Monday, January 3, 2011

Transitioning from YA to Adult Books

After spending years reading young adult fiction, moving on to adult fiction can be hard. While the classics they make you read in school are great books, sometimes you just want to read a contemporary author you like. But don't be fooled: Just because an author writes best-selling adult books does not guarantee their YA books will be worth reading, and often times, YA authors who venture into main-stream fiction fall flat. But knowing authors who bridge the gap between YA and mainstream fiction can make the process a little less intimidating.

Nick Hornby: One of the greatest contemporary writers of our time, Hornby's books are powerful and gritty, emotional and exposing. Unfortunately, his YA book just can't compare to his novels for adults.
Carl Hiaasen: Probably the most sardonic writers I have ever come across, Hiaasen is the watch-dog for the Florida Everglades, both in his fiction and his columns for the Miami Harold. And where his adult fiction has become formulaic over the years, his children's writing is just taking off.
Meg Cabot: No one can crank them out like Cabot. From middle grade to YA to adults, you will consistently have a new book to read every year no matter how old you get. Well, at least until she stops writing, which will probably be beyond the grave.
Ann Brashares: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has been hard to live up to, but Brashares is branching out and writing for more diverse ages. Her stories are bitter-sweet without being overly sappy, which I tend to like.
Shannon Hale: Hale has award-wining, NYT-bestselling books for every age group. But honestly, her books for adults just don't compare to her witty, moving and adventurous fairytale retellings for young readers.
Stephenie Meyer: I know some people will criticize me for including Meyer on this list, but let's be honest, she's done more for cross-over literature than anyone save J.K. Rowling, and J.K. Rowling has never published anything specifically for adults.
Kelley Armstrong: I could also included P.C. Cast, Richelle Mead or about a dozen other paranormal romance authors--they all tend to sell well in both markets. Though I think Armstrong's teen characters are a little underdeveloped, I like that she's branched out into thriller novels.
Maria V. Snyder: Who would have guessed a meteorologist could write this well. Snyder's books are imaginative and beautiful with the perfect mix of romance and adventure.
Carrie Vaughn: A relatively new voice in publishing, Vaughn has been popping up everywhere in the past couple of years. She's just getting started in the YA market, but if the success of her adult books is any kind of indicator, she has many great YA books to come.
Orson Scott Card: He's lost some consistency with his writing, but Ender's Game puts and keeps him on this list. It is a regular part of sci-fi curriculum (especially in high schools), and he continues to expand Ender's universe as well as add new worlds to the mix.
Brandon Sanderson: Like Vaugn, Sanderson kind of burst onto the publishing scene with unrelenting success. His big break came when he was contracted to complete the Wheel of Time Series, but his personal body of work speaks for itself.
Neil Gaiman: I would be a fool not to include Gaiman on this list. He's won the Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. He is what every author wishes they could be: diversified, talented and successful.
Terry Pratchett: Like with the paranormal romance authors, I know there are a lot more cross-over fantasy authors, but I think you get the point. Plus, Pratchett and Gainman kind of end this list on a high note.

A honorary mention should go to both C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia/The Screwtape Letters) and J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings). While there are many other authors out there who have published for both children and adults, I wanted to fill this list with authors who have current publishing contracts in both markets.

1 comment:

  1. Rainbow Rowell also has written books for young adult and for adult. Her young adult books include: Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, Carry On, and Kindred Spirits. Her adult books include Attachments and Landline.