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Tag: rae carson

Trauma-Rama! Embarrassing Stories from Your Favorite YA Characters

by Flickr user mloberg

April is National Letter Writing Month … and National Humor Month. We’ve combined the two to commemorate one of the most sacred teen traditions: embarrassing stories!

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who’s peed their pants in front of the cutest girl in school? Think again. These embarrassing stories will make her laugh so hard that she’ll pee her pants in front of you! YA characters may seem airbrushed and perfect on the book cover, but beneath that glossy jacket they’re just like you and me. Take a look for yourself … and see if you can guess their true identities. (Check out the key at the bottom for the answers.)

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Tweets of the Week

There is a lot of great stuff going on in the YA twitterverse this week. Here are some of the latest contests, book releases, and news. If there’s anything I’ve missed (and I know there is), add it in the comments!

Contests and Giveaways

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Great Fantasy YA Novels for Book Clubs

ya fantasy novels for book clubsLast fall I wrote a post on great contemporary YA novels for book clubs, but realistic fiction set in today’s world doesn’t grab every reader, and in my opinion, the best book clubs seek variety in their reading choices. The following titles will appeal to longtime fantasy fans and might hook readers who shy away from fantasy in their normal reading. Some of these are new, some are old, some are more obvious choices, and others are easily overlooked. What they have in common is thought-provoking premises and compelling characters — just what you need for a good book club discussion.

Vessel by Sarah Beth DurstWhen I think of fantasy novels, I typically imagine a lush forest or vaguely medieval setting, but Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst takes place in a stark and harsh desert environment. This unique fantasy follows Liyana as she works with the Trickster god, Korbyn, to rescue five gods who have been kidnapped and prevented from joining their tribes, thus assuring the continued survival of their people. This is a novel about challenging what one has always been told and making room for a new paradigm or worldview. It’s about the nature of sacrifice and standing up for what one believes in. It’s about tradition and faith as much as about adaptation and instinct. The antagonist isn’t an evil villain, but rather a sympathetic character trying to do what is right. Fantastically written with amazing world-building, this novel will delight long-time fantasy fans but is still accessible to those less accustomed to the realm of fantasy.

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It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers

Whitewashing in YAMost of the time, I love young adult literature and am proud to be a YA librarian. But there’s usually a moment once a month when I feel sick, tired, and embarrassed to be working with YA books for a living — and that’s when I flip through my stack of review journals and see a menagerie of gorgeous white girls staring back at me from the covers of upcoming releases.

If a YA book features a white, female protagonist (and this accounts for a not insignificant portion of YA released each year), it seems inevitable that the book cover will display an idealized and airbrushed masterpiece of her on the cover. And when a YA book actually does have a protagonist of color, too often one of three things seems to happen:

  1. The cover is “whitewashed” and shows a Caucasian model instead of a person of color;
  2. The cover depicts someone whose race seems purposefully ambiguous or difficult to discern; or
  3. The character is shown in silhouette

These forms of racism on the part of publishers are unacceptable. And the fact that it is so rampant within the young adult publishing industry seems particularly despicable. The first step toward change is awareness, and so below I’ve tried to pull together a collection of examples of these forms of subtle and not-so-subtle racism. If you have other examples, please share them in the comments.


The Next Big Thing in E-Books

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

The Shadow CatsE-books are not the Next Big Thing. They spent several years as the Next Big Thing, but now that e-reading is possible on cellphones and tablets as well as computers and e-readers, they are officially a Very Big Thing and have been for awhile. What’s still just beginning to be explored, though, are the possibilities that e-publishing holds for enhancing the reading experience.

Some writers and publishers are exploring interactive creations, such as hidden clues and puzzles for readers to find on-line, game tie-ins, interactive maps and more; there’s even a term, “transmedia,” for this kind of experience which connects reading with other activities.

However, there’s another Next Big Thing spawned by e-reading — it’s less technologically intensive than transmedia, but still has the potential to change how we read.

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Highlights from the Morris and Nonfiction Awards reception

Every year librarians, teachers, and avid readers sit on the edge of their seats for the big announcement made on the Monday of the American Libraries Association’s Midwinter Conference. And every year, the announcements are met with some surprise, some confirmation, some discussion, and a ton of excitement. This year was no different, and this same enthusiasm obviously carried over into YALSA’s Morris Award and Excellence in Non-Fiction Award Reception.

This year’s William C. Morris Award—which is given to a debut book published for teens by a first-time author—was given to John Corey Whaley for his book Where Things Come Back. Whaley garnered the coveted Printz Award for this title, as well.

Four other books were honored as finalists including Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard, Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

Via a video recording, Rae Carson responded to her newly awarded honor. She noted that this was probably “the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.” She gave shout outs to many of the other finalists saying that they were “awesome people!” Her plans overall were to celebrate with “an egregiously expensive bottle of champagne.” She ended her video with a special appearance by her cat, “Rage,” otherwise known as angry kitty, which was both funny and lighthearted.

Probably one of the most emotional acceptance speeches of the afternoon was given by finalist Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

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Youth Media Awards wrap-up

Monday was a big, big day for young adult literature. After months of speculation, Mock Printz committees, posts about the finalists for the William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction Awards, and tons and tons and tons of reading by dedicated committee members, the ALA’s Youth Media Awards were announced at the Midwinter Conference in Dallas.

One of my favorite things about being a young adult librarian is the incredible sense of community that’s grown up about libraries and young adult literature, and the YMAs were a perfect example. I wasn’t able to be in Dallas this year, but luckily for me and other librarians, publishers, and YA and children’s lit fans around the world, the announcements were streamed live (in fact, you can watch the archived announcements and videos by some of the honored authors and illustrators on the YMA’s YouTube Channel).

I watched the announcements in one window and had Twitter up in another. There was plenty of buzz on Twitter–so much so that #alayma was trending for more than an hour! Lots of author names and book titles also trended following the announcement of each award. If you haven’t had the chance before, I highly recommend watching the announcements live if you can. It’s so great to hear the audience erupt in cheers when the winners are announced, and if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself cheering along. Being a reader of and writer for the Hub made this year’s awards especially fun for me. I’d read four of the five Morris finalists (two of which won other awards–including the Printz!), something which I might not have done were it not for The Hub.

Here’s the complete list of all the awards given in young adult literature. The name of each award will link to the award’s page on the ALA website, where you can learn about the history and see a complete list of winners. If The Hub did any coverage of a book before its big win, I’ve linked to that too. Enjoy!


Author Interview: Rae Carson

Today’s post interviews Rae Carson, the author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a 2012 finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, which honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

Many wonderful YA authors have raved about Ms. Carson’s book:

“Rae Carson’s heroine is a perfect blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary. I loved her.” – Megan Whalen Turner, author of Newbery Honor book, The Thief

“Palace intrigues, desert rebellions, kidnappings, forbidden romance, and bloody betrayals, along with not a little time at the banquet table, make The Girl of Fire and Thorns a delicious debut.” – Paolo Bacigalupi, author of the Printz Award-winning Ship Breaker.

Ms. Carson  was kind enough to answer my fan girl questions last week via e-mail.

Congratulations on your nomination as a Morris Award Finalist! What was your reaction to being nominated?

There was some shaking involved. A few tears. An awkward-author happy dance. And then champagne!

Paranormal fantasy books are all the rage right now. Your book doesn’t include vampires or other supernatural creatures but there is a fantastical element in the book: the mysterious Godstone that the main character Elisa has permanently imbedded in her navel. How would you categorize this book?

I would call it “high fantasy,” like Lord of the Rings, with some of the political underpinnings of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones—except for teens.