Hi, BSchultz19. Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? Not necessarily YA but absolutely terrific. For recent YA without pat endings... How about pretty much anything by Tim Bowler? I love River Boy and Starseeker especially. Those are contemporary with a bit of supernatural flair. Kristen Cashore's Fire is great for fantasy. CJ Daugherty writes contemporary, boarding school adventures but they're by no means 'happily ever after'. Hope it's OK to mention my book, The Bone Dragon, for a contemporary psychological thriller. Berlie Doherty is really interested for complex, nuanced stories of the slower but richer variety: mostly shades of historical fiction (including recent history). Oh, and Tanya Byrne's wonderful Heart-Shaped Bruise is a brilliant contemp. crime novel. In America there's much more of a tendency for upbeat endings but, above all, American publishers rarely publish morally ambiguous endings, which are my favourite type. Things that make you question what you think is right and wrong, rather than telling you. That's where British YA is really coming into its own.
As for my likes and dislikes... No to zombies and vampires, yes to fantasy beasties... No to post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories because basically I'm a happy person and want to believe the future is brighter than the past. Yes to historical fiction, even when it's far from upbeat (it's OK for the past to be depressing if we've moved forward). I like romance and even love triangles - to a point. My big issue with romance in YA is that people are rarely sensible about love. Sometimes romance and clear thinking go together rather well. It's certainly not a good message when most books seem to say that romance is all about being blind and assuming that people are as nice as they look. I like to read about people of all ages who take responsibility for their lives and their choices - whatever those happen to be.