Sookie Stackhouse comes to mind).
Like I said, I was an avid Anne Rice fan in high school (and beyond, actually, but it started in high school). I remember discovering Interview with the Vampire when I was probably 14 or so (give or take a year). I read the entire thing in 24 hours, I was so hooked. That was the book that taught me how to read and walk at the same time.
I remember that one of the things I always liked best about Anne Rice's books was her description -- I always felt like I was right there, seeing and smelling and feeling the same things as the narrator. When I read The Wolf Gift last summer (it was one of the books I read while I wasn't doing a very good job of keeping up on my blog), however, I was surprised at how heavy the description felt. What had appealed to me as a high school student didn't appeal to me as much now that I'm an adult. It was still great, but it also made me realize that as my tastes have matured, I've come to prefer more concise description, in my own writing as well as what I read.
That observation aside, I loved The Wolf Gift. As usual, Anne Rice has presented us with a "monster" that is extremely human in its complexities. The book was a perfect first-in-the-series, with an initiation and a creation story: the main character being reborn as the monster, learning how to exist in his new identity, and eventually learning the history of how the wolf-men came to be. I am looking forward to the second book, which I hope will be coming out this year!