Saturday, November 3, 2018

Revealing.....the Great American Read Finalist!

Hello, my dear rebels!

Let me first apologize for falling through on my promise for the 100 reviews. There were a couple of reasons. Firstly, I ran into a logistics problem of trying to review eighty or so books that I haven't read before. Second, research into other people's reviews and the citations that were required were taking way too much time.

You see, we here at Rebellious Writing had been monitoring the nationwide survey hosted by PBS known as the Great American Read. From a list of 100 books, readers voted for one book per day.

Along with several beloved classics, we have noticed (with some alarm) that there were several books that have content concerns. Because the survey is popularity-based, we were afraid that it would be skewed towards these bad books. The 100 reviews was going to be a review of each of the books on the list. But by the time I made decent headway on the post, the event was coming to a close. So, I decided to wait until the end, and make a post revealing the Great American Read.

At the same time, I would love to examine how some well-beloved titles from the list of 100 have ranked in this event, both in this post and in later posts. I'll go by category, and in this post, I shall concentrate on the most relevant to Rebellious Writing: the Young Adult genre.

There were a surprising amount of young adult novels that were chosen for America's Top 100 list. I have listed them here, in reverse order of ranking:

97. Ghost by Jason Reynolds
92. Looking by Alaska by John Green
73. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
71. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
66. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
31. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
44. The Giver by Lois Lowry
40. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
37. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
32. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
30. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak
11. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Many of these titles are probably familiar to our readers, but I want to highlight a couple facts about some of the more unfamiliar ones...

  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds, believe it or not, was published in 2016. For a book that is only 2 years old and to be on the Top 100 list....that's insane. 
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon is about an autistic boy who solves a neighborhood crime. 

In a way, I'm very relieved how these ratings turned out. Several of the books that I was concerned about were lower on the list, and a lot of classics rated at the top of the list. 

Speaking of which, are you ready to find out what book made the top of the Great American Read List of 100 novels???? 

Then please, scroll down......













To Kill a Mockingbird

I completely understand why this book was chosen as America's Top Novel. One, it's set in America itself, specifically in the American South. Two, it follows this sort of American story line — an ordinary life in a small world suddenly gets visited by big huge change. Three, the themes present in the novel are still really relevant in today's society as they were in Harper Lee's time. It truly is a timeless classic in American literature.

Apparently, this book never left the top spot in all five months of the Great American Read event. It never even got challenged. Considering that this survey was undertaken by people of multiple ages, sexes, and races/ethnicities, that is saying a lot.

The Top Five Finalists were:

5. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To be honest, Outlander completely surprised me — as I think it did with at least half of the people following this event. All I can say is that there must have been a huge fan base that was following it and pushing it up there. I personally am not going to read it, due to some rather grey morality issues about spouses in multiple time periods.

I wasn't surprised to see Harry Potter up there, but I personally wasn't happy. Knowing that one of America's favorite books has positive references to witchcraft says a lot for our culture, and in my opinion, not a lot of good either. Plus, from what I understand, there is some abuse concerns in there as well (dysfunctional families, etc.). Collectively, RW has not supported Harry Potter due to these concerns.

As a huge fan of both of these books, I was ecstatic to see Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice up there in the Top Five. I mean, how can you not be? There is a large American fan base for each of those books, and, what's better, both are superbly clean.

In the future, I hope to give more commentary on these and other books that were featured in the Great American Read event. In the meantime, for those who wish to check out the official book list and the rankings thereof, please click this link HERE.

It's your turn! Did you follow the Great American Read? Do you agree or disagree that To Kill A Mockingbird should have won? Which book from the 100 Novel list is your favorite? I'd love to discuss (just please keep it civil)

Keep fighting the fight, fellow Rebels!


  1. Yep, I can definitely see why TKAM made #1. When my class read it for school, I don’t remember thinking that it was the GREATEST BOOK OF ALL TIME, but it was pretty good.

    And ACK LORD OF THE RINGS MADE #5!!! It completely deserves it. (Personally, I feel it should have been #1, but that’s just me. XD)

    1. To be honest, Nicole, I thought the same thing. I didn't mind it in school, but it wasn't one that I was particularly enthused about.

      ME TOO - then again, it competes with about 10 others for me, LOL. But it definitely deserved to be in the top five (wish it had beaten Harry Potter....)

  2. Even though my favorite book was on the list (and it was 11 ;)) I am super happy that this won! It is really an American classic!!! And such a wonderful story!

    I am very surprised about Outlander, I did not expect that at all! If only The Chronicles of Narnia could have been in the top 5... but I'm happy that it is in the top 10!!

    1. There were so many favorites on this list, LOL. I was hoping Anne would at least make the top ten....but I will agree that TKAM deserved to win.

      ME TOO - especially since it's one of those books that is based on a TV show (one that I didn't think was THAT popular....).

  3. I love the Giver, and Narnia, and Anne Of Green Gables so much! I also really loved TKAM. It was a moving story that has never left me ;d I wouldn't say it's my favorite of all the books on the list, but I think it's a great representation for American literature!

    Very well done post!

    1. I couldn't agree more! I've never read The Giver, but I also love Narnia and Anne :)

      Thank you Keturah!

  4. Lotr and P&P! And Narnia! Overall, it looks like the Great American Read did pretty well. (Even if those three are 0% to do with America... ;P)

    I'm glad to see The Outsiders there, too. I think nearly everyone should read it - and S.E. Hinton was 18 when she wrote it, which is inspiring!
    - Jem Jones

    1. LOL, true...funny how foreign novels always seem to be American classics heehee.

      Crazy right? It is inspiring to see a teen author become successful :)

  5. It makes sense that To Kill a Mockingbird is the finalist--it truly is a great book!

  6. aw yes, I love To Kill a Mockingbird! it's such an amazing + heartbreaking book. and I love that Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, + Pride and Prejudice were on the top five! although all are British lit, xD.

    ohhh, it's interesting that "Looking for Alaska" is on the list. x_x that's disappointing. ;)

    1. Heehee, yesssss we Americans love stealing British Lit, it seems.

      There were a looooooottttt of disappointing books on the list that really shouldn't have been on there. But that's a topic for another post.