hello friends. in the middle of an existential crisis? drowning in toilet paper and clorox? stuck at home because of the coronavirus with nothing to do? never fear. i am here with a list of my favorite YA authors.
in no particular order
The queen of YA! The best place to read her books is at the beach, as many of them are “summer novels.” If you read all of them (10+) in one sitting, the structure of her stories may become a bit repetitive; however, she’s not adored without reason. Her writing style is distinct; usually introspective, calm, and detailed, but not exhausting. Her themes are thoughtfully and relevant, and her characters are attentively crafted. Most of her novels are not “heavy,” but some do bring up serious conversations. Dessen’s stories are not “quick bites”; instead, they’re warm cups of hot chocolate to be sipped slowly for the best experience.
Along for the Ride
The Truth about Forever
EMILY WIBBERLY & AUSTIN SIEGMUND-BROKA
A husband-wife writing duo most known for their Shakespeare-inspired YA novels. They’ve only had two published novels (third one forthcoming in 2020), but I’m already impressed. Their stories are quirky, nerdy, and downright cute. The main leads are smart and easily lovable. The boys are sweethearts. Once you’ve reached the end, you’ll find yourself flipping back to the first page to read it again.
Always Never Yours
If I’m Being Honest
One of the best YA authors ever. She’s more known for her historical YA novels, but if you’re not into historical, don’t worry. After you read her books, you will. Her work features strong, brave Asian female leads (accompanied by other diverse, POC characters) with adventures in the open plains of the West, Chinatown of San Francisco, or bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Lee’s writing style is refreshing; her whimsical, witty use of language often takes the reader by surprise.
Under a Painted Sky
Outrun the Moon
The Downstairs Girl
The Secret of a Heart Note (realistic fiction)
Mill’s books are creative and fun. The plots are usually school-centered, and her characters are wonderfully crafted (seriously, she writes some of the nicest boys ever). I’m also constantly impressed by the main lead’s voice—not solely for its slang, but because it’s always unapologetically honest and funny.
A few specific recommendations:
Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren
A strong, talented, fierce hockey player (who’s also a girl) on a boy’s hockey team? Tension between her and her captain? Frenemies to lovers trope? Competitive spirit galore? Yes, please.
On a serious note, I’m not a big sports person, but this book does a fantastic job of balancing the hockey-aspect of the book into the every-day-life component of realistic YA fiction. It’s great. You’ll love it.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Overall, it’s very lighthearted and easy to read. However, there are heavier mentions of inter-generational conflicts and cultural tensions, but I think they make the story more meaningful. The main character demonstrates growth and maturity. This book has it all: travel, adventure, love triangles, cultural/family themes, friendship, and romance—all with a hefty dash of glitter.