1. Young Adult realistic romance with authentic dialog that makes me yearn to be the main character.
2. Paranormal MG or YA that keeps me at the edge of my seat and has a fantastic payoff at the end.
3. MG that captures the reality of Middle School with an intriguing plot plus authentic emotion. 7th and 8th grade =hormonal roller coaster where kids strive to be independent yet are still such babes in the woods.
4. Laugh-out-loud, fast paced Chapter Books, MG and YA.
5. Books that organically combine illustration with prose--MG and YA
6. Characters that reflect the popular kids, not just the loners, geeks, etc....I was asked on FB, 'If main characters are popular, healthy, athletic, gets straight A's, gets all the girls, has a perfect family, etc., where's the story?
The story is: who the world perceives we are, how we think about ourselves, and who we really are is usually not the same. I just read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. I loved the part where the mc realizes that the boys she thought were confident and had it all were actually self-conscious and insecure about 'issues' the mc never considered.
Some new favorites not on my original list: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree/Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, Forever by Judy Blume, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, What is Goodbye? by Nickki Grimes.
For now: no high fantasy.
To learn more about Jill, visit her blog.