Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teen (Published) Authors

I've been saying to myself for a while that I wanted to research authors who had been published when they were teens.  I knew of a few but some of these are really suprising.  All of the summaries were taken from Amazon.... Take a look!

1. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes --

In the Forests of the Night (Den of Shadows Book 1):

Three-hundred-year-old Risika looks darn good for her age. Thanks to her "blood mother," a vampire named Ather who turned Risika (nee Rachel) into one of the undead back in 1684, she will always look as fresh as a 17-year-old. Now Risika is a world weary night stalker who sleeps in Concord, Massachusetts, by day and prowls New York City by night, in search of fresh blood to slake her inhuman thirst. One of the benefits of living such a long life has been discovering that most of the popular myths about vampires are not true: "Holy water and crosses do not bother me... and silver does not burn me. If someone hammered a stake through my heart, I suppose I would die, but I do not play with humans, stakes or mallets." In fact, there is little in the mortal world that surprises Risika anymore, until she returns from a hunt one night to find a black rose on her pillow--the same flower she was given on the eve of her mortal death. Knowing that the rose is a taunt from Aubrey, a vampire she believes murdered her human brother, Risika decides to confront her nemesis. In a bloody battle with Aubrey, Risika finally unearths her brother's true fate.

While the plot of this vampire tale may not stand out from the fanged masses of the genre, what does stand out is the fact that the author is 14 years old. Teen horror fans of Anne Rice and L.J. Smith will surely want to experience for themselves how In the Forests of the Night stacks up to their favorite adult titles--and will be especially interested in seeing how one of their young peers plies the writing trade.

2. S.E. Hinton --

The Outsiders

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967.

She apparently then became known as "The Voice of the Youth."  (From Amazon): In a wonderful tribute to Hinton's distinguished 30-year writing career, the American Library Association and School Library Journal bestowed upon her their first annual Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors authors whose "book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives."

3. Christopher Paolini --

Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)

Here's a great big fantasy that you can pull over your head like a comfy old sweater and disappear into for a whole weekend. Christopher Paolini began Eragon when he was just 15, and the book shows the influence of Tolkien, of course, but also Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, and perhaps even Wagner in its traditional quest structure and the generally agreed-upon nature of dwarves, elves, dragons, and heroic warfare with magic swords.
Eragon, a young farm boy, finds a marvelous blue stone in a mystical mountain place. Before he can trade it for food to get his family through the hard winter, it hatches a beautiful sapphire-blue dragon, a race thought to be extinct. Eragon bonds with the dragon, and when his family is killed by the marauding Ra'zac, he discovers that he is the last of the Dragon Riders, fated to play a decisive part in the coming war between the human but hidden Varden, dwarves, elves, the diabolical Shades and their neanderthal Urgalls, all pitted against and allied with each other and the evil King Galbatorix. Eragon and his dragon Saphira set out to find their role, growing in magic power and understanding of the complex political situation as they endure perilous travels and sudden battles, dire wounds, capture and escape.
In spite of the engrossing action, this is not a book for the casual fantasy reader. There are 65 names of people, horses, and dragons to be remembered and lots of pseudo-Celtic places, magic words, and phrases in the Ancient Language as well as the speech of the dwarfs and the Urgalls. But the maps and glossaries help, and by the end, readers will be utterly dedicated and eager for the next book, Eldest. 

4. Dan Elconin --

Never After:

There is no place like a dysfunctional home.
Leaving everything behind for the Island was Ricky's dream come true. When his happily ever after is not quite what it seems, he discovers that running away means running toward bigger problems.

Trapped on the Island, Ricky must join together with the only people he can trust to help him face his fears and return home. But the only way off the Island is to confront the person who trapped Ricky and his friends in the first place. With countless enemies and true peril staring them down, Ricky's mission to leave this so-called paradise will become a battle for their very lives.

5. Ned Vizzini --

Be More Chill:

In a novel that could be described as a kinder, gentler version of M.T. Anderson's Feed, young author Ned Vizzini draws on the very recent recollections of his years at Stuyvesant High School to create a witty commentary on the annoying realities of teen social life.

Jeremy Heere is convinced that people are born Cool: "See, because being Cool is obviously the most important thing on earth…It's more important than getting a job, or having a girlfriend, or political power, or money, because all those things are predicated by Coolness." And he hasn't got it. Every day he yearns hopelessly for beautiful Christine. Then, one day he gets a squip--a tiny quantum supercomputer that looks like a little gray capsule and when swallowed becomes a voice in his head instructing him in the ways of Cool. Soon, every gril he admires is his--including Christine. But when the squip turns malevolent in its merciless pursuit of the goal, Jeremy begins to realize that Cool is not as cool as he thought it was.

