Yesterday, I gave you my top 5 YA classics at Best of YA! (Part I). Today, I'm giving you my top 11 YA authors who are still blowing minds all over the world. Just realizing how hard it was for me to narrow it down to a silly number like 11 and knowing there's so much out there I haven't gotten around to yet is very, very exciting! So here we go, in no particular order:
I wanted to start off with John Green to really show you you have good options, that it's cool and you can still find YA to read if you're not into the supernatural or the damned. His books are realistic fiction with hints of magical realism here and there. They make you laugh and cry and think and consider and ask questions and feel. A lot of emotions will hit you all at once. He doesn't just have great stories, he himself is great at his craft as well. I myself read The Fault in Our Stars first because I was way too curious about it. Then I read Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines. I'm saving Papertowns for a day when I might really need John's witty and clever writing.
NEIL GAIMANIf you haven't read any Neil Gaiman yet, you're missing out on a lot because he's a treat for children, teens AND adults. Writer of the SANDMAN comics, therefore the lines, "Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." His work is magical, heart-felt; and just like John, he makes you laugh while you feel the tears weld up behind your eyes. Some of my YA favorites of his include Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Neverwhere and Stardust. I'm currently reading Odd and the Frost Giants, and I've recently acquired the audiobook version of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, read by Neil Gaiman (I don't have to say I'm superexcited, do I?)
I heard about Cassandra Clare through Harry Potter. I don't even remember the details right now (and I'm too lazy to look them up), but she was writing HP fiction and then got involved in some sort of a scandal: she was accused of plagiarizing. This whole thing made me even more curious about her and I started on The Mortal Instruments series right away. I do definitely see the similarities of her work to Harry Potter, but I also believe she created a world of her own, and it's an amazing world. She also has a steampunk series, The Infernal Devices.
The woman created the Harry Potter world! I honestly don't think I need to say anything more than that. DO READ the novels or at least watch the movies, people. I've had friends who resisted, saying it was for kids. I've had friends who made fun of me for loving them. But once they read that first book or saw the first movie, they were addicted. I've heard mixed things about her adult novel, Casual Vacancy, but I will eventually read it out of my love and gratitude for the woman who gave me an amazing world to escape to all those years.
JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT
After reading the first 2 books of the Lux series, I'm thinking Armentrout is acutally an alien and definitely knows what she's talking about! Drool-worthy male characters, funny dialogues, a bookworm heroine... She's also the author of the Covenant Series, which I'll be starting ASAP.
Her one and only book so far is The Night Circus. It's been a while since I've read it, but I still haven't reviewed it because I honestly don't know what to say! All the magic and the competition sucks you in from the start, and I cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next.
KAREN THOMPSON WALKER
Another debutante, author of The Age of Miracles. This book was very different from any other YA novels I've read so far. It's rather scary, heart-felt, and way-too-realistic at times. She's another author I'm curiously watching.
Author of The Inheritance Trilogy and Dreamblood series. Haven't gotten around to the Dreamblood series yet, but The Inheritance Trilogy is one of a kind: a kickass heroine, dark and sexy gods...
JODI LYNN ANDERSON
Remember the cute Indian girl from Peter Pan? Anderson's Tiger Lily is her story, and I was absolutely in love with it. I've never ever ever liked Wendy and longed for Peter to end up with Tiger Lily (if not with me, that is). And this book sorta made my dream come true. She's also the author of the famous Peaches series, which is definitely on my to-read list.
Just look at her! Trust me, her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is just as colorful as she. When you read it, you'll think, "This becoming real would make the world a much more magical place."
Author of The Hunger Games, she's already an inspiration to many others. I wasn't too crazy about how the series ended, but I very much enjoyed the ride while getting there. I love how she draws from real life, myth and even current politics. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.