If you are looking for a book to give to a teenage reader, here's the reference you've been waiting for. Until now, there's been no accepted guide to what's good, bad, or indifferent in the flood of books coming off the presses in the hot new category of young-adult publishing. If it's true that you can't judge a book by its cover, it is especially true for teen books, as publishers take aim at a new class of readers. The books land on shelves without a history, and so there is no standard by which to judge them.
Anita Silvey, one of the country's leading authorities on books for young people, has interviewed teenage readers all over the country and immersed herself in young-adult books, with an emphasis on books published in the last five years. The result is this invaluable and very readable guide for parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, reading groups, and of course teens themselves.
With its extended essays describing 500 selections, parents will quickly see what their teenagers are actually reading -- and will be able to find good books to introduce them to. Teachers can spot excellent additions to summer reading lists. Booksellers can move customers from one favorite to a host of others in the same genre. Librarians can round out collections. Book groups -- for adults, teens, or both -- will have hundreds of new titles to consider.
500 Great Books for Teens is divided into twenty-one sections, including adventure and survival, politics and social history, horror, romance, war and conflict, fantasy, plays, graphic novels, poetry, memoir, and spirituality. Every section offers up classics, but the majority of titles are new. In "Beyond the 500," Silvey compiles a number of useful lists, including books organized by geographic location and historical period, as well as recommended audio books.