What makes a book memorable? Its ability to shock, sadden or awaken some sort of emotion? Or, is it the extent to which you see yourself in the characters or the worlds they inhabit?
All these characteristics and then some, judging from the responses we got to the question, "Which young adult books changed your life?"
We posed the question to members of the CNN Digital newsroom to find out which books have stuck with them since adolescence. Is it definitive? No. But what library is? To even things out, we sought input from the millennials in the newsroom, too.
"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott, 1868
It's a classic young adult book from before the young adult section existed in the bookstore (or, before there were even bookstores as we know them?). And it has withstood the test of time. Don't believe us? Consider: The tale of the March sisters' journey from childhood into adulthood was made into a Hollywood movie in 1994, more than 100 years after it was first published.
"Growing up with a single mom and two sisters in a family struggling to make ends meet, 'Little Women' spoke to me in countless ways and remains one of my favorite books to this day," CNN Digital Correspondent Kelly Wallace said.
"Sure, the unmistakable power of women and girls was part of it, but so were the characters, namely Jo March and her relentless and opinionated spirit, her desire to chart a unique path and her sense that she could do something really great when she grew up. I saw a lot of myself in Jo -- or wanted to see a lot of myself in her character. I, too, had big dreams and a sense of doing something really important when I got older. Reading 'Little Women' on my couch in my Brooklyn home during my tween years confirmed it was possible."
"Chronicles of Narnia" C.S. Lewis, 1950 to 1956
Who didn't have a Narnia moment at some point growing up in the latter half of the 20th century? Through seven novels, C.S. Lewis staged battles between good and evil in a magical kingdom of talking animals and nobility, bewitching children of all ages.
"'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' opened my eyes to the idea that a complex alternate world could be imagined in such a detailed way," CNN iReport's Henry Hanks said. "It opened up my imagination and inspired me to seek out other stories of science fiction and fantasy."
The rest of the books in the series proved equally gripping, both within the pages and the images.
"As wonderful and influential as Lewis' first story in the series is, I have always thought 'The Magician's Nephew' was a more exciting story," said CNN Living's Ann Hoevel. "The White Witch -- as flawed and evil as she was -- was one of the most powerful women characters I'd ever read about. Jadis intimidated all the men with her physical strength and beauty and made her desires a reality by sheer force of will. To this day, I'm a sucker for antique rings and origin stories, and it is all this book's fault."
"Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh, 1964
"Harriet Welsch's life looked nothing like mine; I remember looking up 'dumbwaiter' and 'egg cream' in the dictionary, and having a long think about why an 11-year-old might need a nanny," CNN Living's Jamie Gumbrecht said.
"But when I read 'Harriet the Spy' in fifth grade, I was taken by Harriet's habit of wandering, observing and writing. The book inspired a temporary fixation with tomato sandwiches, a still-strong tendency to wear jeans and sweatshirts no matter the weather and maybe a journalism career. It was then, after all, that I first stopped caring what people thought, and just started writing everything down. I've still got my copy of 'Harriet,' and all those ridiculous notebooks."
"A Wrinkle in Time," by Madeleine L'Engle, 1968, and other books in the Time Quintet series
The heroines of Madeleine L'Engle novels taught a generation of girls that being smart could come in handy and that they could be attractive for being smart. Meg Murry O'Keefe, Vicky Austin, Camilla Dickinson and Katherine Forrester love science, poetry and music -- pursuits that sometimes set them at arm's length from their peers, but eventually lead them to fulfilling careers and adventurous, loving lives.
"The heroines are never the pretty, popular girls (though they, too, are drawn in a nuanced way). They're the smart, awkward, introspective and unexpectedly brave young misfits who succeed later in life," Eatocracy's Kat Kinsman said. "While they might suffer some social and emotional punishment for their dedication to their craft, it's trusting in themselves intellectually and artistically that gives them the capacity to love and be loved later in life."
"My notion of a desirable woman, up until that time, consisted of Charlie's Angels and Solid Gold dancers, who all had impossibly long hair and meticulously painted faces. And those ladies had nothing to do with the sorts of stories I found interesting," Ann Hoevel said.
"Fantasy adventures set in exotic lands that relied on a battle of wills or the power of intellectually dependent magic were -- and still are! -- my jam. And usually, it's the men who figure everything out in those kinds of stories, even if a heroine is central to the plot. Meg Murry (and her scientist mom, who was certainly no slouch) changed that. Thank goodness!"
"The Outsiders," by S.E. Hinton, 1967
S.E. Hinton was 15 when she started writing "The Outsiders," about an Oklahoma band of roughneck kids called the Greasers and their battle with the outwardly refined but no less violent Socs from the other side of the tracks. It was the perennial in-group, out-group tale that teens live for, made all the more poignant because Hinton lived it as she wrote it.
"The reason the book works so well is because the story is told through the eyes and heart of Ponyboy Curtis, a sensitive kid on the edge of deciding who he wants to be, who's being swallowed up by a world that threatens to make the choice for him," CNN Living's Melonyce McAfee said.
"I gobbled the book up in a marathon reading after checking it out of the school library in what must have been fifth grade. I identified with the kindhearted and book smart protagonist and his desire to be accepted by the well-healed in-group but still be true to his dirt-poor roots. In Sodapop, Ponyboy, and Darry I saw my own family, and in reading their story I realized that I better start making choices of my own before my origins sealed my destiny."
"Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume, 1970