Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday January 25th, 2015 TBPL’s Young Adult Reads of 2014

Thunder Bay’s YA readers loved to read series in 2014. Just as in 2013, the majority of titles with the highest circulation numbers were series installments. Dystopias have slowed in popularity in some circles, but here we continue to be invested in the end of the world. Rick Yancey’s science fiction alien invasion thriller, The Fifth Wave, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series, and the romantic dystopia series The Selection by Kiera Cass all ranked highly on the yearly stats. 

Media and movies had a huge impact on what was being signed out as well, and many of the books in our top ten have received the big-screen treatment, including Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. Whether the movie was well-done or popular doesn’t seem to be very significant in terms of its popularity – City of Bones, which came out last year, was not well received by either critics or audiences, but Cassandra Clare’s books set in that world continue to be very popular here in Thunder Bay.

As in previous years, John Green’s book The Fault in our Stars was hugely popular, as were his older titles. Paper Towns, another of his novels, is being adapted into a movie in 2015, so I expect his popularity to continue at least through the next year. Personally, I was happy to see The Book Thief by Markus Zusak landing on TBPL’s high circulating list, just as it has every year since I started working here (in 2010). This Young Adult book cannot be oversold – if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, you really should. Most of the highest circulating titles were published prior to 2014, but a couple 2014 titles did appear lower down on the list: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

Thunder Bay readers didn’t really find a breakout hit this year. No new titles were anywhere near as popular as the top circulating stalwarts, and some 2014 Young Adult titles that received lots of acclaim and attention online were hardly checked out at TBPL. Why not add one of these underrated hidden gems to your reading list?

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is an intense, deeply felt novel. Dealing with themes of love, grief, artistry, and family, this contemporary book features twin siblings and uses multiple viewpoints to explore their relationship and history. This book appeared on several best of 2014 lists, including Booklist and School Library Journal, and shares elements with Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour is a contemporary LGBTQ coming of age story and romance. This thoughtful and emotional read is set in Hollywood and realistically depicts privilege and loss. Recommended for fans of realistic romance, especially readers of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti. 

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is one of those many books about the end of the world, but manages to be quite unique in its execution. Darkly funny with echoes of B-movie horror films, this mature YA novel is best suited to older teenagers and was recognized as one of the best books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. For another black humour tinged science fiction book about an unusual end of the world, try Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle.

For even more suggestions and my personal best of year thoughts, including Most Misleading YA Cover, Favourite Series Installment, and Best Tagline, visit the teen blog at

Laura Prinselaar

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