Crowdsourcing The Essentials: Young Adult

(Previously: noir!)

Okay, this is a big one.

Big category. Not really a genre (though some have debated it is, I’d argue it’s an age range).

Young adult fiction.

No subgenres in particular.

But I want to know: what do you consider to be the most essential reads for anyone looking to pick up a young adult book? And further, what (for you) makes a young adult book? What is YA?

So, drop to the comments, and discuss. Oh, and list your top three essential YA reads, too!

(related: 25 Things You Should Know About Young Adult Fiction)