It seems YA lit is getting a reputation. Past controversies over “darkness” and “sick lit” and constant threats of challanges and censorship make it seem like the only thing YA has going for it is doom, gloom, drama, and adversity. But true YA readers, especially here at The Hub, know this isn’t the case. While most of the attention seems focused on the negative, there are plenty of uplifting and positive books that don’t always deal with the heavier subjects. Sure, we still love the dystopias, zombies, and drama-filled love triangles, but sometimes we need a good story with a happy and satisfying ending. Inspired by a teen reader who came to me recently looking for a book that would “just make me feel good,” here is a list of books that hopefully will make you smile, laugh, and maybe cry — but only happy tears.
- Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
Janie has had enough of her parents’ granola, hippie lifestyle on their small farm and begins high school to find new friends and a new way of looking at the world.
- Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2007 Best Books for Young Adults)
D.J. Schwenk doesn’t get a lot of attention from her father (or anyone else really) until she decides to try out for the football team. Now everybody wants to know who exactly D.J. is — including herself.
May’s Haitian Heritage Month is a celebration in the United States of Haitian heritage and culture. It was first celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1998. The Haitian Heritage Month celebration is an expansion of the Haitian Flag Day, a major patriotic day celebration in Haiti and the Diaspora.
Until I started compiling this list, I hadn’t realized I’d read so many YA books with Haitian characters, some written by authors with Haitian ancestry and some not. The most well-known Haitian-American author is probably American Book Award-winning author Edwidge Dandicat. All the books she’s written are for adults, although the collection of stories in her book Krik? Krat! earned her a National Book Award nomination and does have appeal for older teens. The collection includes the Pushcart Prize-winner “Between the Pool and the Gardenias.” Danticat examines the brutality of her native Haiti in the stories in this book, particularly as it affects ordinary Haitian women, in tales that soar with raw emotion.
Other noteworthy YA books about Haiti include:
First, our thanks to Gretchen Kolderup for her leadership as The Hub’s member manager since 2011. Thank you, Gretchen!
Gretchen will be leaving her role as manager of The Hub when her term ends on August 14, 2013, so YALSA is seeking a new member manager to begin in August 2013. Interested in the job? Read on after the jump to see the position description and qualifications and find out how you can apply. Applications are due to email@example.com by July 1, 2013.
[Editor's note: Maureen has posted a follow-up post.]
It started with a tweet:
I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says, “Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it. – signed, A Guy”
— maureenjohnson (@maureenjohnson) May 6, 2013
That was May 6th. By May 7th, author Maureen Johnson’s tweet had turned into a full-blown challenge, with coverage all over the Internet. (You can follow the conversation and the challenge Johnson proposed on a variety of sites, from Tumblr to Twitter, with the hashtag #coverflip.)
Last week we asked which monster from YA literature you thought was most horrifying. Our winner, with 29% of the vote, was the anthropophagi from The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. Second place went to Occo from Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese (21%), third to the grievers from The Maze Runner by James Dashner (20%), and fourth to the hollowgeist from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!
The movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby came out this weekend. Critics seem to dislike it, but it’s doing well in the popular opinion, which raises the question of what makes a “good” or “bad” movie. That got us thinking: which movie based on a YA book do you think was the worst adaptation? Vote in the poll below or leave a comment if we’ve left off a title you thought was truly terrible.
Which is the worst YA book-to-movie adaptation?
- Eragon (33%, 44 Votes)
- The Lightning Thief (30%, 40 Votes)
- Twilight (17%, 23 Votes)
- Beautiful Creatures (7%, 10 Votes)
- Alex Rider (4%, 6 Votes)
- The City of Ember (4%, 5 Votes)
- Lemonade Mouth (3%, 4 Votes)
- It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 134
My mother was a second grade teacher. She loved children’s books and reading to kids — lucky for my brother and me, because even after we were reading on our own, she still read to us often. Mostly I remember this as a sweet summer bedtime ritual, when the long twilights would lend themselves perfectly to us wheedling later bedtimes. In this way, I experienced a lot of books with complicated ideas before I may have been able to comprehend them on my own. Even with the ones that I read again independently, I find that to this day my memories of the stories are as my mom read them to us. These books undoubtedly shaped the reader and the person I became as I grew older.
