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Teen Fantasy/Adventure (1 Viewer)

A

Aevin

Everyone says the way to improve your writing is to read the genre you want to write. I want to write adventure books for children and teens. The problem is, I want to write (and read) stuff which is not only entertaining for kids, but meaningful and thematically deep. I don't even know where to look for this kind of stuff. Much of the literature for this group seems to center around High School hormones or is too simple. I'm hoping some of you can recommend some authors who write GOOD stories for youngsters--people like JK Rowling (Harry Potter), Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising) come to mind. I write mostly about kids, so books which center on young characters would be best, though those about older characters aimed at a young audience are fine as well.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

CZ

Senior Member
Have you read anything by John Christopher? He wrote YA books set in a post-apocalyptic type Earth. He did several series - one was about the Tripods and concluded with "Pool of Fire" - he wrote another series that was completely different but focused as well on future Earth, set I believe, in England.

Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain are great too, The Black Cauldron, Taran Wanderer, etc. Involves hero journey, high fantasy.

Monica Furlong (I think that's her name) wrote Wise Child and the sequel (or prequel, I forget), Juniper. Good books involving girls learning magic in a challenging environment, overcoming personal challenges etc. Short reads.

Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill involved a young queen of a fantasy land. I didn't find it very deep/meaningful but neither do I regret the 2-3 hours I spent reading it. He wrote a sequel to it, it's out in hardback now.

Laurence Yep wrote a series of YA dragon books with a very Eastern feeling to it. I read them a long time ago and liked them.

Rosemary Sutcliffe wrote several historical fiction type books for YA readers. I can't think of any titles off the top of my head, but I seem to recall she did a decent one following what the "real" King Arthur might have been like.

Then there's Beauty - the retelling of Beauty and the Beast- by Robin McKinley. I loved that book when I was younger. Actually, I still do :p

Can't think of any more off the top of my head - hope this is useful. How are you coming with your writing?
 
A

Aevin

Hey, thanks, CZ! This is very helpful!

I've read and loved John Christopher's "The White Mountains," but that's the only one I've really heard of. I have a list, now ...

Now, the only trouble is where to start.

Well, as for my writing, it's been going a little slow lately, specifically because I haven't been reading much. I feel clumsy, and need to remind myself how much fun writing/reading can be. You've really helped me out. Thanks again!
 

Dawnstorm

Senior Member
Dark Aevin said:
I want to write adventure books for children and teens. The problem is, I want to write (and read) stuff which is not only entertaining for kids, but meaningful and thematically deep. I don't even know where to look for this kind of stuff.
May I suggest Alison Croggon's tetralogy (three books published already).

I haven't read them myself (yet), but the books have been enjoyed by teens as well as adults. As far as I know (too lazy to check) the books haven't been published as young adult novels in Australia, but have taken that market slot in the USA.

Sample Chapters here.

Oh, and beware: The Gift and The Naming are the same book (in different countries).
 

JK_Wannabe

Senior Member
Dark Aevin said:
Everyone says the way to improve your writing is to read the genre you want to write. I want to write adventure books for children and teens. The problem is, I want to write (and read) stuff which is not only entertaining for kids, but meaningful and thematically deep. I don't even know where to look for this kind of stuff. Much of the literature for this group seems to center around High School hormones or is too simple. I'm hoping some of you can recommend some authors who write GOOD stories for youngsters--people like JK Rowling (Harry Potter), Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising) come to mind. I write mostly about kids, so books which center on young characters would be best, though those about older characters aimed at a young audience are fine as well.

Thanks for any suggestions!
My second favorite young adult author (JK being my first, of course) is Tamora Pierce. She has basically written 1 book a year for 20-odd years, and every one of them is engaging, except perhaps the Protector of the Small quartet, and they're fine if you haven't already read the Song of the Lioness quartet.

Edit: Tamora's books explore interesting some interesting themes, especially her latter works.
 
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CZ

Senior Member
Dark Aevin said:
Now, the only trouble is where to start.

I know how you feel, but I'm about to add to your dilemma:

The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin. Not "really YA" but I read it at age 13 or so and I know a large handful of folks who read it around that age. Very deep and insightful, beautiful writing.

Patricia C. Wrede's book Dealing With Dragons throws a few fantasy stereotypes on their heads. I didn't like it a lot but it might be worth a go if you see it at the library.

