I was recently approached by someone looking for a book recommendation. When I asked what kind of books she liked, she responded, “big, thick, chapter books.” We worked through what she was really looking for and I was able to make some recommendations, but ever since this interaction, I have had page counts on my mind.
Like they did with that patron, longer books seem to make an impact. They are easy to see on a shelf, and working through long books can sometimes feel like an accomplishment. Goodreads values page count by displaying stats on how many pages users have read in a year and highlighting the longest title off to the side. When I read Night by Elie Wiesel, a 109-page non-fiction title, I noticed that the cover of this particular edition had a New York Times quote calling the book “a slim volume of terrifying power.” It may not have been the intention, but this seems like it is justifying the book’s page count. Would that have been necessary if it was 400 pages?
I certainly have nothing against long books (thanks to Goodreads I know that the longest book I have read so far this year had 694 pages), but I do appreciate finding good stories that will not weigh down my purse on my commute. I have compiled a short list of books with 260 or fewer pages* that have been award winners, list makers, and/or simply fun reads.
- Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan: 185 pages (2004 Quick Pick for Reluctant young Adult Readers, 2004 Best Books for Young Adults Top Ten List)
- Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard: 192 pages (2012 Morris Award Finalist)
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: 198 pages (2000 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 2001 Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2000 Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, 2000 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2003 Popular Paperback for Young Adults)
- The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: 211 pages (2012 Alex Award Winner)
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: 216 pages (2012 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobook for Young Adults, 2012 Teens’ Top Ten Nominee)
- Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg: 227 pages (2013 Top Ten Popular Paperback for Young Adults)
- An Abundance of Katherines by John Green: 228 pages (2007 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 2008 Selected Audiobook for Young Adults, 2007 Best Book for Young Adults)
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier: 233 pages (2013 Great Graphic Novel, 2013 Top Ten Popular Paperback for Young Adults)
- Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo: 243 pages (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination, 2013 Morris Award Finalist)
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley: 256 pages (2012 Michael L. Printz Winner, 2012 Morris Award Winner, 2012 Best Fiction for Youngs Adults)
- Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: 257 pages (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Amazing Audiobook for Young Adults)
- Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: 260 pages (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Popular Paperback for Young Adults)
What are your favorite shorter reads?
— Jessica Lind, currently reading Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
* Page counts vary by edition. These numbers are based on physically looking at the book when possible or using Amazon’s listed page count.