Which book do you think every teenager should read?
I think that the best thing a teen can do is read widely, and search out what interests them specifically. I hesitate to say there is “one” novel that every teen should read—as I feel books are a lot like shoes. Not every pair of shoes is going to fit you, and not every book is going to be right for every person. This is the importance of having good teachers and librarians. A teen should search out the books that fit them, fall in love with reading, and then see where that takes them.
I’ve mentioned Dragonsbane elsewhere. It’s interesting, because this is a book that should not have worked for me. Everyone likes to give teens books about teenagers—but this book is about a middle-aged woman. So it’s not a book that normally would have been given to someone like I was. But I had a smart teacher who knew that I needed something more than what others had been giving me—I was bored of stories about people like me, and wanted one about someone unlike me.
Current “Brandon Suggests” list: (Sept 25, 2012):
Terry Pratchett (Going Postal is my favorite Pratchett right now). (If you read him, don’t start with the first book. (start with the books in the middle of his career, like Guards Guards, not the beginning because his books get better and better as he goes along. His later books are pure genius!)
Anything by Daniel Abraham under any of his various pen names.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Slight content warning.)
Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn is one of my favorite books of all time.
Anne Mcaffery (If you haven’t read her books I don’t know why you’re reading mine. You need to go and read hers immediately!)
Guy Gavriel Kay (TIGANA is a wonderful work.) Slight content warning.
Melanie Rawn (I especially like her epic fantasy, I haven’t read her urban fantasy but DRAGON PRINCE is one of my favorite books of all time.)
And, of course, Pat Rothfuss–who is a genius. (I loved NAME OF THE WIND)
Barbara Hambly (DRAGONSBANE was one of the books that got me into Fantasy)
Anything by Robin Hobb, but particularly the Fitz books.
Brent Weeks (Black Prism in particular.)
To keep track of what the field is doing nowdays I would recommend at least one book each from the following: Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin, and Jim Butcher.
This past year I read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and enjoyed that.
What are some clean fantasy books that you would recommend?
Garth Nix is wonderful. If you haven’t tried Sabriel, I suggest it.
Mary Robinette Kowal writes regency-style fantasy novels. I find them different, clever, and fun.
Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep is one of my all-time favorite SF books. I can’t remember if there are content issues. I’m in a re-read right now, and it is as delightful as I remember it being. But something might come up that I didn’t remember being there from a read last decade.
Tad Williams is wonderful, but very long-winded. (I happen to like how long-winded he is, but I should warn that is his style. Very little tends to happen at the start of one of his novels, as it’s all set-up.)
L.E.Modessit Jr. writes epic fantasy after the older style–more slow-paced, lots of description. I find his books to be quite good, but they’re not for everyone. They do tend to be very clean, though.
Same goes for Terry Brooks, who has a strong personal rule that he will never write, or cover blurb, something that is not clean. His books do feel a tad out dated these days, though.
Other author pals of mine who write clean YA sf/f: Shannon Hale, James Dasnher, Jessica Day George. All very good writers.