Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I am a sucker for a good love story.

It started when I was four years old and discovered Cinderella. I remember the thrill of hefting that huge, tattered Book of Fairytales (it had somehow survived my four older sisters) up onto my bed and getting lost in the world of princes and princesses, magic and myth, good and evil. As I got older, my love of fairytales grew into an appreciation for a variety of literature. But I will forever love a good love story.

Of course, there are the classic literary romances… Romeo and Juliet, Catherine and Heathcliff, Buttercup and Westley!

But almost every book out there, classic or not, has a unique love story woven between its covers. Whether dystopian, fantasy, contemporary, or adventure, there’s usually some sort of romantic entanglement involved.

So what is it about love stories that continually draw us in, especially in YA literature? Perhaps it’s the wonderment of our hero or heroine finding a kindred spirit, a soul mate, a partner. The characters often must overcome horrific obstacles and the endings are not always happy, but somehow (much like life) the journey is worth it.

Below are a few books I’ve recently read with memorable couples discovering first love:

· Katniss and Peeta/Gale - THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy by Suzanne Collins
· Mia and Adam - IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
· Wes and Macy - THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen
· Bella and Edward/Jacob - TWILIGHT saga by Stephanie Meyer
· Rapunzel and Eugene Fitzherbert (aka Flynn Rider) - TANGLED by Disney (I know it’s a movie, and yes, we’re back to fairytales, but it’s just too good to leave out)

A few weeks ago, I got giddy over the endearing romance between Anna and St. Clair in ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins. One of the things I enjoyed about this book was that the characters were loveable, but not too perfect. Their actions, conversations and romance all felt very real. I recommend this book for anyone who has been in love—or longs to be.

So… what love stories do you heart, and why?


(Reminder: This is the last week for our giveaway! Winners will be announced on Mon.)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
We've all seen this phrase in practice. Authors such as Jane Austen, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Charles Dickens have left behind clear depictions of the world they lived in, and it’s true, their writing is compelling because it gives us an authentic glimpse into their lives.

Lately though, my shelf is flooded with books about things their authors couldn't possibly have seen or experienced. Though I'm pretty sure JK Rowling has never been to Hogwarts, never seen a quidditch match, or had any luck with Wingardium Leviosa, I completely believe her.

So what makes an imagined story as compelling as one based on real life?

Characters that stay with you — Stories like ENTWINED, PEGASUS, and TUCK EVERLASTING have characters that make us believe they're real. The best authors know their characters like they know their best friends. Whether you’re a fan of Stephenie Meyer or not, you have to admit you get the feeling there’s so much more to her characters than you’ll ever read on the page.

Places you've seen for yourself — What draws us to books like THE BLUE SWORD, INCARCERON, and THE NEVERENDING STORY? It’s the atmosphere. These stories somehow manage to lift you out of everyday life and immerse you the in the unknown. You can close your eyes and just picture Middle Earth, because JRR Tolkien was so well acquainted with his magical realm, he was able to give us a firsthand account.

The winding road with a purpose — You can reread PATHFINDER, THE INHERITANCE CYCLE, and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA several times before you notice all the clues that were in place. In real life, we can look back at the string of decisions that brought us where we are today. As you begin the Harry Potter series, the story seems relatively straightforward, but as the plot unfolds, you realize how complex it really is, and that gives it a sense of reality.

Conviction that changes you — Every time you pick up of a book, there is a chance you will save the world or encounter greatness. Everyone loves an entertaining read, but we treasure the stories that change us. Who can forget old classics like PETER PAN which speaks to our heart's deep-seated longing to hold on to childhood, or how THE LORD OF THE RINGS shows us the meaning of hope? New stories like THE HUNGER GAMES and MATCHED teach us to value our freedom and fight to defend it.

It's not difficult to nail down what makes an imagined story resonate like a genuine experience. It's passion. Real passion transcends fiction. It leaps off the page and compels us to believe what we're reading. Write what you know? More like believe what you're writing. Know it in the pit of your stomach. Make it real.

What about you? Is there a book that was so real to you or made such an impact that you were different at the end of it?

Love YA,


(Don't forget about our giveaway. Only a little over a week left!)

Monday, April 11, 2011
Some stories need to be retold to each generation. Publishers and Studios love doing this because it's guaranteed sales/money, right? It worked before so it should work again. But what about you? Do you get exhausted hearing the same old stuff?

In Ally Condie's debut MATCHED, she touches upon this a little, though I'm not sure it was entirely her intention. In her dystopian future, only 100 works of literature are chosen to represent the past, only 100 pieces of music are available for listening to in their social hours. Their rec. time is scheduled and there's only so much choice.

But there's one character who goes to listen to the music every day after work. He finds something different in it each and every time. What a gorgeous sentiment. (Just another reason why this book is in my list of favs). For sure, some things are worth re-telling over and over again.

At the moment, it seems to be fairytales. Any theories on why this is so popular? I haven't seen the remake of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, but I have to say that when I saw the trailer, I was really geeked for it. So many books are coming out this year (and are apparently flooding agents' inboxes) that give a new spin on an old classic.

Do we really want the same stories over and over again? I know that I love certain kinds of tales, but I also want them to be fresh and original. Very difficult task. What's your favourite retelling of an old classic (movie or book)?

p.s. Don't forget to enter yourself for the 3-book giveaway, by leaving a comment on our previous post. Winners announced May 2nd. Thanks, Sarah. xx
Friday, April 8, 2011
(Oh boy, first post. No pressure, right?)

Well hello there, and welcome to We Heart YA. We are Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah, and Kristan -- 4 writers and avid readers of Young Adult literature.

(We're also a bit cheesy, eh?)

Here at We Heart YA, we plan to gush about all the wonderful things we read, write, and think about the YA world. And we would love for you to join us! So if you heart YA, please follow us via RSS or email, and friend us on Facebook and Twitter! The more, the merrier.

What to expect: posts about what we're reading, what we're writing, authors we admire, movie adaptations, and more. We plan to include writer interviews, recommended reads, guest posts, and giveaways. In fact, to kick off our new blog, we're starting with a THREE-BOOK GIVEAWAY.

Gimme a Call The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein Red Carpet Riot (Likely Story, #3)

GIMME A CALL by Sarah Mlynowski
and RED CARPET RIOT by David Van Etten

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment right here on this post before Sunday, May 1st, and tell us what your favorite YA book is. It's that simple!

The three winners (each receiving one of the titles) will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, May 2nd. You can receive extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway, liking us on Facebook, following us via Google Friend Connect, and/or becoming a subscriber. Just leave an additional comment (with a link, if applicable) to let us know which ones you've done.

If you want to know what our favorite YA books are, check out the About page. You can meet our mascots there 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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