As a kind of personal exercise, I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Hinton was a teenager when she wrote her book, so was CP. The writing style in one is infinitely better than the other. The Outsiders isn't fantasy but it's YA and a good read.

Dawnstorm's suggestion of Croggon's books is good. The first book was decent although it was quite long and I think could have been trimmed. I've been meaning to pick up the second book for ages now.

Phillip Pullman! I can't believe I forgot to mention him! Definitely read Northern Lights (er it's called the Golden Compass I think in the US) trilogy. Awesome series, very deep, unforgettable characters, great writing.

One author that nobody seems to know about is Elizabeth E. Wein. She wrote Winter Prince, Coalition of Lions, and Sunbird. I could rave about this author all day - her YA series is a loose retelling of the Arthurian saga, very realistic, and draws in Aksum (modern day Ethiopia area) with a different take on Mordred (Medraut). Stunning writing, great characterization, although the books are a little short (but then they're YA, so I can't complain).

Another YA adventure series you might look at starts with a book called Tomorrow, When the War Began (I think that's what it's called) I forgot who it's by, but it's basically Australia under invasion in a WW3, and a group of teenagers who gets mixed up in the middle of it and have to survive in the Outback cut off from their families.

Mercedes Lackey's original Valdemar series (Arrow's Flight etc, also Magic's Pawn/Price/etc) are worth a go - high fantasy that can be construed as YA but also work for an adult audience involving heralds and special/magic horses.

Anyhow, you've probably read some of these - sorry if I've done some repeats - I guess I'm more of a reader than I thought. I might add to this list if I find I've left something out, so be warned :D
 

Craigy

Senior Member
Not sure if anybody has mentioned these, but the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale are pretty interesting.

Another sci-fi series for teens would be Broken Sky. Its a bit older, and I cannot recall teh authors name.

Another book I really enjoyed was The Gathering, but the author's name also slips my mind.
 

Winged Sandals

Senior Member
Hmm... Well, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents was a fun book to read. It's a sort of parody of fairy tales in general, centering on the story of the Pied Piper (in the book the whole Pied Piper thing is actually a con devised by a mastermind cat, with the help of a boy who plays the flute and a group of mice who live by the principals of a children's book called Mr. Bunnsy). That's written by Terry Pratchett.

Avi writes a number of great books. It seems like he can dabble into any genre.

There's a Harry Potter-esque series out there called, I think, The Chronicles of Merlin (or something along those lines). They tell about all sorts of adventures that the famous sorcerer has. I think they're by T.A. Barron.

Also, the Abarat series is amazingly creative, although a smidge dark in parts. There are two books so far: I think the first is called simply Abarat, while the second is called Days of -something- Nights of War. Both take place in a magical world where there's an island for every time of day. They're by Clive Barker.

Another must-read is The Bartimeus Trilogy. Unfortunately, I've forgotten the author's name (it's Jonathon something, I think), but those are some great books too. The writing is particularly exceptional, I think.

Hmmm... And those are all that I've got. Sorry if I've repeated any titles that have already been suggested (I must admit that the giant walls of text daunted me and I only skimmed through everyone's responses, heh). Hope you find what you're looking for!
 

Cearo

Senior Member
Eoin Colfer's "Artimis Fowl" series. The main character, Artimis Fowl is a young (12 at the time of the first book) genius who kidnaps and holds for ransom a Fairy police officer. The series evolves from there with Artimis becoming more and more of a decent human being from his encounters usually criminal in which he uses or helps the fairies avoid detection from the rest of the human world.
 

mashowasho

Senior Member
Terry Pratchett, Garth Nix (who wrote Sabriel, a book I really liked :-D)and Philip Pullman are quite popular names, and ones I like.

If you're looking to entertain 11-15 year old boys in particular, read some of Darren Shan. My brothers both love him (and I quite like this books too, but that's because I just have a weakness for vampire stories!)

Loosely falling under that same category is Antony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider series. It's all well and good, but you should also try reading his other stuff, of which there's plenty - and personally, I much prefer. Books like The Diamond Brothers Trilogy, The Switch, Groosham Grange/The Unholy Grail, (Or "The Devil and his Boy" for slightly older readers) are real gems. He's got a real funny way of writing that I think got lost in his later material...
 
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