Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013


While I was growing up, I was lucky enough to have several adults in my life that were really inspiring. From my third grade teacher, Mrs. Johnstone, who taught me a love for storytelling, to my ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Nicholson, who was the first person to tell me I was good at writing. These people were a big part of what shaped who I’ve become.


I’ve always loved films like Dead Poets Society, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Freedom Writers that show how an adult who cares can leave a lasting mark on a kid’s life. I think those people really do exist. They’re not perfect, never as eloquent as in movies, and we don’t always appreciate their influence as it’s happening. But most of us have had at least one of those people in our lives.

I see these leaders a lot in Science Fiction and Fantasy — Dumbledore, Gandalf, etc. — but rarely is Contemporary YA. I heard a literary agent (who will not named… partly because I can’t remember who it was) define YA as always having the adults in the background. I don’t think this is true at all. One of the biggest parts of being a teenager is how you interact with the adults in your life.

I would love to read a Contemporary YA novel about the relationship between a kid and a parent, or a student and a teacher. There are a few out there, but it’s usually a subplot, never central to the storyline. Someone write one pretty please!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

**Our giveaway winner from last week's Indie Bookstores post is Cassie@Knows Prose!!!  Please send us an email at weheartya(at)gmail(dot)com.  Hope you like DON'T BREATHE A WORD as much as we did!**

So excited to participate, once again, in Readergirlz' annual shindig--Rock the Drop.  All the details are over at their site.  Basically you print off a bookplate, attach to a book you're willing to donate, Drop It someplace that people (teens) will stumble upon it, take a pic, tweet #rockthedrop and hope someone comes along to pick up a great--and free--read!

Since we're in Cincinnati, we will be leaving books around our hometown.  If you're local, pay attention to our twitter feed tomorrow and see if you can figure out the places we've dropped them.  Which books, do you ask?

A signed ARC of ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans.  This book is getting a lot of buzz (people we know LOVE it), and is being released in two short months.  But you could be part of #TeamONE simply by snagging this copy.  It has one of our favorite signature messages...ever...but you'll have to find the copy to see it.  We very nearly Rocked the Drop to our bookshelf with this one.  :)

A signed hardcover of DEFIANCE by CJ Redwine.  This book is a page-turner, filled with action and a unique mash-up of science fiction, fantasy, and post-apocolyptic elements.  The girls over at Epic Reads recommend this book nearly every week.  Get it before the sequel comes out this August!

A hardcover of WICKED GIRLS by Stephanie Hemphill.  This novel in verse relives the Salem witch trials through the eyes of the girls being accused.  Publisher's Weekly gave it a star and said, “The expressive writing, masterful tension, and parallels to modern group dynamics create a powerful and relevant page-turner. ”


An ARC of CRASH AND BURN by Michael Hassan.  The Goodreads blurb says: "Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal."  Compelling and relevant stuff.


Are you participating this year?  We'd love to hear which books you've placed and what hometown.  Happy Dropping (and hope you snag some good, free books out in the wild).  xx
Thursday, April 11, 2013

We’ve all got one. You know, that special independent bookstore tucked into the corner of town where you browse around, get lost in the nooks and crannies and pages, and blissfully block out the real world. Or maybe it’s the place  where you meet local authors and have enlightening discourse over a cuppa joe. Or perhaps you curl up there after school in a big overstuffed chair intending to finish your trig homework—only to find yourself marvelously distracted by all the shiny book spines surrounding you.  

Here in the Rocky Mountain region, my bookstore of choice is the Tattered Cover. I discovered this gem several years ago and fell in love with its creaky floors, towering shelves, and endless rows of books. Back then, the Tattered Cover was a landmark establishment located in Denver's Cherry Creek North district. Now, there are three different Tattered Covers around town to choose from—one is even housed in an historic theater! It's a bit of a drive for me, but always worth it.

