Friday, March 29, 2013

If you haven't heard, last week there was a massive publishing convention in Bologna, Italy. Obviously, we haven't been, but we follow a lot of agents and editors who go every year.  Foreign publishers let agents and editors know what books they're looking for, what trends they're seeing.  Everyone goes to market to buy a fat pig...then home again, jiggity jig.

As readers this doesn't impact us a ton (as writers, probably).  But whoa were we excited when we caught this tweet:


And considering how 2013 has been going so far, we can't dispute it (nor would we like to).  So far everyone has fallen in love with ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell...there's a great review on iEatWords, if you need more convincing...Kristan snagged JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman...Sarah devoured 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma...then bought DR. BIRD'S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS by Evan Roskos (yawp!)...

And last night she finished something beautiful.  A love story about a girl and music.
 THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr.  It's simple, and gorgeous, and inappropriate (deliciously so), and full of rebellion and decision.  There's red dresses, near kisses, first sips of wine, and music, music, music.  There's having an audience, and being true to yourself.  Loving yourself.  Loving the moments we're given.

Contemporary is in its stride.  But there's always been room for a good, current story.  And as that girl says in the AT&T commercial, "We want more."

Here's our advice...read up, store up, on these fantastic Contemps before QUINTANA of CHARYN, THE BITTER KINGDOM, SIEGE & STORM, REBOOT, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, THE CHAOS OF STARS completely grab your attention with the shiny...we know we weren't the only ones drooling at all the books at Epic Reads #ARCparty this week. 

What's trending for YOU so far this year?  What are you reading and loving?

How can you look at this cover and not be completely mesmerized?!?
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To date, I have had exactly three diaries. All of them have been destroyed in dramatic ways: fire, ripped into tiny pieces then scattered in the back crick, smooshed down into the side of a rubbish bin full of slime...where no one would dare go to retrieve it. I even deleted all posts (but one) on my personal blog. All of this would not be shocking if you knew me well.

In fact, I get enormous delight from the horror that others display at my single-handed mission to destroy the person that I Was. Picture me laughing like a villain. Right. Now. That picture is much more indicative of me as a person than any diary entry from age ten or fifteen or twenty-one. (Possibly I'm trying to destroy the evidence of all the "I hate my mom" entries...technically, I just did another one so there's not much hope this post will survive for very long).

"I am large, I contain multitudes" (thank ye, Walt Whitman).  Much more Now than Here or There...

If you haven't heard, Nova Ren Suma's latest novel 17 & GONE is being released today. RELEASED.  (After this post, I'm heading to the bookstore.  I don't mess around).  And this week on her blog she's been hosting several author's entries on what haunted them at age seventeen. Three of my fave posts, Jon Skovron, Kat Rosenfield, and Libba Bray still haunt me Now.

me at 17, pixelated
I don't remember being haunted at seventeen, but I am often haunted today by my seventeen year-old self. And I've been systematically trying to destroy her. Not because she's embarrassing (she is) or naive (holy smokes) or hideous (it's important to be hideous)...but because she isn't me. She's not true any longer.  But I can't escape her just the same.

actress Sharon Rooney 
Recently I discovered a UK television show that is so me, it's ridiculous. MY MAD FAT DIARY (based on the book by Rae Earl).  It takes place in a town in Lincolnshire (northish part of England) in the late 90's.  YOU might have to look around the TUBE to find this show as it's not been released in America.  But there are sneaky ways to find it, if you're of the sneaky variety (why are you not?)  Rae is boy-mad, overweight, overlooked, music-obsessed, and trying desperately to keep herself together.  She is everything.


