Okay, technically the topic this week is ‘books I wish I had read as a child’, but I’m doing teen instead because… these are all YA books, not middle grade. My picks for this week are an odd mix of books I wish had been available for me to read as a teen and books I’ve wanted to read since I was a teen, but for some reason still haven’t. There’s a little bit of a theme running through this list, since most of these books have to do with a)being fat or b)being queer or c)being a feminist.
And now without any further ado, here’s this week’s Top Ten Tuesday!
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 11, 2017
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 15, 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Puddin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 8, 2018
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
It is a companion novel to Dumplin', which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean's star turn in the Clover City pageant.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on February 12, 2013
Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Multiverse
Knowing the outcome doesn't always make a choice easier...
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through... and who she can’t live without.
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on January 23, 2014
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky is torn. Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
Published by Putnam Juvenile on January 13, 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.
To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle — beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family — but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen, Kody Keplinger, Anne Thériault, Shveta Thakrar, Kayla Whaley, Sarah McCarry, Malinda Lo, Ashley Hope Pérez, Nova Ren Suma, Daniel José Older, Wendy Davis, Matt Nathanson, Courtney Summers, Mia DePrince, Alida Nugent, Constance Zaber, Brandy Colbert, Siobhan Vivian, Jessica Luther, Michaela DePrince, Amandla Stenberg, Suzannah Weiss, Erika T. Wurth, Zariya Allen, Risa Rodil, Brenna Clarke Gray, Mikki Kendall, Angie Manfredi, Lily Myers, Becca Sexton, Allison Peyton Steger
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on January 24, 2017
Genres: Non-Fiction, Anthology
LET'S GET THE FEMINIST PARTY STARTED!
Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.
Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. Come on in, turn the pages, and be inspired to find your own path to feminism by the awesome individuals in Here We Are.
Welcome to one of the most life-changing parties around!
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs, Kelly Bastow
Published by Quirk Books on May 12, 2015
Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.
Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
Published by Scholastic Press on June 25, 2019
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Aspec
When a guy named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II texts you, it should be obvious who you're talking to. Except there's two of them (it's a long story), and Haley thinks she's talking to the one she doesn't hate.
A question about a class project rapidly evolves into an all-consuming conversation. Haley finds that Martin is actually willing to listen to her weird facts and unusual obsessions, and Martin feels like Haley is the first person to really see who he is. Haley and Martin might be too awkward to hang out in real life, but over text, they're becoming addicted to each other.
There's just one problem: Haley doesn't know who Martin is. And Martin doesn't know that Haley doesn't know. But they better figure it out fast before their meet-cute becomes an epic meet-disaster . . .
Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
Published by Scholastic Press on October 15, 2019
Genres: YA, Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Aspec
The Lunar Chronicles meets Rook in this queer #OwnVoices science-fantasy novel, perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Sharon Cameron.
A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher's chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog -- donning the moniker Technician -- to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner's tyrannical laws.
Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner's son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father's respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father's elusive affection is worth chasing at all.
Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner's secrets at any cost -- even if it means betraying her own heart.
When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic -- before the Commissioner ends them first.
What books do you wish you had read as a teen? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous week!