Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games was one of those books that hit the zeitgeist like a bomb. Pegged as a YA dystopian author after Hunger Games, she was formerly known for her fantastic quintet of books in her Overland Chronicles series. It's a quest story, a story about finding and fulfilling one's destiny in a strange world beneath New York City. Gregor and his little sister (called "Boots") are terrific characters, and the way Boots bonds with the giant cockroaches (they love her and treat her like a princess) is endearing. The series goes on maybe one book too long, but if you love fantasy, you owe it to yourself to check out the Underland Chronicles.
YA, it pretty much blew up the genre and set off a publishing frenzy that supercharged the movies based on the trilogy. But before Collins wrote
When I was reading Hunger Games, I found myself thinking about readers and why some books succeed while others fail. Dan Brown wrote a couple of novels before hitting it big with The DaVinci Code. Now the Robert Langdon books make up one of the top ten best-selling series of all time. Something to think about when your books aren't selling and you're contemplating going back to grad school or taking that job with your sister-in-law's accounting firm.