My favourite undiscovered author
If you like books by Holly Black or Cassandra Clare, you'll love Sarah Rees Brennan. Or at least I do! Sarah is a Young Adult (YA) author whose books will make you laugh out loud and cry in public. Here are my favourite things about Rees Brennan's writing: firstly, she is very good at exploring the gaps between how her characters see themselves and how they are seen by others. Secondly, her first series is in the YA Urban Fantasy genre and her second is YA Paranormal Mystery, and in both she plays with the reader's expectations by using tropes (the common characters and events of a genre) but with a big twist. Thirdly, her books are all refreshingly diverse, with people of colour and lesbian, gay and bisexual characters.
The Demon's Lexicon series
In her first trilogy, Sarah focused on the genre of YA Urban Fantasy. The first book centres on 16-year-old Nick, who Sarah wrote to be the typical dark, mysterious and brooding hero of urban fantasy. Normally, you would expect Nick's rudeness or coldness to be a mask (think Twilight), but because the story is told by Nick, it is clear that he is actually cold and detached and struggles to understand the emotions of the people around him. Nick and his brother, Alan, have been on the run from magicians for most of their lives because their mother, an ex-magician herself, stole a powerful amulet from the head of a magicians' circle. The world Sarah has created is one where magicians' circles summon demons, who they then allow to prey on and possess ordinary people in return for increased magical powers.
The Lynburn Legacy series
This series mixes tropes of different genres including Gothic novels (think Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Jane Eyre) and detective fiction (think Nancy Drew or Veronica Mars). Set in a Cotswolds village, the main character is Kami Glass, an aspiring journalist with an imaginary friend called Jared who turns out to be real. Rees Brennan is not afraid to explore the disadvantages as well as the advantages of a friend who knows your every thought. Yes, Kami has never felt lonely, but her telepathic friendship also means she's never really had privacy or space to be herself. Rees Brennan changes the expected roles of her characters, for example having Jared be more romantic and less experienced than Kami, and having a 'tall, dark and handsome, strong and silent type' who is a girl, Kami's best friend Angela.