It feels like forever since I fell in love with Stolen and then waited for the beautiful Flyaway so I’m thrilled that Lucy Christopher has a new book, The Killing Woods, out next month. I’m just as excited to have the lovely lady herself here on the blog to tell us her top five teen authors! Over to Lucy!
I can't write this list without a big fat mention to this man. John is a huge influence on my writing. When I was a teenager, John visited our school: he talked about the importance of books for letting young people find a voice and establish their place in the world, he talked to us teenagers as equals...the whole event was more ‘discussion’ than ‘author talk’. Afterwards I became one of his many pen pals. As a published writer, we keep in touch via email now. He even provides some of the endorsements on the cover of my first novel, Stolen (something which I’m extremely proud of). John’s work is gutsy, original and full of great characters. His magnificent Tomorrow series influenced me profoundly, helping me to be a writer with a strong love for the narrative use of wild spaces.
What author for teenagers couldn’t include this great man on this list? Without Cormier, perhaps modern YA would not be as gutsy or profound as it is. Let’s face it: this man took risks. Writing most of his YA novels at a time when YA was not even recognised as a form, Cormier tackled such issues as violence, betrayal, mental illness and abuse. What’s more, his novels often do not end on that ‘element of hope’ most of us see as synonymous with the form of YA. I take my hat off to the guy.
This writer is extraordinary, and another one who takes big risks in the YA form. Her novel Tender Morsels blew my mind away and scattered it into tiny fragments. Lanagan absolutely challenges the conventions of YA fiction: this novel frequently swaps in character perspective and narrative style, as well as containing explicit and challenging dark themes. Don't just take my word for it – Margo Lanagan has been recognised worldwide for her splendid work, picking up the Printz Award as well as being a Printz honouree and being twice winner of the World Fantasy Awards.
This writer does something very important in her writing for teenagers: she writes about matters of the heart. Predominately with girl narrators, Green’s novels are tender and touching. She does not have big action-led plots, rather her novels are quiet and thoughtful containing characters you would love to sit down with for a cup of tea (or a cuddle). Green’s novels are not heart-stopping thrillers, but are full to the brim of heart and love. In my opinion these types of novels are so valuable for developing teens, it saddens me that the quieter, more emotionally led books do not get the media attention that their plot or high concept led counterparts do.
Suzanne Collins/Maggie Stiefvater
I can’t decide between these two, so they are both sharing the spot. I love both these writers for their gutsy, thoughtful heroines. I love them, also, for their strong commitment to putting story at the forefront of their work. No wonder these authors’ words have been optioned for film – their work is consistently powered by wonderful, gripping stories and full up with strong, admirable and intelligent characters. Both of these writers have written novels that I wish I had written, and that is probably the greatest praise of all from one writer to another.
Some really fantastic choices there! I love Julia Green, Suzanne Collins and Maggie Stiefvater as well – amazing authors. Thanks Lucy!