Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Okay, this may be cheating because they're our tweets, but still...(the best):

Let's get straight to the funny:

And leave you with some inspiration: 

...and some excitement:

What are your exciting plans for the summer?  Ours are not to melt in the Cincinnati heat and humidity...editing,querying,writing, reading...and maybe hit up a few author signings.  xx
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Okay, bloggers.  We want to know...do you ever come out from behind those black and white words and show yerselves?
Like many of you, we know the biggies, like Vlogbrothers and Charlie McDonnell, but what are the youtubers that you subscribe to and love to watch?

Have you seen this one?  Fascinated?  We are too.  And perhaps because it's fresh, genuine, and like a story all wrapped up in two minutes.  

And if it's not a story, it's random thoughts, advice, having a conversation over a cuppa.  What's not to love?

Even book bloggers are doing it for themselves.  

We must admit that creating, filming, editing, recording video is tricksier than typing, pasting and posting.  (Well, tricksier for the Gen X-ers like Ingrid and Sarah) 
But perhaps We Heart YA should have a wee leedle experiment.  What do you think?  To Vlog or Not To Vlog?

Share your links in the comments (especially if it's you!) 

p.s.  Thanks, Steph, for all the great links so far.  xx
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Good advice:

Ain't that the truth:

Oh, the funny.  How we love the funny:

Also, if you haven't checked it out already, Kate Hart (who inspired these twitter round-ups) has a handy knack for charts and all things awesome.  She's been getting lots of buzz about her reporting on YA book covers (and a fantastic follow-up post).  What do you think?  Are book covers: there for collecting dust? convenient book marks? tossed aside because they slide around or are just plain embarassing?  awesome?  sell you on the book?
Should they be more representative of readers?
Thursday, May 17, 2012
First: Congratulations to the GoodReads/IBBA winners! And thank you so much to everyone who voted for us, rooted for us, and helped us spread the word. We always knew we were underdogs, but hey, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket, right? ;)

Second: Summer is almost upon us, and with it, high temps, short shorts, and NO SCHOOL!!!!!

(Unless of course you're going to summer school. Or you have parents like mine who signed you up for a bunch of optional, educational “camps,” which they seriously think are just as fun as real camps where people canoe and hike and make s'mores. Seriously? I never had a single free summer as a kid. NOT ONE. Not that I'm bitter or anything...*)

ANYWAY. Regardless of what your plans for the summer are, you may be looking for some good books to read. Books that won't remind you about science lab, gym class, or cramming for exams. Books that don't have to be analyzed in a five-paragraph essay. Books that will put you in that "last bell of the day, last day of the semester," "freedom at last, hallelujah, freedom at last!" frame of mind. Here are a couple suggestions:

Graffiti MoonGRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

Okay, a few things that summary doesn't tell you:

  • The book is AWESOME.
  • The book is told in alternating point of views -- Lucy and Ed, with a few poems (of the non-flowery variety) sprinkled in the mix.
  • The book is AWESOME.
  • The book is set in Australia, over a mere 24 hour timeframe.
  • The book revolves around 6 friends -- 3 girls and 3 guys (including Lucy and Ed) -- and does a great job exploring relationships, mentors, parents, art, poetry, a potential heist, and more!
  • Have I mentioned that the book is AWESOME?

Seriously, GRAFFITI MOON is one of those books that I really wish more people would read, because it's so well-written and authentic and fun and meaningful. Also, Ed is probably in my Top 3 YA Guys (along with Cricket from LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR and Eldric from CHIME).

Twenty Boy SummerTWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler

According to Anna’s best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie -- she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

From the title you'd think that this was going to be just a beachy teen rom-com. And there IS that aspect of it. But much more significantly, there is the tender young love between Anna and Matt -- as well as the tragic ghost of that love after Matt dies in an accident.

