YALSA names 2017 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

For Immediate Release
Tue, 01/31/2017


Nichole O'Connor

Program Officer

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)


CHICAGO – The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its 2017 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list.  

The list, drawn from 126 official nominations, is presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The complete list of 70 titles, including annotations, can be found at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/popular-paperbacks-young-adults.

This year’s committee produced four lists of titles arranged by the following topics:

  • Biography: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.
    • This selection of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs highlights the struggles young adults face in forming their identities and deciding what kinds of people they want to be.
  • Horror: Better Dead than Unread.
    • The committee's update of the 2011 Chillers and Thrillers list showcases the abundance of horror books for young adults.
  • Living Overseas: Stranger in a Strange Land.
    • This list of young adults living in foreign countries and attempting to navigate new languages supports YALSA's 2016 Teen Read Week's multilingual Read for the Fun of It theme.
  • Mental Health: Invisible Wounds.
    • According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 1 in 5 teens have or will develop a serious mental illness. This list takes a look at how mental health and mental illness is portrayed in books for young adults.

The committee also selected the following titles as its top ten list:

  • Bray, Libba. The Diviners. Hachette/Little, Brown and Co. 2013.
  • Copeland, Misty. Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. Simon and Schuster/Touchstone. 2014.
  • Farish, Terry. The Good Braider. Amazon Children’s Publishing/Skyscape. 2014.
  • Forman, Gayle. Just One Day. Penguin Group/Speak. 2013.
  • Grande, Reyna. The Distance Between Us: A Memoir. Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books/Washington Square Press. 2013.
  • Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places. Random House/Ember. 2016.
  • Oliver, Lauren. Vanishing Girls. HarperCollins/HarperCollins Children’0s Books. 2016.
  • Patel, Sonia. Rani Patel in Full Effect. Cinco Puntos Press. 2016.
  • Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Random House/Pantheon Books. 2004.
  • Yancey, Rick. The Monstrumologist. Simon and Schuster/Saga Press. 2015.

“Our lists this year strive to balance timeless themes with timely issues,” said Chair, Kathleen Breitenbach. “The Biography list supports Common Core Standards, while the Mental Health list shines a light on teens experiencing mental illnesses in themselves or others. Horror is a perennial favorite, and Living Overseas highlights the experiences of teens traveling, immigrating, or resettling in cultures and countries that are not their own. We hope that the books we selected for inclusion on our lists will inform, entertain, challenge, and support young adults for years to come.”

Members of the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee are: Chair Kathleen Breitenbach, Hamilton Township Public Library, Hamilton, NJ; Keri Adams, Johnson Public Library, Hackensack, NJ; Dena Gould, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Rebekka Hanson, Madison Library District, Rexburg, Idaho; Dana Hutchins, Jackson Middle School, San Antonio, TX; Elise Martinez, Zion-Benton Public Library, Zion, IL; Ivy Mason, Seattle, WA; Natalie McCall, Albany Library, Albany, CA; Veronica McKay, Wylie, TX; Deborah Johns Parrott, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee; Patty Ramirez,  Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas; Edwin Rodarte, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Annie Snell, Hayward Public Library, CA; Allie Stevens, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR;  Craig Varley, Alice M. Ward Public Library, Canaan VT; Alana Phelan, administrative assistant, Gloucester City Public Library, Gloucester City, NJ.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.