Although it might seem like the YA genre is something entirely new and radical in the world of fiction, it turns our your English teacher was probably right about the fact it's been around for a while now.
Sure, Katniss Everdene isn't likely to crop up in a John Steinbeck novel wielding a bow and arrow (a crying shame, all things considered), but it's fair to say that loads of your favourite YA novels owe at least some of their roots to The Originals.
With Penguin releasing a fancy range of the kind of books you might not have paid too much attention to in the past - we see you, book judgers - we thought we'd check in with some current YA authors to see what they had to say about them. Turns out, they love 'em.
The Outsiders by S.E Hinton.
From Kiersten White, author of And I Darken.
"Like many others in the USA, I read The Outsiders when I was thirteen as part of an English class. I remember being a bit shocked—they were letting us read about real teenagers, who misbehaved and broke laws and probably had sex and stuff!—but deeply intrigued. I remember reading ahead, meanly convincing a classmate that his favourite character died (a favourite pastime of mine, and perhaps why I wasn't super popular).
"But mostly I remember a sense of being seen, understood, and taken seriously that I had never experienced before during a book assigned in school. SE Hinton wrote YA before YA existed, capturing the immediacy, the overwhelming joy, and the agony of being a teenager. Her book is timeless because her themes are timeless, and I hope generations of teens to come read ahead and pretend to spoil the ending for their friends. Stay gold, The Outsiders. Stay gold."
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith.
From Moïra Fowley-Doyle, author of The Accident Season.
"I Capture the Castle is one of those books I revisit every few years because there are some stories that should always be kept fresh in your mind. It's a delightful, dreamy novel about seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in a crumbling castle with her eccentric family. Her father, once a successful author, hasn't written in years, and the family struggles to make ends meet, but her quirky stepmother does her best to keep Cassandra's siblings' hope kindled and Cassandra herself is spurred on by wit and resilience and her resolve to write everything down. It's her older sister Rose's hope for a wealthy husband (preferably one of their new American neighbours) that quickly changes their world – both for the better and for the worse.
"Cassandra captures her home, her family, her attractive (if occasionally disdainful) new neighbours and her financial circumstances with humour, sarcasm, warmth and love. It's a book for anybody who believes in the beauty of the everyday, in the rituals of childhood, in the importance of telling your life as a story in order to make sense of it – especially as it tumbles around and heats up and flies out of control like Cassandra's does.
"It's also a bittersweet book about growing up and moving on and coming of age with all its hope and fire and frustration and heartbreak. It's one that will make generations of readers want to dance around bonfires, dye all their clothes green and write their diaries by candlelight, sitting in the kitchen sink."
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
From Martin Stewart, author of Riverkeep.
"John Steinbeck's writing is always extraordinary: powerful and wild, yet so elegant and spare.
"The Pearl is devastating in its assessment of what it means to be human, and of the ways in which our societies are built―we recognise everything about Kino's pain as we're driven, relentlessly, to a conclusion we can hardly bear.
"Steinbeck once reflected on the nature of his writing, and shone a light on his process. He said that, when collecting marine animals, there are "certain flatworms so delicate that they are impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch." Instead of touching them and causing irreparable harm, the collector must let the worms "ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade…" and this is how he writes―delicate and raw and inescapably true―by "opening the page and letting the stories crawl in by themselves." By writing in this unflinching style, Steinbeck breathes into his stories a truth more powerful and real than any mere fact could ever be. Read The Pearl. Remember it forever. "
Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty
From Clare Furniss, author of The Year of The Rat.
"When Dear Nobody came out in 1991 I was studying for my A Levels like Chris and Helen, the main characters in this powerful book, who fall in love and then have to deal with Helen's unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. I loved its intensity, its fearlessness in laying bare the complicated emotions Chris and Helen feel towards their unborn baby, each other and their families.
"Although it's a story of teen pregnancy, it's about so much more than that. It's about family and the realisation that our parents are just people too, with their own histories and hang-ups. It's about relationships across generations and changing social attitudes. It's about friendship and growing up, and most of all it's about love in all its wonderful, heartbreaking, life-changing forms. Twenty-five years on I still vividly remember reading the final page in tears!"
Postcards from No Mans Land by Aidan Chambers
From Sally Green, author of the Half Bad series.
"I read Postcards in 2012 and now having revisited it I'm reminded how wonderful it is and how it might have influenced my writing more than I'd previously acknowledged (I was rewriting my first book in 2012). Love, fear, sex, war, death, pregnancy - Postcards has all these elements, but at essence it is a story of growing up and finding your own identity. However it's the telling of Postcards that is special, as we hear the story from alternating points of view of two teenagers, Jacob a British boy alone in Amsterdam in 1995 and Geertrui in Holland in 1944.
"We discover how the Jacob and Geertrui are linked and yes, there's love, sex, pregnancy, death and a lot of talking along the way but there's much more too. I particularly love the way the characters sexuality is brought into the story and I like to think of Jacob as bisexual and imagine his story continuing in Amsterdam after Postcards has finished."
So, some pretty relatable topics then. If you fancy getting your hands on some of the newly designed books, they're available to buy now. Ideal.
Your thoughts on this? Let us know with a tweet @sugarscape or drop us a comment in the box below.