Hello, everyone, and welcome to the inaugural post! We’re all really excited to bring great giveaways, author interviews, guest posts, and general craziness about all things YA. To get started, we thought we’d do a little Q&A with each other.
What book inspired you to write young adult?
Amanda Burckhard: For me, it wasn’t really one book but multiple books and series throughout my childhood. I remember one of the first YA books I ever read (which I read in middle school) was The Kidnapping of Susie Q and it was instalove with the genre from then on out. I’ve also been obsessed with Harry Potter since I was 7 and I sure wasn’t giving that up in my teens.
Rebecca Hackett: Heist Society by Ally Carter
L.S. Murphy: I love Heist Society. For me it was Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas. I wished it had been around when I was in school.
A.N. Jackson: I have a few answers. First is Harry Potter, even though it’s sort of MG turned YA, and the first time I really got into a YA novel…Twilight. Don’t judge.
LSM: Twilight isn’t bad. I really liked the first book. It speaks to that 14yo me who had a massive crush on the guy she couldn’t have.
ANJ: I haven’t read the heist society books, but I love the Gallagher Girls series. I’ve never heard of Rats saw God *marks TBR on Goodreads*
LSM: Rats Saw God was pubbed in the mid 90s. If you like Veronica Mars, you must read it. (Rob Thomas, author of Rats Saw God, created Veronica Mars.)
ANJ: I think for me, Twilight let me see the potential in what you could do with a YA book.
RH: Totally. I devoured Twilight when I read them.
AB: Was I the only one who thought Bella was annoying and Edward was a stalker? Yes? Alrighty then.
LSM: SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson did that for me. It showed me that YA could be literary.
ANJ: I have a hard time with literary, and I’ll admit I haven’t read a whole lot of YA literary. One of the main reasons I prefer YA is the face pace, and I get bogged down with lots of descriptions. Literary and I don’t get along very well.
LSM: I was a literary snob for much of my youth.
AB: The only literary I read was the ones I was forced to in high school English, and there were many.
L.C. Walker: My favorites were always the Sherlock Holmes series. I had every volume possible. Harry Potter was a favorite too, of course, as were CRANK and GLASS by Ellen Hopkins. If I liked the premise of the book, I’d give it a shot. I read almost anything in high school.
RH: Agree with Andrea on the literary topic. As for books as a teen, I would reread Harry Potter over and over and over… and anything else I picked up never met my standards, they disappointed me compared to HP. So I would just reread my favorites. It wasn’t until reading Twilight in college, and soon after, Heist Society, that I realized there were good books out there. And now I read YA almost exclusively.
LSM: Ellen Hopkins is AMAZING.
ANJ: So here’s my deep dark secret. I didn’t do much with reading up until about four to five years ago. Books I liked to read –but didn’t do very often – were the Jane Austen books, Little House on the Prairie (could be where I grew up why I liked these ones), and Anne of Green Gables.
RH: Dude. LOVED Little House on the Prairie!
LSM: I read from the great American canon: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, Faulker…
LCW: Ray Bradbury’s short stories were among favorites too. To this day, THE SOUND OF THUNDER is my absolute favorite short story. I love everything about it. His writing style blows me away.
LSM: I’m ancient so there weren’t a lot of YA books for me. A Rose for Emily is one of my all time favorite short stories. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is great too.
AB: A Rose for Emily is also my favorite short story.
ANJ: And after reading some of your books, it doesn’t surprise me you like those fancy authors L, your writing is precise, clean, and of course, awesome.
LSM: Awwwwww, thanks.
Precy Larkins: Wow, most of the books mentioned here I haven’t read. Except HP & Twilight. When I was in HS, there were no YA books available or were short in stock (I did get to read Sweet Valley High after all), so I mostly read classics.
LSM: I wanted to be Jessica Wakefield. Those were more junior high for me. Yes, junior high not middle school.
PL: I was more of an Elizabeth, I think.
E.M. Caines: The Outsiders was the book that made me want to be a writer, but I didn’t really think I could until I read The Squad by Jenny Lynn Barnes & was like, “I can totally do that.” Ditto for Gallagher Girls. Not so much coming up with amazing plot lines, but more for writing real teenagers.
PL: Jenny Lynn Barnes… Name’s familiar. Did she author NOBODY? I think she did. Read that not too long ago and boy, I almost didn’t finish. Slow pacing. But great potential for a premise (just poor execution). Anyway, confession here too: I only started writing fiction 7 yrs ago, and Twilight actually prompted me to give it a try.
RH: The Naturals is Jenn Lynn Barnes too and really liked that one
EMC: The Squad was cute. Fast-paced. Undercover cheerleaders are really spies. I also read the Pretty Little Liars series and wanted to write something a little more down-to-earth for my nieces.
LCW: What you described is how I felt about GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Precy.
PL: Yeah, I can see that, Leila. So many classics have slow pacing though. I was just thinking about Anna Karenina the other day. Great story, but I remember falling asleep through some of the passages…
LSM: Grapes of Wrath = get the damn turtle across the road. What was the point?
PL: Meh, couldn’t finish Grapes of Wrath.
