5 Great Authors For Young Adults

May 18, 2013 12:48 pm

Reading nowadays seems to be becoming somewhat of a dying art among young adults. There are obviously always going to be the few exceptions to that rule and it would be unfair to say no one reads anymore. Yet, apparently more and more people seem to prefer to sit back and switch on the idiot box rather than break a mental sweat and plunge themselves into a good book.

As an aspiring author myself this is a trend I would very much like to see dissipate and so, in order to help facilitate that process, I thought I would share with you some of the authors I would recommend to any young adult interested in becoming a “reader” but whom might not know where to start.

So where to begin? There are positively thousands of authors I could list here that would deliver on all your literary needs. But what do young people want to read about? More specifically, what would tempt young adults that don’t read to pick up a book and get stuck in? Stories of barely teenage vampires lusting over each other? Tales of dystopian futures where the only chance for a happy ending rests on the shoulders of a reluctant anti-hero who predictably finds love along the way?

No, I don’t believe so. That is why the first author on my list could not be further from said descriptions.

1. Chuck Palahniuk: Chuck Palahniuk

Author of the cult classic Fight Club, Palahniuk has been dishing out his own macabre brand of fiction and non-fiction since the mid-nineties. His books are notorious for their graphic content and often disturbing  subject nature. Born in Paco, Washington, he has Ukrainian, Russian and French ancestry. Palahniuk’s books are what I would describe as growers, often initially receiving mixed reviews upon their release, they then seem to amass a following unlike that achieved by many other authors. His works include, Beautiful Monsters, Survivor, Damned, Haunted and Choke. If you are interested in reading Chuck’s books my personal recommendation would undoubtably be Survivor.

2. Max Brooks: Max Brooks

Son of Mel, Max Brooks’ zombie epic World War Z was recently made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Brad Pitt, although the film is only loosely based on the book and anyone wanting to read it before seeing it may be bitterly disappointed with the outcome of the film. Zombies seem to be somewhat of a speciality for Brooks as he has also written The Zombie Survival Guide for when, not if, the living dead rise again and plague the land. The sheer level of detail that accompanies both books is somewhat astonishing and is in itself almost scarier than the prospect of having to live through a zombie apocalypse, almost to the point of making you think Brooks knows something we don’t…

3. Jon Ronson: Jon Ronson

If you’re a fan of Louis Theroux (and god knows I am) then Jon Ronson could be right up your street. The journalist, Documentarian, non-fiction author and all round Welshman has a habit of being able to infuse controversial subjects with intelligence and hilarity. His book The Men Who Stare At Goats was adapted to the big screen in 2009 and starred George Clooney and Ewan McGregor. He has been described as a Gonzo Journalist, a title that he welcomes. Ronson’s books detail the crazier side of the human spectrum and if you want to know more about such exploits I would recommend Them: Adventures With Extremists, in which he spends time with people labelled as extremists such as David Icke, Alex Jones and Thom Robb (Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan).

4. Brett Easton Ellis: Brett Easton Ellis

Probably best known for his book American Psycho, It was his debut novel Less Than Zero, released in 1985 when he was 21 that saw his name first appear in literary circles. Focussing on amoral young people in Los Angeles, the book details the exploits of protagonist Clay as he returns to his hometown only to become disillusioned with the lifestyle his former friends are now living. In 1991 American Psycho was released and has since gone on to be made into a film starring Christian Bale. The graphic content of both novels had many petitioning for them to be banned, however, as we all know this often leads to the exact opposite happening and the books have both become bestsellers. If you haven’t already read American Psycho then it should be the next book you pick up, regardless of your age.

5. Hunter S. Thompson:Hunter S. Thompson

The godfather of Gonzo journalism, most notable for the exceptional Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Thompson was probably one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work includes spending a year with the infamous Hell’s Angels motorbike gang back in 1966 for his book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. In 1971 he penned Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, chronicling a three-day drug binge with his lawyer and friend Oscar Zeta-Acosta. Fear and loathing was directed for the big screen by Monty Python member Terry Gilliam and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp starred alongside Benicio Del Toro. Depp also starred in another film adaptation of one of Thompson’s books, The Rum Diary. I couldn’t recommend only one of Hunter S. Thompson’s books, so I will tell you to read all of them, why not?

Anyone with any other suggestions on authors to get young people into books let me know in the comments. All suggestions are welcome.

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  • Patrice Martins

    I love both of the last two authors – American Psycho is a one of a kind book – gruesome to the core but at the same time incredibly intriguing.

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is just a must read for anyone whether you are into that kind of thing or not.

    Great article 🙂

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