Christopher Pike--The "master of murder", suspense and the teenage thriller genre. I like Pike's earlier books better than his more recent works (Last Vampire, ad nauseum), and find that even his "adult" books deliver that familiar punch.
Try reading some books by these premier young adult authors.
Rob Thomas--No, not that Rob Thomas, silly. This R.T. writes kick-ass teen fiction from the perspective of the somewhat normal, if a bit disaffected male. Try Rats Saw God and Satellite Down on for size, and just see if you can't stop reading.
Nancy Werlin--Werlin won the mystery writer's award, the Edgar, for her first thriller, The Killer's Cousin, and followed up with two more great novels featuring familiar peripheral characters.
Sarah Dessen--Move over, Judy Blume; Sarah Dessen writes the kind of girl fiction we've been dying to read since J.B. stopped publishing her awesome y.a. lit. With each novel, Dessen grows as a writer; her newest novel, This Lullaby, is a work of art.
William Sleator--He's the master of accessible science fiction, though I must say I like some of his earlier, more fleshed out work a bit better than his latest offerings. Fingers is awesome suspense and House of Stairs is a chilling examination of classical conditioning.
Randy Powell--Powell, a resident of the Pacific Northwest, makes me want to pack up and move to Washington or Oregon. Known for writing from the perspective of quirky teen males, his latest, Tribute to another Dead Rock Star, is typically great.
Chris Crutcher--I always lumped Crutcher in with those "sports" writers; until I read Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, I had no idea that I had been missing out on some really intense and insightful literature. True, Crutcher's main characters are almost always athletes of some kind, and their physical challenges feature significantly in each novel; however, I'm beginning to see this characterization as almost like a kind of man vs. himself metaphor.
Jean Davies Okimoto--Another citizen of the Pacific Northwest, Okimoto often writes of the Asian-American experience. I'm still not sure why she hasn't rocketed to popularity, especially since her books are so genuinely funny and on-target.
Robert Cormier--Dearly departed Cormier is the author of many poignant, tender and even violent novels of self-discovery and battle with the Establishment. Read I am the Cheese and send good thoughts his way.
Joan Bauer--Joan Bauer got all famous when librarians started talking about how hysterical Rules of the Road was. I really liked Newbery Honor winner Hope was Here, myself.
Madeleine L'Engle--Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L'Engle doesn't get enough press for her awesome young adult books, like Meet the Austins and the amazing Many Waters, featuring characters from her Wrinkle trilogy!
M.E. Kerr--One question: when is M.E. Kerr going to write more books to go with her wonderful Fell series? Check out Kerr's fiction, as well as her non-fiction memoirs, Blood on the Forehead and Me, me, me, me. . . .
Nancy Garden--Known for her classic gay coming of age novel, Annie on my Mind, Garden is no one-trick pony. Check out her latest titles, Good Moon Rising and The Year they Burned the Books.
Francesca Lia Block--The Los Angeles queen of poetic magical realism is one of the best things to happen to young adult literature since Forever.
Christopher Golden--You might tend to want to disregard Golden, since he has written so prolifically for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV tie-in series. Chris Golden, however, is an original in his own right; his riveting series Prowlers and Body of Evidence are mature and complex.