Amelia Atwater Rhodes, a woman who is now in her mid twenties, began writing when she was only a child. Her first published book, In the Forest of the Night, came out when she was only a mere fourteen years old. How amazing is that? Fourteen and you're already a published young adult author.
I always have problems with the young adult genre because it's broken down into so many age groups. Young adult, typically, is for the early teenager (around 13 years old) up to the High School age (18+). I think we can all agree that what is appropriate for an eighteen year old is generally not appropriate for a thirteen year old. So with that, helping a confused parent pick out a book for their son or daughter is always a complex matter. How old are they? Physically and mentally? You have to break it down into what young adult book would be appropriate for what age.
I can say, with complete confidence, that In the Forest of the Night is appropriate for the younger 'young adult'. I read the book initially when I was in middle school and I loved it. There isn't any sexual overtones nor graphic language. It's very simple and quick to the point with fluid language that is surprising considering a fourteen year old had written it. Even now, at my current age of 24, I enjoy returning to this book on a fall afternoon and rereading it over a span of an hour or two.
This novel was written prior to the release of the Twilight craziness. It's about vampires and eloquently so. Rhodes weaves a wonderful tale that is appropriate for this age group yet still engaging. You're still struck by the characters and left surprised at the novels end. This was a wonderful and promising start for Rhodes. She continued to write many other books including Persistence of Memory and Token of Darkness. She has her collection of vampire fiction but she has also broken off into a more fantasy related realm of shape-shifters.
Coming out in a couple of months (early 2011) is her newest book: All Just Glass which seems to be the continuation of a book she published 10 years ago, Shattered Mirror.
If you are looking to buy a vampire/fantasy related book for a young adult (IE: a mentality of 13 years old or so) then Rhodes would be a great choice. If you yourself are interested in something that is a quick and enjoyable read, something to bring with you to read at a doctors office or while waiting to pick someone up at an airport, go and read her books! They're enjoyable and fast paced. Despite it being 11 years since her first book was published I still find her to be a promising author and I hope that her writing continues to progress in a great direction. She has a lot of originality and I hope she puts it to good use.