When I was in junior high, I began reading my first novels (outside of school). I'd gone up to my aunt's house in Grang Forks, ND for a week and brought along a set of books I'd gotten for Christmas so I wouldn't get bored. They were paperback teen thrillers. There was a Diane Hoh book, an R.L. Stine...but those young adult thrillers shaped how I thought of books growing up. I loved them and began to consume them like mad. They were obviously really trashy books, but I had a lot of fun reading them. I kind of became obsessed with them after awhile and (let's just say I didn't have many friends at this stage in my life) I went so far as to do a yearly awards ceremony for young adult thrillers, called the Feary Awards. I bought and read every single young adult thriller that came out each year and had silly categories like "Best 'Trapped' Book" and "Best Werewolf Novel." Needless to say, the audience for the Feary Awards began and ended with me and my notebook. I didn't stop reading young adult thrillers for a long time. A year or so into college, in fact, when my boyfriend pointed out how ridiculous it was and slowly weened me off of them. I think a lot of comic book fans are like that presently. They grew up reading comics and read juvenille superhero titles for too long instead of growing naturally into the next stage of reading, more intellectual graphic novels, something with more substance than a typical Green Lantern comic will provide. I'm not saying that reading Green Lantern is a bad thing in and of itself, but there's something to be said for expanding your palette. I'm reading Harry Potter right now, a children's book, and loving it; But I also read Jane Austin and Margaret Atwood. I read Ultimate Spider-man AND Acme Novelty Library. People should read what they enjoy, but also pursue more substantial works to grow, otherwise they just don't know what they're missing. I just wanted to admit this weird part of my life and relate it to the equally weird fans of comics. If you thought that my obsession was strange, then what does that say about only reading stacks of comics geared toward teenagers from Marvel and DC every week. What does it say about Wizard Magazine having an annual awards ceremony with "Best Supervillain" and "Best Heroine" as categories (both of which were part of my Feary Awards)? Things need to be put into perspective sometimes.
These were some of my favorite young adult thrillers growing up...
The Vampire Diaries, a four-book series, by L.J. Smith was my all-time favorite YA thriller.
The Body of Evidence series of books by comic book scribe Christopher Golden, a series still going, starring Jenna Blake and at one point optioned for a TV series.
Remember Me by Christopher Pike. One of the first YA thrillers I ever read about a girl who died.
The Dark Hearts trilogy by Daniel Parker about voodoo in New Orleans, the story that made me believe The Skeleton Key would be a cool movie (and boy, was I wrong)
The Dark Secrets books were more traditional mysteries by Elizabeth Chandler, the best being Legacy of Lies.
Elvira had a series of books (with help by John Paragon) and they were pretty silly, but really fun. Elvira would always be trying to seduce one hot young policeman or another while dealing with general supernatural wackiness. The books included Transylvania 90210 and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.
Sweep was one of the last YA series that I ever read and one of the best, about witches, written by Cate Tiernan.
The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike was a favorite, spawning five sequels.
I remember thinking that Chain Letter by Christopher Pike was extremely ruthless and truly horrifying. Don't know how well that would stand up now...
I pretty much thought that R.L. Stine was way overrated and actually dreaded reading his books sometimes they were so bad, but I read them anyways for the sake of the Feary Awards. The Cheerleaders trilogy I actually enjoyed, however.