Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sometimes chapter titles work really, really well. They can pique your interest about what’s to come. They can tie themes together. They can make you laugh. They can play on words or have hidden meanings that you don't figure out until later. 

And like anything else, some authors are more skilled at crafting chapter titles than others. The best example I can think of is Harry Potter. Who doesn’t remember the first chapter title of the first book?

It’s iconic. Then there's "The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-quarters" and "The Weighing of the Wands." Brilliant! Some of J.K. Rowling’s other chapter titles are a bit more straightforward (The Sorting Hat, Quidditch, and Diagon Alley, for example). But because these things are so unique to the world of Hogwarts, they still rouse a reader’s curiosity. 

Another author who excels at chapter titles is Sherman Alexie. Here are some of my favorites from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian:

  • Because Geometry is Not a Country Somewhere Near France
  • Don’t Trust your Computer
  • Because Russian Guys are Not always Geniuses 

Some readers find chapter titles distracting. Others simply ignore them. Many like them only if they are unique, interesting or humorous.For me, chapter titles are not going to make or break a novel. They usually aren’t necessary, but when done well, they’re thoroughly enjoyable.

Do you think certain subgenres of YA use chapter titles more than others? As a reader, do you prefer them? As a writer, do you include them? What about books that use symbols in place of chapter titles? 

Finally, what’s your vote overall—love 'em, hate 'em, or just don’t read 'em?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Well, the Solstice has passed and the Autumn weather is taking hold (unless you're in Minnesota and you're getting snow?!?).  We must admit this is our favorite time of the year (the fact that three of us have birthdays now and coming up might have something to do with it).  We hope you're taking advantage of the early-to-dim nights and are getting lots of reading and writing squeezed into your day.

Gather Ye Rosebuds!

Best Hashtag of the Week goes to #TeenNitpick:

This Writing Life:

Readers Make the World Go Round:

Everyone on Twitter's a Comic:

And we're inclined to agree

What Can We Say About These People?  There's No Excuse For Them, They're Just Essential:

What was the last song you screamed at the top of your lungs?  
Thursday, September 20, 2012

I have a soft spot for hopeless romantic guys in books... when they're done well. I don't always buy it, mostly because they're so common. Let's face it, when was the last time you read about the normal teenage boy who can't say what he really feels, never makes any grand gestures, but you know he likes you because he'll give up a night of video games to have an awkward dinner with you at Stake'nShake? Boys in YA tend to either love big or break hearts.

But every once in while, a hopeless romantic will come along and rise above the rest. Something about him will draw me in, make me believe him.

“I know you don't want this, Katsa. But I can't help myself. The moment you came barreling into my life I was lost. I'm afraid to tell you what I wish for, for fear you'll... oh, I don't know, throw me into the fire. Or more likely, refuse me. Or worst of all, despise me," he said, his voice breaking and his eyes dropping from her face. His face dropping into his hands. "I love you," he said. "You're more dear to my heart than I ever knew anyone could be.”

Po in Graceling by Kristin Cashore
“So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent... and right when your song ended, I knew — just like your mother — I was a goner.”

Peeta in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
“Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens. I need you to remember that I love you.”

Akiva in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

All of these characters come from another world or another time, each with their own set of grand gestures and bravery. Each of them have that nonexistent ability to express exactly what they're feeling at exactly the right time. Regardless, something in the writing made them real and captured my imagination.

They made me root for them.

More love:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not really (about that equinox thing)...but is anyone else excited for Autumn?!?  It's pumpkin and cardigan season!

There are SO MANY books being released (perfect for pairing with your pumpkins and cardigans) right now, but we had a sneak peak at an ARC of CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson and can tell you that the hype is totally deserved.  Why is this series not bestselling?  Crazy.  Anyway, this week Rae gets Best Hashtag for #factcheckfail:


Alright, here's some more amusing:


This Writing Life:


Flame on!  What books are you buying this Autumn?  Toodle Pip!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I can be a book slut at times.  I read around a lot.  Sometimes I even have a few books going at the same time.  Not proud of it.  Well...

As a young adult, I used to read everything that I bought.  Every pretty cover that winked at me?  I flirted back, teased, carried them with me around Borders like I was actually going to buy them.  Silly books.  Those were my favorite to leave in the "self-help" section.

It didn't take me long to figure out that there were too many books to read.  I had to be pickier and put down the books that I just wasn't connecting with.  I learned during Friday Night Book Clubbing, in a mega-store full of hot covers, that the prettiest weren't always going to still be with me in the morning.

So I hate to admit that I only recently got around to noticing FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK.  What was I thinking?  How did I not know this book--this agonizingly good book--was out there?  (In fact, it was a comment from one of you on this blog that pointed it out to me.  I can't remember who you are, but I HEART you.)

This book.  THIS BOOK has my favorite character ever--Isaboe--who does what she has to do to get what she wants.  It's heart-wrenching at times reading sections where Isaboe has insanely tough choices, but ultimately what she wants is for the good of everyone.  It's the best kind of story that offers fantasy elements, contemporary relationships, gorgeous settings that you want to be transported to, and commentary on political/social elements.  It might possibly be THE ONE...if I ever decide to settle down.

Sometime this past year, I read a different Marchetta novel, JELLICOE ROAD, and it was INSTA-love (don't be haters).  It still blows my mind that a Contemporary writer can hop genres so seamlessly into Fantasy.  Gives me impetus.  Some hope.  Makes me want to read and write ALL THE THINGS.

I guess you could say I'm in love.
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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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