Any one who’s spent any length of time with me (or read my “What I’m Currently Reading” lists) will know that I have a um, weakness, for young adult literature. Inspired by an absolutely horrific pile of essays from my twelfth graders this weekend, I dove happily back into my youth. The result, in no particular order-
Suzie’s Top Five Teen Authors
(… for girls.)
To clarify- this is not a list based on literary merit, but rather a combination of the amount of enjoyment I got out of them, and the amount of enjoyment I believe the average fifteen year old girl would get out of them.
1. Meaghan McCaffrey– The Smart One. Author of the Jessica Darling series, introduced to me by Kate (who you can also blame for this blog). Probably the best teen series I can think of- it’s a blast following JD from sophmore year of high school to her young pro years. The only drawback is the raging liberal agenda, she says, writing to you from the bluest of the blue states. It can grate a little, although if you’re getting to the political state of your teenage years (or are just out of college and bored) it works. Definitely for older teens.
2. Sarah Dessen– has a soft, melancholy vibe that can be a little irritating if you’re out of both your teenage years and your sad corner (I think I left my black nail polish there, can you grab it for me?). However, Someone Like You is freakin’ brilliant. The events could easily fall into melodrama, but Dessen paints an understated portrait of what love is and isn’t. More importantly, she leaves you with a sense that this isn’t the end of the road- a rarity in a genre targeted towards people who’re the center of the universe (I really like this genre). It was turned into a horrific movie starring Mandy Moore, but don’t let that throw you.
3. Robin Benway– Reading Robin Benway’s books (particularly her debut novel Audrey, Wait!) is like drinking Pepsi at your best friend’s house after school- unpretentious, surprisingly hilarious, memory making- I’ve taken this metaphor as far as it’s gonna go- better stop – caught in- dashes—– Anyway. The lady’s got class and talent, and she’s ridiculously fun. Audrey, Wait! follows a particularly chill character through a particularly unchill time in her life (paparazzi!), and we’re lucky enough to enjoy the ride. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June isn’t quite as strong, but I love to see an author move out of her comfort zone.
4. Sarra Manning– apparently moved into writing grown-up books for a few years after being disgusted by the dystopian/vampire/generally angry teen books flooding the market. I read one of her grown-up books. I didn’t like it. I do, however, love her YA stuff, in particular Guitar Girl. Her characters are decidedly human, if supernaturally talented. There’s not a lot of learning and growing to do with these books, but there’s a heck of a lot of rom com, and her newest book appears to be in the same vein. Read when you want to feel optimistic (or to cheer up after Sarah Dessen).
5. Suzanne Collins– the woman wrote The Hunger Games and so wins a spot on this list forever. Katniss Everdeen is the greatest female protagonist of the 21st century (so far). She’s also written a delightful series for younger readers, but deliciously smart and compelling Hunger Games Trilogy is what she’ll be remembered for. Read them.
That’s all. Like, happy reading!