Recently the students of Ms. Kepner’s Teen Storytelling Class at Kealing Middle School stopped by the store for a visit with Young Adult Specialist and Teen Press Corps Liason, Shannon! The day was full of BookTalks and shopping and a whole lot of musings on what makes the YA world tick.

Here’s Ms. Kepner’s class’s response to the question:


Which book, in your opinion, has had the most impact on the YA literature world?  How did that book affect you as a reader and as a person?




In my opinion, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling had the biggest impact on the  literature world. J.K. Rowling was able to create a whole other world with wizards and witches and its own history. When this was released, books like this started to interest teens way more than books for adults and little books for children. Harry Potter was selling like crazy, encouraging other authors to write similar books that teens would also like. More and more books were getting published, and the Publishing Corp. was growing. Teens like me started to read more books than we used to. We didn’t find books boring anymore, and they were now treasures for us.

-Adolfo A.

While Harry Potter isn’t actually a YA book, the teen literature publishing industry wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is today without it. Sure, there were kids’ and middle grade books before Harry Potter (Ramona the Pest, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and the like), but that area of publishing wasn’t really that big of a deal until about fifteen years ago. Harry Potter is a rite of passage for a kid. The books are massively successful, and so many children and adults hold them close to their hearts. The success of Harry Potter made publishers realize that there was an entirely un-tapped audience and readership, so they started to take more interest in books for kids who were between five and seventeen.

There was, however, not a lot of interest by teens in the books they were putting out. Publishers saw that they could make even more profit by catering to the likes of teens. Whenever they came out with a YA book, teens would eat it up. So they released more and more until the industry was what it is today, and more and more teens are reading more and more.

I personally am obsessed with Harry Potter. I can’t say I’ve been allowed at any midnight release parties, but I did read them at a very young age. The first time I read them, I started right after Kindergarten and finished in the middle of second grade. I’ve reread them many times since. I would give almost anything to go to Harry Potter World in Florida. I’ve immersed myself in this fandom. I’ve been sorted (into gryffindor/pukwudgie), I’ve bought all the merchandise, and I’ve been to platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. I guess I fall into the category of people whose lives have been changed by this book.

-Lucy S.

i love magic

In my opinion, Harry Potter has had the biggest impact on the  literature world. I feel that Rowling’s writing broke down the barrier between children’s books and adult books. Adults read Harry Potter and teens loved it too, this is when the industry realized that s also have a huge impact in the literature world. That then inspired many other authors to write books specifically tailored for teens.

               There are many ways that this book affected me, one of them being that Rowling’s writing truly brought me into a new dimension. Reading the book made me feel like I was there with Harry, Ron and Hermione. It also inspired me to write more magical and fun stories when I choose to write in my free time.

-Anna S.

I think that Harry Potter had the biggest impact on  literature. Harry Potter is one of the most popular books series ever written. It helped readers explore more about  literature and the books that could be written in that genre. Harry Potter affected me because JK Rowling made the magical world seem so real. She was able to portray wizard life in a way that made me feel like I was there with them. She also affected me as a writer because now I feel like I can write any sort of plot line I can come up with. In Harry Potter she made the craziness of a magic school feel relatable.

-Maddie B.

A book that has had the greatest impact on the YA literature world in my opinion is Harry  Potter. It has many genres including fantasy, romance, mystery, adventure, etc. The books J.K Rowling wrote about Harry Potter have made a great impact on the world because there has been more than 500 million copies sold worldwide and adults, s, teenagers, and middle schoolers love them! The Harry Potter series is very popular all over the world, and lots of people love it.

-Elizabeth L-C


I think that Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling had the biggest impact on the publishing industry. It introduces magic, while also going deeper into the lives of three teenagers. The story also inspires many authors … and inspires s readers all around the world.

-Gella A.

This is going to sound cliché, but I would have to say that Harry Potter has had the biggest effect on the children’s literature industry.

I know it’s been said countless times, but when you think about it, it’s hard to say anything else. Harry Potter revolutionized the YA genre, and, in a sense, created it. Prior to Harry Potter, there were really only kids’ books and adult books. Harry Potter created a middle ground, and a type of book aimed at teens, that could be enjoyed by both adults and kids.

Personally, Harry Potter taught me a few things. It taught me to stand up for what I think is right, and to fight back against those trying to oppress me and who I am. It taught me it’s okay to be different, and that just because someone is different that you doesn’t mean they deserve any less. Harry Potter meant a lot to me, and I take comfort in knowing it will be around for years to come.

