Thursday, November 29, 2012

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to curl up next to the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree and enjoy some good books—or maybe keep one tucked in your purse so you can sneak in some quality reading while waiting in those long shopping lines! Whenever you find the time, here are a few good YA titles you may want to check out…

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR – Huntley Fitzpatrick

From the jacket: The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them... until one summer night Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything. 

This book is wonderfully refreshing. In addition to making me smile and laugh out loud at times, Fitzpatrick perfectly captures the complexity of large families and sibling relationships. A novel about family loyalty, true love, and tough choices, it is filled with characters that seem like people you would know in real life.  

BEFORE I DIE -- Jenny Downham

Premise: Sixteen-year-old Tessa is dying. But instead of shivering in bed scratching sad words onto her wall, she decides to get busy living, which means checking off every item on her bucket list before it’s too late...

I haven’t highlighted so many lines in a book since college. Downham's writing is intense and poetic, and the story itself is enough to make you weep. This novel puts you through the ringer, but leaves you thinking hard about living in the present. (Before I Die is currently being adapted into a movie titled "Now is Good" starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine--check out the trailer here!

JELLICOE ROAD – Melina Marchetta

From Amazon: Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

This is the first book I’ve ever read twice in the same month. It's that good. Because I’m not typically a mystery reader, I did find the beginning a bit confusing / frustrating. However, the rest of the book was so amazing that I had to read the whole thing again just so I could catch the nuances I missed the first time around. Also, I couldn't stop thinking about these awesome characters! The three WHYA ladies who've read the book wholeheartedly agree: Jellicoe Road is an all-time favorite!

So, what's on your literary wish list? Have you read any good books lately? 
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So, yeah, Thanksgiving happened.  And because I'm a slacker in slackersville, I'm serving up some leftovers.    Or maybe I'm just being practical--no tweet gone to waste!  I didn't do a twitter round-up last week, so I've got just enough now to go around.

You all were pretty funny last week:

How are you NOT following Chaucer?!?

I call Christmas at Siobhan's house!
And, as always, inspiring:

In publishing there's been some rumbling:

There you go, Dan.  Just need to follow British booksellers.
Best Tweet of all time:

Now congratulate yourself for following We Heart YA.  Hooking you up since 2011 (that's IT? feels like we've been around forever).
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, we would like to say thanks to all of YOU. We truly enjoy getting to know each of you through your blogs, and through the little love notes (also known as comments) that you leave on our posts. It is such a joy to connect with other readers, writers, book-lovers, and YA fans. You guys are unbelievably smart and funny and kind. So again, thanks for being our friends. :)

If you're anything like us, you have been spending time with your family, relaxing and cooking and stuffing your faces -- and basically paying very little attention to the internet. All good. But again if you're like us, you're now flopped on the couch and looking for something low-key to do while that giant food-baby gestates in your stomach. In that case, we've compiled a list of our recent musings to help you pass the time:

Well, we hope you guys enjoy our posts, and have a very happy Thanksgiving!
- the WHYA girls
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If there's one thing we've loved about living in Cincinnati (none of us are native to here), there have been a TON of author events.  We attend as often as we can, and have even become recognizable to some authors and staff at Joseph-Beth (the local indie booksellers).  It's a great feeling to be a part of that community--even if we're just the audience or the admirers (and diligently working on our own books).

Recently, Kristan and Sarah managed to snag a couch and sat back to listen to Rae Carson gush about CJ Redwine's debut, DEFIANCE.  Sarah's only read the first chapter so far, but she can tell it's a book that's going to draw her in.  There's an immediate sense of character, and a genuine reason to care about the world she lives in.  Quite compelling.

Not too long ago, Kristan and Sarah were the lucky recipients of an ARC of CROWN OF EMBERS from the awesome chicks at Epic Reads.  We devoured it.  And now we've got shiny hard covers--if you haven't read this book (or the first in the series) then you haven't read our blog enough!  It's safe to say, we're Rae's biggest fans.

From left: CJ, Kristan, Rae, Sarah

When Sarah asked her #1 Son if he'd like to attend an author event--and she told him it was Jeff Kinney, author of the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series--he was completely into the idea (and her bookish mommy heart grew three sizes).  It's his very first author signing, and she hopes to continue the tradition with him.

Seriously, such a nice author to sign a bajillion books...his eyes were a bit glazed over by the time they called our line letter.  Take Care, Jeff!  What a rock star tour you've got!

There were at least a few hundred people crammed into Joseph-Beth, and the Jeff Kinney crew really knew how to throw a party.  There was a DJ/dance floor (we might have had to join in in Gangnam Style), photo booth, a drawing contest, people handing out tattoos, and of course we spent our wait time looking at all the gorgeous books.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  What books are you going to read in between gorging on turkey and stuffing?  xx
Friday, November 16, 2012

“Be yourself” is arguably the most common advice given to teenagers, and it’s probably the most unhelpful thing anyone has ever said to me. A self is such a complex, multifaceted, ever-changing thing that making a conscious effort to be it is the most frustrating thing you’ll ever waste your time on.