Happy Mothers Day! We are never too old to enjoy hearing a good story read out loud.
Not signed up for YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 3 counts, so sign up now!
How is everyone’s reading coming along? I can’t believe there are just six weeks left in the challenge! Are you on track to finish in time?
Which list or award have you enjoyed reading from the most? What new gems have you discovered that you’ll be keeping a closer eye on in the future — interesting formats, new authors, new genres?
On May 22 from 2 to 3pm EDT, we’ll be hosting a Reading Challenge chat on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook, so plan to join us on whichever platform you prefer!
If you’ve completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list, let us know by filling out the form below. (The information you provide is what we’ll use to send you your Challenge Finisher badge, contact you about your reader’s response, and notify you if you win our grand prize drawing, so be sure to use an email address you actually check!) Do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles.
If you’re not done yet, happy reading and keep us posted on your progress! Tweet your reviews and progress with the #hubchallenge tag, and we’ll see you at next week’s check-in!
Much of young adult literature ignores parental figures — they’re often inconvenient to the plot of the story, which is why so many YA novels are set in boarding schools or feature orphaned protagonists. When they do play a part in the story, it’s often a source of conflict. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m looking at some of the complicated relationships with mothers as portrayed in young adult literature.
Since YA lit is about coming of age and gaining independence, it makes sense that many plots are predicated on tension with parents. Teens are trying to forge their own identity, which often means rebellion. The best stories are built on a foundation of conflict, and for young adults, that means the main characters are at odds with people in positions of authority, including parental figures. read more…
As usual, Twitter has been busy this week with YA related news, events, giveaways and more. Here are some of the highlights, in case you missed them.
Contests and Giveaways
- RT @epicreads: Free printable bookmarks! Go here to download & print –> http://bit.ly/13d9KJ2 pic.twitter.com/mLp1x4xG5d - @PitchDarkBooks
- THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH Blog Tour & Giveaway http://shar.es/livCj via @sharethis - @HarlequinTeen
- Giveaway for copies of LOKI’S WOLVES over at http://Tor.com – http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/05/lokis-wolves-sweepstakes?utm_source=Feedburner%3A+Frontpage+Partial+RSS+Feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torcom%2FFrontpage_Partial+(Tor.com+Frontpage+Partial+-+Blog+and+Stories …) – @melissa_marr
- Enter for the chance to win a copy of DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver over on our Facebook page –> http://ow.ly/kNyqr #goodluck - @HarperCollins
- At long last, I’m giving away a book! It’s THE BOYFRIEND APP by @katiesise, and it’s signed! http://www.melissacwalker.com/win-it-wednesday-the-boyfriend-app/ … - @melissacwalker
- New on the blog: Giveaway: The Program by Suzanne Young (US only) http://www.yabookscentral.com/blog/giveaway-the-program-by-suzanne-young-us-only … - @yabookscentral
- Two ways to win the #IreadYA giveaway! Click for details and to snag your shot at 7 hot YA titles: http://bit.ly/10bzpkk @this_is_teen - @figment
- New on the blog: Giveaway: Shutdown by Heather Anastasiu http://www.yabookscentral.com/blog/giveaway-shutdown-by-heather-anastasiu … - @yabookscentral
- Enter to win @LBardugo‘s SHADOW AND BONE & SIEGE AND STORM!!! Yup! You can win BOTH Grisha Trilogy books now! – @Teenreads
- $5,000 for college and a Penguin shopping spree! @PenguinClass http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/forms/yr/out_of_the_easy/index.html … - @RutaSepetys
- Enter for a chance to win a copy of MAKE GOOD ART by @neilhimself, designed by Chip Kidd http://ow.ly/kPUWN @WmMorrowBks - @HarperCollins