2016 Best Books Lists


via Flickr: Kydriashka

It’s Best Books season again, and we will be tracking the lists over the next few weeks to see which titles have been selected as exemplary books for teens and young adults!

My goal — 30 Best Books lists from diverse and reputable sources across media — journals, magazines, newspapers, libraries, blogs, book sites, etc. Challenge: accepted!

Over the holiday break I will be aggregating them into my final best books lists, similar to this post from December 2015: Best YA Books of 2015.

School Library Journal – Best Books 2016

Library JournalBest Books 2016: Top 10 (Adult Fiction / Nonfiction)

Booklist – Editors’ Choice 2016: Adult Books / Adult Books for Young Adults / Books For Youth (January 2017 ?)

Kirkus ReviewsBest of 2016: Fiction / Nonfiction / Teen

Horn Book – Horn Book Fanfare 2016

Publishers WeeklyBest Books 2016

New York Public LibraryBest Books for Teens 2016

Chicago Public Library – CPL Best of the Best Books 2016

TimeTop 10 YA and Children’s Books / Top 10 Novels / Top 10 Nonfiction

Entertainment Weekly – 10 Best (And 5 Worst!) Books of 2015 / 7 Amazing Books For Teens (December 10th?)

New York TimesThe 10 Best Books of 2016100 Notable Books of 2016 and Notable Children’s Books of 2016

The Boston GlobeThe Best Books of 2016

The Washington PostThe 10 Best Books of 2016 and Best Children’s and YA Books of 2016

The Wall Street Journal – Best Books Compilation

The Seattle TimesCritics’ Best Books of 2016 (Adult Fiction / Nonfiction)

The Los Angeles Times – Holiday books: 170 titles to give and to get / Hottest Books for Young Adults

The GuardianBest Books of 2016 / Best Children’s Books of 2016

The TelegraphThe Best YA Books of 2016

AmazonThe Best Books of 2016 / Best Books of the Year: Young Adult

Barnes & Noble – Best Books of 2015 / Books That Started A Conversation / Best Teen Books

BNTeen BlogThe Best Young Adult Books of 2015

NPR’s Book ConciergeBest Books of 2015

GoodreadsBest Books of 2015 (Goodreads Choice Awards)

The Slate Book Review – Laura Miller’s 10 Favorite Books of 2015 and Katy Waldman’s 10 Favorite Books of 2015

Forever Young Adult – FYA Faves: Best Books of 2015 (29 Titles)

Book RiotBest of 2015 (Biography / Comics / Fantasy / Fiction / Nonfiction / Romance / Science Fiction / Short Stories / Thriller / Young Adult)

BookPageBest Children’s and Teens Books 2015

Buzzfeed24 Best Fiction Books of 2015 | 16 Of The Best YA Books of 2015

The Huffington PostThe 18 Best Fiction Books of 2015 | Top 10 YA Books of 2015

PopCrush10 Best YA Books of 2015 (plus 4 honorable mentions)

Brooklyn MagazineBest of the Best Books Lists

SLJ’s Best Books for Teens 2016

best-books-2016The editors of School Library Journal have announced their picks for the Best Books of 2016, including YA Fiction, Nonfiction and Adult Books 4 Teens. Check out the lists below for featured titles — books already in the library collection link to our catalog; the others are on their way!


Ashes (The Seeds of America Trilogy, Book 3) by Laurie Halse Anderson — As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down.

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry — In mid-thirteenth century Provence, Dolssa de Stigata is a fervently religious girl who feels the call to preach, condemned by the Inquisition as an “unnatural woman,” and hunted by the Dominican Friar Lucien who fears a resurgence of the Albigensian heresy.

The Reader by Traci Chee — Set in a world where reading is unheard of, Sefia makes use of a mysterious object to track down who kidnapped her aunt Nin and what really happened the night her father was murdered.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle — Teenaged Quinn, an aspiring screenwriter, copes with his sister’s death while his best friend forces him back out into the world to face his reality.

The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge — On an island off the south coast of Victorian England, fourteen-year-old Faith investigates the mysterious death of her father, who was involved in a scandal, and discovers a tree that feeds upon lies and gives those who eat its fruit visions of truth.

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson — Abducted by aliens periodically throughout his youth, Henry Denton is informed by his erstwhile captors that they will end the world in 144 days unless he stops them by deciding that humanity is worth saving.

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King — A talented 16-year-old artist slowly discovers the history of domestic violence behind why her brother left the family years earlier and why she suddenly cannot make art.

