Looking for new, inspirational fiction authors to read? Well, look no further! Here are eight contemporary authors who have written phenomenal books.
- Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo is the author of seven award-winning novels, such as The Poet X and Clap When You Land. The Poet X is a novel-in-verse that talks about the struggles of growing up, through a young Dominican-American girl’s eyes. The protagonist, Xiomara, navigates struggles, like family issues and loves, by writing poems. Poetry helps Xiomara repair her strained relationship with her mother and become more comfortable in her own skin. The book incorporates the themes of racial inequality, the search for identity and family conflict.
- Janet Fitch
Janet Fitch is the author of many amazing novels, like White Oleander and Paint It Black. Both are coming-of-age dramas that talk about family issues and the path to closure. White Oleander is about a girl named Astrid who is placed in various foster homes after her mother’s arrest. Astrid faces the challenge of seeking the love her mother can’t give her from jail and pursuing personal goals that conflict with her mother’s opinions.
Fitch’s second novel, Paint It Black, is about Josie Tyrell, a runaway art model and actress, who searches for closure after her boyfriend takes his life. Though this novel is sad, it is an inspiring story of strength and hope.
- Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen’s books are so appealing, because they cover a wide range of issues, like teen pregnancy, the search for identity, family issues and abusive relationships. Her books are relatable and provide insight on the struggles of young adults. Dessen’s book Dreamland provides insight on how to help victims of abusive relationships through the portrayal of Caitlin and Rogerson’s toxic relationship. When Caitlin’s sister runs away shortly before she’s supposed to leave for college, Caitlin does not know how to fill this gap. She has always looked up to her sister and attempted to follow in her footsteps. Enter Rogerson Biscoe, a dangerous and mysterious young man who helps Caitlin forget about her missing sister and emotionally absent mother. Unfortunately, dating Rogerson gives Caitlin a whole host of new issues to deal with.
- John Green
Similar to Dessen’s novels, John Green’s books talk about a wide variety of topics. Though sometimes lighter subjects than that of Dessen’s, Green still writes amazing stories with fantastic plot lines. Two of my favorite books by John Green are Paper Towns and Turtles All the Way Down. In Paper Towns, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen’s neighbor and childhood sweetheart, Margot Robbie, runs away and leaves a series of intricate clues behind. A large theme in this book is the idea of false perceptions. Q spends most of the novel fixated on Margot, specifically the memories he and Margot share from childhood. He clings to who she was before: an innocent, flawless and beautiful girl. In reality, Margot has grown up and is no longer innocent. In her teenage years, she has become selfish and inconsiderate towards the people in her life.
Turtles All the Way Down, a drastically different book, is a mystery with a focus on mental illness. Green uses aspects of a typical teen’s life, like friendship and loss, to discuss a 16-year-old girl’s struggle with OCD. Aza Holmes, a teenager with OCD and anxiety disorder, grieves the loss of her father as a friendship grows with one of her neighbors. A side plot of this book is the exploration of Aza’s friendship with her best friend, Daisy. The mystery deals with the billionaire fugitive Russell Pickett and whether or not he’s innocent.
- Cynthia Ng
Cythinga Ng is the amazing author of Everything I Never Told You, a thrilling book about a missing girl, a deep lake in the middle of town and a notorious bad boy who was the last person to see her alive. This novel is one of my favorites, because not only is it a literary thriller, it also delves into each character’s backstory. By doing so, we start to see failing family dynamics at play and how the dynamic starts to change after Lydia goes missing. It also discusses racism in the early seventies and how it affected the mother and father’s marriage, through the use of flashback and character reflection. Each character has the opportunity to reflect on Lydia’s absence and investigate the situation for themselves. The book never really talks about the events that occurred right before Lydia’s disappearance, and I feel that it’s for the best. In my opinion, that isn’t what the book is about. The book is more about crumbling family dynamics, favoritism, social inequality and how the dynamics change after she disappears.
- Julie Anne Peters
Julie Anne Peters writes amazing novels about LGBTQ+ teens who struggle to be accepted by the people around them. Peters’ novel, Luna, discusses the struggles of a transgender girl, named Luna, who wishes to come out to her conservative and unaccepting family. The only person who knows about her true gender identity is her sister, Reagan, who lets Luna try on her clothes and put on makeup at night. However, during the day, Luna takes on a different identity as a teenage boy named Liam who overachieves in school and plays sports.
- Laura Silverman
Laura Silverman is the author of a stellar LGBTQ+ novel titled, You Asked For Perfect. This book tells the story of a Jewish bisexual teenage boy, Ariel, who is very stressed about academics, specifically keeping his status as high school valedictorian. Ariel is also juggling several extracurriculars, such as being first chair violinist at school, volunteering at various organizations and being an active synagogue congregant. Then, Ariel meets Amir and success and happiness start to pull him in opposite directions. Will Ariel pursue his love for Amir or his studies? Will a budding relationship add too much to Ariel’s plate?
What I like about this book is how accurately it represents a teenager’s life, specifically the stress that trying to succeed in high school brings. I relate to this book because of the stress that trying to juggle activities while earning good grades has brought me. I think that this novel also accurately represents the struggles of LGBTQ+ youth and what it means to be a Jewish person in modern society.
- Kathryn Erskine
Kathryn Erskine is the author of Mockingbird, which is about a young girl with Asperger’s Syndrome who must cope with the unfortunate death of her brother, who was a school shooting victim. What I like about this book is that it discusses two very important topics, especially in today’s world: mental illness and school shootings. I don’t feel like a lot of books talk about a 10-year-old’s struggle with mental illness, no matter if it’s fictional or not. In Mockingbird, Caitlin finds closure to her brother’s death, despite struggling to understand other people’s emotions, show empathy and make friends at her school. At home, she builds a chest with her father to help find closure as well. Mockingbird shows how you must make the journey to closure on your own terms and how personal the journey to closure is.