Gary D. Schmidt’s most well-known book is probably The Wednesday Wars. I’ve read almost all of his books and I highly, highly recommend them!
I have a few WIPs I procrastinate working on, but the last one I worked on is a fantasy that plays with the chosen one trope. I suppose it would be considered YA, but I don’t care much about audience this early in the writing process. If you go to the ‘Audio Cinema’ thread, the excerpt I posted (it’s one of the first posts) is the piece that sparked this idea. I’m still figuring out the magic and plot and all the things, but I really love it so far. It’s similar to The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and The Thief by Meghan Whalen Turner in terms of character, voice, and the kind of plot twists.
To add to the discussion on YA books in general…I find that I read YA for fun. I’m not expecting in-depth themes or amazing writing–although I’m very pleased when I do find those in YA–but instead engaging plots and characters. I think it’s important to have a balanced reading ‘diet’; I personally read YA, MG, classics, and nonfiction. YA and MG are my fun reads–classics are my thought-provoking reads.
I also don’t like the idea that what makes adult fiction adult fiction is adult content. And now we’re seeing that mindset with YA–that YA has to be more gritty and dark and vulgar. Obviously YA is going to deal with more mature topics than MG, and an adult fic more so than a YA, but those topics and themes should be handled carefully and they should not be requirements for a story to be YA or adult. It seems that if you want to write a story for teens these days it has to include all this ‘mature’ content or deal with some heavy topic. Why can’t we just have normal stories of growing up? One of my favorite books that I consider YA is The Eagle of the Ninth. I’ve hesitated in the past to call older books YA because I thought, “Well, they’re just so ‘clean’; they’re too young for YA.” Now I realize that’s faulty thinking.
"Can't have dirty garbage."