Do you know what’s special about YA novels? For the most part, young adult novels have the potential to help you see the world differently. It really doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or not, you can basically always read them. For some reason, I can’t remember many YA novels lingering on my reading lists during my teenager days, which happened on the cusp of the early 2000s. Sure, I read a bunch of K.A. Applegate, I hit up some Sweet Valley High, but for the most party I obsessively read classics (mostly Faulkner and Vonnegut) in some attempt to seem worldly. I read more YA now than I ever did as a kid, and it’s mostly because of the authors. There’s a veritable pantheon of authors these days who seem to be ruling the entire genre. These authors are even more exciting when they work together.
Collaborations! I am endlessly and eternally excited about writing collaborations in general. During high school, I had a habit of writing giant collaborative books with my high school friends. We would each create a character, decide on a setting, and then take turns writing chapters from our own alternating points of view. We wrote huge novels with five authors, all full of teenage angst and insane plot twists (since we very rarely planned out the plot together), and it was amazing.
However, can collaborations like that actually end up as actual novels? Of course they can! To prove this, I’ve compiled a list of 13 YA novel collaborations. These authors prove that teamwork can seriously get things done. Take a look! Maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own collaboration… I know I’m always looking for a writing partner.
1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
Will Grayson and Will Grayson don't live that far away from each other, but the two of them have never met. Now fate has brought them to an intersecting crossroads where their lives will finally collide. Each Will Grayson is written by a different author, which is a pretty good way to get two completely different and unique points of view. John Green's Will Grayson (the odd numbered chapters) presents a heterosexual high school student full of masculine brooding, while David Levithan's even numbered chapters presents a deeply depressed homosexual student with a crush on a boy he met online. Both Levithan and Green are insanely awesome YA writers in their own right, but together, they really sing. It helps that they both really love this setting.
2. Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Troubletwisters centers on twins Jaide and Jack Shield, whose lives are changing in strange and magical ways. After an explosion destroys their house, they are whisked away to live with Grandma X, whom they have never met. Things get even stranger: turbulent weather, disappearing and reappearing doors, and many other things make their lives a little weird. Little do they know, they are troubletwisters, and it's up to them to to defend a world against a dark, evil force.
3. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Not exactly a YA novel by traditional means, but this collaboration between two fantasy titans Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is well worth the addition. These two worked in close collaboration to create an incredible story about the end of the world. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing, all ready for the apocalypse, but one of the biggest issues is the fact that Crowley and Aziraphale, the representatives of Evil and Good respectively, have grown rather attached to Earth. It's hard to tell who wrote what, but the two of them do use the Pratchett version of Death instead of Gaiman's version. Let's be real, reading Neil Gaiman basically makes you a better person, and Terry Pratchett's books are for everyone. You have no excuse not to read this.
4. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
David Levithan is a collaboration machine, and in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist he teams up with Rachel Cohn to tell a tale of a he-said she-said YA romantic comedy set in New York City. Taking place over the course of one night, the book follows two confused teenagers, Nick and Norah, as they navigate their very first date. This book is basically a Valentine's Day mixtape of musical references and delightful chemistry.
5. How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski & Lauren Myracle
How to Be Bad is the story of three teenage girls who barely know each other as they drive across country in order to visit one of the girls' boyfriends, who has been away at college. Jess is a strong willed Christian girl who recently found out that her mother has cancer; Vicks is a tomboyish and independent woman whose boyfriend went to college and hasn't spoken to her in two weeks; and Mel is an insecure girl who recently moved from Canada and is trying super hard to win some friends. Each of the girls are completely different characters, mostly thanks to their different authors. If you love a good road trip novel and are intrigued by the idea of picking up a book that was written and planned by three different people, definitely check this one out.
6. Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Cecelia and Kate are cousins who have been parted for the first time in their lives. Kate is experiencing her first season in London, and Cecelia is stuck at home. The two of them write letters back and forth, and we are introduced into a magical version of Austen's England, where the two girls stumble across a magical plot that threatens the entire country. This collaboration began as a Letter Game — an activity where one author writes a letter to the other author with zero planning between the two of them.
7. The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Callum Hunt never wanted to be a Magician, so he desperately hopes to lose the Iron Trial and be denied entrance into the Magisterium. Unfortunately, while he tried his best to do his worst, it wasn't enough, and he passed the trial with flying colors. Now he's been ripped away from his normal life and forced into a subterranean world of magic that he already hates. Holly Black and Cassandra Clare teamed up to write this book, the first in their Magisterium series.
8. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Jar Island is the picture-perfect home to three teenage girls who are planning revenge. Lillia is angry because one of her guy friends is hooking up with her little sister; Kat is tired of being bullied by her best friend; and Mary is haunted by a terrible event from her past, made worse by the fact that the boy responsible has gotten away with no consequences. Separately, the girls can't do much, but together they can do whatever they'd like without being detected. This tale of revenge will hook you from the first page.
9. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
It's the year 2575, and Kady has just broken up with her boyfriend Ezra. If that wasn't hard enough, on that same day, her planet is invaded by not one, but two rival mega-corporations. Now Kady and Ezra, who are barely speaking, have to navigate an evacuation, just in time for a deadly virus to begin ripping through the survivors. Told through message conversations, "found" documents, video transcripts, and more, this unique book is the first in a trilogy.
10. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Set in the small Southern town of Gatlin, Ethan Wate has been counting the months until he can finally escape, all while being haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. Things take a turn for the crazy when that exact girl, Lena, moves into the plantation across the street. This series of books is written by Kami Garcia, who also wrote the Legion series, and Margaret Stohl, writer of the Icons series.
11. A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Written by a pair of authors who dated in high school, this dual narrative is about two awkward teenagers as they attempt to navigate their way through all the romantic misunderstandings that high school brings. Looking back at the boys I dated in high school, I really couldn't imagine this level of collaboration with them. Good on you, Tom and Lucy!
12. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
From the writer of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Earth, My Butts, and Other Big Round Things, comes The Future of Us. The year is 1996, and Josh and Emma have been best friends for their entire lives. One summer when Josh gets an AOL CD-ROM in the mail (remember those!?) Emma installs it on her computer, and they find they are automatically logged into their Facebook pages. Of course, in 1996, Facebook has not even been invented yet. Given a glimpse into their futures, they learn that the choices they make in 1996 have the power to change the outcome of their lives.
13. All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely
Insanely topical and crazy important, All-American Boys tells the story of Rashad, a black kid who is assaulted by a white cop, and Quinn, the white kid who witnessed it all (and also happens to be friends with the cop's younger brother). Told in alternating chapters, this novel examines the terror of police brutality and racism in America.
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