YA Authors Pick their Favourite YA Books of All Time

YA Authors Pick their Favourite YA Books of All Time

The Socs’ idea of having a good time is beating up Greasers like Ponyboy. Ponyboy knows what to expect and knows he can count on his brothers and friends – until the night someone takes things too far. The original teenage rebel story.

Ally Carter picks ‘The Outsiders‘ by S. E. Hinton

‘I think my pick would have to be The Outsiders by SE Hinton. Reading this book was what first inspired me to become a writer, and what first made me think it might actually be possible. (I grew up near where the book was set and where the author lives.) Without THE OUTSIDERS I might very well not be an author today.’

Ally Carter writes books about spies, thieves, and teenagers. She is the New York Times Best-selling author of Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, and the popular Gallagher Girls series. She lives in the Midwest where her life is either very ordinary or the best deep-cover legend ever. She’d tell you more, but…well…you know…
Ally Carter’s latest book ‘See How They Run‘ is out now.

Written with the clarity of a boy leaving childhood behind, “The Catcher in the Rye” explores the world with disarming frankness and a warm, affecting charisma.Navigating his way through the challenges of growing up, Holden Caulfield dissects the ‘phony’ aspects of society.

Sally Green picks ‘The Catcher in the Rye‘ by J. D. Salinger

‘Written in the 1940s, Salinger’s portrayal of Holden Caulfield’s loneliness and breakdown is close to perfect. Holden’s voice is beautiful as the wonderfully unreliable, unstable and self-censored narrator – Holden is teenage confusion and loss. The narrative style owes much to Hemingway and also reflects Salinger’s PTSD, so I’m bound to be captivated by it. I first read The Catcher in the Rye in my youth but enjoy it even more now.’

Sally Green lives in north-west England. In 2010 she started writing and hasn’t stopped since. Half Bad is her ground-breaking first novel broke the world record for most foreign language rights sold ahead of publication! The final installment in Sally Green’s Half Bad series – Half Lost – is available to order now.

Tessa is soon caught in a dangerous love triangle where a wrong decision could prove fatal. She will need all her strength to save her brother and stay alive as she learns the chilling truth of what really lurks on London’s streets after dark.

Paige Toon picks ‘The Infernal Devices series‘ by Cassandra Clare

‘I write books about love that is often unrequited, but there are only so many ways you can realistically keep your characters apart. Not so when you write YA fantasy! Suddenly the list is endless. My love for this genre began with Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, but this series by Cassandra Clare really stole my heart. It’s set in Victorian England, so it’s beautifully evocative as well as gripping and heart-wrenching.’

Former Reviews Editor at Heat, Paige Toon is the author of nine adult novels. She has written two YA novels – The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson and I Knew You Were Trouble, the third in the series publishes July 2016. Paige lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband and two children. Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeToonAuthor

As a young dragonlord, Ged, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. A natural magician, Ged becomes an Archmage and helps the High Priestess Tenar escape from the labyrinth of darkness. But as the years pass, true magic and ancient ways are forced to submit to the powers of evil and death.

Taran Matharu picks ‘A Wizard of Earthsea‘ by Ursula Le Guin

‘Before Harry Potter was even written, Ursula Le Guin released a high fantasy novel about a young boy who discovers his budding powers and goes on a journey of self-discovery at the magic school of Roke. This is classic fantasy at its finest, both epic in its scale and dark in its undertones.’

At 22, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write Summoner, taking part in Nanowrimo 2013. Thanks to Wattpad.com its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than 6 months. After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back. Taran’s second book in the Summoner series, The Inquisition, is out now.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as the Ring is entrusted to his care. He must leave his home and make a perilous journey across the realms of Middle-earth to the Crack of Doom, deep inside the territories of the Dark Lord. There he must destroy the Ring forever.

Teri Terry picks ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ by J. R. R. Tolkien

‘My favourite books of all time are Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I read these over and over again from age about 11 and into my teens; I loved getting lost in the detailed worlds and adventure, and was more than a little in love with Legolas. It was my first big literary crush and will always stand out because of that.’

