Thursday, June 26, 2014

Every Wednesday, our friends at YA Highway ask a reading or writing-related question. Every Thursday, we answer!



Say Her Name Blackfin Sky Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)


Faking Normal The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)


Nine Days Alabama Moon


Join in the fun by leaving your answer in the comments here, at YA Highway, on your own blog, and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #roadtripwednesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We Heart YA has never done a reveal before, but when I saw this cover, I immediately wanted to be the one to share it with the world. More than that, I wanted to introduce my friend Jasmine Warga, who was like an instant soulmate for me. She and I have had so many heartfelt & thought-provoking conversations -- about everything from pets to relationships, and from diversity in publishing, to writing your own truths.

Every time we hang out, I leave feeling refreshed and inspired. I am quite certain that anyone who spends time with Jasmine -- by reading her book -- will feel the same way.


Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who seems scared of her, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father who has made her the town pariah, Aysel’s ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers the website Smooth Passages and its section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution. Better yet, a boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman), who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner.

But as their suicide pact starts to become more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, Aysel must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

This is a gorgeously written and compulsively readable debut novel about the transformative power of love and acceptance.


Jasmine Warga lives in a small town that is a few miles outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. She finds it exceedingly difficult to write about herself in the third person so she will keep this short. Her first novel, MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, will be published by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2015. She is currently at work on her second book. Before becoming an author, she briefly worked as a science teacher. You can find visit her online at:


••• She’s not big on favorites, but if pressed to pick a favorite song, she’d probably choose Mozart’s "Requiem Mass in D Minor."
••• Both of her parents are originally from Turkey, but she sadly doesn’t speak a word of Turkish.
••• She thinks John Berryman’s poems are lame, but she totally gets them. More than she would ever admit.
••• She’s convinced her potential energy is poisoned.
••• Her best childhood memory is one involving her father and this terrifies her.
••• She would probably like the cover of MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, but she might be suspicious of the bursts of color. (Though as her spokesperson, Jasmine is going to step up and say: WE LOVE IT!)


Redacted for spoilers. You’re just going to have to read the book!


From Alison Donalty, Executive Art Director, HarperCollins Children's Books:

It is not often that an art director gets to work on a book with a title as visually rich as MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES. When that happens, I feel like I've hit the cover-design-possibilities jackpot!

After reading Jasmine’s manuscript, I knew I needed to find an artist who would bring all the texture and emotion of this story to life on the cover. That perfect artist was Jessica Musumeci. Jessica is the Creative Director at Seventeen, as well as a fine artist. She has a special flair for creating hand-drawn type that is expressive and gorgeous to look at.

Collaborating with Jess on the art was a blast! She zeroed in on all the illustrative possibilities inherent in the title and sent us many options for consideration. On creating the art for this book Jess said, "I really enjoyed working on this cover. I love mixing rich black ink with bright watercolor. The contrast creates this pretty kind of tension which encapsulates the story beautifully."

The final cover does just that. It is bold, fresh, and evocative -- the perfect complement to Jasmine’s story.


MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga (Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins, Winter 2015)

Isn't it gorgeous? You know you want it...


••• Goodreads •••
••• Barnes & Noble •••
••• Powell's •••
••• Indigo •••
••• Joseph Beth •••
••• Amazon •••

"My Heart and Other Black Holes is alive with intensity, gut-wrenching honesty, moments of humor, and -- of course -- heart. This is an extraordinary debut by a striking new voice in YA fiction that left me in awe and moved beyond measure. Not to be missed."
- Nova Ren Suma, author of IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE


“I just figured the whole world feels sorry for you.” I say. “You obviously aren’t looking for someone to do what everyone else already does.”

I’m getting higher and higher and I feel the swing set creak.

“Be careful,” he says.

“Why?” I’m not thinking about being careful. I’m thinking about one last push, of letting go, of flying, and of falling.

