YA through the Decades Challenge

YA through the Decades
January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010

I only started reading YA literature a few years ago and tend to read current books. With the recent release of the Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick, which looks back at teen lit from decades past, I’ve been itching to read some older YA books. So, why not start a reading challenge?

There’s some debate about when YA lit first started. In Michael Cart’s “Naming Names” column from March 15, 2009’s Booklist, he lists The Outsiders (1967), Catcher in the Rye (1951), Seventeenth Summer (1942), Sue Barton Student Nurse (1936) and even Little Women (1868) as contenders for the first book for teen readers. For the purposes of this challenge, though, I’m defining early YA pretty broadly, in that the book should feature a teen point of view and be accessible to young people, even if it wasn’t published for teens.


1. Books should be considered YA or, for older books, should feature a teenaged main character or point of view. Let’s say from roughly ages 12-18.
2. Read at least one book from each decade: 1930s or earlier; 1940s; 1950s; 1960s; 1970s; 1980s; 1990s; 2000s. Re-reads are fine. Check the main challenge page for book ideas for each time period.
3. Sign up either by commenting or signing the Linky at the bottom of the page. You can use the graphic on your blog to promote the challenge if you wish. You can start this challenge at any time during the year.


Post your reading list on your blog!

When you read a book for the challenge, post a review to your blog and comment on the main challenge page, send me a link, or comment on the periodic challenge posts. I will have prizes periodically for a random review!

That’s it! I will be reading my books in chronological order, starting with the oldest. As the host, I will post a mini-overview of the YA literature of the decade along with thoughts on my chosen book. The eight time periods will be spread out over the course of the year. Winners will be chosen for each of these posts.

Here’s a small button you can add to your blog:

Please sign the Linky with your name and blog name. If you are not a blogger, use your name only.

33 thoughts on “YA through the Decades Challenge”

  1. i am on it… this is my first book challenge. it’ll be a good one over the holidays when there’s lots of time to read.

  2. I don’t blog (but read many!). Would love to do this challenge (never done one before). I think it would complement my teacher training that I am starting next year and the grand age of 39. I am looking forward to seeing the Australian titles Marita adds to the list and re-reading some old favourites already listed. Thank you for organising.

  3. This has been sitting in my feed reader for such a long time, my goodness — *but* I am so excited to participate in this one. Yay!

  4. Count me in! I love reading YA, perfect excuse to read some of those older titles that I have been meaning to read for awhile now.

  5. Thanks to all of you for signing up so far! If anyone has book suggestions for particular decades, let me know!

  6. I’ve resolved to stop doing most challenges, but this is a particularly good one. There are lots of wonderful titles from past decades, and they really have to be read because sometimes the covers are not appealing to students!

  7. It looks like I am super late on finding this-but, because of grad school, I have been unknowingly doing the challenge the whole time!!! I am actually five decades done, so I can get this one done by December. So glad I found your site!!!!

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