Teri Terry is the internationally award-winning and bestselling author of the Slated trilogy and Mind Games. Her books have been translated into 11 languages and won prizes at home and abroad, and Slated has been optioned for a film by the team behind The King’s Speech. Teri has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England, acquiring 4 degrees, a selection of passports and an unusual name along the way. She now lives in Buckinghamshire. Teri Terry’s ‘Book of Lies‘ is out now

Since the night she was raped by Kellan Turner, the sheriff’s son, Romy refuses to be a victim, but speaking up has cost her everything. No one wants to believe Kellan is not the golden boy they thought he was. But when another girl goes missing, Romy must decide whether the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

Julie Murphy picks ‘All the Rage‘ by Courtney Summers

‘One of my recent favorite young adult books would have to be ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers. It’s an incredibly powerful and timely story that should be required reading for everyone of all ages.’

Julie Murphy is the author of Dumplin’ and Side Effects May Vary. She lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, traveling, or watching deliciously bad scary movies. Her work has been well received by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, VOYA, Booklist, Seventeen Magazine, and Teen Vogue. Film rights to Dumplin’ have been optioned by Disney. Learn more about her at JulieMurphyWrites.com.

Sean Kendrick knows the dangers of entering the Scorpion Races. He races to prove something both to himself and to the horses. Puck Connolly enters the races to save her family. When Sean sees Puck on the beach he doesn’t think she belongs. He doesn’t realize his fate will become entwined in hers.

Ryan Graudin picks ‘The Scorpion Races‘ by Maggie Stiefvater

‘My favorite YA of all time? That’s basically impossible! There are too many to choose from. We’ll just pretend that the Harry Potter series doesn’t exist since obviously that trumps all, every time, so let’s go for The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. This book is the perfect blend of literary writing, misty-island atmosphere and absurd magic that rings true. I’m a rabid fan of all of Stiefvater’s books, but this one is extra special.’

Ryan Graudin was born in Charleston, South Carolina. When she’s not travelling, she’s busy photographing weddings, writing and spending time with her husband and wolf-dog. Visit RyanGraudin.com and follow her on Twitter @ryangraudin. Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf is out now.

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

Estelle Laure picks ‘I’ll Give You the Sun‘ by Jandy Nelson

‘I think my favorite YA of all time (today) is I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Her writing is explosively unique, passionate, free, and this particular book of hers deals in art, affairs, imperfect parents, grief, love, and loyalty, all subjects I’m interested in and affected by. Jandy has a profound and compassionate understanding of the human condition. She isn’t afraid to bleed.’

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshiper who believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her two children. This Raging Light, her debut novel, will be translated widely around the world.

Titus has his “feed” – an internet implant linked directly into his brain – to think for him. It tells him where to party or get the hottest bargains and how to accessorize the mysterious lesions everyone’s been getting lately. But then Titus meets Violet, a girl who challenges everything Titus holds dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed…

Leo Hunt picks ‘Feed‘ by M. T. Anderson

‘M. T. Anderson’s Feed takes place in a near-future America where everyone has the internet connected directly to their brains. At heart a black comedy, the novel concerns the ill-fated romantic relationship between popular boy Titus and outsider Violet, a girl who dares to ask uncomfortable questions about the hyper-capitalist society around them. This is a seriously frightening world where memories can be subpoenaed, dreams contain sponsored messages, and written language itself is disintegrating. A pitch-perfect narrative voice, sly humour, and a heart-breaking ending combine to make this one of my favourite novels for any age group.’

Leo Hunt started writing Thirteen Days of Midnight when he was 19, in his first year at university. He graduated in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree in American Literature and Creative Writing.

The Socs’ idea of having a good time is beating up Greasers like Ponyboy. Ponyboy knows what to expect and knows he can count on his brothers and friends – until the night someone takes things too far. The original teenage rebel story.

Patrice Lawrence picks ‘The Outsiders‘ by S. E. Hinton

‘The YA book that had the most impact on me was S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. Medium town Sussex isn’t the same as small town America, but this tale of loyalties, belonging and brotherhood certainly influenced Orangeboy.’

