If you are a regular visitor here on my blog, then you’ll probably already know I have a love of Young Adult (YA) books. Essentially books aimed for the teenage market, but capable of touching so many no matter the age. YA books are usually defined by the characters being of teenage age, or themes that relate well to the teenage mind. Author and good friend Jack Croxall wrote an engaging article about the definition of YA that i’m sure encompasses it much better than i ever could.
Anyway, i decided to invite fellow YA authors, big and small, to nominate their most loved YA novel and, in their opinion, their favourite YA novel that slipped through the net of commercial success. Split in to two parts, today i welcome three brilliant authors and their nominees. It’s the turn of the ladies first!
Candace Knoebel, author of the Born in Flames trilogy
“Hello! I’ve been writing ever since I was little, but never considered it a career until 2009. Probably due to the amount of boredom that came with my job. I love mexican food-actually, I just plain love food. And I dance when I eat out of sheer elation due to yumminess. I have a love/hate relationship with jogging and weight lifting. Why? Because I live in Florida…yay heat (note the sarcasm). I am obsessed with 30 Seconds to Mars, Tobuscus, and all things mixed media. I love to laugh and make silly music videos with my friends. I also believe in magic.”
My favorite of all time would have to be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I loved the relationship built between Dumbledore and Harry while discovering who Tom Riddle really was.
A YA book that has slipped through the net and is pretty unknown – Wander Dust by Michelle Warren was a great read that I enjoyed. It is a trilogy about time travelers.
Keris Stainton, author of Della Says: OMG!, Jessie Hearts NYC and Emma Hearts LA
“Keris Stainton was born in Canada, and brought up on the Wirral. She now lives in the Ribble Valley with her husband and two young sons, who make her laugh every day. Sometimes intentionally.
As a freelance journalist, Keris has written for publications as diverse as Practical Parenting, Scarlet and The Daily Express, and edited the women’s book site, Trashionista, for two years.
In 2005 she gave up her job as an administrator in Corporate Recovery and Personal Insolvency (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds) to write full time. She is the author of romantic and shiny teen fiction and has been on twitter since it was all fields.”
For my favourite YA novel, I’m going to cheat and choose a series. Let’s pretend it’s just one really long book, ‘kay? The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. I hadn’t read much YA until I started reading these books and they helped me fall madly in love with the genre. Princess books get a bad rap, but The Princess Diaries series is smart, funny, romantic and feminist. And now I want to re-read them all…
For one that has slipped through the net – Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings (and its sequel, Immortal Remains – sorry, I can’t help myself). Genuinely scary (although I am a wuss) and very funny, these books reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No higher praise than that!
Sharon Sant, author of the Sky Song trilogy and Runners
“I was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now live in Stoke-on-Trent with a family of my own. I currently divide my time between working as a freelance editor, holding down a day job, and writing my own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, I can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with my head in a book. Sometimes I pretend to be clever but really love nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles. I’m ridiculously interested in loads of subjects. They say a little knowledge is dangerous and I’m always getting into trouble spouting half-baked facts about something!”
I hate having to choose my favourite books, especially of all time! I just can’t narrow it down. So I hope I’ll be forgiven for cheating and mentioning more than one. My main love is one that is perhaps not strictly YA, but as the protagonist is a young adult, I’m going with it. It’s The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I LOVE this book. I’m always telling people how much I love it. Set in England against World War II, it follows the progress of teenager David, who has just lost his mother to cancer. Shortly afterwards his father meets another woman and a relationship blossoms, one that David finds it hard to accept. What follows seemingly sets up as a tale of familial conflict, but soon takes the reader by complete surprise. Fleeing an argument, David finds himself trapped behind a wall as a plane crashes in his garden and the only escape is a portal to world of every fairy tale he has ever been told by his mother. Be ready with tissues if you read it! My other choices are more obvious. I adore the later Harry Potter novels, from The Prisoner of Azkaban onwards. I also love the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.
I had to think really hard about a book that deserves more attention than it gets. I think a lot of classics get overlooked because people don’t realise that they are, in fact, young adult books, having been written many years before the genre came into being. I’m thinking specifically of books like Peter Pan, which is a big favourite of mine. One book that I did recall reading and being surprised by how much I loved it (my daughter subsequently read it and loved it too) is The Highwayman’s Footsteps by Nicola Morgan. Published in 2006, it takes the Alfred Noyes poem, The Highwayman, as the starting point for a story in which Bess and the Highwayman of the poem have an illegitimate daughter. I loved the premise and how the novel evokes that era so beautifully and it’s a stonking story to boot. If you can get it and you like historical fiction, it’s a must.
And there we have it for Part 1. I think you’ll agree there are some great sounding books there … the only thing is, it means more books to my to-read list! Oh well … books keep the world going round. Stay tuned for part two where i’ll reveal my own two novels to the list, as well as being joined by bestselling authors, Jack Croxall and Marcus Sedgwick.
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