First of all, I'd like to say a huge thank you to Sophie for having me on her blog today! I adore Sophie's blog and I love the idea of Contemp YA month. I'm so pleased to be here and to be writing about a subject that I love!
I would describe myself as a pretty diverse reader; I enjoy paranormals and dystopian fiction. I've been known to read science-fiction and fantasy. I read books for younger readers; I read adult fiction and even the occasional non-fiction book. But, my favourite is by far contemporary YA. I just connect to it emotionally better than anything else and for me that is the deciding factor between books that I love and books that are just all right. And contemporary books are so diverse anyway, there is so much to explore and enjoy! I thought today, I would write just a little bit about some of my favourite contemporary YA authors.
I read Looking For Alibrandi first, and I was awed. Everything Josephine Alibrandi said or did or thought and I believed it, because it felt real and honest. Saving Francesca instantly became one of my favourite ever books because of the sensitive way in which depression is handled and also this wonderful group of friends that is collected together (not to mention the romance!). And then I read Jellicoe Road and that was it. Jellicoe Road is so amazing there doesn't seem to be the words to describe it. I love the vulnerability of Jellicoe Road, the grief, the relationships, the secrets, just everything about it. But if ever there was a book that destroyed me so utterly and completely, it's The Piper's Son, the companion novel to Saving Francesca.
With each book of Melina Marchetta's that I read, I find my heart being broken into teeny tiny little pieces and I will never be the same again.
Sarra Manning - I'd heard of Sarra Manning's name before, but I didn't pick up any of her books until I read her first adult novel, Unsticky. I loved it so much that I went immediately to the library and read what I could. I devoured Let's Get Lost and Guitar Girl within days and luckily it wasn't long until Nobody's Girl was published and that book really cemented my love of her stories. I love the complex romantic relationships in her stories and how feisty and wonderful her female characters are.
Nobody's Girl kept me company during a difficult few days and it made me want to go travelling and meet gorgeous, foreign strangers and fall in love in Paris. I'm dying to read her latest books out in 2012! Get here quicker.
John Green - Hopefully by the time this post is published, I'll have already devoured The Fault in Our Stars, but for now, I'm still patiently (!!) awaiting for my signed book to arrive. I have been a huge nerdfighter since.. forever, really. I love John and Hank's videos and I've sat through them all, despite not getting to them until at least two years in.
I remember hearing a great deal about Looking For Alaska when it came out in America, but I wasn't all that keen on reading it. For some reason, I thought it to be a book about the wilderness .. in Alaska. I'm an idiot. Looking for Alaska turned out to be a very sweet and awkward story. I think the thing I loved the most about Looking for Alaska, and also John Green's books are the great friendships between male characters. There's great bonding and dialogue there. I read An Abundance of Katherines next and found the maths and the nerdiness really put a smile on my face. And Paper Towns was really something worth waiting for, as I'd witnessed through John's videos, his writing process. When I read Paper Towns, I had John's voice in my head because he'd read aloud the first chapter. My favourite of John Green's books though is probably Will Grayson, Will Grayson that he co-wrote with David Levithan. For the amazing characters and that very special ending.
Courtney Summers - Now Courtney Summers, she's amazing. I am absolutely in awe of her and her writing. Her books are so emotional and her characters go through such difficulties and as a reader, I feel like I am sucked into her books so completely that I become her main characters. And in doing so, feel and experience everything that her characters have to deal with.
Picking up Cracked Up To Be was a complete whim on my part. I hadn't heard of the book or the author, but something about it intrigued me. And I remember sprawling on the floor in my computer room reading this book. On the floor, because I couldn't be bothered to get up and sit on a sofa or chair because that would take me away from reading. When I saw she'd published another book, I bought it without even reading the synopsis. It was by Courtney Summers, that's all that mattered. And Some Girls Are was a difficult book to read. There was so much emotion and guilt and heartache that I sobbed. It was one of those ugly and messy cries that take over everything when I read Some Girls Are.
And while her latest, Fall for Anything, wasn't quite as emotionally impactful as Some Girls Are, I still found myself easily falling into this story of grief and asking the difficult questions after a loved one's suicide. Courtney Summers new novel is apparently about zombies, but I hope she'll return after with that with more contemp!
I don't want this post to be miles long, but there are so many wonderful contemp YA authors out there that I love. Phil Earle's books Being Billy and Saving Daisy are incredible and had me crying like a baby. I love Keren David's books, especially When I Was Joe. I was really amazed by I Am the Messenger and also Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak. I adore novels by Keris Stainton and Luisa Plaja and Maureen Johnson. Every time a book comes out by Susane Colasanti or Sarah Dessen or Elizabeth Scott comes out, I do my happy dance. I could happily write forever about my favourite authors, but I shall leave you with this list for now!