I hate best-of book lists. I can never include all the things I want in them, and they give you the impression that number 1 is better than number 10, or that those not on the list aren’t loved as much as those on it. Reading is not a ranked activity: it’s too rich for that.
Nevertheless, thanks to Persnickety Snark, it’s interesting to think of the books that made a big impact on me as a teenager, and so I include these as a beginning, rather than an exhaustive, list (of ten lines, rather than ten books!):
• Second Star to the Right and Hey Dollface by Deborah Hautzig
• Narziss and Goldmund by Herman Hesse
• The Collector and The Magus by John Fowles (even though I still can’t work out what the hell The Magus was about)
• Carrie by Stephen King
• 1984 by George Orwell
• The Little House on the Prairie series (which I re-read every few years even now, and each time find it an enriching experience)
• Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner (why, oh why did Judy have to die?!)
• A Patch of Blue by Elizabeth Kata
• The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
• A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry
It tells you a lot about Australian publishing in the mid 80s that there is only one Australian author on that list. And yes, it’s not strictly YA, all of it, but it’s what floated my boat way back when.