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  • Corrina Lawson 4:00 pm on 2018/02/15 Permalink
    Tags: anne rivers siddons, , cheryl zach, emily mckay, fifteen, heartbreak hotel, jean and johnny, , , , king of ithaka, lurlene mcdaniel, , now i lay me down to sleep, , sister of the bride, the dark between, , , , the iron king, the problem with forever, the raven boys, the witch of blackbird pond, tracy barrett, waiting for amanda   

    The Great RITA Read: Young Adult Romace 

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    Young Adult Romance is a unique category in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award.

    All the other categories are defined by their genre or length, but the YA category is defined by its intended audience. That means stories set in any genre can—and have—won the Young Adult Romance RITA Award. Those genres include contemporary, historicals, suspense, urban fantasy, and dystopian fantasy.

    It also means that interest in young adult romance has waxed and waned since the YA award was created in 1983. Cheryl Zach, who won the award three times, was the most prominent early YA author in the 1980s and 1990s, winning in 1985, 1986 and 1996.

    But then there was a long gap. RWA officials said that the YA Romance RITA award was always available for entry, but lack of entries lead to no awards being given between 1997-2007.

    This revitalization is likely due to a book that never won the award at all: Adios To My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer. This novel, about a teenage girl who enters a reality show music competition, won the Contemporary Single Title Romance RITA in 2007. Ferrer had originally entered her book in YA but that category didn’t have enough entries, so it was moved to contemporary romance, where it unexpectedly was the victor. In her emotional acceptance speech, Ferrer urged other YA writers to write their stories and enter their books.

    And since 2008, YA Romance RITA Award winners have included dystopian and urban fantasy coming-of-age stories, such as the The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, and The Farm by Emily McKay, along with the contemporary tales, such as the latest winner, 2017’s The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

    But whatever the genre or the year of publication, there have been two constants for the RITA Award winner in YA romance:

    First, they’re the heroine’s story. Not one of the young adult romances I found still available featured the hero’s story first. They all begin with the heroine. The recent YA RITA Award winners feature first-person narration from the heroine’s point of view. Among the earlier winners, it’s generally a third-person narration that always includes the heroine’s point of view.

    Second, the young adult romances are intensely emotional tales.

    I discovered some delightful stories but also some shockers. We modern readers sometimes believe we’ve invented something new, but it might surprise you to learn that the winner in 1992 was Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by Lurlene McDaniel, and it featured two young cancer patients falling in love. (Yes, many years before John Green delved into similar territory with The Fault In Our Stars.)

    And reading Cheryl Zach’s books showed me that these early stories set the standard for quality and emotional involvement. Zach’s award winners—The Frog Princess (1985), Waiting for Amanda (1986), and Runaway (1996)—put her in the RWA Hall of Fame in 1996. She’s one of the few (if not the only) romance writer to receive the three different versions of the Award now known as the RITA: a plaque (1985), a large wooden “book” with a round medallion in its center (1986), and the now-traditional RITA statue in 1996.

    Zach was the third member of that Hall of Fame, preceded only by Nora Roberts and LaVryle Spencer. It’s a shame that these three of Zach’s books are out of print, because while some details of the world might seem dated, their quality is unmistakable. But Zach also writes historical novels under her own name and as Nicole Byrd, and many of those later Zach and Byrd books are available for sale.

    Waiting for Amanda, my favorite of Zach’s three winners, is the story of a teenage girl who is left bereft by the death of her mother, and shipped off with her younger sister to a distant relative in a small town. It’s clear the heroine is traumatized and has what we’d now call PTSD due to grief and past abuse from the father who abandoned them. She buries her grief by keeping busy, and there’s much that needs doing, including cleaning up the hoarding mess created by her new guardian, her great-aunt, and watching over her sister, who’s expressing her own grief by acting out in various ways. Amanda’s story would resonate today, even with the few anachronisms–no cell phones, and the inability to, well, locate people who have left town.

    I asked Zach what led her to writing young adult stories.

    “I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, wrote for the school paper in high school and college, in was published book reviews in the local city paper. After college, I started trying to publish books, slowed by having children—would still have the children!—finally succeeded. I got the idea for Frog Princess from an incident that happened while I was still teaching at high school—what would happen if someone was elected class president as a prank? The plot for Waiting for Amanda came to me as I was finishing the first book.

