American Novelists 21ST Century
Since 2000, 21st Century novels have taken fiction in a new and exciting direction, though it has become much harder to weed out the good from the bad (and the ugly) in the digital age. Anyone, who is everyone, it seems, has a book for sale on Amazon, resulting in millions of choices. Good for consumers, but bad for literary snobs. That means a lot of the books that were written after 2000 may have to wait a while before they can be deemed “classics.” The existing classics your teachers made you read in high school — we’re sure they’ll always be around. But they may have to share shelf space with our top 15 picks.
Jonathan Franzen’s powerful look at modern love and marriage speaks passionately to every phase of life, and could easily prepare kids for the world ahead. It’s also challenging material, winning with most critics but polarizing to large groups of people. It’s one of those 21st Century novels that schools will love in the years ahead.
14. The Fault In Our Stars
John Green’s ambitious and heartbreaking love story transcends its teen audience and really shows off what the young adult novel is capable of doing outside of its niche audience. The story follows 16-year-old terminal cancer patient Hazel and her intriguing relationship with Augustus Waters, an acquaintance at the Cancer Kid Support Group.
13. We Need To Talk About Kevin
The Boston Globe called Lionel Shriver’s disturbing tale of loyalty, family ties, and unsettling violence “sometimes searing… [and] impossible to put down.” Shriver is a strong female voice and writes with the punch of a gifted journalist. The story centers on a woman, who wishes to understand what drove her teenage son to violence.