Growing up, I was never far from a book (okay, fine, that still applies today). As an avid reader, I decided to look back on some classic and iconic childhood/ teen authors from way back when that were always a bookfair shelf favorite, and see if these authors of throwback YA gems have anything comparable to read today.
Back in the elementary-middle school heyday, it seemed like every preteen girl was clamoring to be a member of the the Pretty Committee. Or fine, we’d settle for just reading about it…
If you remember The Clique series by Lisi Harrison, check out her recent novel for adults Dirty Book Club. It’s as juicy and interesting as we used to think about the Pretty Committee’s lives and the YA novels they were included in, but with these new adult characters navigating their careers, relationships, lives, and of course, friendship read on as the four girls bond together during a passed-down book club reading some scandalous books. So bring along your GLU squad (Girls Like Us, obvi) and read on about this new group of besties.
In terms of YA books, John Green seemingly wrote the majority of my teenage reading list. *cough cough, The Fault in Our Stars* Did I spend more high school days reading his novels or crying because of them? Debatable. In 2017, he released his latest novel Turtles All the Way Down. In an emotional story, teen Aza and her best friend pursue a dangerous mystery while trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and a good detective.
I’d be remiss not to include J.K. Rowling in this list. I mean, what child didn’t pick up at least one Harry Potter book? Following up her successful wizarding franchise, Rowling released her first adult novel Casual Vacancy in 2012, followed by crime novels The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil.
One of the very first books I read as a young child was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, followed shortly by his other works. Penguin Random House imprint created a new imprint to dedicate itself to this acclaimed and beloved children’s author. To celebrate the new imprint, the publisher announced three new titles for 2018 releases: Calm with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle’s Book of Many Things, and Happy Birthday from the Very Hungry Caterpillar. These releases coincide with the 50th anniversary for The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
In terms of spooky books we devoured growing up, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series was second to none. In addition to still writing Goosebumps books, Stine wrote several books in the Fear Street series, and in 2018, announced a new graphic novel series for middle-grade readers.
For fans of The Baby-Sitter’s Club, this fall, Ann M. Martin released The Baby-Sitter’s Club Retro Set, a box set with this first six books that will bring so much nostalgia to your bookshelf. The collectors’ edition features the books with its original covers, and it’ll be almost as if you’re back in school hiding these books in your desk.
If you remember reading the entire Lemony Snicket Series of Unforunate Events franchise (penned by Daniel Handler), you can relive the three siblings’ tale as they meet Count Olaf and go on all sorts of adventures in the so far multi-season Netflix series adaptation.
It’s been 10 years since we first met Katniss, Peeta, and Gale in the dystopian YA series The Hunger Games, and um, I may still have strong feelings about how it played out. To celebrate its anniversary, a special commemorative version of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins hit bookstore shelves Oct. 30 with new covers and additional content. I’m just hoping this new content won’t screw up my Team Peeta-loving heart.
Another dystopian YA novel we devoured growing up was the Uglies series. Author Scott Westerfeld announced a new book in the Uglies series recently, titled Imposters, which brings new characters and a new heroine to the Uglies universe.
Author of the classic novel, Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo has several new books coming out this fall: A picture book Good Rosie! she created with artist Harry Bliss; Louisiana’s Way Home, which is a companion to her novel Raymie Nightingale; and an additional third book that is due out in early 2019.
Acclaimed author of The Giver and Number the Stars, Lois Lowry stayed busy since the release of the now-classic novel, including a special anniversary edition of the novel with added content, released earlier this fall. In 2016, Lowry published her memoir Looking Back, an updated edition of her previous autobiography. Also in that year, she published Gooney Bird Greene, a three-book collection of children’s stories young readers are sure to enjoy.
Can you dig it? Author of Holes and Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Louis Sachar continued to write stories for young readers. In 2017, he published his most recent novel, Fuzzy Mud, charting the story of fifth grader Tamaya and seventh grader Marshall caught up in an unexpected mystery and investigation that could affect the future of the world.
Judy Blume was practically a requirement for any preteen back in the day. From the Fudge books, Freckle Juice, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, and many, many more, I used to devour as many Judy Blume reads as I possibly could. In 2015, Blume released her latest novel for adults, In the Unlikely Event, that tells the moving story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers whose lives are altered by unexpected events. Following the release of her 2015 novel, Blume co-founded the Books & Books @The Studios of Key West, a locally-owned, nonprofit, independent bookstore in Key West. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to take a trip down south to scout out some new reads…
You cannot get any more quintessential YA without talking about Meg Cabot‘s The Princess Diaries series. The beloved royalty YA author has continued to create numerous YA and children’s titles, including a new graphic novel about DC’s Black Canary in the upcoming graphic novel Black Canary: Ignite, coming October 2019, as well as a middle-grade series that bring new readers to Genovia with a new princess coming of age, and the adult novel The Boy is Back in 2016. Seems like the crown still fits.
The author behind the Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan, is certainly keeping busy with several new releases in 2018, including The Burning Man from his Trials of Apollo series, The Magnus Chase Coloring Book, The Lightning Thief Illustrated Edition, and running his own Rick Riordan Presents imprint.
Growing up, I always loved books featuring strong female heroines that could save the day and weren’t precious damsels in need of rescuing, which is why when I discovered author Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, beginning with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, I was hooked by the group of girls studying and training at a top-secret spy school. Always here for strong females. This summer, Carter released an exclusive audiobook prequel about what happened when these friends first met and started at this new school. Listening to the novella took me back to childhood and made me nostalgic for all the days I spent curled up wishing I could be attending a spy school as a badass girl instead of my ordinary life at public school.
As a teenage girl, I lived for Sarah Dessen’s realistic YA fiction worlds and read them all the time, over and over again. Her latest novel Once and For All dropped in June 2017 and proudly sits on my bookshelf, reminding me of all the happiness that YA books always brought me since childhood. With this latest story, her classic style showcases first and lost love, and second chances.
Back in elementary school, everyone read Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series about time-traveling siblings Jack and Annie as they went to new and exciting places, teaching us all a little more about history in the process. In their latest mission, Hurricane Heroes in Texas, Jack and Annie go to Galveston, Texas in 1900 where their help and magic help rescue a town in danger.
The acclaimed author of Bud, Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis, brought his signature style, humor, and heart to January 2018’s The Journey of Little Charlie. The latest novel tells the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history’s cruel evils.
Stephen Chbosky created the classic high school coming-of-age The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which we couldn’t put down in between intense high school classes. His second book, Imaginary Friend, is due out this fall, described by Grand Central Publishing as literary horror.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lengthy shopping list to attend to…