    Runaway, the last award winner, came straight out of a newspaper story in back pages…I wasn’t sure I wanted to write it as it seemed pretty sad, but it wouldn’t leave me. I happened to speak to an editor shortly afterward, mentioned the story idea, and she immediately wanted the book. Something happened then that I had heard about but not experienced before: the characters took over and would not do what I had planned…I had to call my editor and tell her the book was going to end differently than I had expected. But it turned out to be one of my strongest books, I think, and certainly one of my favorites.”

    She said that YA books have seen an evolution over the years.

    “Early on, I well remember editors taking out lines or passages or nixing topics I was not allowed to write about. Runaway was a step forward in what I was free to cover. Now about anything goes. I do agree with the late great Madeleine L’Engle that young readers deserve some hope at the end of the book (as opposed to adult readers). She also said the best writing was being done for young readers!”

    Adios To My Old Life was somewhat of a departure for Caridad Ferrer, who has also written When The Stars Go Blue and Between Here and Gone as Barbara Ferrer.

    “Since YA had been such an unexpected detour in terms of my writing, it’s not a world I was ever very in touch with. What influences I did have, were more rooted in the books I’d read growing up. Judy Blume, for example, and oddly, some of the books that were quote/unquote “children’s” books when they were first published, but had a lot of YA influence to them, like Beverly Cleary’s Sister of the Bride and Jean and Johnnyand Fifteen—books that might seem dated because of when they were written, but the underlying story structure is sound and timeless.

    “I also referred to a lot of the coming of age stories I’d read as a kid and teenager, like Fox Running and Anne Rivers Siddons’ Heartbreak Hotel and The Witch of Blackbird Pond—all which fall in line with my preference for writing older teen characters (as all three of my YA novels and the two novellas showcased).”

    The last three winners of the YA RITA have all been contemporary stories, which made me wonder if that’s a new trend. I asked Ferrer about where they saw the Young Adult RITA category going in the future.

    “I honestly could not tell you,” Ferrer said. “What I can tell from looking at the winners in the ten years since I won my RITA (albeit in a different category), is that there’s been something of a shift from paranormal/dystopian skewed YA toward more realistic, contemporary YA. I can’t help but wonder if Adiós would have even won in 2007, had there been a YA category that year, and how my later YA novels, which were more of the realistic contemporary (and weren’t as well received) would do if they were published now. Beyond that, it’s going to be interesting to see which way the pendulum swings in the next decade.”

    Zach says she still reads young adult books and enjoys young adult books and stories.

    “Recent books I’ve enjoyed include Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys quartet, Sonia Gensler’s The Dark Between, and Tracy Barrett’s historical fiction such as King of Ithaka.”

    As for advice for anyone who wants to write young adult stories, romance or not, and perhaps become the future of young adult romance?

    “Anyone who wants to write should read lots of books and write, write, write and write some more,” Zach said.

    The post The Great RITA Read: Young Adult Romace appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 3:00 pm on 2017/10/25 Permalink
    Tags: a court of thorns and roses, , , adam silvera, alexandra bracken, , , and I darken, , , anna marie mclemore, april genevieve tucholke, are carson, , , charm and strange, , , ek johnston, , empress of a thousand skies, erin bow, erin bowman, , female of the species, finnikin of the rock, francis hardings, girl in pieces, , , handy nelson, history is all you left me, if I was your girl, jennifer lia longo, julie berry one, , karen m. mcmanus, kathleen glasgow, , kerry kletter, kiersten white, , , , mackenzi lee, , maria v. snyder, , marie rutkoski, marieke nijkamp, megan shepherd, , meredith russo, mindy mcginnis, my sister rosa, , nicola goon, one of us is lying, passenger, poison study, renee ahdieh, rhoda belleza, , , , roshani chokshi, , sandhya menon, sarah cross an, , , scythe, , , the bone witch, the first time she drowned, the flame in the mist, the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue, , the lie tree, the madman’s daughter, the passion of dolssa, the raven boys, the scorpion rules, the sky is everywhere, the star touched queen, the sun is also a star, the winner’s curse, the young elites, this is where it ends, , tiffany d. jackson, Up to this pointe, , , when dimple met rishi, when the moon was ours, when we collided, wink poppy midnight, , ya we love   

    50 YA Novels Adults Will Love, Too 

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    Young Adult novels are written for teen readers, but there’s no reason why adults can’t love them, too! Some of the best contemporary, science fiction, historical, fantasy and romance novels are written by YA authors, and here are fifty you are certain to enjoy at any age.

    Up To This Pointe, by Jennifer Lia Longo
    Harper Scott’s ancestor died trying to get to the South Pole, so she has always tried to do the opposite: stick to a plan, to what she’s good at, and never take unnecessary risks. But when Harper’s plan goes up in flames, she finds herself headed exactly where she never thought she’d go—to Antarctica, to wait out a broken heart in their six-month winter. One of the most honest, beautiful, and crushing depictions of friendship you will ever read.

    Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman
    Historical fiction fans will love this Gold Rush-era western in which a girl seeks vengeance for her father’s murder by trekking across the west dressed as a boy. She meets two brothers along the way and finds herself torn between the rage in her heart and the possible love which might take its place. (Look out for the companion novel, Retribution Rails, in November!)

    Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson
    Mary killed a baby when she was only nine years old. Allegedly. The case seemed open and shut, especially since Mary confessed. But was her confession coerced? And now that she finds herself pregnant, will the state take custody of her own child? This psychological thriller seems as cut and dry as the situation it describes, until the plot thickens.

    The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
    All her life, Blue has known that her true love would die. She’s also known that she belongs to a family of clairvoyants, and to heed their warnings, which come from the dead. But when she finds herself tempted by four boys, students at the local private school—and one of them in particular—she fears that she can’t avoid true love, or death, any longer.

    Grave Mercyby Robin LaFevers
    Magic, history, and Mortain—the God of Death—combine in this trilogy-starter about a group of assassin nuns who do death’s bidding. One of the most sensual and evocative novels you’ll come across in any genre, with heroines and prose worthy of acclaim.

    Six of Crowsby Leigh Bardugo
    The streets of Ketterdam are owned by Kaz Brekker, leader of the Dregs gang: a group of likeminded individuals, each with skills of their own, debts to repay…and some magic at their disposal. But Kaz’s quest for power has a dark underbelly—a secret he is trying to protect, and a rival he is desperate to unseat—and when one heist to steal something valuable could accomplish his darkest desires, he puts everyone at risk to achieve it.

    The Young Elites, by Marie Lu
    Every villain has an origin story, and this is Adelina’s: after suffering the effects of a fever which left her, and other survivors, scarred and feared by their community, she realizes that what she once thought was a curse may be the key to her freedom…and the ruin of those who cursed her.

    Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
    A princess who believes herself to be completely unremarkable becomes embroiled in a secret marriage, a war to protect a kingdom, and a prophecy that says against all reason, she will be the one to save them all. Beautiful prose and a unique magic system for fantasy fans!

    An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
    Two lives collide and the fate of a kingdom is at stake when a slave becomes a spy for the resistance and the soldier son of a fearsome ruler decides to help her. Tahir weaves action-packed fight scenes and secrecy with the nuanced thread of romance as, over the course of the novel, the two realize there is more at stake than their lives, and their freedom; their love. Add to the equation a third character who is desperately, but secretly, in love with the soldier, and complications ensue.

    The Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski
    Kestrel has always has two choices: join the army like her father, or marry. She desires neither—until she meets Arin, a slave she purchases on a whim in the marketplace. Suddenly she desires quite a bit: to fight, to love, and to put her trust in a man who confounds her at every turn. Arin is tempted by Kestrel, but the truth is he also wants to fight: specifically, her father, who is responsible for the colonization of his people. And he will use Kestrel to get what he needs.

    The Flame in the Mist, by Renee Ahdieh
    Mariko is a talented alchemist, but her skills matter less than her ability to marry and unite her family with that of the emperor’s. But on her way there, she is attacked—and when she escapes, she decides that finding those who tried to kill her and bringing them to justice is her true path in life.

    History is All You Left Me, by Adam Silvera
    In this moving novel about first love, regret, and grief, Griffin is confronted by his worst fear: his ex-boyfriend—the guy he believed he would one day be with again—is dead. Spiraling downward, Griffin finds himself drawn back into past memories of Theo as well as confronted by the reality of the present, when Theo’s boyfriend comes to town for the funeral.

    The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd
    Gothic novel fans will love this historical science-fiction novel in the vein of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Isle of Dr. Moreau. Juliet has lost everything after her father’s career was ruined due to accusations she was always sure were false. She journeys to find the truth and finds herself torn between reality and insanity, and wonders if she will inherit her father’s legacy.

    Charm and Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn
    A boy is convinced he is turning into a monster—and not the metaphorical kind. But even monsters can’t outrun the secrets and shames of their pasts, and he is no exception. One of the most unique books I’ve ever read: part psychological thriller, part paranormal, part mystery, with prose that is exactly what the title suggests.

