Monday, May 1, 2017


This month I read The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox, which was lovely and creepy. And then I spent most of the month reading Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I'm about a third of the way through, and I'm in love. The world building, the characters, and the prose are so so gorgeous. I also read two nonfiction books that I won't name, because they were for secret writing research. ;)


I finished STRANGE THE DREAMER even though I really tried to pace myself. It is wonderful. Everything you'd want and a bit more that you didn't even know existed in your wanting until suggested by the sorcery of Laini Taylor. Completely absorbing and inspiring. I'm currently stuck in THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS, which is sharply clever and from page one, paragraph one, charming and beguiling. A MONSTER CALLS and THE NEST are also on the go as I'm reading with student groups. It's good to be me!


As predicted last month, this month I read CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo. Whoo, what a ride. Bardugo is impressive as ever with plot, but what really sang in this series were her characters. Such a varied cast, each one deep as the the True Sea. As a reader, I love sinking so completely into a book like I did with this one, and as a writer, I find so much to learn from and be inspired by.


This month I read ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by Bryn Greenwood, which was raw and complex, masterful and controversial. It made my heart ache and my head spin. Greenwood raised some tough questions in this compelling, disturbing story told from conflicting points of view. I still keep thinking about these characters, and probably will for a while. I then jumped into GIRL IN PIECES--another tough yet captivating book about a very sad girl on a long, hard journey to self-acceptance. Finally, I just started listening to the audio version of THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas. I have a feeling it's going to be a heart-wrenching, gut-slugging read as well. Next up: something a bit on the lighter side!

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's been a long winter, and we're all happy to be celebrating the beginning of spring. Here are the reads that saw us through the end of the heavy gray season:


This month I finished off my reread of the Harry Potter series, completing Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows. I also read The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron and Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, which was my favorite. Loved the beautiful language and the spookiness and the tender friendships.


With a young baby at home, there isn't a lot of time for reading, but I'm trying! Recently I've read a couple memoirs -- WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi, and THE LATE BLOOMER'S REVOLUTION by Amy Cohen -- and before that, I finally got to meet Kaz, Inej, Nina, and the rest of the gang in SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo. Can't wait to spend more time with them in CROOKED KINGDOM.


This month, I've been walking around with several books in my ANNA, LOLA, ISLA tote bag that I'm teaching (and reading) to 11-15 year-olds: THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, HOLES, ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY, SKELLIG, THE WEIGHT OF WATER and the play AN INSPECTOR CALLS. All of these were new reads for me and really interesting to experience along with the students. But the just-for-me reads were THE HATE U GIVE, CRONGTON KNIGHTS, WE COME APART and currently falling in deep, deep love with STRANGE THE DREAMER.


Well, house renovations have been sucking up a lot of my free time lately, but I've managed to squeeze in a few audio books: IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo, THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay, and EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon. This last one was my favorite because it's a total page-turner, the premise felt fresh and different, and the protagonist was incredibly likable.


Fun fact: I designed the original cover for The Sea of Tranquility, before it got picked up by an imprint of Simon & Schuster!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

In keeping with our yearly tradition, we took some time to reflect on the books we read during 2016 and picked a few of our faves. These are the books that punched hard, stuck with us, and left us wrecked (in the best possible way). 


In no particular order...

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE by Heidi Heilig - An #ownvoices debut full of adventure, beauty, and heart.

THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater - An exciting ending to a truly magical series.

THE COST OF ALL THINGS by Maggie Lehrman - A thoughtful exploration of memory, forgiveness, and consequences.



1. AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is my top pick this year. Clever, beautiful language, characters to root for, killer world-building. I wish I'd written it!

2. AMONG OTHERS by Jo Walton. I'm not familiar with many of the Sci-Fi author references, but this whole book feels like a secret. This Book! I tell you...this book.

3. A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas. I'm not one to follow the (popular) crowd, but this one made me feeeeeel so much. Addicting, sweeping, fun. Can't go wrong.

Honourable mentions (because reasons): ARCHIVIST WASP by Nicole Kornher-Stace is unforgettable. I still think of this story all the time. It's in my bones. INFANDOUS by Elana K. Arnold was the first book I read this year and not many have topped it!