Character, Driven by David Lubar — In his last year of high school, seventeen-year-old virgin Cliff Sparks has to figure out what to do with his life, including how to meet new girl Jillian and how to deal with old issues with his unemployed father.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis — Three years after her sister’s murderer walked free and Alex Craft skillfully achieves her vengeance without detection, she begins to form a friendship with the preacher’s daughter and draws the attention of popular Jack Fisher, until the dark side of Alex finds its way out.

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina — During the summer of 1977 when New York City is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, seventeen-year-old Nora must also face her family’s financial woes, her father’s absence, and her brother’s growing violence.

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill —  A powerful story about the devastating effects of rape and public shaming, told through the awful experience of a young woman whose life is changed forever by an act of violence.

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys — As World War II draws to a close, refugees try to escape the war’s final dangers, only to find themselves aboard a ship with a target on its hull

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, Book 1) by Neil Shusterman — In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed by professional reapers called scythes. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) by Maggie Stiefvater — Not believing in true love, Blue never thought the warning that she will cause her true love’s death would be a problem, but as her life is entangled in the world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley — Agoraphobic sixteen-year-old Solomon has not left his house in three years, but Lisa is determined to change that–and to write a scholarship-winning essay based on the results.


Sabotage: The Mission To Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb — Bascomb delivers another nail-biting work of nonfiction for young adults in this incredible true story of spies and survival.

Vietnam: A History of the War by Russell Freedman — An account of the Vietnam War describing how it began, why it was so difficult to end, and how its tragic legacy endures today.

Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America by Gail Jarrow — Acclaimed author and scientific expert Gail Jarrow brings the history of a medical mystery to life in vivid and exciting detail for young readers, including photographs and drawings, a glossary, a timeline, further resources, an author’s note, and source notes.

March: Book Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin with art by Nate Powell — In this stunning conclusion to the March trilogy, Congressman John Lewis, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller — In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892 murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden.

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner — This real-life saga reads like a novel, but is the true story of Minamoto Yoshitsune, the greatest samurai in Japanese history, whose daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.

Adult Books 4 Teens


New Nonfiction, Part 2

newbooksgraphicThe recent book flood continues, with all of the new books I’ve wanted to add to the library collection since June finally making it to the New Books shelves!

Here’s a look at some of the new nonfiction titles we’ve added to the collection covering Social IssuesScience and Self-Help. Follow the links for more information, including reviews, availability and previews:

Social Issues

American Girls: Social Media And The Secret Lives Of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales — Explores the changes in the way teenage girls are growing up in America, discussing the new norms, from extreme behaviors to lack of basic communication skills. “A compelling read for teens and those who work with them, giving voice to those who might not be heard otherwise” (Library Journal).

Being Jazz: My Life As A (Transgender Teen) by Jazz Jennings — Teen advocate and trailblazer Jazz Jennings — named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens” of the year by Time — shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths. “Her story is an important addition to the slender but growing body of transgender literature and belongs in every library” (Booklist starred review).

A Different Kind Of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid From The Taliban In Plain Sight by Maria Toorpakai with Katharine Holstein — Maria Toorpakai hails from Pakistan’s violently oppressive northwest tribal region, where the idea of women playing sports is considered haram-un-Islamic – forbidden – and girls rarely leave their homes. But she did, passing as a boy in order to play the sports she loved, thus becoming a lightning rod of freedom in her country’s fierce battle over women’s rights. “With clarity and captivating sincerity, Toorpakai illuminates the struggles of living under the threat of violence simply because she dreamed of becoming her own champion” (Booklist).

Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes Are Gaining Their Rightful Place In Sports by Cyd Zeigler – Zeigler, cofounder of the online magazine Outsports, tells the story of how sports have transformed for LGBT athletes, diving into key moments and issues that have shaped sports for LGBT people today. “Well researched, timely, and provocative, Zeigler’s book provides readers with candid personal accounts of the struggles and triumphs of LGBT athletes across a wide spectrum of the sports world” (Booklist).

Feminism: Reinventing The F Word by Nadia Abushanab Higgins — While most people believe in equal rights, the word feminism–America’s new F-word–makes people uncomfortable. Explore the history of US feminism and learn from modern leaders what it means to be a feminist–and why some criticize it. “This informative, impeccably researched investigation of the history of feminism will do more than fill a collection gap-it firmly emphasizes that feminism and feminist are not dirty words” (School Library Journal).