    The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee
    Summer may be over, but you can live vicariously through this European tour during the 1700’s featuring a pair of best friends—and one of them is in love with the other. Monty, a son of the aristocracy, and Percy, a black man raised with his rich, white relatives, somewhat to their dismay—have been friends their whole lives. Monty is a rake and a rogue, falling into bed and into bars with anyone willing, but his heart is set on Percy. They have one final gallivant through Europe, joined by Monty’s precocious sister, before they both must take on the responsibilities and obligations of men in their time. Regency romance fans will rejoice at this one!

    And I Darken, by Kiersten White
    This gender-flipped backstory to Vlad Dracul (now Lada Dragwyla) is as ruthless as its main character, who yearns for the day when she and her brother, Radu, can escape the clutches of the Ottomans and seek vengeance by waging a war she believes is her birthright. But when she and Radu both find themselves falling for the royal enemy, their story is destined to end in blood.

    Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake
    Three sisters, all heirs to a powerful throne…but destined to die for it. If you love Game of Thrones’ magic and mind-games, this powerful and shocking fantasy series will make the wait for the next season fly by.

    The Star Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi
    A gorgeous fantasy about a reluctant queen caught between a prophecy that dooms any man who marries her—and her growing love for the man who does. Vivid, moving prose inspired by Indian folklore!

    A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro
    While you’re waiting for the next series of Sherlock, check out this YA genderflipped version! Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are descended from the famed detectives bearing their last names. But unlike their counterparts, they are not friends. That is, until someone dies, and Jamie decides he and Charlotte are the only ones who can solve the case.

    This is Where it Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp
    A shooter causes havoc in a school over 54 minutes in this bestseller, a harrowing, emotional psychological thriller. Told through four perspectives, all with their own fears and secrets, this novel’s diverse cast shines light on the importance of inclusivity and mental health care.

    Wink Poppy Midnight, by April Genevieve Tucholke
    Part contemporary romance, part magical realism, and part thriller, this is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. A twisted love triangle turns violent and those involved are left to decide whether their actions played any part.

    As I Descended, by Robin Talley
    If you’re a Shakespeare fan, don’t miss this horror-tinged retelling of Macbeth. This time the ill-fated couple is Maria and Lily; who are in love, and determined to stay that way despite the class differences that could spell the end of their time together, as college approaches. When Lily coaxes Maria into committing a terrible act in order to win their school’s most coveted award, they are both haunted by the choice—literally.

    The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware that THUG is the book of the year to read. A direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement, this novel tells the story of Starr, who watches her childhood best friend get gunned down by a white cop. Caught between her family, her white friends and boyfriend, and the pressure of being the sole witness to this murder as protests rage and the fate of the cop is determined—Starr must decide how to use her voice, and her power, to get justice.

    The First Time She Drowned, by Kerry Kletter
    After spending two years in an institution, Cassie is finally getting her freedom—but when her mother comes back into her life, Cassie finds herself once again being drawn into a toxic relationship. After all: her mother’s the one who had her committed, simply to get her out of the way. A moving story of mothers and daughters, mental illness, and fresh starts.

    Scythe, by Neal Shusterman
    Imagine a world where there is no death no poverty, no war…but to keep the population from growing out of control and to preserve the peace, some lives must be taken. That’s where Scythes come in, and this dystopian sci-fi follows the journey of two reapers-in-training as they learn the art of killing, and the value of human life.

    Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here, by Anna Breslaw
    A fun contemporary novel for fans of fan-fiction—when Scarlett’s favorite TV show is cancelled, her anonymous fanfiction series goes viral…but it’s actually based on real people who would be hurt by her depiction of them. Scarlett is one of the most endearing characters you’ll ever meet; even as she makes mistakes, you root for her.

    The Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow
    A future world in which the children of political leaders are held as hostages—to keep their parents under control, for any act of war would result in their deaths. A maniacal AI dictator, a burgeoning romance (or two), and two children at the mercy of their parents’ ill-fated decisions makes for a compelling read.

    Girl in Pieces, by Kathleen Glasgow
    Charlie is determined not to think of the things she’s lost, or fall back into old patterns, but the past always comes home to roost. An incredibly authentic portrayal of depression, self-harm, and the depths of the human soul.

    Empress of a Thousand Skies, by Rhoda Belleza
    Two parallel narratives collide when a princess who was thought to be murdered and the refugee accused of killing her both seek justice for their circumstances. Rhee has always known she would inherit the throne her parents left vacant when they died. But after a failed assassination attempt, she realizes that destiny has other plans. Aly, a refugee who has gained fame as the star of a futuristic reality show, is determined to seek out the real villain—before an entire country declares war on him. A diverse epic that, while not set in this galaxy, reflects many of the issues we currently face.

