Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday evening, Stephanie and Sarah braved the apocalyptic weather in Sarah's trusty Subaru (dodging downed trees at every turn) and, okay, we had to turn around and use the major highway in the end, but it was ALL so we could get to Books & Co. in Dayton, Ohio to attend Kristina McBride's launch for ONE MOMENT.

from l. to r.: Sarah, Kristina McBride, Steph
A couple of years ago, Ingrid attended Cincinnati's book festival "Books by the Banks" and discovered Kristina McBride's debut novel THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES.  **fangirl squee**

The novel has since been passed around our group and is much loved.  It's a seriously well-written contemporary novel about a girl who is kidnapped and returned home two years later.  But the real story is about Tessa, the best friend who puts her own life on hold for two years and then has to get to know a much-changed Noelle upon her return.  Jay Asher is a fan.  It made it onto YALSA's list of best fiction for Young Adults in 2011.  And it's well deserved.

McBride's latest contemporary novel ONE MOMENT is looking to be much the same--Sarah's already started reading and it's SO good.  (Don't worry, Ingrid, we got your copy for you!!)  Amazon blurbs it best:  "a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you."  I don't want to give too much away because the premise is pretty cool.

We Heart YA has seen McBride at several signings now, and we are lucky to have so many talented writers local to the area who always seem to come out and support each other.  It's pretty awesome.  What's also awesome is that when Steph and Sarah crept up on them while they were perusing the teen section of Books & Co., they agreed to a picture and we had a chat about writing.

from l. to r. Kay Cassidy, Jennifer McGowan, Rae Carson, Sarah, Linda Gerber, Steph

Jennifer McGowan also hooked us up with some sweet swag (really cool hand-"maid" buttons) for her upcoming YA historical thriller MAID OF SECRETS coming out in Spring 2013 (this book looks sooooo good).  We are eagerly awaiting Rae Carson's THE CROWN OF EMBERS (roll on September!!) and Linda Gerber...every time we visit her site she seems to have a new title added to her already fun and entertaining list.  Kay Cassidy...will there be a CINDERELLA SOCIETY sequel?

And, hey, if you're still reading...your reward is a chance to win a brand spanking new signed copy of ONE MOMENT!!  All you have to do is comment on this post with "one moment" that changed your life.  The winner will be picked randomly and announced in two weeks.  

Also, look out for Twitter Tuesday giveaways.  Starting this week and for the next 6 weeks, we will be giving away a book each week to our followers!  Huzzah!
Thursday, June 28, 2012

...a story is about more than its individual parts.

For instance, my favorite line I use to "sell" TWILIGHT to the naysayers is that it's a love story...that happens to have vampires in it.  OKAY, I understand those vampires are sort of their own breed and they're terribly romantic.  But it's a LOVE story.  Regardless of the depiction of monsters, if you don't love the love, you won't like this story.  Honestly, if the vampires mean more to you than the love story, do NOT pick up this book.  Sorry if you already have.  It's TWILIGHT.  Your girlfriend made you see the movie.  They tried to put some action in it.  I know.  It was still...OTHER.  And I know there's a part of it that intrigues you (come on, Breaking Dawn Part Two, i.e. Bella's self-actualization kind of has you interested).  Under certain conditions...

...a great story is created.

For instance, THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers is possible because of a zombie apocalypse.  Okay, a group of teenagers thrown together by circumstances and fortifying their high school against certain death pushing in at all sides seems a bit BIG.  But it's more like the movie The Breakfast Club in how each of these very different characters come together and confront their lives, what counts, what doesn't, in an un-blockbuster story of quiet strength and sacrifice and SURVIVAL.

Under certain conditions, a story becomes so much MORE...

...than monsters

...than your girlfriend's latest obsession

...than words strung together

...than a talking horse with wings (seriously, if you haven't read PEGASUS already, we must shake our heads at you)

Under certain conditions, a story might just change your life (like, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS) or let you hide from your life for a while (um, hello Middle Earth, Hogwarts, and Brimstone's secret lair) or encourage you to live more deliberately (a zombie apocalypse or a supervolcano will do it).

And when certain conditions come together with great characters and action that counts, Imma be reading that.  ;)  What are you reading right now that's "More than just a (fill in the blank)"??

OR riddle me this:  Imagine you are in a sinking boat surrounded by sharks.  How do you survive?  (Just stop imagining it).  wah-wah.  Someone named "iloveonedirection" posted this on Riddle Me This.  
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

There's been a sweet little hashtag happening in the flurry of #ala12 and #badwritingtips (go HERE to get a good roundup of those)...and it's our best hashtag of the week:  #agentsday hosted by Cupids Literary Connection:

You get the point.  It's nice to see the community sharing the love!!

