Saturday, August 20, 2011
When you read this, I will be in the Caribbean on a (hopefully) sunny beach. I absolutely love to travel, and if I could be a professional vacationer, I'd jump at the chance.

Reading a book is a lot like traveling. That's one of the reasons I love to read so much. You get to explore new places, different cultures, and experience things that are impossible in real life.

One of the books I've read recently that had a great setting was CHIME by Franny Billingsley. It's set in a swamp, riddled with fantastic creatures. The world building is this book is perfect. She describes just enough to put a clear picture in your head, but still gives you room to use your imagination. I loved the culture and the mythology.

For me, world building is one of the most important parts of a book. If the setting isn't well done, I can't lose myself in the story, then all the characters start staring at me, and become increasingly aggressive, and if I get killed, I'LL END UP IN LIMBO!!... No, wait. That's Inception.

What is your favorite setting in a book? Do you prefer invented worlds or setting grounded in reality? What part of the world building is most important to you?

And just for fun...

Who didn't LOVE this show growing up?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First of all, just wanted to mention that a free, online writing conference is happening right now (August 16-18), and at least two of the four WeHeartYA girls are participating in the agent query forums and agent pitching contests. If you're a writer or a reader who'd love an inside scoop on what writer's and publishing professionals get up to--go check it out.


I mention this because I've read so many great articles there, and read through countless publishing chats that have really informed what I want to talk about today--which is THE LOVE INTEREST.

This morning, editor Martha Mihalick wrote this about writing believable romance. Basically, it's about smart writing and, similar to Kristan's last post, changing your point of view or thinking outside of the normal romantic plot. Mostly, though, it got me thinking about the books I've read recently and how annoyed I get with the love interests.

I love the love. But I hate the love that doesn't match up with reality. Do you know what I'm talking about? Those hot, brooding bad boy types that are so "attractive" to us in literary form, but your friends in real life would tell you is sort of twisted? They don't? Okay, I'll be the friend that tells you. Bad boys are twisted. More interesting than nice guy? Yeah, until they twist you.

Get me?

Okay, I'll be honest. I love me a nice guy that could be bad, but chooses not to. Why? Not just because he's NICE, (why would you want to be treated any other way?) but because it's more realistic. I'll even buy into the idea of a bad boy reformed. A bad boy who is now nice.

If you haven't come across this site yet, it's awesome--Boys Don't Read. This post says what I'm trying to say, but in a much better way. Essentially, REAL guy characters are in demand, and I couldn't be happier.

What books have you read that have REAL love interests? You know, the boyfriend that may spend late nights playing video games, but who listens (or at least pretends) to your problems and tries to sneak a hug or kiss or cop a feel when you're still trying to talk, but they're guys so you expect this. At least they're open and nice about it, not issuing ultimatums or POSSESSING you.

I mean, we have to give the nice guy a break because he doesn't have a clue about girls. If you want all softness, understanding, and sweet-smelling, well, that's what girlfriends are for. ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway last week. The winner of the ARC of Possession by Elana Johnson is... Heather Reid! Congratulations, Heather, and please email us (weheartya at gmail dot com) with your mailing address.


Yesterday I started (and finished) reading Room by Emma Donoghue, a brilliant book that is now among my all-time favorites. It’s about a young woman who is kidnapped from her college and kept captive in a shack for 7 years, during which time she gives birth to a son named Jack. Surprisingly, the story is told from Jack’s point of view.

Sadly, the book’s premise is not entirely fictional. A number of real-life headlines bear striking similarity. But because of the unexpected perspective that Donoghue chose, Room is able to avoid wallowing in misery, melodrama, or discomfort. Jack is a happy, intelligent child, and through his eyes we are able to see not only his world but also our own, in fresh and enlightening ways.

"The wind makes the leaves go swishy swishy. I hear a kid shout, maybe in another yard behind the big hedge or else he's invisible. God's yellow face has a cloud on top. Colder suddenly. The world is always changing brightness and hotness and soundness, I never know how it's going to be the next minute. The cloud looks kind of gray blue, I wonder has it got rain inside it."

"I kiss her face where the tears are, that's how the sea tastes."

So that got me thinking about perspectives, and how every story can be fresh if we just find the right point of view to tell it from.

Another good example is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The story is about a man fighting to keep his family intact, but it’s told from the point of view of his dog. As an animal-lover I may be biased, but trust me, Enzo is positively charming.

Last but not least is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Needless to say, this isn’t the first book about World War II, and it won’t be the last, but it’s the only one I know of that’s narrated by Death. Yes, the Grim Reaper himself. And oh what an interesting view he has…

Room The Art of Racing in the Rain The Book Thief

As a reader/writer, I’m wondering: Do y’all know any other good books that are told from an unusual perspective? (Any YA books? Interestingly, The Book Thief is marketed as YA in America but adult fiction in its native Australia.)

As a fellow human being, I say: Take a good look at the world around you, and try to see it through someone else’s eyes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Last weekend, the girls at We Heart YA and our writer friend, Joelle, attended Joseph Beth's "Beachy Keen" YA book bash -- a YA author discussion panel with SEVEN new and established authors. It was so much fun to get to meet them in person. The giveaways were amazing, and Stephanie was lucky enough to win a gift card to spend at the book store. Just to let you know, I am living proof of an established cliche: cheaters never win. I know. I tried. *sigh*

(l. to r. Joelle, Sarah, Stephanie, Saundra Mitchell, Julie Kagawa, Linda Gerber, Kristina McBride, Sara Bennett Wealer, Julia Karr, Kay Cassidy, Kristan)

Of course, we all wrote about the event on our personal blogs -- take some time to check out what Kristan, Stephanie, Sarah, and Joelle have to say. Some of the authors even responded in the comments, which shows how excited they are to connect with their readers. Very cool! Between the four of us, we managed to grab a copy of each book so there's lots of reading going on at the moment.

In case you were curious about what books these authors recommended:

Julie Kagawa, author of THE IRON FEY series, thinks you should try TWENTY-BOY SUMMER.

Linda Gerber, author of TRANCE, loved PAPER TOWNS and WINTERGIRLS.

Saundra Mitchell, author of THE VESPERTINE, recommends MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (if you like Tim Burton-esque stories, which WE do).

Kay Cassidy, author of THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY, mentioned THE GIRL OF FIRE & THORNS, which you may know WE are so excited to purchase this fall.

Julia Karr, author of XVI thinks you should read THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE, THE REVENANT, and THE NEAR WITCH because you'll not want to stop reading.

Sara Bennett Wealer, author of RIVAL, loved WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON. (Can John Green do nothing wrong?!?)

Kristina McBride, author of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, thought immediately of BEFORE I FALL when asked which books made an impact on them this year.

So, in honor of book signings and author sightings, comment about a book signing you attended OR which author you'd LOVE to see at an event... and you could win an ARC of Elana Johnson's POSSESSION. All you have to do is comment, and a winner will be picked at random and announced next week. (Open to US, UK, and Canada.)
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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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