    When the Moon Was Ours, by Anna Marie McLemore
    Magical realism at its finest meets a love story between two innocent teens caught in a web of secrecy. When a group of rumored witches decide to capture Miel and use the roses that grow from her wrists to make an infallible love spell, her relationship with Sam is put in jeopardy—as is the one secret she has kept from him.

    Female of the Species, by Mindy McGinnis
    A brutal, dark tale of the thin line between revenge and justice. Alex has killed her sister’s rapist and murderer—and it’s awakened something within her that can’t be controlled. As she tries to go about living a normal life in the wake of her undiscovered crime, she starts to have another uncontrollable urge: first love. Gritty, difficult, and powerful, this novel sends a strong message about rape culture.

    My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier
    Che thinks his sister is a sociopath. The problem? He’s the only person she trusts, and his parents don’t believe him. A psychological thriller as gripping as it is disturbing.

    We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
    If you love unreliable narrators, toxic friendships, and crushing tragedy (and who doesn’t honestly?) you will love this book. One summer changes everything for a group of friends, and only by going backwards can one girl pick up the pieces.

    The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
    A feel-good romance and an emotional story about how the stories of our lives are formed by our interactions with others combine for this award-winning novel. When an immigrant girl about to be deported and a boy who feels trapped by his parents’ expectations fall in love over a day, their story impacts everyone around them.

    When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon
    An arranged marriage turns into a delightful comedic romance when Dimple meets Rishi, the guy her parents want her to be with. Of course it does not go the way their parents expect it to: Dimple is more focused on her education, while Rishi actually does want to be matched…laughs and swoons definitely ensue.

    Exit, Pursued by a Bearby EK Johnston
    When Hermione is raped, she is determined not to let it interfere with her plans and her path. The aftermath of a rape is emotional, and often depicted as tragic. But in this narrative, heroine Hermione finds herself supported by everyone she knows—her parents, her best friend, her school, and local law enforcement. Still, she faces tough decisions in her journey to reclaim that which has been taken from her.

    Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken
    A sweeping time-travel fantasy romance for fans of Outlander! Etta is sent back in time to learn that not only are time travelers real, but she is from a family of them—and it is her obligation to continue their work. But when she meets Nicholas, sparks fly between them, and she is torn between fulfilling the destiny which she seems born to find, and returning to the life she had before. Impeccably researched and full of twists and turns, with diverse characters.

    One of Us is Lyingby Karen M. McManus
    The Breakfast Club turns deadly in this mystery where one student ends up dead during detention…just before he planned to shed light on all the dirty secrets of his fellow classmates. Suddenly everyone’s secrets and motives are brought into the light…and the killer will do anything to protect theirs.

    When We Collided, by Emery Lord
    Lord’s newest novel features a sensitive and nuanced depiction of mental illness. Jonah already sees it at home, in his mother, who has been battling depression since the death of his father, but when Vivi moves to town, she seems exactly like the injection of fun and life his family needs. What he doesn’t realize at first is she has mental health issues of her own, and they just may push them both over the edge.

    If I Was Your Girlby Meredith Russo
    An important story of a trans girl finding love, written by a trans women. Amanda falls hard for Grant—but as this is her first real relationship, and first relationship after transitioning from the gender she was assigned at birth to the one she identifies as—she’s scared it could blow up in her face if he found out about her past. How long can she keep her secret, and will she be accepted for who she really is? (Forgive the spoiler, but I believe it’s important: this one has a happy ending.)

    A Court of Thorns and Rosesby Sarah J. Maas
    A fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast in which Feyre is forced to live with Tamlin, a High Fae, as punishment for attacking a fae she believed was a wolf. If you love gilded castles and beautiful gowns, villains and cold-hearted rakes, magic and mayhem and of course a whole lot of romance, this series is for you.

    The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco
    When a girl raises her dead brother from the grave, she begins to undergo training to become a Bone Witch, tasked with fighting daeva and keeping The Dark at bay. But her gift means she will be feared by her community…and perhaps with good reason.

    Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta
    After the royal family and many others were murdered years ago, Finnikin has always believed the true heir to the throne is dead—until his dreams tell him differently. But in order to find the true heir, Finnikin must align himself with the mysterious Evanjalin—who doesn’t speak, but claims to know where the answers lie.

    Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder
    To save her skin, Yelena agrees to become a food taster for the Commander: meaning that if anyone tries to poison him, she’ll be the one to die. The catch (if that wasn’t enough) is that she drinks a fatal poison to ensure her loyalty…and must take a daily antidote to survive. But her kingdom is in turmoil, and the last thing she needs is secret magical powers…

    A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray
    The tale of Gemma Doyle, a boarding school student with a rough past and a talent for seeing the future. Like all of Bray’s novels, A Great and Terrible Beauty is filled with strong female friendships, luscious and heartbreaking romance, and a plot that keeps you on your toes.

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
    This story about a human girl who can cross through the barrier between our world and the world of the chimera, is riveting and romantic. Except Karou is beginning to doubt the story of her life that has been told to her: why is her hair naturally blue, why is she entrusted to gather human teeth and bring them to the other world…and who is Akiva, a stranger who shows up with tragic answers to a past Karou is desperate to find.

    The Passion of Dolssa, by Julie Berry
    In medieval France, one girl believes with all her heart that she can communicate with God—while others, those with power, seek to have her executed as a heretic. She meets Botille, a young matchmaker who agrees to hide her from the people pursuing her—and when their two paths collide, Botille puts her family at risk to protect Dolssa’s secret. A fascinating exploration of history.

    Oneby Sarah Crossan
    Two twins have been together as long as they can remember—because they are conjoined twins, and share the same body. But when one of them starts to get sick, separation is put on the table in a way it never was before…because it could save their life. The one life they were determined to live together. A stunning story told in verse.

    The Lie Tree, by Francis Hardinge
    Faith wants to be a good, obedient daughter—but the curiosity she feels about the world, especially science—is unnatural according to her family. So she keeps her true self a secret…until her father is murdered, and only Faith holds the key to why: and it all comes down to a simple tree that her father believed held all the answers to the world’s questions. Will Faith find her father’s murderer, or will the tree damn her as it may have damned him?

    The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson
    Mourning the death of her sister Bailey causes Lennie to navigate the winding, complicated roads of grief. Especially when they involve Bailey’s boyfriend, and feelings for him that she can’t ignore—and a new boy in town who makes her feel alive again. Heartbreaking and hopeful, one girl must come to terms with a future beyond her sister’s ever-lingering shadow.

    The post 50 YA Novels Adults Will Love, Too appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jenny Kawecki 9:00 pm on 2014/11/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , the raven boys, the raven cycle,   

    Four Reading Recs for the Reluctant Paranormal YA Reader 

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    paranormalYAWe get it: you’ve been burned before. On a whim, you picked up a young adult book with a photo of a girl wearing a distressed period dress, thought “What the hell?” and took it home.  You thought you were in for an exciting evening of plot twists and clever conversations, but found yourself less than satisfied. But just because you can’t shake a Ouija board without hitting a paranormal YA book, it doesn’t mean the genre isn’t bursting with gems worth finding. Here are four series that remind you why you fell in love with paranormal YA in the first place:

    The Grisha Trilogy, by Leigh Bardugo
    Shadow and Bone (book #1 in the Grisha series) falls between paranormal and fantasy on the map. In it, we meet Alina, a powerless orphan in a world whose war against darkness relies on the magical elite. But when Alina reveals an ability even she didn’t know she had, she just might be the only person capable of saving her nation.
    Why you should read it: We never get tired of an orphan-turned-powerful-magician plot (Harry Potter, anyone?), and Bardugo’s writing is full of beautifully detailed descriptions and the perfect mix of action and romance.

    The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer
    Like the Grisha trilogy, The Lunar Chronicles aren’t strictly paranormal—they’re a beautiful mix of paranormal, sci-fi, and fairy tales. Set on a future Earth rampant flush with cyborg technology, the series follows Cinderella as she attempts to stop the Lunar people from taking over her home (and killing her beloved Prince Kai).
    Why you should read it: Meyer melds some of the world’s best-loved fairy tales together seamlessly, adding in some seriously creative twists. When believable werewolves meet hilarious robots, we just can’t resist.

    The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, by Laini Taylor
    Karou is an art student living in Prague, who has no sense of her past and no family…at least, no human family. She has naturally blue hair and draws demons in her sketchbooks—demons who are not a figment of her imagination, and who send her on strange errands involving magic portals and a fair bit of danger. Enter avenging angel Akiva, who may hold the key to Karou learning truths about herself she might prefer not to know.
    Why you should read it: Laini Taylor’s trilogy is fast-paced and brilliant, and just haunting enough to hook us. And the love story at its hear is one for the ages.

