There has been a suggestion there have been many suggestions in the Young Adult world that there’s too much paranormal (here at the Teen Blog we call it supernatural) going on, too many characters with superhuman motivations, strengths and failings, or too many thunderbolt-type interventions and whatnot. It’s all not very likely. If you’re sick of all that, or didn’t really like it in the first place, here are some writers who keep it real, and, amazingly, manage to produce some fine work with not a sparkle in sight.
Read some realism this summer!
Laurie Halse Anderson: widely well regarded, and a multi-award winner. She’s also written a couple of historical stories (Chains and Forge) for younger readers.
Courtney Summers: how horrid can girls be? Quite.
Walter Dean Myers: won the Printz Award for Monster, and author of over 70 books, which is quite staggering really.
Sara Zarr: author of three thought-provoking novels about living with the consequences of the past, childhood friendship, and faith.
John Green: slightly less grit, but still real, and a champion of the geek (google “nerdfighters”).
Melina Marchetta: although she’s written one fantasy novel (Finnikin of the Rock (we’re not saying you should avoid it of course)), she’s best known for books like On the Jellicoe Road, which won the Printz Award last year.
Chris Crutcher: his books cover issues as wide ranging as prejudice, abuse, disability and poverty, with a realistic voice that has won him lots of fans.
E R Frank: is a clinical social worker who specialises in trauma, so it is unsurprising that she puts her characters through a really tough time in her books.
Todd Strasser: author of such varied works as The Wave (made into a movie in 2008), Wish You Were Dead (the first of a new thriller series) and Give a Boy a Gun.
Close to Home: New Zealand authors like to mix it up a bit, and there have been some excellent novels in the last while, for example (just the four for now) End of the Alphabet by Fleur Beale (Ruby Yarrow’s always called at the end of the school roll, but this doesn’t have to translate to a life of always coming last), The 10 pm Question by Kate De Goldi (life is a real worry), Violence 101 by Denis Wright (try this one for an unlikeable but compelling protagonist!), or About Griffen’s Heart by Tina Shaw (Griffen’s heart features both literally (he needs heart surgery) and metaphorically). There are heaps more of course – look for the Koru sticker on the book spine, the New Zealand books display, or your nearest friendly library staff member.