“You aren’t allowed to die without me,” he whispers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Every so often the girls and I at We Heart YA get an email that's a bit strange. A bit otherworldly. A bit surreal, I guess you could say. You see, we read so many books and discuss about stories so much that sometimes the lines get blurred between what's fact and fiction.

You know what I'm talking about, right? Sometimes you're in a Harry situation where the only way to fix things is with a bit of luck and magic, and you're thinking: What would Hermione do?

But what do you do when Hermione messages you for advice?

Although we have no explanation for it... sometimes we get letters from fictional characters. Possibly because our initials spell out WHY, which IS the universal question uttered by anyone real or not since the beginning of time. Maybe these figments of our imaginations are just looking for answers and who are we to ignore them, right?

Take Exhibit A: a recent email from Karou -- the blue-haired chimaera from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE -- asking for advice... from us?!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
"Fauxto" by Margot Wood
Dear WHYA,

I bumped into this guy named Jazz* the other day while I was out on a job and he said you might be able to give me some advice. I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm starting to think there's something a bit off about me. Like, I don't feel like myself. 

My best friend, Zuze, would laugh at me if she heard me say that. I'm always really tough and secretive around her -- for her own good, I might add! -- but I'm not sure I can hold all of these feelings inside anymore. I have to tell someone.

For instance, I have these tattoos on my hands that were given to me when I was born, made, whatever. Some kids get circumcised, some kids get their ears pierced... I never thought anything of it until now.

You are going to think this is crazy, but they're magic. Magic tattoos. (I'll wait while you just take that in for a moment.) They keep my enemy subdued, and maybe even kill. I haven't tested it that far yet. 

But the reason I know they're magic and the reason that I'm writing to you is because this angel abomination keeps popping up out of nowhere ruining my perfectly good day. And the only way to get him to take me seriously is to tell him to "talk to the hand." Literally.

Should I ask Brimstone what's up with the tattoos he gave me? Or do I keep experimenting until I kill someone? I mean, it's just a stuck-up, demon-killing angel, right?

Karou x

~ ~ ~

Dear Karou,

Do NOT kill the angel. Believe us, you will regret it. You are on the tip of the penguin's beak, on the tip of an iceberg, on the vast frozen ocean of discovery. By the time this chapter in your life ends, your mind will stretch to universes. But before that, you will find yourself. All of yourself and your lives and it is beautiful.

We repeat: Do NOT kill the angel. Even though you will want to many, many... many times.

p.s. Ask Brimstone about the tattoos. In fact, spend as much time with Brimstone as you can.



~ ~ ~

*Jazz from I HUNT KILLERS wrote in frantically asking if he was going to turn out like his dad. He was all like, "What if the world's worst serial killer was your father?" and we were all like, "Dude, that sucks." Not sure that qualifies for good advice, but we're here for you Jazz!

So how did we do? What advice would you have for Karou or Jazz?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

As part of our new schedule, we are dialing back the Twitter roundups (to monthly versus weekly) and instead we will be taking regular "road trips" with our friends over at YA Highway. On most Wednesdays, they post reading or writing-related questions. On most Thursdays, we will answer.

Since this is the first time that we are participating, we decided to start at the beginning, with the very first Road Trip Wednesday question ever posted:



I get my ideas from so many places -- a news article, a memory, an imaginary person who won't leave my head. As far as the storyline goes, I usually start with a moment or a scene that jumps into my mind. I visualize what is happening and how the characters are reacting, and then it morphs from there into a whole plot. Occasionally I will start with an issue that I want to explore more in depth, but mostly... it's character.


My ideas come from dreams, news and culture, listening, watching, reading and having a curious (nosy) interest in human nature and the world -- all the things good and bad. Like Ingrid, often a character will "speak" to me, appearing out of nowhere, and won't shut up. Or says something that I like. That's the scary thing, how these characters appear and know just what to say to get me to write them. "My name is Jack and I know kung-fu." Bonkers. One thing is clear: if I'm not out living my life then the ideas dry up. So my ideas come from life. Essentially.