This is why I’m grateful for coming-of-age novels and protagonists who get everything wrong in all the right ways. Here is some wisdom I’ve gleaned from some of the more recent ones:

In the novel Graceling, Katsa knows who she is and what she’s meant to do, and she’s convinced that that can never change. She is trapped by everyone’s perception of her and by her perception of herself. She has a talent for killing and thus thinks she must live her life as a killer. 

Sometimes trying too hard to “be yourself” can be like a cage. If you’re too set in who you are, you don’t leave room for change. Your personality is not something that is fixed. It changes and evolves, and you always have a say-so in who you become.

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, we see two different versions of the protagonist. Karou is relatively the same in both our world and the fantastical world of Elsewhere. But the Karou we meet in the beginning of the story is unsure and has a nagging suspicion that something is missing. We watch her rediscover pieces of herself as her memories, loved ones, and heartbreaks come back to her.

Who you are is not made up only of the different parts of your personality — your likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, strengths and weaknesses. Our history, the world around us, and the ones we love are just as much a part of us. 

In the book Divergent, again, we see two different versions of the main character. We see Beatrice as she is in the faction she was born in, surrounded by her family — compassionate, striving for selflessness. And we see her as Tris in the Dauntless faction — gutsy and tough. Throughout the story, she struggles with both sides of herself, convinced she has to give up one to fully inhabit the other.

But our personalities aren’t that cut and dry. There is more than one version of you, and each is equally as valid and authentic as the next. It is your choice which aspects of yourself you choose to embrace.

Life isn’t about finding your identity and sticking to it no matter what. You are not a puzzle that has to be arranged in a certain way. It’s about putting the pieces together how you want them to fit, keeping some and discarding others. Filling in the gaps with crayon and glue. Then learning to embrace the parts that can’t be changed.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” —John Green’s version of the Serenity Prayer in The Fault in Our Stars 

This post is inspired, in part, by this video:
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I've been busy writing so haven't been on twitter all that much this week, but yesterday when I put the call out for brilliance, you didn't disappoint:

Here's some more:

And some funny:

Someone should do a study on how the serious and inspiring tweets about writing seem to pop up this time of year...and there's more funny in the summer months.  Here's my theory:  the more you write, the more you know about writing.  GENIUS.

And someone should WRITE THIS into a story.  Because I'd read it all up:

Have a super week.  Considering the cold weather (even in San Antonio?!?) it's sort of your duty to read all the reads.  Everything else can wait until summer.  ;)
Thursday, November 8, 2012

That title?  It's my new favorite phrase thanks to the Disney movie Wreck It Ralph.  Have you seen it yet?

It's stupendous.  Mainly because of the storytelling.  I wasn't one of those blown away by the humor (which relied on puns that went over the kiddunk's heads), or by the political correctness (it's Disney, 'nuff said).  I was charmed by the "finishing line."  And the world building.

Okay, okay.  Yes, this is a book site.  Why am I talking about movies?  I'm getting there...

We know you all read (readers of the world, UNITE.  Bangarang!), and some of you write too.  But did you know that once you cross that line between writing angsty (yet strangely efficient) poetry to novel-length fiction that you will NEVER be able to watch a movie or read a book again without seeing the mechanics?

Yeah, NO ONE ever tells you that.  When you write stories, you can't go back to being fooled by the man behind the curtain.  You ARE THE MAN behind the curtain.  There's no being gullible.  You see the minions working all the strings, and then you imagine BIGGER minions with stronger strings.  You see it all.

But there's hope!  Yes, there's hope.  Every once in a while you read a book that makes you forget that there are strings.

You see a movie, and you think it's going in one direction, and you say, "Okay, this is the 'all is lost' minion stringing me along...I see you, minion!  Let's just skip to the end because I'm bored now." And then something magical happens.  The story glitches.  (Glitching is good now, friends).  You forget your way.  You're at a traffic light and you have no idea how you got there.

You are quite happy to be an oversized, smelly oaf riding on the back of a frosting-coated race car on a sugar rope race track.  And you can smell the mentos.

You gotsta love a story that does that.  Ralph, you Wrecked It!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

East Coasters...we haven't forgotten about you.  Stay safe.  Stay warm.  For the rest of us, if you haven't already donated your time or your resources, you can simply donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999.  There's also some huge things happening over at Kid Lit Cares--an online auction with proceeds going to the Sandy Relief Effort.

Books and Inspiration and Insights and Stuff:


Everybody is NaNoWri-Ting:

The Last Laugh:

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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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