I don’t know about anyone else, but when someone asks me who my favorite author is, my mind summons a list nearly a meter long. I can give you a list of my favorites broken down by genre, contemporary vs. classic, current vs. all-time, etc. There are some authors that I name more often than others, but I don’t think I could ever name one author as my overall favorite. Because I enjoy them all for different reasons. So today, I thought I’d share five of my current favorites and give you a few reasons why I can’t get enough of their work!
- Adam Silvera – Adam Silvera knows how to mess with my emotions; I mean, his third book, which is set to be published later this year, is titled They Both Die at the End. Just the title has me worried, but I’m also really looking forward to reading the story. Silvera writes with a passion that practically oozes off the page, and he is one of the few authors of YA contemporary novels that I truly enjoy.
- Louise O’Neill – Louise O’Neill speaks to my inner feminist. Her two books, Only Ever Yours and Asking For It, left me angry, sad, and wanting to change the world. She’s not afraid to shy away from socially taboo subjects (e.g., rape culture), and I’m all for authors like her bringing these issues to the forefront. Her book recommendations are also always on point. I follow her on social media and every once in a while she’ll talk about the book she’s currently reading; I’ve picked up a few of them and have yet to be disappointed!
- James Rollins – I was introduced to James Rollins’s Sigma Force series in November of 2016, and since then, I’ve read the first eight novels and two novellas in the series. The thirteenth book is set to be published in December, and I’ve been trying to pace myself, otherwise I’d probably be caught up by now. He always manages to come up with the most intriguing plots, using real historic or scientific findings that leave me questioning everything I thought I knew until the very end of the book.
- Leigh Bardugo – I’ll admit, I was late in joining the Leigh Bardugo fan club. I first read Six of Crows at the beginning of this year, shortly before it’s sequel Crooked Kingdom was published. But this is one of those instances where the phrase “better late than never” fits perfectly. Bardugo’s cast of misfits are perfectly crafted in this duology, and her ability to give each of them a unique voice as they narrate their part of the story is something that most authors would struggle with but Bardugo handles flawlessly. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Grisha Trilogy to read Bardugo’s earlier work!
- Philippa Gregory – When I was in high school, I went through a phase where all I read was historical fiction based in England between the mid-fifteenth century and early seventeenth century. I was particularly fascinated by Tudor England, and Philippa Gregory just happened to have written a few novels featuring the Tudor Court. Recently, a colleague of mine started reading The White Princess because she wanted to watch the Starz mini-series, but she didn’t know anything about the time period. And after giving her a number of history lessons (mostly focused on the Lancaster and York family trees), I decided I might as well read the novel (my colleague had a lot of questions). After reading the entire book in just a few days, I remembered how much I loved reading historical fiction and how wonderful Gregory was at writing it. I’ve already started another of her books, and I’m planning which one I want to read next!
I could go on and on with this list, but Friday’s topic is “Five on Fridays,” so that’s it for my list, for right now. I’ll probably do another one in a few months because my “current favorites” are bound to change as time goes on!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
These days, I feel like when I start a new YA novel, I know what’s going to happen for roughly two-thirds of the story before I’ve even read the first chapter. It’s like every YA author was given a formula for a “successful” novel, and they were told not to stray outside of the equation. And while it wouldn’t be so bad if the novels being published had one or two commonalities (I acknowledge that trends exist in the publishing world), almost every book seems to be spouting some variation of the same, tired plot, and I am officially over it.
So, here are 5 tropes I would like to set fire to and gleefully watch burn until they disappear forever.
- Love Triangles. Ugh. I don’t even think I need to go into detail on this one because almost every YA fan I know is done with love triangles. It seems that 4 out of 5 YA authors use love triangles as the main source of tension and conflict within a novel, even when it doesn’t need to be. Yes, there have been a few series that successfully use love triangles to further the plot, but they are far and few between. More often than not, this overused trope is misused and unnecessary.
- Plain Jane isn’t so plain. Is it just me, or does it seem that most YA novels seem to star an “average” girl, who isn’t actually average at all? And everyone in her life is always commenting about how beautiful she is–and the reader can tell from her description that she is, in fact, gorgeous–but she doesn’t believe it until Hot Guy takes an interest, and she realizes that *gasp* maybe she is beautiful after all. I get that many teenage girls have body issues and tend to nit-pick their appearance, but there are also a ton of kick-ass young women who are confident in their looks. And I’ve known a lot of insecure girls in my day…the interest of one boy isn’t going to so easily convince them of their true beauty.
- The Chosen One. This trope is a favorite of fantasy authors. And, sure, it can be done well, but it’s so common these days that reading the Chosen One’s story can be a bit underwhelming. Yes, there is always going to be something to set the protagonist apart, to make them special, but does it always need to be that fate has thrust them into a role that no other could handle? And how do they always seem to be more adept than those that have trained their entire lives to fight the enemy/dark power/evil force? Supporting characters who have the skills the protagonist lacks shouldn’t be shoved in the background so that the Chosen One can shine almighty; a true leader knows when to utilize the strength of others, and I’d love to see that reflected more in YA novels. I’m tired of the clumsy, awkward protagonist suddenly becoming a ninja warrior in times of crises.
- Trilogies. When did YA authors get together and decide that three was the magic number for YA book series? I would love to go back in time to that meeting and tell them they were making a huge mistake. Sure, there are a few series that managed three books well and some that went beyond the three book mark to great success. But the majority of trilogies I’ve read could’ve been improved by condensing the story down to two novels or even stopping after the first book.
- The Parent Problem. Is there something wrong with a happy, two-parent household? Having a dead parent (or parents), divorced parents, negligent parents, abusive parents, etc. seems to be the only way that YA authors know how to give their young protagonists any real character depth. But, there are other ways to give a main character a tragic backstory or to create some internal struggle. Let’s try something different every once in a while, okay?
Now, do I really want to see these tropes die horrible deaths and never return to the realm of YA fiction? No. As I sort of mentioned above, each of these can be useful to a plot, if handled well, but I hate to see writers rely on these tropes when they aren’t necessary to a story. I want to see authors find unique ways to tell their story: flip cliches, go against what’s “trendy,” fight the status quo. Take what’s old and worn and make it something new and beautiful.