EMC: HATED Grapes of Wrath. I’m sure I could read it now if I reframe my mindset, but…Bleh
LCW: A lot of them were amazing, but it’s hard to get past the slow start in most. Like THE GREAT GATSBY. That one bored me to tears at first too.
LSM: OMG – I hated The Great Gatsby. (Loved his other books though)
EMC: I liked Gatsby. LOL
AB: Gatsby was one of the only books I was forced to read in high school that I ended up enjoying.
LCW: I hated Daisy. Still do. That’s the only reason I didn’t like Gatsby
AB: That’s because Daisy is SUPER annoying.
LSM: I hated Gatsby because I had to read it sooooo many times. Seriously, there were other books out there.
PL: I liked Gatsby too, but I couldn’t stand Daisy.
EMC: I hated Daisy. Gatsby was a wuss. But you have to understand I read it in HS & associated certain people with the characters.
PL: I liked Dostoevsky’s books. Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. (If we’re talking about classics…)
LSM: Anything by Kurt Vonnegut.
EMC: I liked War & Peace if we’re talking classics. It was long, but it held my attention because it was actually a good story.
ANJ: My favorites are Divergent. (the 1st book, the last book is a long conversation for me) Flipped, (cutest book in the world) The Graveyard. (by Neil Gaiman because it’s so weird) My ultimate favorite book – and might never change – is Pride and Prejudice. I love her subtle snarkiness and because she wrote it so long ago when women weren’t supposed to be like that, makes it even cooler. And I love how many different version of the story there can be. It’s such a great storyline to develop.
EMC: I have mixed feelings of Divergent and The Hunger Games. But that’s a whole other conversation.
LSM: I’m not a fan of Divergent. Or The Hunger Games. Love P&P, one of my faves.
EMC: Writerly confession: WTRPCPSU was the first novel I ever completed.
ANJ: Wow congrats for you, Eileen. My first ms shall never see the light of day.
LCW: I still haven’t finished my first, but hey, there’s a first time for everything, right? c:
PL: HIDDEN, my ms that got me representation, is my first novel too. But now it’ll never see the light of day.
LSM: REAPER was my third. Okay, fourth, but we don’t talk about the one that I flunked out of college writing.
AB: THE GHOST OF YOU was my second manuscript.
PL: You can do it, Leila! Cheering for you to finish your manuscript.
ANJ: You get such a great feeling when you finish a ms. It’s amazing. You’re like; sweet I’m awesome for a while.
What are you currently reading?
RH: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
AB: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
PL: House of Ivy and Sorrow, Of Breakable Things
ANJ: I loved loved loved Eleanor & Park until the last chapter.
LSM: I loved Eleanor & Park! Great story.
EMC: I just finished binge-reading last week.
LCW: Re-reading SAVING MAX by Antoinette can Heugten. I love this book so much.
LSM: I just read Timebound by Rysa Walker. Trippy read.
RH: Just finished Sekret and We Were Liars
EMC: I MUST HAVE we were liars.
ANJ: I’ve heard great things about we were liars, I want to read it.
LSM: Me too!
RH: I’m zipping my lips. Can’t even say how I feel about it without giving anything away!
ANJ: Yes, no spoilers that is rage inducing.
LSM: My next read is The Distance Between Us by Kasie West.
AB: I love Kasie West! I will read anything of hers. Can’t wait to get my hands on her new one, On The Fence.
ANJ: I’m in the middle of reading the Night Circus, it’s strange to me. Mostly because it’ breaks all the rules were kind of told not to do with YA. It’s slow to start, lots of prologues, background information, I’m about 1/4 of the way through, and I haven’t really even got to the story yet. It kind of reads a little like a classic, but I’m strangely really into it.
EMC: I almost bought The Distance Between Us last week. Opted instead to get Better Off Friends.
What type of books would you, as a reader, like to see more of?
RH: spies & heists & secret agents
LSM: I would love more YA contemporary
LCW: This is an easy one for me. I’d like to see more books that have LGBT themes in them. Kids need more books that they can pick up and read and find someone who is gay or bisexual or asexual or transgender. Someone they can relate to. That can mean the world to a young adult who feels alone in the world.
AB: I agree with LS. I’d also love to see more thrillers, more contemporary in nature. I love YA contemporary romances but I also love when thrillers creep me out to the point I can see it possibly happening.
EMC: You know, I wrote an issues book without realizing it was an issues book. I just wanted to write real characters. So I’m not opposed to issues books, as long as they’re done well.
ANJ: I love stuff like Eleanor and Park. Off beat contemporary.
ANJ: But I also love Sci-fi and fantasy. I love, love superhero-ish type stuff, and if it gets a little bloody and messy, I might like that also.
LCW: I agree, Andrea.
EMC: I love superhero stories! But again, they need to be done well.
AB: Agreed! When done well, superhero stories are the best.
LSM: I would like more family based YA. Romantic Love isn’t everything. Says the romance writer…
RH: And more friendships
ANJ: Weird families doing weird stuff to other people, but normal to them.
Thanks for everyone who stopped by. The conversation will continue in the comments. Ask us anything about books. Happy reading.