Thursday, December 27, 2012

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...


The Esteemed Panelists of Experts for the Elite Academy of Amazing Young Adult Literature (aka We Heart YA) announce the Winners of the Most Prestigious and Coveted Award, Favorite Reads of 2012!

In their own words:


Numero Uno: DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor. This should be predictable since DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE was my favorite read last year. I continue to be baffled by Laini's talent. I'm completely in love with the world, characters, and story she's created. It's just my kind of book.

Second Place: CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson. One word: Hector. Four words (one of them questionable): Elisa is the bombdiggity. I entirely love this book. It has everything a reader could want: adventure, tight leather, jerboa soup... (Okay, nix that last one.)

Marchetta. No that's not a book title, but an author I wholeheartedly respect. This year alone I've read JELLICOE ROAD, FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, and FROI OF THE EXILES. All of which are sooooooo good. How can I pick one?

 The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2) Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)

Honorable Mentions: (This is my sneaky way of including more... I have to!) KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger, BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore, THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater, CINDER Marissa Meyer, GRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley, THE STONE GIRL by Alyssa Sheinmel, SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr, I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins... I'm sure there's more I'm missing. :)


#1 Scorpio Races: I loved the world and the mythology that Maggie Stiefvater created. I felt completely immersed in the Island of Thisby, and if I didn't know better, I'd swear it was a real place. I loved the characters and the story line. The ending brought me to tears. It was like reading a classic from my childhood.

#2 The Book of Blood and Shadow: This may be the best YA mystery I've ever read. Robin Wasserman's pacing and plotting were perfect. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. In a lot of mystery, I've found that character development and emotional weight can sometimes be a bit lacking. But this book had a great balance of both.

#3 The Girl of Fire and Thorns: I loved that Rae Carson didn't use the typical culture that you find in most fantasy. Her mythology and her world were so unique. I loved Elisa's character arc, both her fears and insecurities in the beginning and the bravery she finds throughout the story were very authentic.

The Scorpio Races The Book of Blood and Shadow The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

Sarah: Oh, and TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson (honorable mention).


In 2012, I read plenty of page-turners, lots of books filled with beautiful writing, and many titles that offered shocking plot twists and beloved characters. But I decided that my favorite books this year would have to be the ones that haven't left my mind, and perhaps never will. These are the ones that haunt me, the ones I cannot stop thinking about:

1. Jellicoe Road
2. Wintergirls
3. Before I Die

Jellicoe Road Wintergirls Before I Die

Runners up (because I can't resist!) include My Life Next Door, The Language of Flowers, and The Fault in Our Stars. Also: A Thousand Splendid Suns, even though it's not YA.


Okay, since Sarah and Steph broke the rules ("ONE line explaining your choice") I'll keep this brief (like Ingrid, bless her). In no particular order...

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore - adventurous, swoon-worthy fantasy
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green - funny and insightful tearjerker
THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater - slow but gorgeous
CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson - even better than its predecessor!
DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor - heartbreaking, heavy, powerful

The Fault in Our Stars Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

Sarah: And THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers (honorable mention)!

Well, fantasy seems to be "Genre of the Year" for us. But then again, we read soooo many wonderful stories, it was impossible to list them all and give each style or category its due.

What about you? What were your favorite reads of 2012? Feel free to link to a post if you did one!

And don't forget: You've got a few more days to enter our big ho-ho-holiday giveaway! Just comment on this post (or any other post from the month of December) AND on the giveaway post so we know which prize pack you want.

Hope you've had a great holiday season, and a very happy new year!
<3 the WHYA girls
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Or, what we'd like to put in some YA characters' stockings... 

Taylor Markham (JELLICOE ROAD) would probably laugh in my face if I tried to give her a stocking. Nevertheless, I'd stuff it with a journal and a camera, because I think she sees the world in a very special way, and it would be beneficial to her (and to us!) if she documented that. For all her huff and gruff, she has the spirit of an artist, and I bet she would write and capture some really cool stuff. (Plus it could help her work through various issues...) 

You know how "nice young ladies" used to have to go to finishing school in order to learn proper etiquette, particularly if they were going to interact with high society? Yeah, that's what I'd give Froi (FROI OF THE EXILES). A voucher for a 6-week course or something. Er, make that 12 weeks. Because dude is seriously rough around the edges.

As for Jared (THE HOST), I'd just put a lump of coal in his stocking and call it a day. He was pretty mean to Wanda, and I've never completely forgiven him!

To Margo Roth Spiegelman (PAPER TOWNS) I would give a cell phone... or maybe a twitter account. Something to prevent her from sending people on wild goose chases.

To A (EVERYDAY), I would give a bottle of polyjuice potion and a key to the TARDIS. I'm not sure exactly how, but I feel strongly that these two things would make his/her life easier. 

Lastly, to Severus Snape (HARRY POTTER), I would give a large bottle of extra clarifying shampoo. 

Karou (DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT). What do you get the girl who has everything? For starters, I'd get her a gift certificate for a Thai full body massage. Even devils need pampering. Also, a new sketchbook with a garter so she can attach to her leg when she's on the run. But really, I'd like to give her three wishes that won't cost her any pain. Gavriel-sized wishes. And I'll even refrain from voicing my opinion on how to use them. 

Elisa (CROWN OF EMBERS). Girl. I'd give her two VIP tickets to Alicia Keyes in concert, complete with dedication during "Girl on Fire." Hells yeah, that song is about her. Just ask Hector. I'd also put some Ramen noodles (no msg, of course) in her stocking so she doesn't have to eat desert rats anymore. Dude. Jerboa soup? Not right. And possibly some extra bling for the godstone because... if you've got it, flaunt it.  