And Anna isn't the only one who doesn't know how to deal with her grief for him. Frankie and her parents are adrift, holding onto their loss like a life preserver because it feels like the only piece of Matt they have left. Maybe a couple weeks in the Bay Area really can lead them all back to themselves... But you can bet it won't happen the way they expect.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER isn't a gripping page-turner, but the writing is both lyrical and visual, smoothly pulling you along. The characters are well-drawn (particularly Anna, Frankie, Jayne and Matt) and you can't help rooting for them all to be happy.

So, those are our recommendations for summer reading. Got any for us?


*Okay, confession: I actually liked the optional, educational "camps." Yep, I'm a nerd. Loud and proud.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Best hashtag of the week:  #inappropriateSchoolTalks with the lovely, Libba Bray

We like when authors talk about writing:

If only we lived in Brooklyn:

True stuff:


Funny stuff:

Sixth Form Poet, we love you:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kriska Daltonhurst, The Teen Services Coordinator at the Louisville Public Library in Colorado, took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us (thank you, Kriska!). We are thrilled to get a librarian's perspective on what's really hot in teen literature and how publishing trends are perceived on the readers' end of the spectrum.  

1. What teen books fly off the library shelves?

This is probably not very surprising, but I haven’t seen a copy of the THE HUNGER GAMES (and its sequels) in person for at least the last year.  I think I caught a fleeting glimpse of THE SCORPIO RACES before it went out to satisfy its hold list queue, and I personally didn’t even make it into the top ten hold spots for Rick Riordan’s newest volume because the readers were so quick to get their names on that list.  I have held my position for almost six years now, and in all that time, it is still a rare treat to spot a copy of THE BOOK THIEF on the shelf. 

2. Which genres/authors/series seem to be most popular with teens right now?

Well, paranormal romance is still very popular, but finally it has some competition coming from the dystopian and post-apocalyptic genres.  Zombie novels are on the rise.  High fantasy and action-driven adventure novels are perpetually popular, especially with teen boy readers.  Authors that will build up a sizable hold list while people wait for their new books to come out include: John Green, Jay Asher, Rick Riordan, Michael Scott, John Flanagan, Sarah Dessen, Sara Shepard, Cassandra Clare, Michael Grant and Lauren Oliver.  Specific titles that are extremely “hot” right now in my library include DIVERGENT and BITTERBLUE.

3. What trends have you noticed over the last few years?

I think the biggest trend I have noticed in the last five years is that when I came into this job, it was all about the vampires.  Yes, sparkly vampires to be most specific, but really, anything “vampire” back then would do.  Then came the werewolves, fairies, pixies, angels, and mermaids.  A lot of this trend towards paranormal romance really isolated male readers, but they seemed to make due with their high fantasy and mythological urban fantasies.  But I was very glad when THE MAZE RUNNER, THE HUNGER GAMES, and other books like that began gathering interest.  And boy did they ever!  Within the last two years, the dystopian/post-apocalyptic genres have exploded (no pun intended).

4. What differences do you see between books that younger teens (11-14) and older teens (15-19) are interested in? Do they read different authors, genres, topics?

The younger readers, both boys and girls, are very much into fantasy worlds and adventure.  Some of my most popular series for that age range include THE WARRIORS by Erin Hunter, ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer, the BONE graphic novel series by Jeff Smith and anything by Rick Riordan.  They do not often reach for realistic fiction, unless it is high action adventure, like the Alex Rider or Young James Bond books.  
Where I see boys and girls diverge here is that the young girls may want to read above their maturity level when it comes to romance or titles they have heard about from TV (Gossip Girl, Pretty little Liars) and the boys may jump the age ranges into more mature reading of a darker tone, such as THE HUNGER GAMES or THE LAST APPRENTICE by Joseph Delaney.  But older teens do tend to give a wider variety of genres a try, and do respond well to more realistic drama-type books than the younger ones, such as anything written by John Green, Sarah Dessen, David Levithan, and Jay Asher.

