Friday, March 28, 2014

Hi.

Normally we'd have a post up here on a Thursday...and now it's Friday...and this is not really a post.

We're taking a break this week as one of our members has suffered a major loss in her family.  It's hit us all hard.  Feeling sorry for someone doesn't always cut it.  Sometimes all you can do is stop what you're doing and take in one breath and let out one breath.

Put away your labours.  Pause.

Grief is a tricksy thing.  It can't be helped.  It can't be shared.  And you can't take it off someone like a stray eyelash on a cheek.

You can relate.  And you can link words to hearts and these ache wide open.

xx
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014

We Were LiarsY'all, we need to talk.

Don't worry, this isn't a break-up post. This is a full-out-in-love post. And the object of our affection? WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart.

The problem is, we can't really talk about it. At least not about the plot, because there's a strong element of mystery, and giving it away would really hurt the reading experience.

(Seriously, do NOT look at spoilers for this one. I say that as someone who usually doesn't mind knowing the twist.)

Here are a few truths that are safe to share:

• The characters. Cadence and her friends (collectively known as the Liars) are a charming and eclectic bunch. Sweet Mirren, swaggering Johnny, and philosophical Gat. Lockhart paints the foursome in vivid strokes, to the point where I felt like I was lying on the beach right next to them.

• Unreliability. It's not so much that the characters are liars, it's more that Cady only has bits and pieces of her family's story (due in part to amnesia, and in part to being an individual and a teen). What she knows isn't everything, and what she learns will break your heart.

• The setting. The Sinclairs spend their summers on a private island, with each branch of the family tree getting their own house. From the beaches to the cliffs, the motor boats to the Golden Retrievers, Lockhart weaves the details in a wonderful way, creating a wistful, balmy mood for her story.

• The relationships. More so than even the twist at the end, this is what WE WERE LIARS is about. Love of all kinds. Family love, friendship love, romantic love. Pure love, worried love, angry love. Like any family, the Sinclairs have twisted each other up in a number of ways, and those tangles provide powerful, believable fuel for the book.

In short: Read this one. Maybe you won't love it as much as I do, but I certainly don't think you'll regret it.

And hey,  you don't have to take my word for it...






For some spoiler-free, behind-the-scenes fun, check out this Publishers Weekly feature on E. Lockhart, or this blog about publisher Hot Key Books' clever pitch to secure WE WERE LIARS for the UK.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014
When I posted last time, I wrote about the recent (and past) Morris winners and nominees, and how they never fail to impress me.  One of the books that I mentioned, but realized I still hadn't read was THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST.  I purchased this ebook in 2012 when it was released and somehow it got lost in the queue.  I'm kicking myself for not having read this one sooner because there was definitely some hype and some love for this book going around.  And now I have to chase after the conversation again...

Where are my fangirls?

I want to gush.  I want to put this book into everyone's hand and say, "This! This is how it's done."  The characters are so authentic, I expected Cameron to walk into my living room and sit down on the couch with me.  The setting, the themes, the kissing! all impacted upon my reader sensibilities.  I wanted to fight for Cameron when all things were going against her. 

She has the most painful journey.

This is a story about a person who isn't permitted to be herself.  I think most of us can relate to that universal theme. And yet, what makes Cameron so phenomenal is that she knows herself.  Without question.  That is sometimes the hardest part in shifting from adolescence to adult.
 
This week I'm reading Andrew Smith's GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE (haven't gotten to the praying mantises yet) and sexual identity is fairly central, but the main character is much more confused.  Sometimes the ultimate battle for survival is not fought with Hollywood explosions and flash, but the internal battle of being honest with yourself. 

Facing the truth is treacherous.

One of the things I love about YA fiction is that authors are kicking-in the fence between "normal" and "other" in relation to "majority" and "minority"...and breaking down these meaningless categories.  Ask any teenager and they'll tell you that they don't accept labels as prescribed.  This truth somehow gets lost in the adult world. 

Sexuality is not the story. We need fiction that isn't categorized as such, and both THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST and GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE are examples of how to do this right.  They're just good stories.

What do you think?  Any other examples you can think of where societal labels and barriers are being broken down?

Winners from our World Book Day Giveaway are:
Winner--NOT A DROP TO DRINK: Batool A.
Winner--THE DEMON'S LEXICON: Lisa @ Lisa Likes Books

Thank you to everyone who participated -- we loved reading about your favorite books. Winners, please send an email to weheartya[at]gmail[dot]com with your mailing information and we'll send your prizes along.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

In case you didn't know, yesterday March 6 was that special day when all people literary come together to celebrate all things books! Okay, we kinda do that everyday online... but this is different. And super cool. World Book Day was designated by UNESCO 17 years ago as a worldwide celebration of books, authors and reading, and is now celebrated in over 100 countries.

(Note: We had planned to post this on March 6, but Blogger did not cooperate.)

In the UK and Ireland, especially, WBD is a really big deal. More than 14 million children will receive book tokens that they can trade in for specific books or for a discount at bookstores. Schoolkids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book characters. Folks will gather for all kinds of WBD festivals and fun. The whole idea is to encourage reading and instill a love of literature in today's young'uns.

There's been a whole lot of good stuff going on in the blogoshphere, too. If you're on twitter, check out #worldbookday and you might just disappear down the rabbit hole. So much to read and share!

We WHYA gals are joining in the festivities by giving away two books of our own:

NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis

THE DEMON'S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan

To be eligible for our WHYA World Book Day Giveaway, you must leave a comment on this post answering the following three questions:

1) What was your favorite book when you were a child?

2) If you could be a fairytale character for a day, who would it be?

3) What is your all-time favorite book line OR all-time favorite book?

Bonus: If you include a photo of yourself dressed up like a book character, we'll enter your name twice!

Please leave your comment by next Tuesday, March 11. Be sure to mention which book you'd like to win, if you have a preference. Winners will be announced on Thursday, March 13th.

(US mailing addresses only-- sorry, international friends!)

Happy WBD reading!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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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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