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Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi. Miles and his dad are new to NOLA when Hurricane Katrina hits and father and son must evacuate to the Superdome. Important to class: shows the complexities of father-son relationships. Important to me: reminds/teaches students about Hurricane Katrina and life in NOLA.

Paper Towns by John Green. A group of friends take a road trip on their last day of high school to find a missing classmate.

Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall. Selina is a Barbadian immigrant to NYC whose mother craves the American dream and whose father longs for Barbados. Important to class: Caribbean voices are seldom heard in an English classroom. Important to me: for the above reason.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Mia was in a terrible accident and must piece her life back together bit by bit after the accident, which she has no memory of. Importance to class: speaks to the purpose of life and important priorities in life. Important to me: talks about the fragility and shortness of life; personal connection of a friend in a similar circumstance in high school.

This is an amazing book that leaves you so messed up that you have no idea what to think. It's brilliant!

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. Pat has a theory that everyone gets a "silver-lining" and firmly believe that his is getting back his estranged wife, Nikki. Throughout the book, Pat realizes that maybe life has a different silver lining for him. Important to class: gets at the difficulty of mental illness or psychological disorders. Importance to me: the possibilities that life works out in mysterious ways and we aren't 100% in charge of our futures.

The 21 Best YA Books Of 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I can't get enough of this book right now! The 21 Best YA Books Of 2013

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson find out that he is a demigod son of Poseidon and must fight with his new friends from Camp Half-Blood to save Earth and Olympus. Importance to class: brings Greek mythology to life while showing that dyslexia and ADHD don't hold you back. Importance to me: all of the above reasons, while also discussing other Classical motifs and themes

Slam by Nick Hornby. 16-year-old Sam's ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his baby, forcing Sam to confront fatherhood and the pains of growing up. Important to class: allows for a view of teen pregnancy and how it can dramatically change the lives of teens. Important to me: allows me to connect with a phenomenon I am very unfamiliar with

The 21 Best YA Books Of 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life , Leila Sales | The 21 Best YA Books Of 2013