Last time you were near the Teen Scene, you may have noticed a “Best YA of 2014” display on one of our book cubes, with a wide variety of books on it. Because of course, with the end of one year and the start of the next, come the “Best Of” lists! And there were many of them, which gives us a large number of books to choose from. Some, like The Carnival at Bray and Gabi, A Girl in Pieces were nominated for the Young Adult Library Services Association “Morris Award” for best YA debut. Others, such as The Tyrant’s Daughter and Poisoned Apples came from lists by journals devoted to reviewing books for libraries and booksellers, like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly. Still others, for instance Althea & Oliver or No One Else Can Have You, appeared in more widely-read sources like Time Magazine. And a select few, like We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, appeared on virtually every list.
So as you can see, we have a huge variety of sources and books to choose from to keep plenty of exciting books in this display. But it got me thinking – why do we love these lists? What is it about the end of the year that requires we make them?
The bulk of it, of course, is just giving credit to wonderful books, and helping us pick out some great reads we might have missed over the year. However, I think there’s another element as well – after all, we know what we like, and we get great recommendations throughout the year, we don’t – strictly speaking – need these lists. But we do love them, and I think that speaks to an inherent human love of categorizing and of debate. We love awards shows, because they give us a chance to see what other people think, to speculate, to agree, to disagree, to feel validated, to feel jilted. Something about the process of making declarations about what is “best,” or ranking things, makes us all examine our own thoughts and preferences – and usually, vociferously defend them!
So stop by our Best of YA display, check a few out if you haven’t read any, and then comment here, tweet to @GEPLTeenScene, or stop by the desk to tell us if you think the books are really worthy of being considered some of the best!