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8 Must-Read Young Adult/Middle Grade Authors, Part 2

03/15/2014 11:20 am 11:20:19 | Updated May 15, 2014

Doesn't this title look familiar? A few months ago, I wrote the same article as you are (hopefully) about to read. After reviewing the list I made numerous times, I immediately regretted not adding other authors. Thus, Part 2.

1. Robyn Schneider
The Beginning of Everything is definitely on my top 10 list for my favorite novels of all time. (Don't worry -- the classics are on there too.) Ezra Faulkner used to have it all -- the popularity, tennis team title and girlfriend. Now, after a car accident, Ezra is left with nothing more than a couple of broken bones and no friends. Instead, he finds himself with the "misfits" of his school. Schneider does two things I admire: retain a youthful voice, and evoke the concept of what goes around comes around. (You may get this joke if you read the novel. If not, read the novel, and then come back to this article.) This author is one to keep an eye out for.

2. Lauren Oliver
Dystopian novels are usually not my go-to, but Lauren Oliver is my exception. Her first novel (not dystopian), Before I Fall, proves that even on the verge of death, you can still change your life for the better. Her Delirium trilogy (dystopian) deals with the idea of love being a disease, and with it, you are the bane of the society (in this case Portland, Oregon). Each book is told in a different perspective -- through past and present, and also the narration of other characters. Oliver's beautiful writing is reflected throughout all of her novels. Panic makes it's debut this month. I'm confident that it will be as prestigious as her other titles.

3. Kathleen Hale
Hale's first novel, No One Else Can Have You, is perhaps the most hilarious novel I have read in a long time. (Although, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare does come in at a close second.) It's the journey of Kippy Bushman, and her friend Ruth Fried. At the beginning of the novel, Ruth has just died in the most gruesome way possible -- out in the cornfield, hanging like a scarecrow. Now, it's up to Kippy to figure out who killed Ruth, since the police won't. Along the way, Kippy makes new and unlikely friends. Hale perfectly balances action, humor and the real world through her first novel. (P.S. She's hilarious on Twitter.)

4. Ron Koertge
Stoner and Spaz is an in-depth look at a teen that has cerebral palsy. Ben Bancroft is a well-to-do boy, who is obsessed with movies. Along comes (not Polly) Colleen, who is a complete 180 from Ben. An unlikely friendship (more like friends with benefits) forms between the two of them. When they are first acquainted, Ben's life changes for the better. Colleen challenges him to throw away all that he knows, and think for himself. Stoner and Spaz is just one of Koertge's many novels. Did I mention he's also a poet?

5. Ned Vizzini
If you haven't read anything by this author, you might as well be living under a rock. Get out from underneath the rock. With every book written by Vizzini, he is able to not only maintain a believable teenage voice, but also create a poignant story. With each novel, Vizzini promotes the reader to think, and place themselves into the main character's situation. I found myself relating with Craig in It's Kind of a Funny Story, and Perry in The Other Normals. Please, for the sake of humanity, read Ned Vizzini's work.

6. Todd Strasser
This author has written both young adult and middle grade novels. Published in the early 2000's, he wrote an intriguing novel about gun violence via newspaper articles, studies, etc in Give a Boy a Gun. Over the past few years, Strasser sent chills up and down readers spines with his "thrillogy": Wish You Were Dead, Blood on my Hands, Kill You Last. As a (huge) fan, I can tell you that whether you read a MG or YA novel written by Strasser, you'll be guaranteed a great book.

7. Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
If you're going to college in the immediate future, or are in college, Roomies is your next read. (Aside from text books. That comes first.) Two girls from across the country communicate through email, as they have been assigned as roommates. Each has their own unique stories to tell, and both share a universal fear about whether or not they will like each other. Both authors conduct realistic voices, which is truly a quality trait of the novel. In short, this novel was perfect.

8. T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper
I want to close with these two authors. Last month, their collaborative novel, Changers Book One: Drew was published. These two authors have invested their time into We Are Changers, which is an empathy based project. Everyone should read this, regardless of age. The book discusses important topics about growing into your skin (literally and physically), and gender identity. Teenagers especially will have a connection with Drew, as she figures out the burning question on most people's mind: Who am I? I truly enjoyed reading this novel, and look forward to the next three. Go get a copy of this right now.