I'm sure I've missed a couple out, but this is my top 15 - in a vague order of favourite-ness. Many of these have been read and reread, and some are still on my read-again list.
1. A Solitary Blue - Cynthia Voight. I'm a huge Cynthia Voight fan and The Tillerman Saga is such a favourite. I discovered these when I was in my early teens and love them just as much now as I did then. A Solitary Blue is a side-along novel to The Tillerman Saga and is a beautiful stand-alone novel too. I fell absolutely in love with the protagonist, who is introduced in Dicey's Song, and loved seeing the Tillerman's from his perspective. Utterly beautiful, poignant and absorbing.
2. I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith. When I was introduced to this novel it was a relatively unknown little gem, but has since been elevated to Classic status, and with such good reason. Super funny, the cast of characters are unrivaled in their authenticity and hilarity and the setting (a tumble-down castle) is so divine. This has a movie tie-in which is very sweet too (though of course I'm going to say that the book is better - it really is). A read-reread-read-again-and-again novel. Yep.
3. On The Jellicoe Rd - Melina Marchetta. Melina Marchetta is one of my favourite YA authors, and in my opinion, this is her best. Such a kick-ass protagonist and riveting story, filled with secrets, intrigue and a pretty great romance too. I hear that there's to be a movie for this book soon and I cannot wait!
4. Harry Potter - JK Rowling. I doubt I need to write anything at all about this series. If you haven't read it by now, you probably don't want to (or maybe you are just about to - yuss). I will say this, for those who have contemplated it but thought twice. I took a lot of convincing, the cover and concept did absolutely nothing for me, and even when I started reading I spent the entire first two books trying to convince myself not to give up. Glad I made it past my own preconceptions and the weaker of the novels, because I am a fanatic now. I cannot count how many times I've read this series (including listening to the Stephen Fry audio books - "HI! I'M A GEEK!") and I love it just as much each time. I'm quite proud to announce that I recently converted my younger sister to this series too, woot!
5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor. This was the first recommendation I took from Angela, and since reading it will pretty much read anything that lady recommends me. It took a few chapters to hook me, and then I was way past the point of no return. Utterly addictive stuff. Funny, complex, romantic and heart-stopping. Eagerly awaiting the third in this series...
9. The 10pm Question - Kate De Goldi. Funny and bittersweet. The characters in this story are so lovable, and it sensitively deals with an issue that effects so many of us (self included). I must reread this one because I don't remember all the details, but I do know that it was very easy to read and very hard to put down. A total classic.
10. Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore. This is another Angela recommendation (thank YOU Angela!). I loved the entire trilogy, but this last was my fave. These books are a little scary (for me anyway), but the protagonists are so kick-ass and Cashore has nailed her plot-lines. Each in the series is centred around a different character, and really, they are kind of stand-alone novels in many respects. Love that she created such fierce female protagonists, but also love that Bitterblue shows some vulnerability too. This installment in particular is quite chilling, but super exciting.
11. Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson. I read this a couple of times when I was younger and really loved it. It's kinda happy-sad, and really interesting. The story is centered around a pair of twins, one of whom lives in the shadow of the other, and has to find her place in the world, separate from her sister. It's one of those books that sticks around in your head forever, kinda like a prelude to The Shipping News or something.
13. Divergent - Veronica Roth. I just finished this one, on recommendation by Angela (also recommended by blog reader, Jenn - thanks Jenn! Please recommend any other faves!) and really enjoyed it. Pleasantly melodramatic and a pretty exciting concept for a novel too (a futuristic city divided into five factions, according to personality and aptitude - the protagonist chooses the darkest and most dangerous faction - chaos ensues). This totally filled the gap when I was mourning finishing The Hunger Games for the second time, and I'm willing to bet I will reread these again in a year or two.
14. Feeling Sorry For Celia - Jaclyn Moriarty. I read this in my teen years so I don't remember a great deal about it, but wanted to include it in the list because I know that I really enjoyed it at the time. I do know that the entire story is told in a series of letters, notes, postcards and emails. I have since read the rest of the Ashbury High series, some of which I liked better than others, but I think this was the best of them all, and definitely the funniest. Loves me a comedic YA novel.
15. Withering Tights - Louise Rennison. Speaking of which, Rennison is the super hilarious author who penned the Georgia Nicholson stories (Angus, Thongs, etc). I loved the Georgia books, but the protagonist in Withering Tights is much more likable, and just as funny. Tallulah is a boarder at a performing arts college, which is a really fun set-up for a novel. I *need* to get hold of the sequel to this...
Others of note (mostly for younger readers): Rowen of Rin - Emily Rodda. I own this whole series. LOVE (hate the cover in the above link). The Borrowers - Mary Norton. Same as previous. The Silver Crown - Robert C O'Brian. Exciting and chilling. This Time Of Darkness - H. M. Hoover. AMAZING!! My first introduction to Sci-Fi/Dystopian novels as a pre-teen - would LOVE to get hold of this. River Secrets - Shannon Hale. Via Angela - this was my fave out of the three I've read, now hanging out to read the last.
Next on my reading list:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone final installment - Laini Taylor
Divergent final installment - Veronica Roth
Forest Born - Shannon Hale
Midsummer Tights Dream - Louise Rennison
Enders Game - Orson Scott Card
The Maze Runner series - James Dashner
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine
The Uglies Series - Scott Westerfeld
How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff
Where Things Come Back - John Corey Whaley
Angelfall - Susan Ee
And a bunch of others that I can't remember just now...
For more great recommendations check out this diagram on Upworthy.
So what are you reading next? x