An official website of Arlington County Government

Our 13 (+1) Top YA Picks of 2013

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

When we round up all our bloggers, librarians and teen reviewers and ask them to share the best Young Adult books they read this year.

Share your top 10 YA of 2013 in the comments, and we’ll add your list to the TATAL Blog too!


Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
by Lucy Knisley

Karen says, “I was hesitant at first.  Don’t get me wrong; I love food but I’m no foodie!  I kept getting gushing reviews of this graphic novel, which only increased my hesitancy.  Because, really?  We all know that books with gushing reviews never live up to the hype.  I was proved wrong.  ”Relish“ is fun and the illustrations are AMAZING!  If you love food and graphic novels this is a book you can curl up with and devour.”


Far Far Away
by Tom McNeal

Librarian M says, “If you miss reading creepy fairy tales, this book is for you.”

Pat says, “This is not the sort of book that usually appeals to me.  The ghost of Jacob Grimm whispering in some kid’s head?  Uh uh.  But wow!  I started the first page and got immediately sucked into this dark and gripping story.  So many twists and turns it boggled my brain.  All that and Ginger Boultinghouse–my new favorite female character and one I’ll wager you won’t soon forget either. In my top 3 for the year.”



by Rainbow rowell

Nico says, “For me, 2013 was definitely the year of falling for Rainbow Rowell’s books. It was also the first year that teens really started talking to me about the fan fiction they were reading and writing. So many teens that I talk to belong to some kind of fandom! In “Fangirl,” these two things combined to bring the funny and touching story of Cath’s first year at college to life. It was the perfect book at the perfect time and because of that, it’s my favorite of the year.”

The +1…

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell

Kady says, “Oh hey Rainbow, nice to see you again. Rainbow’s first YA novel of the year holds a really dear place in my heart. You’ve read the reviews, the interviews and seen everyone else’s take on this book in their Top 10 list so I’ll just leave you with a personal anecdote: I grew up in a house where profanity was THE WORST THING EVER. My mom still sighs and says “Don’t say that dear” when I say something sucks. So when she finished Eleanor and Park (she listened to the FANTASTIC audio version) and had a few choice words for Eleanor’s stepfather, it reconfirmed for me just how powerful the story, and especially the writing, of this slim tale of first love truly is.”



Hate List
by Jennifer Brown

Our teen-reviewer Neeka says, “Jennifer Brown’s Hate List speaks to its readers through the accessible mind of Valerie Leftman, who is stunned after her dark, unreadable boyfriend goes on a shooting rampage at their high school. The stakes are life-and-death in this book for the characters contemplating belonging and acceptance. I almost cried at the end.”



Quintana of Charyn
by Melina Marchetta

Lisa says, “The Lumatere Chronicles are some of my favorite, favorite books. They’re all complexly plotted and
thought-provoking with characters you come to love, and hate to leave. Dealing with genocide, revenge, love and hope, they’re not light reads, but they’re the best reads ever!”



Paper Valentine
by Brenna Yovanoff

Katie says, “The serial killer genre is not my usual jam as regular readers may know, but I picked this one up on Kady’s recommendation in January and it stuck with me all year. In addition to the suspenseful plot, it explores socioeconomic dynamics (oh yes, there is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks), friendship (and ghosts), and the strange happenings of a hot hot summer…”



Boxers SaintsBoxers / Saints
by Gene Luen Yang; color by Lark Pien

Lisa says, “These two separate graphic novels should have been published as one back-to-back book, in my opinion. Don’t read one without the other. They’re a brilliant portrayal of China’s Boxer Rebellion from opposite points of view. Should be required reading for all students of Chinese history!”



Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock: a Novel
by Matthew Quick

Pat says, “Yet another book about an angry, lonely, hurt boy who intends to take down the person who hurt him before he kills himself. Sounds bleak, but listen to author Matthew Quick talk about his book and you will hear more about hope. A powerful book by the author of “The Silver Linings Playbook“.”

YouTube Preview Image



More Than This
by Patrick Ness

Librarian M says, “A thrilling allegory about processing trauma. I totally heart Patrick Ness.”

Pat says, “OK, this one is strange, and creepy, and makes you think.  Is there “more than this?”  Did I say it was creepy?”



by Paul Rudnick

Pat says, “After the death of her 400-pound mother, 18-year-old Becky is presented with an offer she can’t refuse–one that takes her from a trailer park to the cover of Vogue. And beyond. A wickedly funny take on our cultural obsession with body image, beauty, brand names, status, and fame. Fans of Libba Bray’s “Beauty Queens” should grab this one.”



Courage Has No Color: the True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers
by Tanya Lee Stone

Maria says, “The story of the Triple Nickles, an African American paratroopers who found success in spite of all the obstacles in front of them. Photographs, interviews, and letters make these guys real and we see their determination to become a cohesive unit become a reality.”


OCD, the Dude and Me: a Novel
by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

Lisa says, “Journal entries, letters to her therapist, and emails tell the humorous story of Danielle’s senior year as she copes with OCD, a social skills class, and her love/less life. I found it funny and eye-opening.”




The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater

Rachel says, “The sequel to “The Raven Boys“ is sultry and twisted, and delves even deeper into the mysterious thread linking Ronan, Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Blue to the magic of Cabeswater.”



Rounding out our top 20, we also loved:


You can read all of our Top 10 lists for 2013 on the TATAL blog.


Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Cecelia Larsen says:

    I just did my best books of 2013 list – some YA, some MG, some adult!

Leave a Reply

We love to know what you think about our news and events. We read all comments, and post a selection of them here on the blog.

We do ask that comments stay on topic - for more guidelines on what we consider appropriate feedback, see our comment policy. If you have concerns or urgent questions that require a response, please email the Library.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.