Thursday, January 28, 2010

Everything Else Thursday: Influential YA Authors

A couple of hours ago, I read that J.D. Salinger had died and I confess, though I never met the man, I teared up. Though he only wrote a few books in his life, the ones he wrote helped meld the way that I think, the way that I write and the way that I teach. In fact, a semester doesn't go by when I don't talk about his work-- and about him to my students, even when I'm not teaching American Lit. To this day, my favorite anti-hero is his most famous character (Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye) and the American Lit. professor in me truly believes that The Catcher in the Rye is the greatest American novel ever written. I am so very sad to know that Salinger's brilliant mind and voice are gone from this world forever ...

Because I consider Salinger to be one of the most influential YA authors of all time, I find that writing about him as a segue into my next topic makes perfect sense. A couple of days ago a friend, knowing about my recent obsession with all things Young Adult, sent me this link to a blog that talks about the most influential YA authors of the last decade:

There are some very familiar names on it (Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame and Christopher Paolini of the Eragon trilogy, plus Meg Cabot of the Princess Diaries and many other things as well) but there are also some names on the list that surprised me a little.

Which made me realize how different everyone's perception is about the books they read-- and the authors they like. For me, an influential YA list of the last decade wouldn't be complete without Simone Elkeles or Melissa Marr, but neither of them made the long list, let alone the short one. Does that mean I discount this blogger's list-- of course not. It just brings home how many brilliant YA authors there are out there and how grateful I am to have a chance to be one in the next decade of the 21st century.

Anyway, for those of you who follow this blog, are any of you YA readers? Or do you have younger siblings or children who are? If so, what YA auhors do you/they like?


  1. I'm still new to the YA scene but I'm definitely hooked. I've read most Sara Dessen's books, some Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Scott and Kate Brian. My two favorite YA books are Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and Gone Too Far by Jennifer Echols.

  2. I realise I haven't read a single author on this blogger's list... Of course I'm 31 and above all I'm a romance reader. I guess we all have different perception.

  3. For someone who loves to read but hated most books chosen by the school board, Catcher In the Rye was a breath of fresh air in English class. Thanks for the nod to J.D.

  4. Emmanuelle, Simone Elkeles is fabulous, isn't she? Her early stuff isn't romance perse (no HEA for the H/h) but she's a lovely, lovely writer. I really like Sara Dessen as well, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, and the authors of Beautiful Creatures (whose names I can't remember at this point) are beautifully talented.

  5. Mary, there you are! I was worried about you-- glad you're back! And yes, J.D. was a breath of fresh air in my junior year English class. When I taught high school I worked really hard to have a strong, interesting curriculum for my students filled with diverse, fascinating authors and still he stood out. He will be sorely missed.