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Did you know that the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling were the #1 banned or challenged books from 2000-2009?
Sounds absolutely asinine, doesn’t it? The mere thought of banning or challenging a series that has inspired so many people to read and write makes me angry. But there were some schools and districts that thought Harry Potter had no business being read by students.
The series has also been called inappropriate for children because of the fantasy violence and complex themes. It’s been called to scary and adult for child readers.
I have been following Entertainment Weekly’s quest in finding the best YA novel of all time very closely. I have voted and watched as incredible books were beaten by equally wonderful books and lamented as some of my favorites did not go on to the next round.
And we are now left with the Final Four.
Here’s what has me utterly mind boggled.
How do you choose between To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee which is one of the most profound and beautiful books ever written and The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling which sucked me in and made my imagination run wild, made me want to write. They are both incredible and influential in very different ways. They have both helped to shape and mold young minds and have been wildly popular with both teens and adults.
The second pairing that we have to vote bewteen is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – a wonderful, heartbreaking, and endearing account of the teenage years of one teenager who prefers to sit on the sidelines, vs. The Fault in our Stars by John Green, a tale of teens living their lives their own way instead of letting their illness define them or determine what they can and can’t do. I’ve read both of these books and let me tell you— they are both astounding, well written, and incredibly emotional. While The Fault in Our Stars is the newbie on the list, I have a distinct feeling that it will stand the test of time and be one of those important books that my children and hopefully their children will be able to read and relate to.
Quite honestly, I would be ok with any of these books winning the top spot.
So how did I vote (don’t hate me if you don’t agree)??
To Kill a Mockingbird vs. Harry Potter
I voted Harry Potter because I want to live in this world and stay there forever. The story of Harry Potter enchanted me from the moment I picked the book up. While TKM is one of my favorite books of all time and it brings to light issues that are still important to think about today, it did not hold that magic for me.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower vs. The Fault in our Stars
I voted for John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, not because I don’t love Wallflower, because I do. But there is something in the rawness of the characters that Green has written that makes me feel like I know them. This book is about very ill teenagers who are just trying to live their remaining days with dignity and enjoy the time that they have left. It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, it’s romantic. It has everything I look for in a great novel.
How would you vote???
- What is the best YA novel of all time? The final four (popwatch.ew.com)