Grunt: The Curious Science Of Humans At War by Mary Roach – Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries–panic, exhaustion, heat, noise–and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. “A must-read for fans of Roach and for those who relish learning about the secret histories of everyday things” (Library Journal).

Ordinarily Well: The Case For Antidepressants by Peter D. Kramer — Do antidepressants work, or are they glorified dummy pills? How can we tell? Psychiatrist and author Peter D. Kramer examines the growing controversy about the popular medications. “Aimed at those who may be doubtful about antidepressants but open to a different scientific perspective, Kramer’s interpretation of the research on antidepressant drug effects is worthy of consideration” (Library Journal).

Reproductive Rights: Who Decides? by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein – Examines reproductive rights through a historical lens, from early history’s methods for family planning to the introduction of the Pill in the 1960s and the Roe v Wade decision of the 1970s, to contemporary legal and societal battlegrounds. “Well written and impeccably researched, this volume will appeal to budding activists and feminists and to those concerned about human rights” (School Library Journal).

What Is Anxiety Disorder? by Carla Mooney — Experts estimate that as many as 40 million American adults experience anxiety disorder in a given year, making it the most common mental illness in the United States. This book examines what this disorder is, what causes it, what it is like to live with it, and how or whether it can be treated or cured. “A list of chapter notes, organizations, and sources round up the reference credentials of the book, which will be of value to student researchers” (Booklist).


Dead Zones: Why Earth’s Waters Are Losing Oxygen by Carol Hand — Currently the world has more than 400 identified dead zones – aquatic regions of low oxygen. The good news is that people can eliminate dead zones by changing agricultural practices and reducing pollution. Using real-world examples, this book looks at the impact of pollution on global water resources, and discusses the interconnectedness of ecosystems and organisms. “A significant overview for serious eco-activists or any students interested in our planet’s oceans and waterways” (School Library Journal).

The Ebola Epidemic: The Fight, The Future by Connie Goldsmith — Ebola has riveted–and terrified–the world. Since December 2013, the virus has killed more than eleven thousand people in West Africa. Hear from Ebola survivors and learn what experts say about this devastating disease. “A solid, valuable look at a still-mysterious illness and a tumultuous time in recent history” (Booklist).

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee — Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. “This highly accessible and thoughtful volume on a cornerstone of modern biology will have broad appeal” (Library Journal).

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren — An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science, a moving portrait of a longtime friendship, and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world. “This title should be required reading for all budding scientists, especially young women. However, being a scientist is not essential in order to savor Jahren’s stories and reflections on living as well as fossil plant life” (Library Journal).

Wildlife Of The World, by DK editors — Spectacular portrait-style photography brings you “face-to-face” with individual animals in up-close and engrossing profiles on how the animals interact with their environments, mate, survive, and even play. “Like a classic children’s treasury book, this lavish work is an ideal option for researchers and browsers alike” (School Library Journal).


How To Like Yourself: A Teen’s Guide To Quieting Your Inner Critic & Building Lasting Self-Esteem by Cheryl M. Bradshaw — Don’t let your inner critic get in the way of being confident! How to Like Yourself offers a quirky, inspiring, and practical guide to help you overcome feelings of self-criticism, improve self-esteem, and be the true star in your life. “A solid text with good advice overall” (School Library Journal).

It’s Not A Perfect World, But I’ll Take It: 50 Life Lesssons For Teens Like Me Who Are Kind Of (You Know) Autistic by Jennifer Rose — Jennifer Rose is autistic. She’s also a college student who loves reading, writes fan fiction, and wants to be on TV someday. This is her uplifting guide to life, explainin how you can be different and still connect with others, how to deal with tough realities, and how to celebrate happy times. “Easy to digest and life-affirming, Rose’s honest narrative will resonate with readers” (School Library Journal).

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths Of Introverts by Susan Cain with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz — Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves. This adapted young readers’ edition empowers introverted kids and teens. “Many will find value in this title that emphasizes that being an introvert is not a blemish on one’s personality but a benefit” (School Library Journal).

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide To Public Speaking by Chris Anderson — Since taking over TED in the early 2000s, Chris Anderson has shown how carefully crafted short talks can be the key to unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, spreading knowledge, and promoting a shared dream. This book explains how the miracle of powerful public speaking is achieved, and equips you to give it your best shot. “An invaluable guide to effective presentations, and catnip for all the TED fans out there” (Publishers Weekly).