1. I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson - These characters! Oh, these tortured characters. Every last one is seared into my heart. Guh!

2. STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr - I've never wanted to rescue a character so badly until I met Deanna. The tension between her and her dad... Just. Heartbreaking.

3. FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell - Such a great, realistic love story between two extremely likable characters. Took me right back to my college days. This book has so much brilliance packed into it. Love, love it.

A few others I reeeaally liked: THE TYRANT'S DAUGHTER by J.C. Carleson, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord and ON THE FENCE by Kasie West.


THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA by Tony DiTerlizzi - Beautiful Middle Grade Science Fiction with great friendships and rich world building. Can't wait to read the other books!

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani - I loved how this book explored the gray areas between good and evil, loved the friendships that formed, and how it incorporated classic fairytales into the story.

CRESS by Marissa Meyer - I read the entire series this year, but this book was my favorite, Cress was definitely my favorite character.

Also loved THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen, THE SHADOWS by Jacqueline West, NIGHTBIRD by Alice Hoffman, THE NETHERGRIM by Matthew Jobin, and THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir.


That's it for us! What books did you love this year? 

Thursday, July 14, 2016


This month, I read Starflight by Melissa Landers, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, and Cress and Winter by Marissa Meyer. My favorite was Cress, and Starflight was a close second. Cress reminded me a little of Disney's version of Rapunzel in Tangled, and I love how her story was incorporated into this world.


UMMMMMMM. I read this great book called "Baby's First Library, ABC" like ninety billion times. Does that mean it's my favorite by default? :P

(Note of explanation: I'm solo babysitting my 19 month old niece for almost 2 weeks.)

For a more grown-up answer, haha, the truth is that I'm slowly making my way through THE COST OF ALL THINGS by Maggie Lehrman, and I'm loving it. (Slow because of aforementioned niece, not because of the book at all.) Really great character work, and a fun, messy premise about magic and wishes and the price we pay for getting what we think we want.


June was a crazy-busy month for me, but I somehow managed to read two and a half books! (Primarily because two of them were audiobooks that I could absorb while driving children to various daily activities :) The first book was a re-read of JUST LISTEN. I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan, and this is one of my SD faves. I also listened to IN BETWEEN by Jenny B. Jones. This story was delightful--full of humor and tender family moments. And Katie Parker, the sweet, spunky protagonist of this novel, stole my heart on page one. Currently, I am halfway through THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS by Anna-Marie McLemore. So far, I love her lyrical writing and the unique setting/storyline.  


This month I read AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and ONE by Sarah Crossan, which has (deservingly) already won two big awards this year. I absolutely adore novels in verse, and while ONE is brilliant, I'm still hung up on her earlier work THE WEIGHT OF WATER. That book! Anyway, at the moment I'm in the middle of AND I DARKEN and whew, man, you want this. Kiersten White's storytelling has grown with each book I've read and I do believe she's found her sweet spot.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Two years ago, a group of book bloggers got together with a simple, powerful mission:

Mindfully seek out diverse YA literature to read, discuss, and highlight.

We named ourselves the YA Diversity Book Club -- simple and straightforward -- and we've had such a great time finding new books to chat about each month.

To celebrate our 2-year anniversary, we would like to encourage others to read diversely too. So we're doing a 3-book giveaway, of forthcoming books from authors whose work we have featured and enjoyed in the past. We each chose one of the books personally. Here's mine -- the sequel to AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, which captivated me:

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2) A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

To learn more about the other books in the giveaway, please visit The Reading Date and Teen Lit Rocks!

To enter the giveaway, see below:

Enter to win three YA Fall 2016 preorder books
Prizes provided by the YADBC
Giveaway open to US residents age 13 and up
Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter

Now the YADBC will be taking a summer hiatus, but you can always check out the past 2 years of YA Diversity Book Club posts on Tumblr!

* * * * *

On a personal note: I will be taking a step back from YADBC, due to a big responsibility coming in a little package this November. I will forever and always read diversely, though! I hope you will too.

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about us

Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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