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Tag: Melissa Marr

Genre Guide: Urban Fantasy for Teens

Urban FantasyDefinition
Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy. For a novel to be an urban fantasy, fantastical elements exist in an urban setting. However, this can be a broad interpretation. Really, an urban fantasy is such where fantastical elements are in play in a real-world setting and not in a fantastical world. Urban fantasies occur in the present day, and can go back in history to around the start of the Victorian Era. When urban fantasies are written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are often inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the fantastical forces at play. They are also usually drawn into a struggle, find romance, and/or develop their own fantastical abilities.

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New Short Story Anthologies

With the upcoming release of what is sure to be a wonderful short story anthology edited by Neil Gaiman, Unnatural Creatures, I’ve seen many interesting new short storiy anthologies geared towards young adults. Inspired and intrigued by this new spate of collections, I’ve investigated some of the newest and most appealing.

The short story can appeal to the voracious, if slightly scattered reader: it gives you just enough to keep you engaged and excited but leaves you wanting more. One could say anthologies of this kind are like tapas: multiple little delicious appetizers that by themselves wouldn’t fill you up, but put them together and they make a satisfying meal. I’ve spent my time reading through these great new short story anthologies for your tasting pleasure.

afterAfter: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
This is the perfect book for the reader who just can’t get enough dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction. All of the selections are set after various terrible and world-ending events have taken place. Whether it be a terrible disease that turns people into vampires who hunt in packs or beetles who eat all metal (including the fillings in your teeth) or a dispatch from a resident of a world where education has deteriorated to the point of nonexistence, all are thought-provoking. This book also includes a story set in the world of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy, a treat for fans! My highlight of the book? “The Segment” by Genevieve Valentine, where news broadcasts are scripted and cast as precisely as a Hollywood blockbuster, and a popular news story brings an actor the danger of worldwide recognition.


Prom by the Covers

Dresses, tuxedos, up-dos … it can only mean one thing: prom is around the corner. Thankfully for all you prom-goers, inspiration for that perfect prom night is here! Each photo set below features mystery YA book covers with some rocking ideas for prom night. Read on to do some window shopping and test your knowledge of YA book covers at the same time. (To uncover the titles for each book, just highlight the text beside the correlating number.)

Let us know how many you got right in the comments!



1. Airhead – Meg Cabot

2. Amber House – Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed

3. Alice in Zombieland – Gena Showalter

4. Etiquette and Espionage – Gail Carriger

5.  The Catastrophic History of You and Me – Jess Rothenberg







Popular writers debut new series this fall

YA fiction is so series-saturated that I need a scorecard to keep up with what’s coming and going! With that in mind, here’s a heads-up on new series by established authors that will begin this fall. Fans of supernatural and paranormal fiction especially will want to mark their calendars.

Carnival of Souls by Melissa MarrCarnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
The author of the Wicked Lovely series offers this tale of daimons battling to the death for a chance to join a ruling elite, a young witch living in exile in the human world, and their inevitable confrontation. (September 4)


The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth GeorgeThe Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
The author of the Inspector Lynley crime novels takes a stab at YA fiction with the Saratoga Woods paranormal series: a young woman on the run from her criminal stepfather hides out on an island off the coast of Washington State and discovers her physic powers. (September 4)


The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater infuses the “normal” world with magic in book one of The Raven Cycle. Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. Ergo, she stays away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble. (September 18)


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Most Anticipated YA Galleys at BEA

I always look forward to Book Expo America (BEA) and I usually attend all three days, but this year I could only go on Thursday, the last day. I know I missed a wonderful children’s book and author breakfast and a number of opportunities for autographs by some of my favorite authors. Luckily, some of the publishers had galleys left over from signings from previous days so I was still able to get some great ones.

Just as the exhibit area opened on Thursday I joined a line of other eager attendees that snaked though the Penguin booth and grabbed Marie Lu’s book Prodigy, the second book in her Legend dystopian series that continues the story of June and Day. I recently listened to Legend, the first book, on audio and loved it.

There have been a number of second or third books in series by authors I love that have already come out that I’ve missed, so I was thrilled to see Kristin Cashore autographing Bitterblue. More than an hour early, I joined the line waiting for her and got the scoop from the woman behind me in line on some of the other hot galleys she’d snagged over the previous days. She was excited about the galley she’d gotten called Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Luckily, that was a leftover one that I’d picked up that morning. The author first wrote it when she was 16 on an online writers’ forum and now, ten years later, it’s been refined and published by Bloomsbury. It features a notorious female assassin turned captive who must compete against thieves, killers, and warriors to win her freedom from prison to serve as the king’s champion, and it’s being marketed for fans of Games of Thrones. She also said that there was a long line to get a signed copy of Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars, a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion–and who can resist anything Austen related?

Another galley and autograph I was very happy to get was that of David Levithan’s Every Day. I’d heard him read from the first chapter of his book in early May at a publisher’s presentation, but no galleys were available then. I can’t wait to read it because it sounds amazing! It’s a unique story about A, who wakes up every day in a someone else’s body–without any choice about who A will be. A has learned not to get attached, until as Justin, he falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend.


PPYA revisited: Short Takes

by flickr user visual.dichotomy

Of all the many booklists YALSA puts out every year, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (or PPYA) might be my favorite. It’s not that I don’t love the literary excellence recognized by the Printz or get excited by the new voices in YA literature lauded by the Morris. It’s just that PPYA is so useful. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about YA literature. When awards season comes around, I’ve heard about and read many of the Best Fiction for Young Adultstitles and the Printz titles. Last year I managed to read all five Morris finalists before the winner was announced. PPYA, on the other hand, always brings something new to the table. Maybe it’s something that came out before I was a librarian. Maybe it’s something that slipped under my radar when it was first published. Either way, I can always count on PPYA when I want to find something new.

With my love of PPYA in mind, I decided to revisit an older list that I think could use some serious updating. One of the PPYA categories from 2000 is Short Takes. That list features 25 collections of short fiction and nonfiction that cover a huge range of topics–everything from horror to undergraduate life to prom night to multiculturalism. There are collections of stories by a single writer, like Chris Crutcher’s Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories, and anthologies containing the work of many authors, like Stay True: Short Stories for Girls. It’s a great list, but all of the titles on it were published between ten and twenty years ago. It’s time for an update! With the diversity of the original list in mind, I present to you fifteen short story collections, published in the last ten years, now available in paperback–PPYA Short Takes for a new decade!

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