16 in ’16: Read a Young Author

by Danielle

I managed to volunteer for the hardest of all the Reading Resolutions 16 in ‘16 categories: Read an Author Under 30. Now this doesn’t just mean authors born in 1986 or later (like Jazz Jennings), but any author who published their first book by 30 (so Stephen King’s Carrie is included).  I probably don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to find books either by young authors, or books written by well-established authors when they were younger. Not everyone is willing to divulge their age. But rest assured, I spent many weeks doing the dirty work for you.

Much to my surprise, there is a lot out there. The teen section is bursting with books written by teenagers themselves. SE Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was 16. Kody Keplinger wrote The Duff when she was 17 and in the last six years (she’s now 23 if you’re keeping track) has written five other teen books including Run, Midsummer’s Nightmare, Lying Out Loud, Shut Out, and Secrets & Lies. In 2002 Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon, a fantasy novel about dragons, when he was 15. He self-published it, and by chance Carl Hiaasen discovered it and it was later acquired by a major publisher. Three other books in the Inheritance Cycle were all released before he hit 30. div

Plenty of well-established Young Adult authors published their first novel in their 20’s. Looking for Alaska, the Printz winner by John Green was published when he was 28. Sarah Dessen’s That Summer, Keeping The Moon, and Someone Like You were all released before she turned 29.

Marie Lu published her Legend series (Legend, Champion, Prodigy) in her late 20’s. And of course there’s Veronica Roth who famously wrote Divergent during winter break in college. She’s 27 and has a trilogy under her belt.

Teen fiction isn’t the only place you’ll find young authors. Many of your classic favorites like Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelly were all written before they hit 30. Over in sci-fi you have Red Rising by Pierce Brown (think Hunger Games but in space) written when he was 24.

Maybeiie literary fiction is more your speed. Several notable books including Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (2013 Booker Prize winner), The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Oberht (2011 Orange Prize winner) and Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! (finalist for Pulitzer Prize and Orange Book Award in 2011) are all worthy reads as is Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated (2002 National Jewish Book Award and Guardian First Book Award).

Still need more suggestions? Check out my booklist. Or take this quiz.You can also download Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and my current favorite author Amy Zhang’s Falling into Place from Overdrive right now with no wait time!

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9 responses to “16 in ’16: Read a Young Author”

  1. […] a book by an author under 30 (Sep. 8 – Sep. […]

  2. Alez says:

    If you enjoy historical romance, local author Julia Quinn wrote several books before she turned 30. While all of the Bridgertons are from when she was age 30 and older, her novel Minx is a fun read, and I love her books about the lovely Lyndon sisters (http://catalog.sno-isle.org/polaris/search/title.aspx?ctx=1.1033.0.0.6&cn=968733 and http://catalog.sno-isle.org/polaris/search/title.aspx?ctx=1.1033.0.0.6&cn=968734).
    If you’ve never read a romance I would recommend starting with Quinn, her humor and wit make for highly entertaining reads!

  3. Ruth G. says:

    I think Lucy Knisley (who is now 31 years old) published RELISH and AGE OF LICENSE before she turned 30. (But I was never great at math…)

  4. Dorothy Emerick says:

    I finished Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. It was a great recommendation from a friend who knows the author. Ms. Zappia was in her early 20s when she published this YA novel. It tells the story of a high school student, Alex, who is trying to make sense of a world which is truly not what it seems. Alex, the protagonist, lives in Indiana and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. How she figures out what is real and what is not makes her brave story unique and quite believable. I look forward to reading more work by this author.

  5. […] by now you’ve discovered some great books published by young minds. If not, you still have time to pick up perennial favorites likes St. Lucy’s Home for Girls […]

  6. […] and it was something I stumbled upon when I was researching titles to display during the authors under 30 theme. It’s by YouTubers Dan Howell and Phil Lester–The Amazing Book is Not On Fire. […]

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