Get Creative with YA Lit

create_ credit_lorrainesantana
image by flickr user Lorraine Santana

Do you know the feeling that comes sometimes when you finish reading a really great book, the one in which you don’t want the story to end? You can always hope for a sequel or a companion novel. If there is a film adaptation, you can experience the world, again, there. Or you can keep the world alive by creating something yourself.

I recently attended the DML2014 conference in Boston and found myself surrounded by people passionately talking about ways to interact with digital media. As a blogger for The Hub, I immediately focused on the ways that people were using these programs and communities to create content based on YA books. This also tied in well with last week’s Teen Tech Week  theme of DIY @ your library. Below, I have listed a handful of ways that youth and adults are taking their favorite stories and making something new.

Create a Program

One of the tools that was frequently mentioned at DML2014 is Scratch, a web-based programming tool that allows users to create and share games, videos, and stories. I searched Scratch for projects related to popular YA titles and found a wide variety of program types including interactive quizzes and games, slideshows, and still image fanart. A few examples include a Divergent Aptitude Test Simulation, Snape’s Potion Game (Harry Potter), and The Mortal Instruments: Downworld Attack game. These users have found a way to continue interacting with books that they enjoyed while also learning how to code computer programs. Scratch is only one of a number of options available in this area, too.

Make Some Music

Music can be inspired by anything, even books! Some fans have written single songs or created entire bands based around YA.

Harry and the Potters

The Harry Potter books, in particular, seem to have found a place in the musical world. An entire genre called wizard rock popped up in response to J.K. Rowling’s series. Harry and the Potters has been making wizard rock for well over a decade now with Draco & the Malfoys only a few years behind them. One-man-band Gred and Forge (Jarrod Perkins) not only plays music based on Harry Potter, but has another YA connection: he is the husband of Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door!

If wizard rock isn’t your thing, there is always the option of creating a single song based on a YA title. This video is by Troye Sivan, who was inspired by John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.


Fanfiction has been discussed here on The Hub before because of its relationship with YA. On, there are over 650K Harry Potter stories, 215K Twilight stories, and 38K Hunger Games stories, with many other YA books and series breaking the 10K mark.

So, why fanfiction? It gives readers a chance to continue exploring worlds they love and allows writers to be as creative as they want. Want to write about what happened after the book ended? Or maybe you would rather explore alternate endings? What if Harry, Ron, and Hermoine were not wizards, just friends at a boarding school? These are all options with fanfiction.


deviantart user: adventaim Inspried by Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series
deviantart user: adventaim
Inspried by Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series
Fanart is also an excellent way to create something related to YA in a completely different medium.  Digitally created, hand-drawn, photography; whatever your personal style is, there is a place for it in the fanart community.
From Inspired by Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity
From Margot Wood of
Inspired by Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity
A number of authors have publicly shared and praised fanart, as well.  At the YA Lit Symposium in 2012, Scott Westerfeld spoke about how much he appreciated fanart based on his works. Sophie Jordan, author of the Firelight series as also retweeted a number of fanart works on Twitter.
Twitter user: @FenixGrifo_ Based on Sophie Jordan's Firelight series
Twitter user: @FenixGrifo_
Inspired by Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series

Book Trailers/Fan Videos

If you enjoy making videos or want to hone your film-editing skills, book trailers can be a really fun way to do so. Many publishers have started using this form to market new books, but there are also many fan-created trailers out there, including this trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

If you are ambitious, you can also try to create a webseries or extended video based on your favorite books. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries turned a classic story into a modern-day vlog. It was a huge success and may serve as inspiration.


Fans of music and YA books have also found enjoyment in creating playlists based on favorite titles. This can be done in a variety of ways, through a variety of playlist-sharing websites. Playlists can be created from songs that a reader thinks fit the mood of a book, selecting songs that were not necessarily referenced directly in the work. This Jessica Darling playlist was created by Forever Young Adult and then reposted on author Megan McCafferty’s website.

Playlists may also be created based on songs mentioned in a book or by the author in the acknowledgements. For example, I recently created a playlist based on the the songs referenced at the beginning of each chapter in Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!

A number of authors have released playlists that they listened to or were inspired by while writing, these authors include Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Stephenie Meyer.

Have you tried any of the above? Do you have another idea for how you can create or make something to pay tribute to your favorite YA books? Share it with us in the comments!

– Jessica Lind, currently reading Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian (trying to play catchup on the The Hub Reading Challenge!)