The Bitch Magazine blog has awesomely posted this list of 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader. When I saw this post it immediately jumped out at me because I am a book fiend and also wished that I had known about a list such as this one when I was reading YA fiction.
Some of my favorite YA fiction books are on the list, here are a few:
All American Girl by Meg Cabot. I loved this and its sequel Ready or Not. I was a big Meg Cabot fan, and the heroine of AAG and RoN, Samantha Madison, is a lot less neurotic than Mia Thermopolis of The Princess Diaries (another favorite series). I would love to see this made into a movie (as long as Disney didn't take the helm, as they made a cute but watered down version of The Princess Diaries) because Samantha is a really great female character who's smart and funny and not hugely typical.
Uhhhhhh. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom was my life in 6th grade. I read this book over and over. If you have not read anything by Judy Bloom, you are sorely missing out. She sort of defined the teen novel experience. And was really honest about puberty, masturbation, family problems (etc) in her books in a really great and honest way, instead of a hokey lame way. I'm actually thinking about re-reading this sometime soon because it's such a classic and I loved it so much when I was 12.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was my favorite book from probably 1999 to 2003, which is a pretty long time. And it's still one of my favorite books and I do actually re-read it about once a year (I can read it in one sitting, as I am not 9 anymore). Ella is a fantastic character and the whole book is just great... and it's a really interesting take on the classic Cinderella story. Again, like the movie version of The Princess Diaries, the movie took huge creative liberties and really does not resemble the book very much, other than the basic concept. It's amusing, but the book is a lot better. When I was a counselor to 10-11 year old girls a couple years ago I read to them from Ella Enchanted every night and they all agreed that the book was a lot better. (Side note: hard to read aloud. There are a lot of made-up languages.)