I put a post up a couple months ago about my favorite authors as a kid, and I thought I’d add a continuation of that. So here are ten authors I loved in middle and high school (so around ages 11–17-ish).
10. Stephanie Meyer, author of Twilight
Go ahead, judge. I was an impressionable twelve-year-old when I read Twilight, because I got swept away by peer pressure. I read, theorized about what would happen in Breaking Dawn with my friends, and took sides on the Jacob/Edward debate. I’m not saying I’d like them now, but Meyer’s books did impact my life, which is why she’s here. (Who knows, I might someday reread them just to critique them on this blog. *gulps*)
Reading Level: grades 3–5 / Interest Level: grades 9–12
9. Cassandra Clare, author of The Infernal Devices
Clare is popular thanks to the Mortal Instruments series, but Infernal Devices is the only series of hers I’ve actually finished. Set in Victorian London (an easy way to get me intrigued by something), this story features magic, excellent characters, and an interesting love triangle for once. Clare was definitely a major player in my literary life throughout high school, mostly thanks to this trilogy.
Reading Level: grades 3–5 / Interest Level: grades 9–12
8. Kiera Cass, author of The Selection
This is one of the questionable series I read in high school. Even while reading, it felt like guilty pleasure. I enjoyed it, but… it’s predictable and has a frankly annoying love triangle. However I still found it entertaining (maybe because of the Bachelor-meets-Hunger-Games premise), and I loved several characters. But in terms of quality protagonist/narrators, I’m not sure America fits that label. Still, it’s an entertaining series, especially the first three books.
Reading Level: grades 3–5 / Interest Level: grades 6–8
7. R. A. Salvatore, author of The Legend of Drizzt
I loved Salvatore’s books when I was about sixteen. I was so invested, for about twenty books. Then, I had a falling out with the main character (Drizzt, why were you such an idiot in Neverwinter?!) and haven’t continued. Still, Salvatore did show me how character development could be strong, powerful, and organic over a long time, and his writing style is great. He showed me a marvelous fantasy setting, incredible characters, and enjoyable plots.
Reading Level: ~grade 8 / Interest Level: grades 9–12
6. Christopher Paolini, author of The Inheritance Cycle
Eragon was an influential book for me. My friends and I essentially had a book club dedicated to this series. And despite its flaws (the clichés and especially the pacing, argh), seeing that a young writer could craft a detailed, engaging story and reach such fame was exciting and empowering for a young bookworm like me. Paolini made a memorable series that spawned several inside jokes and lots of book conversations with my friends.
Reading Level: grades 3–8 / Interest Level: grades 9–12
5. Terry Brooks, author of Shannara and Landover
My father and brother told me to read The Sword of Shannara when I was twelve, and I then proceeded to read everything Brooks wrote (except the Star Wars novelization, but it’s Episode 1, so meh). While I can look back and say Shannara can be formulaic, and Brooks depends too much on archetypes, he still gave me solid examples of post-Tolkien fantasy. I’m very fond of his early stuff, particularly Landover and The Word and the Void.
Reading Level: grades 6–8 / Interest Level: grade 6–adult
4. Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games
Yeah, most Americans have read this series, I think. It’s got such a great story, with admirable world-building and a strong narrator. The love triangle, to me, got a bit tiresome (Peeta is the obvious choice, okay?!), but overall Collins wrote a fantastic story. When I first read these, I was delighted to pick out the references to Roman history that Collins made. So props to her for not only telling a good story, but also making it educational!
Reading Level: grades 6–12 / Interest Level: grades 9–12
3. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes
I know this makes me the opposite of special, but I love Sherlock Holmes. He and his Watson are fascinating, brilliant, rightfully beloved characters. Conan Doyle changed the world with them, influencing an entire genre and telling entertaining tales at the same time. I’ll forever adore Holmes and Watson, one of the greatest dynamic duos ever (even if the author himself hated the former), and will always be grateful to Conan Doyle for creating them.
Reading Level: grades 6–12 / Interest Level: grades 6–12
2. J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
Of course Tolkien is here. He is perhaps the most influential fantasy writer. And as a fantasy geek, to omit him would be wrong. His worldbuilding is insane, his characters are fantastic, and his ability to tell a story is impressive. LotR is one of my favorite series of all time, and though I barely survived The Silmarillion (too. many. proper. nouns.), I love Tolkien.
Reading Level: grade 7 / Interest Level: 7–12
1. Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians
I’ve made several posts already praising Riordan. When I read The Lightning Thief in eighth grade, I had no idea I’d still be obsessing over this writer now. Which is a little sad, but I can’t bring myself to care. The way he makes ancient mythology accessible and funny for young audiences, while still being educational and inclusive, is remarkable. I passed a classical mythology class in university because of Rick Riordan.
Reading Level: grades 3–8 / Interest Level: grades 5–8
This actually acts as a nice segway into my plan to reread Percy Jackson soon. Keep on the lookout for those reviews, and thanks for reading!