6. Mary Shelley --

Frankenstein (though she had two other works published before this, and she wrote this when she was 19):

Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven't read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley's masterpiece. As fantasy writer Jane Yolen writes of this (the reviewer's favorite) edition, "The strong black and whites of the main text [illustrations] are dark and brooding, with unremitting shadows and stark contrasts. But the central conversation with the monster--who owes nothing to the overused movie image … but is rather the novel's charnel-house composite--is where [Barry] Moser's illustrations show their greatest power ... The viewer can all but smell the powerful stench of the monster's breath as its words spill out across the page. Strong book-making for one of the world's strongest and most remarkable books."

7. Alexandra Adornetto --

Halo (Halo Trilogy) [this was not the first book she had published.  I think it was the fourth; she got the first one published when she was 13.]

The first in a trilogy, Halo is the story of the angel Bethany, who has been sent with two other angels posing as her older brother and sister to a small town to encourage the human residents to seek a higher purpose and drive back impending evil. But Bethany is a young angel and finds the lure of high school, earthly friends, and the love of a human boy far more temptation than she ever expected. In spite of her youth (she's 18), Adornetto has written a compelling novel of good and evil that will find an audience among girls who can't get enough of otherworldly characters and situations and heart-wrenching romance. The novel suffers a bit from too much teen angst, but the author shows definite promise.

She's more famous for this one because it became a NYT Bestseller.  She definitely writes well, but I didn't enjoy the premise of the story--too much like Twilight, but that's just my opinion.

8. Dave Pilkey --

The Captain Underpants series and The Dumb Bunnies books are among the most famous.  I would've posted just one of them, but he has a LOT of books to his name.

9. Steph Bowe --

Girl Saves Boy:

The first time we met, Jewel Valentine saved my life.

Isn’t it enough having your very own terminal disease, without your mother dying? Or your father dating your Art teacher?

No wonder Sacha Thomas ends up in the lake that Saturday evening…

But the real question is: how does he end up in love with Jewel Valentine?

With the help of quirky teenage prodigies Little Al and True Grisham, Sacha and Jewel have a crazy adventure, with a little lobster emancipation along the way.

But Sacha’s running out of time, and Jewel has secrets of her own.

Girl Saves Boy is a hugely talented debut novel, funny and sad, silly and wise. It’s a story of life, death, love… and garden gnomes.

I actually haven't read this one, but her blog entries are pretty well written.

10. Valerie Gribben --


Written when the author was only sixteen years old, Fairytale takes place in a timeless land of intrigue and danger and tells the coming-of-age story of the resourceful Marianne, a girl engaged to marry a nobleman she has never seen. Her adventures eventually involve a magical dragonfly, a talking frog, and a final showdown between valor and malice.

11.  Flavia Bujor --

The Prophecy of the Stones:

Jade, Amber, and Opal meet for the first time when they are 14 and find that their destinies are inextricably intertwined in some way that they have yet to discover. Each girl possesses a stone that matches her name. These stones have great power and are related to an ancient prophecy about the saving of the Light. The girls embark on a quest to understand their role in life and, in the process, enter the kingdom of Fairytale, where some of the magical beings are good, and some are evil. Another key figure is a knight errant who calls himself the Nameless One, who is also destined to be part of the fulfilling of the Prophecy. This is a long, involved story that often takes on the quality of a B movie. The style is somewhat flat and the voice is very youthful. Characters are constantly explaining situations and history. There is a dependence on magical objects that descend willy-nilly into the story and chance meetings in which the girls and the Nameless One are immediately known and accepted. Dialogue is stiff. While there are some interesting fantastical creatures and plot twists, there are also some very odd elements. Death, for instance, is "on strike" so no one can die. There is a small parallel story of a dying girl in a Paris hospital who has dreams that somehow relate to Jade, Opal, and Amber. The purpose of this device remains fuzzy to the end. Jacket information reveals that the author is 15 years old. While the story is a definite accomplishment for one so young, it is not a polished or mature work of fiction.

Have any of you guys read these novels/works by these authors?  What do you think?  Can you tell it was written by a teen?  Do any of the authors surprise you?

One thing that I would have to say is that these reviews bother me.  Unless the fact that the author is a teenager is crucial to/affects the book (like Flavia Bujor's apparently), then why even mention it?


  1. I have read The Prophecy of the Gems (or Stones). It was good but aimed at younger teen. Flavia was actually 12 when she started writing it. I was pretty surprised to hear that Christopher Paolini started writing Eragon at 15 - I expected him to be much older.

    Thanks for the list!

  2. These people! They put us all to shame :D (12? wow! And 15!). And no problem!

  3. My name is Rebecah McManus, I'm 17 years old and recently had my first novel published called 'Colliding Worlds'. It's available on sites such as Amazon etc. Hope you can check it out sometime :)

  4. I had no idea that Amelia Atwater Rhodes was so young In the Forests of the Night. I have read it, and I could not tell at all. Same with Christopher Paolini. I did know how old he was while reading, but I couldn't tell. I also had no idea about S.E Hinton and The Outsiders. One of my favorites. No clue at all about Mary Shelley but that is awesome! The one that I have heard plenty of but haven't read is Halo's Alexandra Adornetto. Haven't heard the greatest things, but so what? What an amazing accomplishment!


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