Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Teen Read Week: My Young Adult Reading List

Here's another query I got from Rochelle Silverio of the UP School of Library and Information Science over at Facebook --

Hi po! I just want to humbly ask on what are your top ten books-to-read for Filipino young adults (local and foreign titles)? I will include them in class. Thank you and hoping for a reply, Coffee Goddess!

She sent me this question a few months back. I deem it appropriate to post it this week for Teen Read Week. I remember sending her a slew of links from this blog on Young Adult (YA) reads I've reviewed over the years. I thought I really did not answer the question so, here goes my post on the matter.

First of all, YA Literature is a name given by American publishers to their line of books for teenagers (13-19 years old). I think this definition for our local YA books, few as they are, will do for now. In the late 80s and early 90s I read Judy Blume, Richard Peck, SE Hinton, Katherine Patterson and a host of romance series for teens like Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High. The local materials I read as a teenager were adult fiction that I found available in my lola's sari-sari store and reading materials swapped from friends. I could not name a Filipino YA writer from my teenage years. Nick Joaquin and Paz Marquez Benitez did not write YA. But, I read their works in freshman college. Laro sa Baga, serialized in Liwayway was an adult material but I read it anyway.

Like Philippine Children's Lit, YA Lit is a young enterprise in the country. We do not have a solid body of work on Philippine YA Lit yet. Back in the 90's, the PBBY espoused the Pilar Perez Award to recognize manuscripts written for Filipino teenagers. While it produced note worthy reads, it did not live long. I surmise that the market was unaware of the reading potential among Filipino teenagers. Perhaps the timing to blaze a trail on a Philippine YA award was not ripe yet. Besides, there exist the economic challenge of publishing a YA novel or novella. During the Ang INK Forum last February, a clamor for chapter  books and YA novel surfaced. In the 2nd ReaderCon last August, participants, especially teachers were in search of books for their high school students. The need was narrowed down to novels and novellas in the vernacular.

So, what to do? In my own little way, responding to Ms. Silverio's query and gathering bibliographic data on YA Lit is a start.

My list begins with JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. These books grow with the reader.  Harry Potter is not perfect and his friends are flawed characters. But they all rise to the occasion to defeat Voldemort. JK Rowling made nerds and geeks look cool by saving the world not with magic wands  but with love and sacrifice.

And the rest are...

Candy Gourlay's Tall Story

John Green's Looking for Alaska

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

Richard Peck's Here Lies the Librarian

Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

Laura Gallego-Garcis's The Legend of the Wandering King

Mary Ann Schaffer'sThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Cornelia Funke's Inkheart

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Game

KUTING's Baget's Anthology

These are recent reads. As a teenager, I read these books. And here are some more - speculative fiction I love to reread! Dear me. This are just fiction books.

There's a long list of non-fiction reads as well!

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