There's also this book you might have heard about...reviewed by John Green, hit the NY bestseller list..ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell...ringing any bells...yeah? that book's me too.  I could go on and on listing things that are me.  Music, plays, puddles..."I am large, I contain multitudes" but I think you get the picture (at least I hope you do).



everything here is me, but the flower
Because here's the other thing.  I don't just find myself in stuff, but I put myself in places (that's my diary)....In rearranging a new artsy nook, in placing my pencils in a perfect row, where I hang pictures on the walls, the songs I wake up to in my head, the jokes I tell (because "there ain't no rust on the Happiness Bus"), the stories I write over and over and over.  In the next life, I'll be a poltergeist.

my car at 17, old buddy, old pal
Anyone who creates knows IT'S NEVER PERFECT.  You keep editing until someone takes it out of your hands or you place it in hiding (or you destroy it).  And Being Sarah is another one of those things that I'm always working on.  I'm mostly me Now.  The biggest leap of faith I'm willing to take is that I will be something else pretty Soon.


See you around.
(and please share your stories of what haunted you at 17 or just anything so I'm not on here all by myself looking large, thank ye).
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One of my favorite life mottos is K.I.S.S. -- "keep it simple, stupid." That goes for my romantic life, my professional life, and especially my writing life. However, that's just MY personal philosophy, and I don't expect -- or even want -- everyone else to live by it. In fact, I love when authors juggle lots of characters. I love when they weave multiple plot lines into complex, colorful tapestries. And I love smart, wham-bam twists that complicate everything.

I'm looking at you, Laini Taylor and Melina Marchetta.

And now after reading PIVOT POINT and MIND GAMES, I'm also looking at Kasie West and Kiersten White. Both books use dual narratives, in totally different ways but to same powerful effect.

"YOU DON'T CHOOSE THIS."

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)PIVOT POINT's two tracks are alternate realities, which our heroine Addie has to choose between. That's her superpower: being able to see what will happen if she chooses X and what will happen if she choses Y, before she actually has to choose -- which means she can always make the "right" choice. The only problem is, what if both choices suck?

Even though paranormal abilities serve as the engine for this story, I thought it had a surprisingly contemporary feel. Addie is a (more or less) normal teen trying to work her way through normal problems -- like managing her relationship with her mother, making new friends in high school, and keeping everyone from finding out just how unusual she really is. There are two fun love interests (but no love triangle -- the benefit of living 2 separate lives!) as well as a hint of mystery. But what I loved most were the rich, moving relationships between characters.

TAP TAP TAP

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)MIND GAMES's double trouble comes in the form of sisters who take turns narrating the story from their very unique perspectives. Annie is blind and Fia is, well, a little bit crazy. (I say that with love!) See, she's pretty powerful, but she's also young and very protective of her sister, and those weaknesses get exploited to coerce her into doing bad things.

So once again, we have a story about choice, but unlike Addie in PIVOT POINT, Fia doesn't get to know ahead of time which path is right. She simply acts on instinct, and then she has to live with the choices she makes -- and worse, the choices she isn't allowed to make.

MIND GAMES doesn't spell things out for readers, but personally I love getting to connect the dots and fill in some of the blanks for myself. Makes me feel like I'm teamed up with the author. Also, what I really, really, really loved about this book was how complex each and every character was. There isn't simply good or evil, right or wrong -- there's the whole messy spectrum in between.

As I said, these two books are anything but simple. And they both have clever, wrenching endings that brought tears to my eyes. Happily, they're quite satisfying as standalones -- but I think we can expect sequels (or at least companion novels) in the near future.

KH
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

**Winner of The End Games ARC is Anna from Anna Reads! Congrats and please email us at weheartya (at) gmail (dot) com so we can get your postal address.** 


We are super excited to welcome Nicole to weheartya for our second Teen Spotlight Interview! She's been gracious enough to answer some questions about her life and 'all things teen' to share with our readers...

Nicole 
Lives in: Midwest
Age: 18
Grade: 12



1. What YA genres are you typically drawn to, and why?
My favorite YA genres are contemporary and romance or a combination of both. I'm drawn to these genres because I feel they are relevant to my life and deal with similar situations that I have found myself in before. I can develop a deep connection to the characters and feel their emotions as I read. Plus, I'm a "hopeless romantic" at heart so that aspect of a book keeps me intrigued. 

