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Hot Topics! Reading List of...
Seney's Literature for Gifted Young Adults

compiled by Dr. Bob Seney
Professor Emeritus in Gifted Studies
Mississippi University for Women

Seney's "Stand!"

Seney states, "When you compare the characteristics of the gifted adolescent, especially the verbal characteristics, the characteristics of books most suited for gifted learners, and the characteristics of young adult literature, you have an almost perfect match. Young Adult (YA) literature is highly appropriate for gifted learners." 

Characteristics of Books for the Gifted Reader:

  1. High level of language and vocabulary.

  2. Have pronunciation guides.

  3. Utilize the full array of literary devices.

  4. Use descriptive words that stimulate strong visual images.

  5. Authors who delight in the use of language and the expression of nuances.

  6. Language patterns and vocabularies from other times and places.

  7. The structure of the book puts the mind to work.

  8. Setting evokes an experience of other lifestyles.

  9. Unresolved problems are presented and the reader must make some conclusions.

Halsted (2009), Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers...

Find Seney's "Top Ten" lists of best all-time YA Literature, as well as annual top ten updates below.  Click each book title for additional details on the book, as well as the ISBN number for inter-library loan.  Books are listed in alphabetical order by author, key to notations is below.

#    Language Alert
*    Situation Alert
e    elementary school
ms  middle school/junior high
hs   high school

Happy Reading!

Top Ten List of "All Time Favorites" 2010 edition

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What Child is This by Caroline Cooney

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Fade by Robert Cormier 

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick 1

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Gathering Blue by Lois Lowery 2

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Dogsong by Gary Paulsen 

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Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson 

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The Van Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant

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Interstellar Pig by William Sleator 

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Welcome to the Ark by Stephanie Tolan 

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A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voight

1 Brian Jacques' Salamandaston was painfully removed in 2010 to make room for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Seney recommends Brian Jacques whole xxx series.
2 Anne McCaffrey’s The Dolphins of Pern was painfully removed in 2002 to make room for Gathering Blue. I love the whole Pern Series. There is a 2003 book in this series written with her son [Dragon’s Kin]. In 2005, Todd McCaffrey wrote his first solo Pern Book: Dragonsblood, and again with his mother, in 2006 Dragon’s Fire and in 2007 Dragon Harper, the sequel to Dragon’s Fire. In 2008, he gave us Dragonheart and this year 2010 Dragongirl. Dropping Dolphins was the first change to the All Time Favorites list in several years.

Other books considered for the All Time Favorites list...

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Gossamer by Lois Lowry

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The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney

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Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

What’s New in Young Adult Literature: 2010

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The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (e, ms)

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There Are No Words by Mary Brown (e/ms)

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The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech (e)

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Deadline by Chris Crutcher (hs) # *

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Ranger’s Apprentice: Book 7 – Erak’s Ransom by John Flanagan (e/ms)

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (e)

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Notes From the Dog by Gary Paulsen (ms)

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The Necromancer: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott (ms/hs)

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Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (ms/hs) #

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Wishworks, Inc. by Stephanie Tolan

What’s New in Young Adult Literature: 2009

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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M. T. Anderson (hs/ms)

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Airman by Eoin Colfer (ms)

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (ms/hs)

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The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo (e)

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Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (hs/ms)

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InkDeath by Cornelia Funke (ms)

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman (hs)

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Savy by Ingrid Law (e)

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Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin (ms)

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Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel (ms)

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The Last Olympian: Book 5 by Rick Riordan (e/ms)

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The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel – Book Two and The Sorceress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel – Book Three by Michael Scott (ms)

What’s New in Young Adult Literature: 2008

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Twisted by Laurie H. Anderson (hs)

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Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer (e)

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The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech (e)

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The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (e)

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The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer (ms/e)

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The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E.L. Konigsberg (e/ms)

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Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (ms/hs)

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The Battle of the Labyrinth: Book 4 by Rick Riordan (ms/e)

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Test by William Sleator (ms)

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Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (ms/e)

Original Top Ten List circa 1986

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Gentlehands by M. E. Kerr

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A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voight

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The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey

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Dead Birds Singing by Bill Talbert

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Interstellar Pig by William Sleator 

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Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson 

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A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond

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Harpist in the Wind by Robin McKillip

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One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox

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Eight Plus One by Robert Cormier

 

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