Over the past few years, we've seen a lot of YA controversies: Is the drinking in this book appropriate for young adult readers? What's the deal with these adult readers of YA? Should Rebecca wear the red dress or the blue dress to the prom? Should she go with the dark faerie or the newly-made-vampire geek boy?
YA authors are very prolific. Some of them write two or even three books a year, so the idea that I could come up with the ten best books of the decade seemed ludicrous. Also, many of the best--and most of the successful--YA books come in series.
So, I decided instead to list eight authors, certainly some of my favorites, who have shaped the world and language of YA over the past ten years. They are provocative, prolific, and inspiring. Some of them are rich with awards, others with fans, others with cash. The trait they all share is that they are influential. We get many advance review copies of YA books at our house, and these are the authors that most of them are trying to emulate in one way or another.
Here they are in approximate chronological order (based on when they published their first YA books):
1. M.T. Anderson
primary contributions: writing YA books that adults take seriously; influencing multiple YA subgenres: vampire, romantic comedy, dystopian, and historical.
Thirsty (1997, his vampire novel)
Burger Wuss (1999)
Feed (2002, L.A. Times Book Prize winner and finalist for National Book Award)
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party (2006, winner of the National Book Award)
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II: The Kingdom of the Waves (2008, Michael L. Printz Honor from YALSA)
paved the way for: Scott Westerfeld, John Green, Stephenie Meyer, and basically everyone else who aspires to literary YA fiction