioner repairman [v sweaty job]
+barber
+street racers
+Christmas light neighbor competition
+mailman
+guitar teacher
+tailor
+little kids with a lemonade stand or kissing booth
+motherFUCK there’s smoothie on the ceiling
+someone’s cat is in a tree
+“how do I say fuck in [language]”
 -[I love you]
 - “cool thanks”
+I broke into your apartment cause it smelled like something was on fire but I don’t think we can salvage your cookies
+try my chili!
 -HOLY SHIT THAT’S FUCKING HOT
 -oops
 -MOTHER FUCK
 -here use my mouth to calm the heat
+I saw the dude/chick who manscapes/waxes me
+minor car accident
+frat houses across the street
+competing mattress salesmen
+teddy bear doctors
+we both picked the same weird place to watch fireworks
+someone needs a car jumpstart
+gym class soccer
+college tour
+school trip to europe
+I wrote an ode to your butt in 10th grade and you somehow found it at the end of senior year
+i accidentally spilled beer on you at a bar and you thought I wanted to fight
+21 jump street au
+i licked a pole when it was 2 degrees outside please help me kind stranger
+high school intern for senior pictures [I’m literally just here to hold this reflecty thing and make you look hotter than usual]
+you heard me singing in the shower, recorded it, and put it on YouTube and now I’m Internet famous and I’m not sure whether I want to kill you or marry you
+someone found our office game of fuck marry kill and you’re my fuck
+there’s a dorm wii + mariokart in the lounge and we’re now on best out of 39
+I drew a picture of you and put it on tumblr and you found it
+I wrote a fanfic and the au was how we met and you got suspicious
+you’re a really shitty tutor
+you needed to borrow sugar to bake a cherry pie
+all you wrote in my yearbook last year was your number and now I have no clue who did it
+I got locked out of my dressing room wearing only my underwear and now we’re both waiting for an attendant
+I accidentally dropped a water balloon on you instead of my friend
+you write nice comments on all the angsty poems I post online
+we’ve been arguing over the proper use of the subjunctive mood in spanish for 2 hours and neither of us has taken it since high school
+you’re the monster under my bed
+I 100000% did not mean to send you that nude on snapchat oh my god
+I had to explain what dtf is to you
+you tried to perform cpr and iM TOTALLY FINE
+you’re asking me for self defense lessons because you saw that one time I tripped and accidentally took out a guy making off with someone’s belongings
+the secret life of walter mitty au
+bones au
+someone’s cursed to live like they’re in a musical
+book illustrator & writer
+you work at a shoe store and you just laced that shoe up and put it on my foot and I’m having an actual cinderella moment
+you caught me trying to sneak a hamburger off your grill as I was running by
+thERE IS A RACCOON IN MY HOME SAVE ME NEIGHBOR
+naked and afraid au
+you’re an expert survivalist and one time I cried because I stepped on a worm
+look I know my window’s really big but that doesn’t mean you had to watch my entire re-enactment of “it’s raining men” from magic mike okay
+our kite strings got tangled up
+you accidentally hit me in the face when you scored that homerun
+there is a very good chance I took your shoes instead of mine when I left that party wasted last night
+i put a gopro on my dog to figure out where she was going and it’s to your house

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Let me start off by acknowledging the fact that this book has a beautiful cover. (McSweeney’s generally puts a lot of thought into the design of their publications–seeThe People of Paper). In fact, there’s going to be a film adaptation of this book that will use the animation style of the cover.  

But you’ve always been taught not to judge a book by its cover, right?  Thankfully, the book itself is just as good. 

This is a nonfiction account of Muslim-American man, living in New Orleans, in the days and weeks surrounding Hurricane Katrina.  It reads like a long-form magazine article that you keep coming back to because the events get stuck in your head.  It is very different from Egger’s other–ahem–“better known” work and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The protagonist is the stars here, and the way he was treated will shock you.

Age: Adult

What are you reading, Responses

@NovelWorld: I love love LOVE 1984, I had such a crush on Winston when I first read the book (I didn’t care how they described him, I pictured him as a ruggedly handsome anti-hero, and at least 1 jacket designer must have agreed with me.) I’ve never readCukoo’s Nest.  It wasn’t assigned to me in high school and I’ve never taken the opportunity to read it (though I thoroughly enjoyedFuturama’s take on it) but I’ve only ever heard good things about it.

@Page537: I haven’t heard of George RR Martin but I will check him out!

Thank you both for responding & please feel free to come back and let us all know what you thought of the books!

The People of Paper by Salvador Plascentia 

So I’m now going to make two big contradictions to previous statements I’ve made on this blog.  First, this book is a little gimmicky but it’s still absolutely amazing.  

In my review of Life of Pi I pointed out that I generally don’t care for books that try really hard to be precious.  Don’t try to distract me from a lackluster book with fancy fonts, weird layouts and symbolism so thick you could choke on it!  While The People of Paper certainty has qualities that may seem off putting at first, it quickly distinguishes itself from the “I’m an MFA!” genre as something that is actually original and well written.  

To summarize the plot, I’ll just say this: a small village of migrant flower pickers wage war against the the third person omniscient.  Anything else would ruin the strangely wonderful turns the book makes.  Don’t get me wrong, the book is not perfect: it looses focus near the end, but the last “page” wraps the story up in a very inspired way.  

That brings me to my second point: this is a book that you must read in print.  I know I just wrote a big-long psychobabble about the importance of eBooks, so believe me when I say that the physical layout of this book is…well, beautiful.  Plascencia really put a lot of thought into how this story would “play out” on the page. 

Age: Adult