Mar 26, 2012

Review: Utah Authors

By some strange turn of events, it seems like most of the time I read a book I LOVE, when I read the author bio, he or she ends up being from Utah. Or was raised in Utah. Or went to school in Utah. Is it my Utah blood connecting to their Utah blood in some strange cosmic, not nearly as weird as Jolie and Thornton, kind of way? Or are Utahns just completely rockin' the literary world? Whatever it is, I do have to say that some of my favorite authors are from Utah.

Here are some Utah authors everyone should read:

Jessica Day George
I had the opportunity to hear Jessica Day George speak at Books for Young Readers in 2009 (I think). She's very funny, and very sweet. I did an e-mail interview with her for a class (found here), and was really impressed with her first agreeing to do so and second apologizing that it took so long to get back! With that out of the way, Jessica has written 7 books (I haven't read her latest yet), all in the YA fiction category.

The dragon books start with her debut novel, Dragon Slippers. It was meant to be a stand alone but her agent convinced her to write the two sequels, Dragon Flight and Dragon Spear. While I think the first is by far the best, the other two are much better than other author's best.

Then there is Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, a retelling of the Nordic fairytale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." I love this book. It's probably tied for my favorite book by George.

Princess at the Midnight Ball is the other one of my favorites. This is, by far, the best retelling of the "Twelve Dancing Princess" I have ever read. There is a sequel called Princess of Glass and she is writing a third. And since there are 12 princesses, she could probably go one for a while. These are definitely books that I own and reread.

Shannon Hale
I feel that Shannon Hale is a pretty well known Utah author. One of her adult novels, Austenland, is being released as a movie this year. It's sequel, Midnight in Austenland, just came out early this year. I liked it, but I liked the first better. My mom like the sequel better, so it's just a matter of opinion.

Goose Girl was her first book. I really like this book. She turned it into a series called the Books of Bayern. I haven't read all of them, but those I have read are good, just not good like Goose Girl.

One of her books was a Newberry Honor book! Princess Academy is sort of a Cinderella retelling. Great book. I don't think I know of anyone who has read it who hasn't liked it.

She's also written two graphic novels with her husband, Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack.

Brodi Ashton
This is a new author I just discovered. Her debut novel came out this year and it called Everneath. This seems like a typical paranormal romance from the blurb and I was hesitant to read it, but I want to support local authors and all that, so I did. There is a lot that I like about what Ashton did with this book. The premise doesn't include anything about vampires or werewolves, for one. It's more mythology, and I like mythology. Also, the supernatural doesn't get the girl. Thank you, Ms. Ashton! Finally, a girl with some sense in her brain! Also, the characters change and grow over the course of the book instead of remaining the same. And, probably the biggest thing, was that this could be a stand alone novel, or it could be the beginning of the series. It's totally open! But at the same time, it's got an ending I feel good about. This is how it should be.

I read this in one day.

Here is a list of other Utah authors I have read: Ally Condie (Matched), Bree Despain (The Dark Divine), Emily Wing Smith (Back When You Were Easier to Love), Kristen Chandler (Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me), Ann Dee Ellis (This is What I Did--I took a creative writing class from Ann Dee. She's awesome.), Lisa Mangum (The Hourglass Door--I worked with Lisa at Deseret Book. She's also awesome.), James Dashner (The Maze Runner--I haven't actually read this book yet, but everyone seems to like it), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Mette Ivie Harrison (The Princess and the Hound--not my favorite book, but a lot of people really like it), Carol Lynch Williams (The Chosen One), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn and Alactraz versus the Evil Librarians--wasn't able to make it through Mistborn, but I love Alcatraz.), Melissa Lemon (Cinder and Ella), Heather Dixon (Entwined).

So, wherever you live, find some local authors and you might just discover a new, under appreciated favorite. Happy reading!


  1. You forgot to mention "Book of a Thousand Days" by Shannon Hale and "Tuesdays at the Castle" by Jessica Day George. (Both great reads, by the way.)

    (Oh, and Jessica Day George has said that she really wasn't planning on the 12 princesses being more than one book until she was pushed (a little) by fans and her publisher and she finally thought of two more stories she could tie them into. Which is why it's now three books. But last year at LTUE she said that it had been several years between the first and finally getting ideas for the second/third so she was pretty sure no more books would come from that series. :D)

  2. I was just giving an overview. I didn't mention every book by any of the authors on purpose; just the ones I felt like mentioning. And I knew about the 12 princesses, but I wasn't really going for a complete writing biography, again, just an overview. Basically just giving a bit of information and whoever reads my blog could go find more books/info if they felt like it. I didn't want the post to be too long!