1. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. From the writer of The Book Thief, I picked this book because of the original plot-line. Ed Kennedy is nineteen and already feels like a failure. He works as a cabbie and has a unrequited crush on his best friend Audrey. Everything changes when Ed stops a bank robbery, and soon afterwards the first ace arrives in the mail and he becomes the messenger. Without knowing who's behind his mission, Ed keeps receiving cards that tell him what do next, whether it's simply helping someone or even teaching them a lesson.
2. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I chose this book because it's an honest and humorous look into the life of an smart teenage boy. Craig Gilner goes to a good high school in New York and feels so much pressure to succeed in life. When he feels like he can't take it anymore, someone at a suicide hotline tells him to check himself into the hospital instead of killing himself. There, Craig finally separates himself from the things that bring him stress and looks within himself to find a way to get better.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. A fairly obvious choice, since "I swear we were infinite" is the only thing more quoted in the YA world than "I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." Through letters to a stranger, Charlie tells the story of his life in the school year of 1991. Full of honesty and simplistic truths, Charlie struggles with growing up and finding his place in school. Charlie is a wallflower and prefers to watch from the sidelines instead of getting up to dance. In his letters, he explains how strange and beautiful life is. You can read my review here.
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I'm sure a lot of male fans of John Green won't give this book a chance, but I'm not usually a fan of books with the words "french kiss" in the title and I still loved this book. John Green himself recommended it in this video. A romance book set in Paris, you don't actually have to like romance books to like Anna and the French Kiss. It has great characters and a really believable and well developed central relationship. You can read my review here.here.
here. Like John says, it's thoughtful and romantic, with smart characters. When Hadley misses her flight from JFK to Heathrow for her Dad's wedding, it seems like nothing else could go wrong. But Hadley's perspective changes when she meets Oliver on her flight, a British boy who might be able to change Hadley's cynical conclusions about relationships. You can read my review here.
8. Winter Town by Stephen Emond. Evan and Lucy have been best friends forever, even after Lucy moved to Georgia with her mom after her parents divorced. For the past five years she's spent winter vacation with her dad, but mostly with Evan. When she returns the winter of their senior year, Lucy is clearly different. Not only is she dressed dramatically differently, with black hair and makeup and a nose ring, but she also seems far away and distracted. Have Evan and Lucy grown too far apart to still be friends, or could this winter just be the beginning for them? Stephen Emond also did the illustrations, which are in comic style.
9. The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks by E. Lockhart. While I'm not saying this book is exactly like Looking for Alaska, there are some similarities that could help it appeal to fans of LfA. There's a smart protagonist, pranks and a boarding school. This is the story of Frankie's transformation from overlooked freshmen to pranking mastermind. When Frankie returns from summer holidays as a sophomore and a better looking version of who she was in freshmen year, she begins to date Matthew, who is smart and good looking. When she learns that he is a member of the school's secret society, she poses as the club's leader to orchestrate pranks on the student body. You can read my review here.
10. The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson. It doesn't seem right to leave M.J. off this list. This was the first book I read by Maureen Johnson, and it might be my favourite. Nina Bermudez has been best friends with Avery and Mel for what feels like forever, and they even earned the nicknamed the Bermudez Triangle. When Nina goes to spend the summer at a pre-college program, she comes back to find that things feel a little off between Avery and Mel. When she finds them kissing, everything changes between these three best friends. With Maureen Johnson's typical humour, The Bermudez Triangle looks at three friends as their friendship is put to the test.