Writing for Teens, Tweens, and In-betweens: 8 YA Authors Who Also Rock Middle Grade

by Devon A. Corneal

Photo credits: Lauren Oliver (Babelio.com), David Levithan (Jake Hamilton), Elana K Arnold (Melissa Hockenberger), Neil Gaiman (Kyle Cassidy via Wikimedia Commons), Megan Frazer Blakemore (www.meganfrazer.com)

Authors who write for teens and young adults are really good at what they do. Talented and focused, their stories are tailored for adolescents grappling with complex inner lives, romantic relationships, and crossing into adulthood. Some of these authors, however, are so wildly gifted that they’re able to write for younger audiences as well. Check out these eight authors and see how they take their talents outside the more adult themes of YA to create extraordinary stories for middle grade readers.

David Levithan 

Honestly, I don’t know when David Levithan sleeps. This renowned editor and prolific author is best known for books like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Lover’s Dictionary, and Every Day, but he also ventures into middle grade with Marly’s Ghost, a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol with a romantic twist.

Neil Gaiman

The author of Unnatural Creatures and The Sleeper and the Spindle, the master of the thrilling and macabre for teens, and an extraordinary writer full stop, Gaiman also writes for the younger crowd. Check out Coraline, Fortunately, the Milk, and The Graveyard Book for spooky and humorous reads for middle grade readers.

Lauren Oliver

YA shelves groan with the weight of Lauren Oliver’s titles, including Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Oliver isn’t a one trick pony, however, and her books for younger readers like Liesl & Po, The Spindlers, and Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head are packed with stories about ghosts, adventures, oddities, and wonders. They deserve a place of honor in anyone’s home library.

Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

The authors of the bestselling Curse Workers and Mortal Instruments series, respectively, have joined forces to author a new trilogy for kids ages 8-12. The introductory book, The Iron Trial, introduces readers to Callum Hunt, a boy trying desperately to fail the Iron Trial in a world of magic unlike any you’ve read before. If he passes, he’ll join the ranks of the Magesterium and enter a world of intrigue and danger that his father always warned him to avoid.

Elana Arnold

The author of Burning, Splendor, and Infandous takes on the inner lives of younger readers in The Question of Miracles. Here, Arnold tells the story of sixth-grader Iris Abernathy, who has just lost her best friend Sarah and moved to a new, extremely rainy town in Oregon. When Iris meets a new friend, she begins to wonder about miracles, and if she might not be able to get one of her own.

Megan Frazer Blakemore

Author of Secrets of Truth & Beauty and the forthcoming Very in Pieces, Megan Frazer Blakemore is also an accomplished middle grade writer. Check out The Friendship Riddle for a story that’s a little bit fantasy, little bit mystery, and a lot friendship.

Lisa Schroeder

Teens will love All We Have Is Now and The Bridge from Me to You from this versatile author. Schroeder doesn’t leave younger kids out, though, and middle schoolers with a longing to travel will instantly connect with My Secret Guide to Paris. Read along as Nora tries to reclaim her dream of visiting Paris after her grandmother’s sudden death derails her plans to visit the City of Lights.