    The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater
    If you read just one series on this list, start with this one (you’ll want to read the rest after that, we’re sure of it). The Raven Cycle revolves around prickly Blue Sargent, a girl raised by psychics, who thinks she’s immune to weird. But when Richard Gansey and the other so-called “Raven Boys” of privileged Aglionby Prep enter her lives and bring her on their quest to wake an ancient Welsh king, Blue realizes her old life was comparatively normal.
    Why you should read it: Stiefvater excels at building tension, with each book in the series becoming darker as the stakes of the quest grow higher and higher. The writing is sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, but always smart, and will definitely leave you wishing you had your own quartet of Raven Boys to explore caves and curses with.

    What’s your favorite paranormal YA book?

  • Sabrina Rojas Weiss 3:30 pm on 2014/10/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , series we love, the raven boys,   

    Blue Lily, Lily Blue Author Maggie Stiefvater Tells Us What She’d Wish For From A Magical King 

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    Maggie StiefvaterMore than once, while reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I paused to silently thank Maggie Stiefvater for making the Raven Cycle a four-book series. After this, there will be one more book following four prep-school boys and the feisty daughter of small-town psychics Blue Sargent in their search through the mountains of Virginia for the legendary, wish-granting Welsh King Glendower. While hurtling through book three in a trilogy, I’m often relieved that the characters will soon find peace of one kind or another. Not the case here.

    “Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening,” she observes of her relationship with the boys. “It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.” Replace the word “friendship” with “fantasy-tinged YA novel,” and you’ll get how I feel about this series, but I promise, I wasn’t quite this gushy when I spoke to Stiefvater earlier this year.

    Did you always plan on making the Raven Cycle four books long?
    I had a very rough idea of where I was ending up with the Shiver trilogy, and I had lots of opportunities to take wrong turns and double back and add in new characters, and I knew that if I wrote another long series, I definitely wanted to have more of a plan from the very beginning. So when I pitched [Raven Boys] to Scholastic, I had four different titles and four plots, and they all tied together, and it’s been really rewarding, because it means that I can make promises that I know I’m going to keep for sure in future books, and it also means I can refer back constantly to sneaky little things I put in. I feel like it rewards the careful reader more because I leave little nest eggs and you can see them.

    You must be a real plotter.
    I know it makes it sound like I really know exactly what I’m doing, but in actuality these books kick my butt all the time. I start out and I have my three-page outline for each of them. Theoretically, that tells me exactly what’s going to happen in the books. In actuality, that does happen, but when you’re writing a 400-page novel, so many things are not included in there. I can still make all kinds of wrong turns, and I write twice as much as I keep. I think The Dream Thieves [book two] is 115,000 words, and the other day I was looking at the outtakes folder, which is where I put all of the scenes I can’t bring myself to throw away, and I had 150,000 words of stuff that was taken out of the original.

    SmallBlueLilyDo you write straight through and then go back to edit?
    No, I edit constantly as I’m writing. I made a huge change in The Dream Thieves, and I thought for sure that it would have affected what came later, but then I found that sneakily, somehow my subconscious knew I was going to do it, and it still flows just perfectly. I started writing this series back when I was 19, so it’s been percolating in my head.

    I was doing research on you and found that one of your blogs was called Greywaren Art (in the books, the Greywaren is a person who can turn dream objects into reality), so there are Easter eggs in your real life, too.
    [The story has] been in there for a really long time.

    Do you believe in psychics?
    My entire family is all kind of creepy. My mom has always been known for her hunches, and my little sister has always been very good at eerily predicting things that are going to happen. I remember when I was on my driving tour for Forever with my friend Tessa Gratton in my old ’73 Camaro, and we decided we should stop and see a psychic to see if she could tell our futures. …First of all, she told me a whole bunch of things about myself that were totally not true, and then she said, “You’re going to live a very long life, you’re going to be 84.” In the other room, I hear Tessa start to laugh and laugh and laugh. And she said, “Who thinks you’re going to make it to 84 after they see you pull up in a car like that?”

    What would your Glendower wish be?
    I think I would ask if I could give it to someone else. Can I say that? Is that too wishy-washy? I used to get asked, “What would you do if your book got made into a movie for a billion dollars?” Or, “What would you do if you won the lottery?” And it’s a really difficult question for me, because I’ve always wanted to earn everything for myself. I’m very much like Adam Parrish in that way, because it doesn’t mean anything unless I’ve done it for myself. A Glendower wish isn’t really the point, is it? It’s really so you can see his little beardy face.

    But there is going to be a Glendower, right?
    [Sings] I’m not telling you anything!

    I’m pretty sure your readers are in love with all of your characters. Do you ever develop crushes on them yourself?
    I like the way that this loaded question comes when my characters are teen boys! Under age! No, I definitely don’t. It’s very much like I get to watch a movie that’s playing in my head, only I’m the one who’s directing it. Though I’m totally fine if my readers do it.