-Cezi R-S

I think that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the other books in the series really made a big impact on YA books.  It really shows some issues with abuse and bullying, from Draco Malfoy to Voldemort to the Dursleys. It really was emotional and a grand book with lots of details, and it is a book that really helped people see what YA fiction is about. It affected me as a reader, and I started to think more about characters’ minds, possible villains, and surprise endings.  I started to want to find out more about people in real life, and explore more. In conclusion,  I was really affected by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Harry Potter series, and they really affected the YA literature world.

-Kaleb A.

I think that the Harry Potter series had the biggest impact on the YA industry. It still does today! I personally haven’t read the Harry Potter series, but I can tell it has a big effect on people. People are constantly quoting it and talking about it.

-Claire W.

In my opinion, the book that had the biggest impact on  literature is Harry Potter. If you think about it, Harry Potter inspired a lot of authors to create their own stories. Percy Jackson, not that it is like Harry Potter at all, was published after Harry Potter was published. Harry Potter also established a very large fan base in which teenagers and children dress up as these characters for Halloween, have themed birthday parties, and play Quidditch competitively. And as more and more children love this book, authors around the world are aspiring to write a book of their own that has the effect that Harry Potter has on children.

-Hannah C.

Harry Potter has had the biggest impact on young author literature world because it was the beginning of the YA world. Although Twilight was written first, most readers didn’t find it interesting as the whole book was cliché, but did appreciate it written as a young author book. When Harry Potter was introduced, the fact that it was a completely different well thought out fantasy world surprised readers. Magic, wizards, witches just added more structure to the book. Personally, even though I have not actually read the books, I think I am more probable to after hearing so many great reviews from it. Being published in the 90s and now being the 21st century, people are still talking about it.

-Savitha S.

In Young Adult literature, one of the greatest and most well-known books is Harry Potter.  With a multitude of books and movies, it seems to be the top-grossing YA book of the modern age, if not ever. We even have a whole elective wrapped around this magical wizarding world at my school. It would be hard to find someone between the ages of 10 and 30 that hasn’t read at least one Harry Potter book and loved it. I think it has the biggest impact not only because of its massive popularity and great writing style that appeals to children, teens, and adults, but also because of this practically magical success story J.K. Rowling has offered to us. She has inspired lots of people to go shoot for the stars, even if you’re at rock-bottom.

-Alli E.




The book I think had the biggest impact on the YA literature world is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. It has the teen love aspect, which is a really big part of YA literature. It has a guy vampire, and what teen doesn’t love a vampire?!

I think Twilight had such a big impact because it was one of the first major YA books and movies. The effect the book has on me isn’t very strong, because I haven’t finished the first book. But I have seen all three of the movies in one day, and they were good. I knew it was a book when my teacher wouldn’t let anyone in my class read it, because it was a very graphic book that gets more and more graphic with each sequel.

-Shania N.

I know everyone is going to be mad at me, but I think Twilight had the biggest impact on YA literature. Now let me explain myself … most people say Twilight is an awful book. But what they don’t realize is that Twilight’s happy ending was for her to fall in love and that’s what she did. You also have to think that it was written in a different time and in that time it was rare for a woman to save the world. Also it’s a different genre entirely! Twilight was the first YA book and it really changed the game. And I bet you that JK Rowling read twilight since in her time it was one of the only YA books of its time. So I think Twilight had the biggest impact because it inspired our favorite authors today!

-Eavan B.

While the general public has agreed that Twilight by  Meyer is the first book that piqued interest in YA literature, I believe the book with the greatest impact was Harry Potter.

Twilight definitely has the romance and action to capture the reader’s attention, but other than the mystical features the book has, there really isn’t that much development or connection to the readers. Harry Potter, in my mind, brought forth the idea of a whole new world inside our own. It has relatable characteristics in the characters. The entire series – all seven books – brought the protagonist, Harry Potter, more encounters with the struggle that young teens face today. That sense of connection really made it easy to relate to the books.

-Ava D.

I think that the book that had the biggest impact on the YA literature world is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I think this because, like Shannon said at BookPeople, Twilight had a really big impact on its readers. I also think this because I always hear people giving their own opinion about the book.

-Karen P-L

I believe that Twilight, a teen romance novel by Stephanie Meyer, has had one of the greatest impacts on Young Adult literature. The series really gave the Y.A. industry a beginning; readers were absolutely head over heels in love with the books. It gave other teen fiction stories a chance to start to take the spotlight in publishing.

In my opinion, though, Twilight was not a wonderful novel. The beginning was boring and slow to pick up the pace in the true plot. Bella lacked the ability to be the strong female lead that I was hoping for, and Edward is honestly just an incredibly creepy vampire who pales in comparison to other characters in teen novels; if Edward were to ever meet Katniss Everdeen…….

