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This goes without saying. There is no way I can say that his is the best writing I’ve ever read, but it is among the most important. The H.I.V.E. series set the stage for how I would come to explore and define morality during my teenage years. It’s a big deal to me. Also, his words haunt my thoughts every day and I can’t help but latch on to writers who do that to me. I’d love to be a writer who could do that to someone else.
1. Mark Walden
2. Neal ShustermanThis is the best writing I’ve ever read. I feel semi-regretful in saying that because I am about to finish my first full year of college and it’s introduced me to a bunch of amazing, incredible writers, but I can’t be a Shusterman snob today. More than any other writer I’ve read, Shusterman captures the teenager’s human experience. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He is the only writer who has genuinely made me feel what it might be like to want to kill someone. I’m going to leave my teenage years behind soon, but I want to remember that these books resonated with me and that they knew me. It just seems important. For now and for later.
3. George O’ConnorI feel like I’ve been talking about O’Connor all the time lately, but whatever. Whenever a new Olympians novel comes out, I get it, because I know it will be awesome. What I admire most in his writing is that he managed to convince me to see things from a side I’d never considered before—in fact, he does that in almost every one of his books I’ve read. To bring out the side we don’t see is such an important task, and it’s something I’d like to do myself. It can blow your mind, and it can make everything different. It is awesome.
4. Stephenie MeyerFINE OKAY YES I LIKE TWILIGHT WE’VE GONE OVER THIS AT LEAST FIFTEEN TIMES. But still, she has to make this list. Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m going to return to Twilight and find that the magic has gone away or that the part of me that loved it is going to have died with my maturation. It hasn’t happened so far, and so far I still find the magic in the same things: death, life, morality, significance, service, love, family, and sacrifice. She addresses the fear of death and of change in such a way that makes sense to me, and I love that.
5. Ludwig BemelmansI am putting this down on the list on a whim—it would break my heart too much to choose between the next two runner-ups, so. I’m guessing this isn’t a name you recognized on sight, but if you know the book Madeline (In an old house in Paris all covered with vines…) then you have read his work. The only reason I can think to put him down is that we have the copy in my living room, with all the other children’s books. Whenever I have nothing to do in there, I pull it out and reread Madeline. Again and again. I know the story. Sooner or later I’m going to have that book memorized. And it’s not many pages at all! And yet I keep returning to the story. WHY? I don’t know. But a writer who keeps drawing me in like that is impressive. And worth exploring later.
These are definitely five of my favorite writers. Not the top five, maybe. I don’t know. I hate picking favorites. I thought I could do it and I couldn’t. Oh well. They’re good thoughts on the five I wrote down, anyway.
And in the end, the things I admire in them are also the things I want to emulate, too. I’d like to be the kind of writer who matters to somebody and resonates with them. So excuse me while I reread everything they’ve ever written to figure out where they get their magnets.