2. When you're deciding whether or not to buy/read a book, what are the things you consider most? 

The genre is the most important thing to me. After that, my biggest deciding factor is the back cover blurb. It's the first thing I look at after the title, of course. I try not to pay attention to the cover art, but for some odd reason it does play a role in choosing books. If there were two books I was interested in reading, I would most likely pick the one with the "prettier" cover art. I have an open mind when it comes to author and length. I don't usually read book reviews because everyone has different opinions on what they like.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? My all-time favorite book is THE LAST SONG by Nicholas Sparks. I love every component of this book. It's devastating, exciting, romantic, and (at times) funny. My emotions are pulled in all directions and I believe it's so much more than just the typical teen romance novel. The complicated relationships the main character has with her family are just as powerful.

4. What do you like to do in your spare time?
"Libby"
In my spare time I enjoy shopping, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends. Also, I love taking care of my little dog, Libby, who I treat like a child.

5. Do you ever read author blogs/websites? What do you mostly use the Internet for? If you enjoy a book, do you actively search for other books by the same author? 
We Heart YA is the only author blog I have ever read. I use the Internet for almost everything, but mostly for doing my online classes. If I enjoy a book, I usually check to see what other books that author has written to see if there's something I would be interested in.

6. What are your feelings about online schooling? What social and academic challenges have you faced not being in the classroom? Benefits? 
It's certainly been tough not having a "typical high school experience" and missing out on things like homecoming and prom, football games, boyfriends, and just being social with my friends. On the other hand, there are many negative aspects of high school that teens encounter that I am fortunate for not having to go through. Some academic challenges of doing school online is the need for self-motivation and having to teach yourself the curriculum. On the other hand, I have been able to learn from home at my own pace which is profoundly accommodating for when I am sick. My health has been improving lately and I'm truly excited to start college in August where I'll be attending regular classes and being social with people my age.

7. What issues facing young adults today do you think are the most important / compelling
Today, there are a variety of issues facing teens and I think a lot of them are due to the influence of social media. I believe the most compelling problems as of now are drugs and alcohol, anxiety and depression, sex and relationships, and bullying. Young adult literature is wonderful in how it shines light on these difficult topics and hopefully encourages parents and teens to talk about them more often. 

8. As a teenager, what do you feel are your biggest struggles / hurdles? 
As a teenager, my biggest struggles have definitely been dealing with my medical complications. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 11 and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (a progressive liver disease) when I was 13. After that, my life dramatically changed and has involved countless medications, doctors, tests, procedures, and unfortunately feeling extremely sick at times. Consequently, I had to grow up faster than most of my peers and live a different lifestyle. I only went to 9th grade for the first quarter and have been doing school online ever since. Although I have dealt with some hardships, which everyone experiences at some point, I have learned so much and matured as a stronger person. 

9. What are your favorite TV shows? Movies? What do you like about them? 
I'm a huge TV show and movie junkie. Currently, my favorite TV shows are Survivor, House Hunters, Teen Mom, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Teen Wolf. As you can see, I've been sucked into the lovely world of reality TV, but for some reason these types of shows entertain me the most. As for movies, some of my favorites are The Notebook, Pursuit of Happyness, The Vow, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Hangover, A Walk to Remember, Life as We Know It, The Lucky One, Titanic, and of course, The Last Song. I enjoy different movie genres, but I lean more toward romance/drama, which corresponds with my taste in books.

10. Do you have any ideas about what careers you might want to pursue in the future? 
I'm very certain that I want to become a dental hygienist. Ideally, I want to work at a pediatric dental office because I love kids. I have been interested in teeth since I was really young and I find oral hygiene very important. In addition, this career has many benefits such as flexible scheduling, good salary, comfortable work environment, and job stability. 

Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. You're such an inspiration-- and we love your little dog! 
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

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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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