    A movie deal with New Line Cinema was announced even before The Raven Boys was released in 2012. What’s the latest on that?
    It’s so strange to get excited about a movie deal, and it takes forever. They call me and say things like, “Hey, Pookie, what’s up?” Nobody calls me Pookie. They always talk a good game. At some point they had screenplays for various [books of mine], but I don’t know. If I had something to say, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops. I would say that from all of them, I’d really like to see The Raven Boys turned into a series. I actually think it could make a really good TV show.

    Are there any movies you think represent what you’d want a Raven Boys adaptation to end up like?
    I just saw Dead Poets Society for the first time last year, and I actually enjoyed the way that movie feels very magical, even though there’s no magic in it. That would be nice. I also saw Chronicle, that had teens in it who found out they had secret powers—they found this space rock or something—it was shot in a very reality-show, shaky-cam kind of way, and it felt very dangerous, because it felt like what it would really be like if you were a teen and found out you had these powers. I like a combination of those two things.

    Blue Lily, Lily Blue is out now. You can also read Maggie Stiefvater’s guest blog about her inspiration for the title.


  • Melissa Albert 7:00 pm on 2014/10/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , blue lily lily blue, , , , the dream thieves, the raven boys, ,   

    Maggie Stiefvater on Phobias, Titles & Blue Lily, Lily Blue 

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    Stiefvater and Blue LilyMaggie Stiefvater is the best-selling author of books including the Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, and the thrilling, mind-bending Raven Cycle, continuing next week with third installment Blue Lily, Lily Blue. The last time we saw Blue Sargent and her raven boys, in 2013’s The Dream Thieves, Blue was fighting her attraction to doomed golden boy Gansey; tortured Ronan was letting his dream life take over his reality; and Adam was making a terrible sacrifice. We’re dying to see what Stiefvater has in store for the series’ third chapter—and while we wait, here she is on one (spoiler-free!) inspiration behind the title Blue Lily, Lily Blue:

    I’ll admit that I spent about thirty minutes trying to find solid statistics on catoptrophobia—the fear of mirrors—before I began this blog post. I knew this was going to be about mirrors and magic and words, and I thought that if I had some solid statistics or a fun fact about mirrors and magic and words to begin the festivities, I’d be golden. But it turns out no one knows exactly how many people suffer from catoptrophobia, or if they do, they aren’t saying it on the internet.


    Mirrors are the reason I titled the third installment in the Raven Cycle Blue Lily, Lily Blue. It’s a departure from the first two titles: The Raven Boys (where our boyish heroes meet our girlish hero and they set about trying to find a magical Welsh king buried inexplicably in the Virginia mountains) and The Dream Thieves (where our heroes discover that dreams and hit men can be dangerous). When I announced the title of the third book was to be Blue Lily, Lily Blue, readers asked, “Why the change? Why not The Blue Lily?

    I’ll be honest. My editor asked me, too.


    For starters, the book is full of them. There’s quite a lot of supernatural happenings and psychic activity in the series in general, and the third book focuses on scrying in particular. Scrying, in case you haven’t polished up on your new age divination techniques lately, is the old practice of gazing into a mirrored surface until one sees…something. Anything other than the mirrored surface. Sometimes scrying is used for fortune telling. Sometimes it’s used for meditation. Sometimes, if you are Adam Parrish from The Raven Cycle, you use it to find out what the giant supernatural entity you bargained with wants from you.

    So, actual mirrors are important in the book. But there’s another sort of mirror that I personally enjoy playing with, and those are the ones inside the characters.

    On the surface, this series is about Welsh mythology, fast cars, boarding schools, and benevolent psychics performing daytime drinking. But in its soul, it’s a story about what makes a hero. What does it take to overcome difficult circumstances? What does it take to live up to heroic expectations? Why do some people excel at life while others get crushed under its heel? I love to mirror characters—to give them similar circumstances, similar personalities, similar choices—to explore what makes one person take a noble path and another an ignoble. More than ever, mirrored souls are present in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. It seemed very fitting to mirror the title along with everything else.

    Which brings us back to catoptrophobia. Man, I really wish I had found statistics for it. I suppose there aren’t many support groups for it, though there ought to be: it’s been around forever. For as long as we’ve had mirrored surfaces, we’ve suspected that one day we will look into them and they will show us…something else. And in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, they do.

    24%. Is that a good number? I just made it up. Let’s go with that.

    Blue Lily, Lily Blue is available now for preorder.

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