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Love Me Some Paperbacks: 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

What isn’t to love about paperbacks? They are easy to bend and squeeze into a backpack or pocket, they’re (relatively) cheap, they’re light and easy to carry … but what do paperbacks really represent? While avoiding a long-winded (and boring) explanation about the publishing industry and paperback distribution, I’ll cut right to the chase: paperbacks are usually books that are fun, popular, and widely accessible — in both format and subject matter. The tiles chosen for YALSA’s 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults definitely hit this mark.

This year’s PPYA list highlights titles that fall into these four categories: Boarding Schools to Summer Camps; Gowns, Greasepaint and Guitars; I’m New Here Myself; and More Books that Won’t Make You Blush. There are 90 (90!) titles in the full list created by YALSA — and even a Top Ten List.

Here are some of my teen patrons’ favorites:

dramaSmile and Drama by Raina Telgemeier. SmileRaina speaks to every readers’ inner awkwardness in these fun graphic novels about the roller-coaster ride through middle school. Both titles are regular hits with my local teens and ‘tweens; in fact, these are your “never on the shelf” type of graphic novels.


beat the bandBeat the Band (Swim the Fly #2) by Don Calame. Coop, always quick to come up with “perfect” plans, decides that in order for him and his friends to get some girls, they need to enter into the Battle of the Bands. One slight problem: none of them play any instruments. This second book in the Swim the Fly series is hilarious; put down whatever it is you are reading and give this series a try. SRSLY. Right now.


heist societyHeist Society by Ally Carter. Katrina can’t help that she comes from a family of criminals. In fact, Kat pulled a major con in order to end up in a boarding school far, far away from them. But when her father is in the cross-hairs for a crime he didn’t commit, it appears that only Kat has the talent to pull off the biggest heist yet to try to save him. This book has it all: adventure, suspense, travel … and a bit of romance.


FireFire by Kristin Cashore. Fire is a human monster, the last of her kind. If that isn’t bad enough, she was also the daughter of infamous Cansrel, who abused the Kingdom with his power to control the previous King and his family. But now war is coming, and the young brothers protecting the land need Fire’s help using her powers over the human mind to interrogate prisoners. Can Fire compromise her aversion to using her monster abilities in order to save her kingdom? Fans of Graceling will eat up this second installment of the Graceling Realm (and be sure to grab Bitterblue after this one!).

— Dena Little, currently reading The Running Dream by Van Draanen (on the PPYA 2013 list!)

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Dena Little