Famous for her romantic novels – including How to Fall In Love and the best-selling P.S. I Love You, which was turned into a movie starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler in 2007 – Cecilia Ahern is turning her focus to the YA audience for the first time in her new book, Flawed.
Flawed – which is out in March this year – is set in a dystopic world where conformity and obedience is everything; protagonist Celestine North appears to live a perfect life, until she breaks a rule and has to deal with the consequences.
Critics are already calling Flawed a beautiful and thought-provoking YA debut.
Yes, that’s right, the same Francesca Simon behind the hugely popular Horrid Henry series is also going to be dipping her toe into the YA waters this year.
Francesca’s first novel for readers aged 12+, The Monstrous Child, is the third book in her Mortal Gods series, and is viewed through the perspective of the mythological Hel. Hel is the goddess of the underworld but, you know, is otherwise just your average teenager. Exploring dysfunctional families with a masterful use of wit, dark comedy and a heroine that female readers will particularly root for, this is one book that we’re really excited about!
Will Hel turn out to be as popular as Henry (for very different reasons, of course)? We’ll let you decide…!
Best-selling novelist James Patterson is largely known for his Alex Cross crime series and has sold more than 300 million books worldwide; but fans of his adult work may not be familiar with his many YA books.
These include the Witch & Wizard series, about magical sibling duo Whit and Wisty Allgood; the Maximum Ride series, about six children who have been bred by scientists to have 2% avian DNA; and the Confessions series, starring 16-year-old amateur detective Tandy Angel. He has even published an illustrated ‘diary fiction’ story for teens, the Homeroom Diaries, in collaboration with Lisa Papafemetriou.
That’s a pretty varied YA back catalogue, it has to be said, so we strongly suggest exploring his YA novels if you haven’t already.
Crime writer and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs is another author mostly known for her adult work. Her novel series centred around forensic anthropologist Temperance “Tempe” Brennan is loosely based on events from her own life, and was adapted into the hit TV series Bones, which Kathy also helped to produce.
On top of all this success, Kathy has also written a YA novels series named Virals, the events of which focus on Tempe’s great-niece Tory Brennan and her gang of friends: Ben, Hiram, Shelton and Cooper the dog. Interestingly, the series was the brainchild of Kathy’s son, Brendan Reichs, who also co-wrote the books.
Playwright, screenwriter, novelist, satirist, essayist; there aren’t many writing professions that Paul Rudnick hasn’t turned his hand to.
But even so, many of his followers were surprised when he announced the publication of YA book It’s All Your Fault.
When asked by the New York Times why he – a 58-year-old writer with no children, and not even a niece or nephew in his family tree – felt compelled to write for teenagers, Paul replied: “I want to write things that will be a relief from the earnest torment of typical YA literature.”
This refers to the usual YA tropes that include idealism, romance, sci-fi and action heroes; instead, Paul wanted to explore current social satire, cyberbullying and social media, and the world of celebrity – topics he thinks todays’ young people really want to read about. Be warned, though: he’s not shy about using the odd expletive.
Michael Chabon published his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, aged just 25; but it is generally considered that his greatest masterpiece was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), which won the Pulitzer prize for Fiction the following year.
His venture into YA fiction, Summerland, was published in 2002 and is a YA fantasy novel about a group of young children who have to save the world from destruction by playing baseball (yes, you read that right!)
Set against the backdrop of American myth and legend, 11-year-old Ethan Feld and Jennifer T. Rideout must embark on a coming-of-age journey, encountering werefoxes, sasquatches, zeppelins and windigos along the way.
Joyce Carol Oates
American author Joyce Carol Oates has published over 50 novels during her career, as well as numerous volumes of poetry and short stories. Her novels have varied drastically from Gothic retellings of American history to realistic fiction and Blonde, a fictionalised account of Marilyn Monroe’s life.
When asked for her thoughts on the YA genre, Joyce said she felt it was “an arena in which to dramatise ethical issues in a manner that would be too obvious or obtrusive for ‘adult fiction’; also, it’s a genre that allows for quite plausible happy endings/positive resolutions.”
Much of American writer and poet Sherman Alexie’s writing draws on his experiences growing up in America with a Native American ancestry, with his best known works including the novel The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), and a collection of short stories entitled Smoke Signals (1998).
But his 2007 novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, was his first foray into YA fiction. When asked why he chose to write a YA book, he said it was “because so many librarians, teachers, and teenagers kept asking me to write one” – a response that we love!
And critics loved his controversial book, too – it won numerous awards, including the US National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007, and featured in the Young Adult Library Services Association’s “Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults 2008” list.
Gillian Flynn’s adult novel Gone Girl made everyone sit up and take notice of her – it was the bestselling hit of summer 2012, was made into an equally successful movie two years later starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and has inspired a number of thrillers since that are usually referred to as ‘the new Gone Girl.’
Following the success of her follow-up novel, Dark Places, Gillian received a deal to write more adult novels – as well as her first YA book.
There is still very little information about it, but she has revealed that it will be along the same mystery-suspense line as her previous works. Watch this space!
And finally, somebody you certainly wouldn’t expect to turn to YA fiction…
OK so he’s not an author as such, but Blink 182 lead singer and songwriter Tom Delonge is such an unexpected name to appear in the YA arena that we had to add him to our list!
His first YA book, Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares, is the first in what’s expected to be a 15-book series.
Tom first introduced us to the character Poet Anderson in the 2014 animated video Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, as well as a series of Dreamwalker comic books; but this is the first full-length story, co-written with novelist Suzanne Young (The Program). It’s a vivid, imaginative and witty fantasy with a dark undertone.