Now, here are some favorites:

And in case you haven't seen this yet.  Hipster Traps.  Still cracking us up.  "Urban Traps is a project where we lay traps for certain subcultures. Our goal is protect neighborhoods from infestation and collect different species for further study."  These artists (Jeff Greenspan and Hunter Fine) are also supposedly responsible for "tourist lanes" on the sidewalks of NYC.

Have a great week!
Thursday, June 21, 2012

ENTRY POLL: Which do you think is more acceptable for Young Adult literature?
In a forum that I'm part of, one parent asked for recommendations for "cleaner" YA fantasy books for her daughter. She said that violence wasn't a problem, but she was concerned about drug use, adult language, and most of all, sex.

Now, this mother is the only person in the forum who knows her daughter. Those guidelines might be exactly what her daughter wants/needs. I recognize and respect that. However, a few of us couldn't help wondering why violence was okay, but sex wasn't.

Violence over sex is not an uncommon preference -- at least not in America. (Maybe because of our Puritan roots?) But not everyone in the world agrees, or even understands. Europeans, for example, are known for their open attitudes towards sex and nudity. When I studied abroad in Spain, even the conservative, Catholic, middle school teacher I was staying with said to me, “It makes no sense. Why do Americans enjoy watching cars crash and people beating each other bloody, but then they get so upset to see two people making love?”

I didn’t have a good answer for her.

Look, I understand that not every teen is ready for sex. But should any teen be ready for violence?

And what do we accomplish by teaching them that sex is taboo? The taboo label is meant for things that are bad, scary, or dangerous.

Sex, when done right, is none of those things. Sex is by definition a natural and necessary part of human life. It’s the only way to continue. It can be a way to connect.

Violence, on the other hand, is ugly. A force to be wielded with great care and consideration. Not encouraged, and certainly not glorified.

Or at least, that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

EXIT POLL: Which do you think is more acceptable for young adults in real life?
Monday, June 18, 2012

Favorites this week:

Good advice:

Best Hastag of the week #FathersDayCardsIWouldBuy:

So good, they're beyond categorization: comment:

And THANK YOU Chelsea Swiggett for introducing us to this band with this tweet:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Exploring New Genres

Though I love adventures (moving cross-country or taking an overseas trip, for example), I am also in many ways a creature of habit. Kudos to those daredevils among us who step out of their comfort zones on a daily basis—who make it a point, a priority, a lifestyle, to try anything and everything new.

I am not one of those people. I always order the same coffee drink, and the same meal at my favorite restaurant, and I tend to read the same type of books over and over. My genre of choice has always been contemporary fiction (YA and women’s fiction, specifically). Until a few years ago, I had not read many, if any, paranormal, dystopian, or high fantasy novels. I’m pretty sure that I would have never crossed paths with Harry Potter or Bella Swan if friends had not literally placed those books in my hands. But I learned that branching out is good, and empowering! I discovered a whole world of literature I was missing out on.

At the suggestion of a fellow writer, I dipped into dystopian with Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. Immediately hooked, I gobbled up Ally Condie’s MATCHED, The UGLIES series, THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, and Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT. And while paranormal/supernatural novels aren’t the first thing I grab, I was floored by Laini Taylor’s books and I even enjoyed my first-ever zombie read—Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Heather Dixon sold me on fairytale remakes with her novel ENTWINED. And fantasy! I was surprised that I enjoyed this genre so very much—thank you, Robin McKinley. 

Contemporary fiction is still my favorite genre, but now that I’ve branched out, I’m like a kid in an ice cream shop, wanting to taste all the flavors. Next on my list are historical fiction and steam punk. Got any suggestions for a first timer?

How about you? Do you tend to stick with one or two genres, or do you sample a bit of everything?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
BIIIIIIIIG thanks to everyone who participated in our Twitter Tuesday "DIFU edition" last week! (DIFU is kind of the opposite of DIY, you know? "Do It For Us.") Y'all shared some awesome tweets. We'll be sending a shiny new copy of THE DISENCHANTMENTS to Jennifer Dominique -- but we're also going to give a little something to all the participants as a thank you. So keep an eye on your mailboxes!

Here are your wonderful DIFU tweets:

Conveniently that leads us into the Best Hashtag of the Week... #BEA12, of course!

This roundup wouldn't be complete without a tribute to the late great Ray Bradbury:

And lastly, a few randoms to make you laugh/think/whatever:

In the immortal words of Porky Pig, th-th-th-th-th-that's all, folks! See ya next week.

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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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