Ditto what Sarah and Ingrid said! But since that's boring, haha, I'll add this: I love to travel, and I am often inspired by the places I visit and the people I meet. Compared to other elements in a story, setting is probably the "quietest," but it's one of the most compelling aspects for me.

You can participate too! By commenting here* or at YA Highway, by posting your answers on your own blog/Tumblr, or even by tweeting with the hashtag #RoadTripWednesday.

*Also new: Anyone who comments on any We Heart YA post will qualify for a monthly giveaway. Winner will be drawn at random and get to choose their prize from our stash.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What impressions do you get when you look at this cover?

I see the girl first, front and center. Then I see the shadows and silhouette, a foreboding backdrop. But there is also a softness, a radiance, a light -- both behind the girl and drifting down from the top like snow. Last but not least, there is the elegant typography, for a simple and strong one-word title.

After reading POINTE, I have to say, I think the cover perfectly encapsulates the story within its pages, and smartly translates the themes and tone into visual language.

This is Theo's story. It's character-driven -- and no, that's not a code-word for boring. All it means is that we have a front-row seat for Theo's emotions, her internal struggles, and (eventually) her growth. She's a dancer, which is also reflected by the cover if you look closely at the details, like the bun and her dress. And she's haunted by several dark things in her past.

POINTE is a thoughtful, nuanced read -- one that everyone here at We Heart YA really enjoyed. There's a lot of tough stuff in Theo's life -- from drugs and drinking to abuse and abandonment -- and Colbert handles it all with grace, never preaching. When I closed the book after the last page, I found myself staring at the cover, savoring the story and marveling at how much of it had been there for me to see at first glance.

I'm thinking about that feeling again now because (A) POINTE is a story that will stay with me for a long time, and (B) next week we're doing something we've never done before at We Heart YA. We're hosting a cover reveal! So be sure to check in on Thursday June 19th to see the amazing cover of MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga, who is a dear friend of mine. It's brilliant and beautiful and fun, and I can't wait to share it with all of you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014
So the girls at WeHeartYA are making some summertime changes.  New season, new blogging schedule.  We'll still be here Tuesdays and Thursdays, but just changing up our features a bit.  The first Tuesday of the month we're going to announce/ discuss the new releases we're looking forward to reading that month.  It would be awesome if you added your anticipated reads in the comments as well!  Since we missed Tuesday this week, today is going to be our Releases post.

Okay, we have been waiting and waiting and now June is finally here and with it...

RUIN & RISING by Leigh Bardugo.  Seriously, everything by her is an insta-read.  If you haven't already, she has written this short story and this one on that are completely amazing.  Also?  She just sold another set of books set in the same world starting with THE DREGS.  We can't wait!!

Stephanie Kuehn's COMPLICIT is garnering lots of good review buzz.  Her debut CHARM & STRANGE won the Morris Award.  It's still on my list of books to buy.  Why haven't I read this yet?!? Because I'm saving it for a Stephanie Kuehn binge perhaps?

PUSH GIRL co-authored by Chelsea Hill and Jessica Love. When I heard about this book, I knew it was going to be different.  At WeHeartYA, we're commited to more diversity in our reads and to put our money (or library cards) where our mouth is...but we also wouldn't splurge if the story didn't sound amazing!

BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler, a long-time friend of WeHeartYA and readers/ writers/ bloggers everywhere. This book is guaranteed to have kissing on every page.  :)

HEXED by Michelle Krys.  Feels like forever since I added this one to the "want" pile.  It's changed names, it's been talked about for ages.  It's finally here!!

#scandal by Sarah Ockler.  We loved TWENTY BOY SUMMER, so can't wait to read this one.  Sarah Ockler is a Contemporary master.

What about you? Planning on reading any of our picks? Which June releases are you looking forward to reading? We'd love to know!

Click here to see a complete list of releases for the month of June!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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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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