Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Exploring Form in Contemporary YA - Three Titles to Consider

March brings us three fascinating new books that move away from the popular first-person-present and linear narrative formats so popular in YA literature these days (my own included, so that's not a dis!).

Sarah Tomp's second-person POV tells the story of a misguided moonshine-selling plan in MY BEST EVERYTHING. Jo Knowles's latest novel, READ BETWEEN THE LINES, unfolds via a series of narrators in the course of a single day. And Noval Ren Suma's THE WALLS AROUND US evolves through two narrative voices to reveal the story of a third, now-dead, girl. Stretch your reading muscles and get inspired to experiment with literary form with these three fascinating titles!

Monday, March 16, 2015


As we hover on the brink of spring, still battling March's wet chill, here are two newly-published YA psychological thrillers featuring complex sister relationships. Might be an interesting paired read. Especially with something hot to drink and a blanket to huddle beneath.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

It's YALSA Teen Tech Week!

I love this annual initiative focused on using the breadth of resources available at libraries. My own technical skills are limited, but I truly enjoy blogging and designing swag for my books. Not sure what I'm going to make this week. Suggestions?

For more information from savvier people than myself, 
visit the YALSA TEEN TECH WEEK site!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why writing is like skiing

So, you know when you ride a lift up to the TOP OF THE WORLD?
You look around at the sky and the valley and the snow all around you?
Then you realize you have to ski down?
Make that your writing day today.
Take a breath and ride up to the sky of your imagination.
Put your fingers on the keyboard.
Now, get yourself down!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Meet THE DICKENS MIRROR author Ilsa J. Bick - from Egmont's Last YA List

As a serious Anglophile, I was beyond thrilled at the opportunity to celebrate the amazing Ilsa J. Bick's latest YA horror, THE DICKENS MIRROR. The novel follows Emma Lindsay from the snowy chaos of WHITE SPACE to an an alternate Victorian London featuring not only the notorious Bedlam, but a very creepy version of one of my very favorite authors, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle. Events complex and terrifying continue Emma's journey to the heart of an incredible question: Are we real?

I'm not giving away any spoilers, or answers. That said,  today, I have the pleasure of sharing this interview with a very real Ilsa right here at the blog!

1. After the post-apocalyptic setting of the Ashes trilogy, what inspired you to take the second Dark Passages novel to an alternate Victorian London? 

Well, because that’s where the story led me.  A very wise writer once told me never to do the same thing twice; to always try something new and push myself with every book.  It’s good advice because I find that writers who tend to stick to the same subject matter get kind of stale.  It would be a little stultifying for me, as a writer, to revisit old territory unless I truly had something new to say. 

Now, that’s not the same as saying that sequels are bad.  Obviously, they’re not, or I wouldn’t have written several ;-).  But after WHITE SPACE, I wanted to change things up.  We’d already been to a very creepy valley; people had died; we’d seen monsters; and so I decided that we now needed to go someplace both weird and somehow familiar for a different kind of monstrosity/monstrous experience. 

Plus, to be utterly truthful, I’d never done an historical before, and I wanted to try my hand.  The genre’s quite intimidating, actually.  I mean, you have to keep it real and not turn you book into a travelogue.  The characters have to think in their own language according to where they are in history.  So much historical fiction becomes exposition, where you’ve got some character or narrator giving you a mini-history lesson, and that’s just boring (and silly, too; it’s not as if you reflect on the nature of electricity every time you flip a switch).  I remember that my editor wanted me to explain what a retort was, and I refused because, not only does it become self-evident on the next pag, you can figure it out from context.  (Or, honestly, look it up: this is why God invented Wikipedia.)