Patrice Lawrence is a half-Trinidadian writer born in Brighton. Her first published story, Duck, Duck Goose was included in the Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology. Patrice Lawrence’s latest release Orange Boy is available to order today.

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…

Martin Stewart picks ‘Northern Lights‘ by Philip Pullman

‘I read this book a little reluctantly, pressed on me as it was by a friend. I was an adult, after all (just turned twenty-one), and this was a children’s/YA book. But when I read it I was blown away. It is a book about children, not for them, and in that sense it was for everyone. The beauty of the language and the depth of the ideas… I realised that this was what I wanted to write, and in that sense it changed my life. You can’t ask much more than that. ‘

Martin’s time back in the classroom helped him understand the unique joy of writing for younger readers. A native of Glasgow, he enjoys buying books to feed his to-be-read pile, and combining the city’s urban splendour with walks on the beaches of Scotland’s west coast. Riverkeep is his first novel. Follow Martin on Twitter @martinjstewart.

15 yr old Daisy thinks she knows all about love. Now her dad has sent her away for the summer to live in the countryside with cousins she’s never met. There she’ll discover what real love is: something violent, mysterious and wonderful. How will Daisy live then?

Clare Furniss picks ‘How I Live Now‘ by Meg Rosoff

‘This is the book that made me decide to write YA. It’s the voice of spiky, vulnerable, funny Daisy that makes this book so instantly appealing and memorable but there’s much more to it than that. It’s an adventure set against the background of an imagined war in the near future, which disrupts the idyllic, adult-free life that New Yorker Daisy has found with her English cousins. Rosoff uncompromisingly shows the devastating and brutal effects of war. but it’s a love story too. Full of energy and humour and life and emotion while also exploring some pretty dark issues in a thought-provoking way, this is YA at its best.’

Clare Furniss completed an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. Her debut novel, The Year of the Rat, was published in 2014 and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Her latest book, How Not to Disappear is out now.

1939. Nazi Germany. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

Alyssa Sheinmel picks ‘The Book Thief‘ by Markus Zusak

‘There are so many books that are special to me, but here is one example from the bunch: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was one of the first young adult novels that I read as a ‘grown-up’. It meant so much to me because – on top of being a beautiful, powerful and magical novel – it’s one of the books that shows readers all that a ‘young adult’ novel can be. One of the wonderful things about writing YA is that our genre is always changing – there’s no real set definition of what makes a young adult novel. The Book Thief is one of those genre-bending novels, and I love that about it (among many other things!).’

Alyssa Sheinmel is the author of several YA novels including Faceless and Second Star. Alyssa grew up in Northern California and New York. Alyssa now lives and writes in NYC. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaSheinmel or visit her online at AlyssaSheinmel.com.

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…

Amy Alward picks ‘Northern Lights‘ by Philip Pullman

‘I can hardly describe how much these books meant to me as a teen – in particular my first introduction to Pan, Lyra’s daemon. How I longed for my own daemon to be my companion! Beautifully written, moving, adventurous, thoughtful… still my favourite YA read ever.’

Amy Alward is the author of The Potion Diaries and soon-to-be-published sequel, The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour. She is also the editor for bestselling vlogger, Zoella. She is addicted to coffee, books and adventure. Get in touch via Twitter: @amy_alward or Instagram @amyalward

A rebellious New York teenager, having fallen in love with her poetry teacher, plans to rescue him from poverty

Alison Goodman picks ‘Tunes for a Small Harmonica’ by Barbara Wersba

‘I found this book at my local library when I was 13, and I loved it so much that it became my talisman book. I carried it around with me for a whole year; thank goodness for an understanding librarian. The book is set in New York in the mid 1960’s and the main character—J.F. McAllister—is a girl who has decided to “dress like a boy” for the rest of her life. She chain smokes, hides all her raging emotions behind a bad attitude, and accidentally falls in love with her boring English teacher, Harold Murth. The writing is funny and honest and tender and I think there is a little bit of J.F. McAllister—her strength and wit and vulnerability–in every female protagonist that I write.’

Alison Goodman is the New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona, which have been sold into 18 countries and translated into 11 languages. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.