Currently, there are about 2,000 bricks-and-mortar independent bookstores in the U.S., which is down from the 7,000 or so that existed in the 1990s. Due to market competition from the big chains and the rise of ebooks, many of them are struggling to survive. Now, I love all bookstores, but there is something special about indies. Let's make sure they stick around.

Spread the indie bookstore love and tell us about your favorites, big or small, far and wide! 

And if you leave a comment on this post, you'll be entered to win a copy of Holly Cupala's DON'T BREATHE A WORD (USA/Canada only; winner will be posted next week). 

 “A room without books is like a body without soul.” - Cicero






Tuesday, April 9, 2013

If you didn't know, Animaniacs is back on television.  On the Hub.  It pretty much makes my day, just like it used to do "back in the day."  My favorite feature in the cartoon is Good Idea-Bad Idea.  As Kristan and I were driving to Dayton for an author event with Rae Carson, Victoria Schwab, and Cinda Williams Chima at Books & Co., I kept thinking of some genius way of getting the authors to play Good Idea-Bad Idea with the audience.  Of course, genius comes slowly to this padawan, and the idea fell as flat as the Ohio countryside.   But since I had an oops this morning composing my normal twitter roundup, I thought perhaps you'd play along with me...

Good Idea:  use the Storify app on my iPad

Bad Idea:  save the story and then delete your twitter favorites because you trust the Storify app to be glitch-free and actually post your story.  Then realize you can't re-do or un-do and have to make-do.

Okay it's not very good.  You see why I couldn't bring it up at the signing.

l. Rae Carson, r. Victoria Schwab (sorry Cinda, we didn't get you in this shot)

But Kristan did capture some good one-liners to tweet.  In case you missed them:






It was a great discussion/ panel, and we thoroughly enjoy their books.  Wish you were there with us! The End.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Over the past year or so, I've heard a lot about the Horror genre slowly creeping in to YA Lit.  I'm not bringing up trends again, I promise, but I've really been looking for a way to talk about some darker books.

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)Last year, one of my favorites was I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.  If I hadn't read and loved one of his previous novels (The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl), I might not have gone for it.  I'm not a huge fan of serial killer narratives...never watched Hannibal Lector bully Clarice...to date I've read only one Stephen King novel.  Scary movies and scary books tend to...scare me.  And I'd much prefer to laugh.

Game (Jasper Dent, #2)That isn't to say that I can't appreciate good storytelling when I see it.  And I Hunt Killers was one of those reads for me.  Yeah, it completely creeped me out, but not unbearably.  In fact, the main story is  about the son of a notorious serial killer and how he's trying to deal with everything that comes after his father is imprisoned.  And when dead bodies show up, he he has to convince the town that it isn't him, picking up where his father left off. That's compelling stuff.  Matched with Lyga's prose and you've got a seriously good book.  The sequel is coming out very soon...and despite my hesitations about the scary, I'm going to have to get it.  (I did snag a short story pre-quel and preview of The Game, which helped put me back in that mind frame.  So good!)

The Marbury Lens (The Marbury Lens, #1)I don't even know what force drove me to pick up a copy of Andrew Smith's The Marbury Lens.  I remember people talking about this book a few years ago and it's always been on my radar.  What piqued my interest was the main story about a boy who can see into an alternate world with a pair of purple glasses.  That's just quirky enough to get me obsessed.  Of course that world--Marbury--is in turmoil.  It's hellish, and really painful to experience.  And yet the main character (and me) can't resist going back.  The scenes in Marbury are really intense and incredibly described.  The story hasn't left my mind--much like those who happen to own the glasses that see into Marbury.  The characters are run through a gamut of horror, and yet, I feel like this dark stuff is so important to fictionalize.

What is it about horror that draws us to it?

I love a story that gets me thinking about the human experience (I mean, that's a requirement, honestly).  And Horror gives us a place to discuss the uncomfortable, and that's really important.  Especially to people who have, unfortunately, experienced horrors of their own.

Tuesday, April 2, 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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