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Must Reads for the YA Writer?

I'm pretty new to writing YA. In fact, I'm very new to it. I'm also new to reading YA.

You're probably wondering what the heck I'm doing trying to write YA when I have hardly read it or written it. Good question. Well, it first started when a close friend suggested my writing suited YA better than adult. Then I read a few YA books and decided it seemed like a heck of a lot more fun than what I was doing.

So here we are.

My question for you now, is: What, in your opinion, are the "must reads" for the aspiring YA writer? What books should someone interested in writing YA have under their belt and in their brain before considering themselves even somewhat qualified to write YA?

I know some people are naturally talented enough to pull this off without an impressive compendium of books in their brain, but for the rest of us... please advise.

(By the way, I'm also just looking for some awesome reading material to add to my need-to-read list.)

8 comments:

  1. Well, on the chick-lit side of the puzzle, you'll probably want to catch the Twilight series, followed by Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series. And beyond that, make sure you read John Green. (this from someone who doesn't actually write YA)

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  2. I read "Twilight" and loved it, and I'm buying "New Moon" on my next trip to the book store. I'll check out these others, thanks!

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  3. I agree with brittanimae on Meg Cabot! Any YA writer, at least one who's interested in writing chick-lit, should probably check out at least the first Princess Diaries book and one of her stand alones.

    E. Lockhart is also awesome. Her books are awesome and funny and great for girls, but they're also sharp and smart. THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, her newest, is a great example of this, but so are her other books.

    Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl books are also good and rather popular. The first book has been on the paperback New York Times List for twelve weeks, I think.

    In YA romance, Tina Ferraro's two books are great.

    THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher is amazing. And don't be fooled by all my other recommendations. This isn't a girly book, and it's not really a light book either. It's just an overall awesome book, really.

    Hope I helped at least a little! It's hard, though, to declare any particular books must reads for the YA writer, since there are so many different styles, voices, even genres encompassing YA.

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  4. Thanks for all the suggestions, Meggy!

    Right now I primarily write fantasy, but I read a variety of genres. Since I've been having so much fun reading it, I'm interested in possibly branching into chicklit too. Suggestions in any genre are welcome.

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  5. Gotta disagree about Thirteen Reasons Why...didn't love it.

    I dare anyone to argue that THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER isn't an absolute necessity. Even if you don't like it, you have to know it. It is the epitome of modern YA lit and people will ask you about it. They will.

    On my side of the YA tracks, I'd also say:

    SMACK
    John Green (listen to Brit)
    THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS (not edgy, still great)
    BE MORE CHILL

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  6. Thanks Hannah! I was hoping for some edgy suggestions from you.

    I have "The Year of Secret Assignments" already in my queue.

    I'll check out these others!

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  7. Can I just second all of these? Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, John Green, and E. Lockhart are all my automatic YA buys.

    Add to that:

    -Maureen Johnson (really funny, well-written YA Romance)
    -Marcus Zusak (literary YA)
    -Libba Bray (Her Great & Terrible Beauty series is just as big a sensation as the Twilight Series, but historical and more classically written.)

    Oh! And if you are interested in YA Fantasy...definitely check out Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. It's a really well-written, clever concept and he's just a great author. He's amazing.

    I am so jealous that you have all these books in front of you! You will definitely have to let us know what you think of the ones you end up reading.

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  8. Thank you for all the great suggestions, Mary!

    I've already read Uglies and Pretties by Westerfeld and just started Specials.

    I'll add the rest of your suggestions to my growing list.

    I'm incredibly excited about all these books! Yay!

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