-Morgan W.


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The book that had the biggest impact on YA literature, in my opinion, is The Hunger Games. Before The Hunger Games, Twilight was a very popular book, and still is. But when The Hunger Games released in stores, it appealed to a bigger audience due to the good balance of romance and action. Katniss is also portrayed as a very strong lead, and having such a powerful female character gives the book many more realistic, connectable, and empowering moments. This book introduced me into a whole new set of books set in a dystopian future, and I think that that also impacted authors and other readers in the same way it did for me.

-Megan F.

The book with the biggest impact on the YA literature industry in my opinion was The Hunger Games. This trilogy has a riveting and fast-paced plot, topped off with a realistic dose of teen angst and complete with adventure, romance, and tragedy. These elements were all combined to give readers a realistic yet safely fictitious look into a different perspective. This combination was very new to the YA Lit industry, and it was very new to me as a reader.

The Hunger Games was my bridge into the YA Lit industry because it was one of the first  books I had ever read. I hadn’t ever read a novel that addressed being  in such a tough environment before, and I think this was why The Hunger Games was such a powerful book to me – and to the YA Industry in general.

-Olivia G-E

In some ways, I think that Harry Potter is one of the most influential  novels. It is very popular and a fantastic example of children’s literature. The reason it is so influential is because it is so popular that lots of people had read it. Many younger kids were reading the series and were introduced to  literature through Harry Potter.

The most influential book for me was The Hunger Games. This book led me into what is now  literature. It easily caught my attention and held it through the course of 3 different books in the series.

-Claire G




I think that the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, and the rest of that series, has had the biggest impact on the YA literature world. Divergent broke the barrier of how far you can go with a dystopian society, and Roth created a world that was totally based on violence, in which people were divided by factions. Divergent was the start of this total dystopian book craze after the Hunger Games, and it helped YA readers became more interested in this genre.

Another way the Divergent series has left an impact on the YA literature world is through its theme. It has taught many young readers that courage is not only taking risks and being brave, it can be shown through many forms like selflessness.

As a reader, Divergent made me open my eyes to more dystopian, action, and science fiction books. As a person, the reoccurring theme of where you belong really connected with me. At the end of Divergent, Tris realizes that she doesn’t only want to be in one faction, she doesn’t care what people think and she wants to be a little bit of all of them. This influenced me into trying not to care what other people think in certain situations, and to never change who you are for somebody else.

-Miloni P.

The book that I think influenced the YA literature world the most was Divergent by Veronica Roth. Divergent attracted a myriad of fans while not particularly directed to any certain group of fans, covering many genres inside of fiction. This was an obsessive read for me, and well written. It raised my standards, and I think it did the same for others, too.

-Daniel B.


In my opinion, the book that made a very big impact on the literature world was Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. This book had a big impact because it was based off a children’s book and it is one of the best YA books I’ve read.

This book affected me as a reader in a couple ways. This was the book that started my love as a reader for a fantasy world inside of a realistic world. This book also impacted me as a person. I saw things from a view that most people wouldn’t, and it made me think about things differently from what we were told.

In Dorothy Must Die, the world is the fairytale opposite. It shows you things from a different view than the one you always saw. Dorothy Must Die led me into the more adventurous world of the YA universe which means to me, it had the most impact.

-Isa L.

In my opinion the book I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga has the biggest impact in the YA literature world.

This book is about a child harassed by his memories of his serial killer father. Jazz (the main character) has to survive helping the Lobo’s Nod Police force, dealing with the rivalry between his girlfriend and his best friend, and his (dead) mother. This book affects me as reader by looking at another perspective of how a character would think and act. As a person I’m affected by how police and serial killers (alike) act and want to act toward society and civilians.

-Sofia R.

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Many books have had big impacts on the YA literature world. In my opinion, the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene kicked off the industry.

The first Nancy Drew book came out in 1930. Nancy Drew was a 16-year-old girl that solved mysteries in her neighborhood. Many teens would be interested in the mysteries and how she solved them. Teenagers were also interested in the ghosts that are in her books.  This book especially connected to teenage girls. It gave them the idea that girls can do anything they want to.

-Kristin S.

In my opinion, Witchtown by Cory Putman Oakes has a really big impact on YA literature. I feel like this book can relate to a lot of issues including parent-child relationships, finding who you are, and being an outcast. I think that a lot of people can really relate to the main character. Also, the plot is very exciting, so it keeps you wondering more.

-Morgan P.