Monday, November 28, 2011
Yeah, the title could be catchier...but it's oh so practical. You see, We Heart YA is adding a new weekly feature--Twitter Tuesday--in which we collect our favorite tweets from the previous week and place them here for your viewing pleasure. This way you don't have to stalk twitter (like we do) into the silly hours of the day. You don't have to skip your homework, your Totino's pizza rolls snack attack, your 1000th viewing of the Hunger Games movie trailer. No! We'll do the work for you.'re welcome. :)

Hands-Down Best Hashtag of the Week: #booksarebetter

Authors Say the Funniest Things:

Books We are Excited About:

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life:

The Lady Knows:

One of those times where you hop into twitter and then you slowly. back. out.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

We're thankful for writers that capture our imaginations, stories that touch our hearts, and a YA community that makes reading such a fun way of connecting with people. You're the best.

We hope everyone's enjoying the food, football, and napping.

The WHYA girls
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Flashbacks, dreams sequences, tangents. For the most part, these are things that authors should avoid -- or so we are told -- because they stop the flow of the story. They pull readers out of the action, divert our attention elsewhere. And when they're over, we find ourselves lost, adrift, searching for a trail of breadcrumbs to lead us back home.

But what about when they work?

A couple of my favorite books feature stories within stories -- otherwise known as back story, or tangents. Maybe they weren't strictly necessary, but for me, these “extras” really enriched the larger narrative. And they illustrated that, like all rules, this one can be broken as long as it is broken well.

Eclipse (Twilight, #3) The Host Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

In Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer shares the story of a brave Quileute woman who sacrificed her own life in order to save those she cared about. Not only is this tale compelling in and of itself, but it also parallels a decision that Bella makes in the heat of the battle between Edward and Victoria.

In The Host, Meyer again digresses for several pages, when Wanda hosts a “storytime” of some of the most exciting and unique memories of her past lives. Each anecdote fascinated me with its originality, and I found myself not caring that the main story had been put on pause. In fact, like Wanda's audience, I wanted to hear more.

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor spends several chapters explaining what led up to the incredible heartbreak that Karou and Akiva now face. I think she gets away with this in part because it happens so late in the book -- over three quarters of the way through. But honestly, I could've spent a lifetime in Elsewhere with Madrigal and Brimstone. Reading their history was like finding a diamond inside a bar of gold.

So tell me: do you like stories within stories (or flashbacks or dream sequences)? Why or why not? Which ones stick out in your mind?


PS: Interestingly, in the world of capital L literary fiction, these sort of techniques are not as frowned upon. In fact, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a work in that genre that didn't include at least one of these elements. I wonder why the rule doesn't apply to them... Perhaps because commercial fiction (which includes most of YA) is “supposed” to be fast-paced and un-put-down-able?
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Well, hey, bet you didn’t see a two-parter coming. While we certainly don’t want to exhaust the topic, there are just a couple more things to mention about Young Adult male readers.

Since so many good books were suggested last week, We Heart YA decided it might be a good resource to make a list of them. And, well, that list became sort of long. Too long for this post, so we’re in the process of adding a special page with a list of books for male readers (or anyone, really, who is looking for well-portrayed male protagonists in YA). Those we’ve read and recommend will be highlighted. The others, YOU’ll have to let us know about!On that note, just wanted to mention Mike Mullin’s ASHFALL.

It’s a story about a fifteen-year old boy, Alex, who must figure out a way to both survive and find his way back to his family after a natural disaster -- specifically, a supervolcanic eruption. At times this book reminded me of McCarthy’s THE ROAD and sometimes it recalled Paulsen’s HATCHET. He's been getting lots of good reviews (starred review from Kirkus) and has sold out his first printing. The sequel ASHEN WINTER is coming out next October. Good stuff.Mike has been in Cincinnati a few times on his promotional book tour and I (Sarah) happened to catch him at Joseph-Beth Booksellers last night. I absolutely recommend this book to fans of adventure/survival stories. AND it just so happens that this story has a strong female character that I love. Totally want her on my side in an apocalypse.

Here are some awesome pics of his Tae Kwan Do demonstration:

(Alex, the protagonist in ASHFALL, has a black belt in Tae Kwan Do...good survival skill to have in a fight against starving cannibals. eep.)

Considering survival, what do you think: is your life more dependent on Mental or Physical attributes? I'll tell you how Mike Mullin answered this in the comments.

xx Sarah
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Congratulations to last week's giveaway winners: hernameisavril (TEMPTED) and Angelica (TRANCE). Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their Halloween plans!

I’ve been wondering about this topic lately, about how wide the divide really is between YA for young women v. YA for young men, or if there is one at all. There’s been a lot of talk about publishers and educators wanting to increase the reading choices for middle grade boys, about how (in general) it seems to be harder to get boys hooked on reading than girls, about the fact that teen guys are interested in different topics than teen girls, and there just aren’t enough books out there that address their interests.

Is it true? Is the YA genre flooded with female protagonists simply due to market demand? Do the boys feel left out?

Of course the above are all generalizations and there are exceptions to everything. John Green, David Levithan, and Neil Gaiman are just a few wildly successful authors of YA books written from male perspectives. But I’d love to hear from some teen or preteen guys—what do you think of the YA market overall? Are there enough choices for you? What types of books do you love? Which books keep you up into the wee morning hours, cause you to skip basketball practice, or blow off your homework, your buddies, your girlfriend?

Below are a few novels that we here at We Heart YA have read recently in which we felt the authors did a great job of capturing the male teenage voice/experience… 

In this quirky coming-of-age novel, Barry Lyga shows what happens “when a comic-book geek meets the girl of his nightmares.” This book tackles issues like bullying, friendship and self-image.

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
Though narrated by a female—Katniss Everdeen—this YA novel transcends gender and age, and is chock full of heart-stopping action.

THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard
This book impresses with its authentic foray into a teenage boy’s behavior and feelings about a tragic event involving a secret, forbidden love.

Please share your favorite books for guys, your last great YA read that featured a male protagonist, or your thoughts on this issue. Thanks!

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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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