5. What do you notice about the differences between male and female teen readers?

I have female patrons who will read almost anything.  Fans of fantasy will devour the latest John Flanagan novel just as fast as the latest Cassandra Clare novel. Fans of realistic fiction can’t get enough of John Green and Von Ziegesar. But boys do tend to prefer books that feature male protagonists.  That is one thing I love about THE HUNGER GAMES- readers of all ages and genders and genre preferences are coming together to read about a strong, capable, resourceful female character, and I salute that!

6. What do teens complain about the most in YA books? Anything they ask to see more of?

They do not like their intelligence to be insulted.  If the book has logical weaknesses, or the characters do something so far off the map from where previous character development has led them, the readers WILL notice.  I hear complaints about how “So-and-so did this incredibly stupid thing, and it was just so there could be a sequel.”  They really hate the obvious sequel ploys.  And nobody likes it when the dog dies.

Right now I am getting a lot of requests for “more books like The Hunger Games.”  That is great because I love the genre myself, but these trends always seem to get to the point where the books are coming so fast and furious trying to ride on the train of popularity left in the wake of the original, that the quality of writing is really going downhill.  I just read a book (that shall remain nameless) that was so horrid, it made me swear off the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre for as long as I can.  The same thing happened with vampire novels and paranormal romance after TWILIGHT became so wildly popular. 

7. Do YA readers request or check out many books on CD? What about kindle or ereader loans? 

Every time a school vacation period comes around, my audio-book collection vanishes.  During the school year, it is pretty slow to circulate, but when families are getting ready to pile into their vehicles to take vacations and road trips, those are in high demand--especially if it's something that can be enjoyed by the whole family, which is quite a challenge!  We just recently began circulating several Nooks, but our current loan rules prevent anyone under 18 from checking them out, and they are so new we don’t have really accurate circ stats to share yet.

8. Are there any specific "issue" books that readers seem to ask for a lot, or topics they are highly interested in?

This may be a lot different at other libraries, but in mine, there is not a lot of interest in the non-fiction collection.  I seem to have a population of fiction readers and when they do ask me for specific topics, they are looking for fictional accounts that deal with things such as World War II, starting school, losing friends and self-harm. From my replacement costs, I can surmise that the heavy duty “serious issue” books like Ellen Hopkins's CRANK novels, GO ASK ALICE or Patricia McCormick’s CUT are always being lost and replaced. So I think that says something about how popular they are, and I hope that when they do not come back to the library, they have found a home with someone who really needed a connection with that particular subject matter.

9. How do you as a librarian gauge what is and isn't appropriate for particular students? Are there any age restrictions for books dealing with sensitive topics like violence or sexuality?

It is not up to me (or any other librarians in my library) to determine what is and isn’t appropriate for students; it is up to the student and their parents.  I try to purchase materials that are in high demand, will gain readers and attract new ones, that are about exciting or needed subjects and in popular genres.  I use reviews in publishing periodicals and if I am in need of an “age range” to give, for whatever reason, I rely on those given in the reviews, especially from Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.  

There are times when the childrens’ librarian feels something is inappropriate for her collection and we discuss it and decide whether or not to move it into the teen collection. And I have bumped a few items up to the adult collection for the same reason.  But by doing so, we are not removing the items or making them inaccessible to any of our patrons, we are just trying to be thoughtful about the age groups using each section of the library.

10. What have you observed from teens that others might find surprising in regard to their reading choices?

Historical fiction really seems to be on its way out, and, related but also separately, no matter how many awards a book may get, if it doesn’t have a good enough “hook” for teen readers, they just will not read it.  I call these “librarian books” in that a whole bunch of librarians loved it and gave it awards, but it has not been checked out at all in the time I have owned it. 
About Kriska...
Before I became a librarian I held a variety of jobs, such as pre-school teacher, technical writer and movie expert.  I have collected comic books almost my entire life, am obsessed with dragons, own a hearse, love riding my scooters and motorcycle, and met my husband while playing Dungeons and Dragons in college. Being a teen librarian is my dream job, but one of the best moments in my life happened when I got to meet The Aquabats!  

Thank you so much for your insights, Kriska! This has been a really interesting interview. And thanks to all librarians out there.... you rock!

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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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