Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I've recently started designing book covers, so it's all I've thought about the last couple weeks. And what do you do with the stuff you can't get out of your head? You blog about it.

When we come across a book, the first thing we see is the cover. That's where we usually get our first impression of the story. Unfortunately, you really can't judge a book by its cover. Some of the best stories look awful on the outside.

Do you ever leave the dust jacket at home because you're embarrassed by how it looks? I do that all the time. There are other covers that always catch my eye at Barnes and Noble, even when I already own the books.

Here are a few favorites among the WHYA girls:







So what makes a good book cover? Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (there's another cliché for you), but I think we can all agree that some stand out more than others. What are your favorites?

Steph
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
As I'm sure you all know, the final Harry Potter film will be released (in the US) this Friday. I have my tickets for a 9 p.m. showing at my local theater. Are any of you going on opening day? At midnight?


What I would like to do on this eve of "goodbye" is think back on how we all said "hello."

Personally, I was pretty darn late to the Harry Potter party. And I'm not just talking 2 or 3 books behind. I didn't start HP 1 until HP 7 was released!

(Well, okay. After HP 3, I tried to start HP 1, but there was too much hype and thus no way it could live up. I read the first couple pages and was like, "Seriously? This is what all the fuss is about?" Oh silly, stubborn Kristan.)

Fast forward a few years to July 2007. My boyfriend had been giddy for weeks at the thought of finally getting to read the end of the Harry Potter saga. When he got the book and I saw how thick it was, I thought, "He's going to be reading that thing forever!" So I figured I may as well read something too. I picked up the Sorceror's Stone, sat down on the couch, and basically didn't get up until I'd turned the last page of Deathly Hallows.

Many say I "cheated" because I didn't have to wait in agony for each book to be released. But I think that in some ways I was deprived (through my own fault, I know) because I didn't get to spend all those years with these beloved characters, living in their magical world. Thankfully, we can all jump right back into Hogwarts anytime we want. I certainly plan to reread these books several times throughout my life.

So what about you? What led you to Harry Potter? And, I'm just curious, who is your favorite character? Mine from the start was Severus Snape. And he only got better with every book.

KH
Friday, July 8, 2011
Congratulations to our giveaway winners: @ravishingreads, @papereader, and @ReadingRocks4Me! You have been emailed for your shipping addresses.

Thanks to everyone who entered. We loved every response -- especially the ones that involved chocolate! Here are a few of our favorites:

These YA lovers are our #FF this week, so check them out on Twitter!

The contest might be over, but it's never too late to tell us why you heart YA. Let us know in the comments why you think Young Adult books are so special. And if we ever see a "@WeHeartYA because..." on Twitter, we'll be sure to retweet it. ;)

Love,
The WHYA girls
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I’ve always been a little obsessed with names. Perhaps because I own one that is rather unique. Growing up, all I wanted was to blend in with the Jennies, Lizes, and Heathers in my class. Not be told by the boy I liked that when he first heard my name he pictured an 80-year-old Swedish woman!

I’m okay with my name now. Really. I’m even glad it’s somewhat ‘different.’ But names do play a role in how we perceive and relate to people and things. For instance, I’ve always named my cars. I’ve owned cars named Turtle, Willow, Stallion and currently, Homer (it’s an Odyssey).

In books, names give important clues to a character’s... well, character. It doesn’t quite fit to have a villain named “Sunny” or a football hero named “Poindexter,” does it? It is great fun, though, when authors challenge our notions by spinning characters that are the exact opposite of what their name implies.

What names evoke strong emotions in you as a reader? How do you perceive a Preston or a Boomer, an Emma or a Chastity? What about common names like Joe or Nick or Jane? And how does playing with the spelling of a name alter its effect (Jo, Nic, Jayne)? How do you feel about using boys’ names for girls (Blake, Riley, Charlie, Mason)? Or last names for first names (Wyler, Bennett, Kennedy)?

I’ve recently changed two character names in my WIP and even though I think their new names better fit their personalities, it’s been a difficult transition for me. Like I’m losing someone I knew so well. If you’re a writer, what is your process for naming your characters? Do you pick one and stick with it, or do you try out several while you’re writing until you find the one that “fits”?

In short, what’s in a name… to you?

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


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
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
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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