(Click an author's name for my special Author Spotlight posts.)
Sarah Dessen (ages 12 and up: That Summer, Keeping The Moon; ages 14 and up: The Truth About Forever, That Lullaby, Just Listen, Someone Like You; ages 16 and up: Dreamland)
Deb Caletti (ages 14 and up: The Queen of Everything, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, Wild Roses, The Nature of Jade, The Fortune of Indigo Skye)
Rachel Cohn (ages 10 and up: The Steps, Two Steps Forward; ages 14 and up: Gingerbread, Shrimp, Cupcake)
Melissa Lion (ages 14 and up: Swollen, Upstream)
She also asked for novels with strong female protagonists.
(If a title is linked, click it for my review.)
The Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala - Ages 13 and up - A college freshman becomes a pathology assistant. She is smart and intuitive. How Chris was able to channel a 19-year-old girl so well, I'll never know. This series is amazing. If you like the autopsies of CSI, the twists of Law & Order, and the wit of House, you'll love these books. There are ten novels in this series. Read them. Read them in order. Start with Body Bags.
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson - Ages 13 and up - Three sisters deal with the loss of their father.
A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson - Ages 12 and up - A teenage girl decides to live on her own.
The Tillerman Cycle by Cynthia Voigt - Ages 14 and up - When their mother abandons them, the eldest sibling, Dicey, must take care of her younger siblings. She is determined to keep the remains of her family together. Start with Homecoming. (Thanks to dshep for thinking of Dicey.)
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - Ages 8 and up - Tabitha-Ruth Wexler, better known as Turtle, is sassy, smart, and bold. Think of her as a mix of me and Tinker Bell.
The Anne Shirley series by L.M. Montgomery - She's an orphan. She's spunky and sassy. She's a dreamer and a daredevil. She's Anne of Green Gables. Read the eight books in order and see Anne grow up. From her days as a student in a one-room schoolhouse to going to college to becoming a teacher, her school smarts are just as important as her people smarts.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll - Is there ever a time when I cannot recommend these books? No, not really. They hit so many genres and concepts. One of the many reasons why Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland upset me is because they made her a weepy little thing on many occasions. She cries to create the Lake of Tears. She doesn't cry and whine all of the time. She is curious, and that curiosity makes her keep looking around. She is determined, and that determination keeps her moving forward.
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman - Lyra and Alice would be buddies. This British series may have the general genre classification of fantasy, but that does not even begin to cover it. What other books can boast the inclusion of shapeshifting animals, literal soul searching, religion, politics, spies, angels, spirits, and multiple dimensions? Not to mention truth, lies, parentage, coming-of-age, life . . . So brilliant. This is one book split into three, really. You have to read them in order. In the United Kingdom, the first book is called Northern Lights, whereas the title in the United States is The Golden Compass. The second book is The Subtle Knife and the third is The Amber Spyglass.