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'Harry Potter' tops NPR list of 100 favorite teen novels

August 07, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • The box set of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
The box set of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. (Scholastic Inc. )

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series tops NPR's list of 100 favorite teen novels: That's the entire set of seven books, from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." NPR announced the list Tuesday, voted on by listeners and readers.

The top 10 include fantasies and dramas, science fiction and historical fiction, and most interestingly,  contemporary books and classics. Suzanne Collins'  "The Hunger Games" and its sequels, popularized by the hit film, came in at No. 2, followed immediately by the Harper Lee classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" (which was also a hit film, way back in 1962).

Positions four through nine are dominated by John Green, a 34-year-old Printz Award winner, and J.R.R. Tolkien, who died in 1973 at the age of 81. Green comes in at No. 4 and No. 9, with "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Looking for Alaska," respectively. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is at No. 5 and "Lord of the Rings" series at No. 7.

Rounding out the top 10 are a mix of classic and contemporary writers. J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" (1951) is at No. 6, Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" (1953) at No. 8, and, from 2005, Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief" at No. 10.

The long 100 favorites list includes books that are sweet -- "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman at No. 17 -- and books that are terrifying, such as No. 18, William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." There are bestsellers: "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Ann  Brashares, the Matched series by Ally Condie, Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series. And there are major prize winners -- Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" won the National Book Award, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and M.T. Anderson's "Feed" won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

There are at least three Los Angeles-based authors who made the top 100: Ned Vizzini, with his book "It's Kind of a Funny Story," Ransom Riggs with "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," and Francesca Lia Block, author of the Weetzie Bat series. If you're in L.A. and on the list, please let us know!

More than 75,000 people voted in NPR's poll about young adult books, selecting these top 100 from a master list of 235 semifinalists.

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