I declare this week in the name of teenagers!
In case you were not aware, there are some pretty awesome teens out there right now who are writing fabulous and impressive books that you’re going to want to read. So, I decided to devote a week on Glass Cases to some of these wunderkinds, including interviews, discussions, and other fun things.
To start things off, let me share two of my favorite teen writers – who are no longer teens! – S.E. Hinton and Nick McDonell. To me, The Outsiders was the first real YA novel. It was published when the author was only 16 years old, which means she was writing it when she was about 14. At that age, she managed to capture perfectly the pains of adolescence (in boys, no less!) and created some of the most memorable characters of all time in the process. My heart still breaks for Ponyboy. I just want to hug him, and that feeling only intensifies the more times I read it as an adult.
The other author, Nick McDonell, is one I’ve mentioned before back when I read his first novel, Twelve. This was published in 2003 and written when the author was just 17. Again, the depth of his characters and awareness of what is happening in the outside world is so astute in that “beyond-his-years” way that I just could not get over. I definitely wouldn’t call Nick McDonell a YA author, even though his characters are teens/young adults. Rather, Twelve, read more like a 21st century Bright Lights Big City, which to me only made it seem more impressive and his age that much more unbelievable.
Both The Outsiders and Twelve, while very different from each other, also have crossover appeal, which isn’t easy in YA in general, let alone by novels written by teenagers themselves.
I also want to mention the first teen writer I was ever truly inspired by. When I was 14 and at the height of my love of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (OK, so there was no “height” so much as a never-ending devotion that continues to this day), a teen/vampire/romance novel came out called In The Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, who was also 14 at the time. I read about the release of her book in Seventeen magazine and was so excited that someone my own age was not only a published author, but writing about stuff I loved. They just don’t make books like that for teens anymore, unless you count pretty much all of them. Go back and read Amelia Atwater-Rhodes! Like L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries, Night World) and Annette Curtis Klause (The Silver Kiss, Blood and Chocolate) she was a pioneer in this genre that has absolutely exploded.
So, in case you just joined us, we’re talking about books written by teens (note: not necessarily for teens) here on Glass Cases all week! Who are some of your favorite teen writers? And if you are a teen writer, feel free to share your inspirations/what you write in the comments below.
Stay tuned for profiles on Steph Bowe, Kody Keplinger, and Weronika Janczuk!