A couple of weeks ago NPR Books posted their summer poll of the year, seeking to identify the greatest teen novels ever from thousands of nominations submitted by readers, winnowed down to 235 reads with the help of panelists from the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, the A.V. Club, and YALSA. Voting to identify the top 100 books closed after 75,000 votes came in. "This level of participation is astonishing and unmatched by any of our previous Top-100 polls," NPR's Cara Philbin says. That's not all that surprising given the widespread, crossover attention to Y.A. that's sprung up with Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight. What is interesting, and bound to be fodder for more discussion, are the choices.
The 235 nominations that readers could pick from—each voter could choose 10 favorites—were controversial to begin with. Some books with passionate followings (say Pride and Prejudice and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) were disqualified from the list for being not really teen, or too adult in theme. Other books (A Wrinkle in Time, for example) were considered too young and left off as well. NPR associate editor Petra Mayer explained some of the hows and whys of which books were cut and which made it in a followup on NPR's pop culture blog; inevitably, people argued there as well.