I would LOVE to give Katsa (GRACELING) a gift certificate to REI or Cabela's so she and Bitterblue would have warm ski jackets and boots, a four-season tent, and any kind of camping/climbing gear they could possibly need for their mountainous trek over Grella's pass to Sunder. Just thinking of it makes me shiver. Brrr!

To sweet, eclectic Lola (LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR), I would give this decorative tape measure for when she's creating her costumes. Practical and pretty. 

How about you? What do you wish you could give some of your favorite (or not-so-favorite) book characters for Christmas?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sometimes, the best stories to read at Christmastime aren’t about Christmas at all. Some stories need only a moment of Christmas cheer to transport you. These books may not have reindeer and elves or tiny babies in mangers. But the holiday spirit is there — in the memories, the magic, the atmosphere.

Here are some of our holiday favorites:

Stephanie: Whenever I reread THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, I always feel like a kid at Christmastime. I still remember my surprise the first time I read the part where they think they’re being chased by the White Witch but Father Christmas shows up instead. I remember crawling into our downstairs closet, packed with winter coats, and wishing with all my heart that a snowy wood would appear. For me, the first Narnia story is steeped in nostalgia and Christmas spirit. It’s one of those stories I wish I could discover for the first time, all over again.

Kristan: For me, THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern evokes holiday spirit because at its core, it's a story about magic and giving. (And the magic OF giving.) Celia and Marco take turns creating the most beautiful, elaborate spells for one another — like bottled scent-memories, wishing candle-trees, and colorful fire-fountains. They also share their wondrous creations with the public, drawing endless crowds to the traveling circus. Oh how I wish I could drift in and out of those tents, basking in the moonlight and smiling under the soft white snowfall.

Sarah: For me, Christmas isn't complete without Christian Bale... er, LITTLE WOMEN. Every year, I watch Winona Ryder break Christian Bale's heart. And I lament. Marry Laurie and not Professor Bhaer! He's trying to be your dad or something by telling you not to write about vampires. Jo says, "But this is what sells!" and I nod my head. MmmHmm. Strangely, I have the same reactions when I re-read the book (and I always re-read at Christmas.) But somehow every time, I come around to Professor Bhaer. He stirs her imagination, her mind, he brings out the best of her talents. He is her match. Then again he doesn't sing "Here We Come A-wassailing" and fall down with her in the snow. Hmm. Perhaps some Louisa May Alcott fanfic is in order. Either way, I hope Susan Sarandon can one day accept that she's my mom in an alternate universe. Peace. On Earth.

Ingrid: DASH AND LILY'S BOOK OF DARES sort of makes you feel like you're experiencing the holidays in the Big Apple right along with these two characters. I once visited New York City during the month of December, and I still vividly remember the lights, the ice skating, the shoppers... the festive atmosphere that pervaded the city. There is nothing quite like it. Dash and Lily capture that excitement perfectly (and often, humorously). If you need a good, upbeat story to see you through the holiday haze, check this one out.

*    *    *

Let us know what your favorite holiday reads are!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's my tree, yo.
With a twinge of guilt, I must announce that...I'm taking a break from twitter for the month of December.  I'm super close to finishing the first draft of the book I've been working on for most of the year.  I need these last few weeks to finish, have a Jolly Holiday, and get started on revisions.  Kristan offered to cover for me (and she'd be awesome), but she's editing a really incredible story right now, and I (selfishly) want her to finish it.  No extra duties!

In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be here:

I've relegated myself to the corner.  And so far The Olde Wrytyng Deske is doing the trick.

I know you're sad.  But this is a good thing.  You won't get these mindless tweets in your twitterfeed:

But I will leave you with these, from the infinite Fizz:

Don't forget about the HUGE giveaway we're doing this month.  And we're still doing our normal Thursday posts, only Christmas-themed, and I bet you can't wait to read our Top Reads book list for 2012, right?  Right?  That's what I thought.  All coming soon.  Okay, love you, bye.
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jingle bells, Batman smells, and we are giving away 9 YA books (in 3 sets of 3). All you have to do to enter is (1) comment on this post and let us know which set/s you're interested in, and then (2) comment on any other post this month. Winners will be announced the first week of January. (Must have US postal address. Sorry, international friends!)

Set A
SHARDS & ASHES edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, ft. Veronica Roth, Beth Revis, Carrie Ryan and more
DODGER by Terry Pratchett

Shards & Ashes The Magnolia League (Magnolia League, #1) Dodger

Set B
BALL DON'T LIE by Matt de la Peña

Smart Girls Get What They Want Ball Don't Lie The Poison Diaries (The Poison Diaries, #1)
Set C
BREATHE by Sarah Crossan
A LONG WAY FROM YOU by Gwendolyn Heasley
THE TURNING by Francine Prose

Breathe (Breathe, #1)  A Long Way from You The Turning
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Good Morrow, fine fellows and femmes (bear with me, the coffee's not kicked in yet).  Wonder what's been happening on twitter lately?  I've got the roundup.

By the way, you're looking fab today.

I can't speak for the book (I shall read it, I shall), but THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER film has been the source of several breakdowns for me in the past week.  I want my writing to mean something.  I want to be infinite.  I miss Pittsburgh.  If you haven't seen it or read it, please do.  And then call me so we can discuss all the things.

Thanks, Dahlia, for *getting* it.  Twitter's all about the connections!!
Writing stuff:

The Best part of twitter is stumbling upon author exchanges like this:

More writing stuff:

We don't doubt you.  Bless.

The funny...


The serious...

The wonderful...

One more thing...stayed tuned on Thursday for a Giveaway Post!!  Lots of books and ARCs we'd like to pass on to you.  Later, gators.  
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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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