J.K. Rowling: I have to start with her, because I wouldn’t be reading YA at all if not for Harry Potter. I never imagined that someone my age could ever be captivated by books for kids. It made me open to reading YA when Sandie first introduced the idea to me.
Gayle Forman: From “If I Stay” to “Just One Day” to “I Was Here,” it doesn’t matter, her books always captivate and her characters enthrall.
Stephanie Perkins: Stephanie knows how to write a love story and male protagonists that you can’t help but fall in love with. Not to mention the fact that she’s such a nice, down-to-earth person and you can’t help but love her.
Rainbow Rowell: If she writes it I will read. Eleanor, Park, Levi, and Cath are just four of my favorite characters of all time. Rainbow’s books are amazing and appeal to both teens and adults.
John Green: “The Fault in Our Stars” was truly sublime, but “Looking for Alaska,” and An Abundance of Katherines” are just some of the books by this amazing author. As far as I’m concerned, anyone that can get boys that excited about reading deserves all the accolades in the world.
Sandie’s Picks: I second all of Diana’s and add the following.
Melina Marchetta: I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone who has read this blog more than once. She can really do no wrong in my opinion. I’ve read all of her books except for the middle-grade story about Jonah Griggs’ brother (must do that soon), and I’m always amazed at how beautifully she explores pain, love, loyalty, friendship and the meaning of family in her prose.
Andrew Smith: I’m not going to address the controversy about his “Alex Crow” comments, but I will say that Smith is one of the foremost authors chronicling the coming-of-age of clever, complicated young men. They’re unflinchingly honest and funny and twisted, and you will have a tough time forgetting any single character of story line or book — even if you can’t quite describe them.
Maggie Stiefvater: Even after reading eight of her books, I still marvel at how intricately plotted yet lyrical her stories are; how she manages to be a master wordsmith, a crafter of lush metaphors and snappy dialogue. And the cars! A poet, an artist, a gearhead and a lover of fantasy, Stiefvater is forever going to be on must-read list.
Patrick Ness: His books can be dark and grim and so sad you aren’t sure whether you can finish them without crying breaks. But that his books can make you feel so much is a testament to his skills as a storyteller. Whether it’s Todd and Viola trying to survive Mayor Prentiss, Conor’s dealings with Monster, or one of the best opening lines in YA: “Here is the boy, drowning,” Ness’ characters and writing will stay with you for a long, long time.
Marissa Meyer: I wasn’t going to pick anyone who had written only one series, but I’m making an exception for Meyer, who I feel has done something truly special with her interconnected fairy tale retellings. I hope to read whatever comes next in her authorial career!