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YA Fiction

Deck the halls with YA gifts

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It’s the holiday season and most of us are already knee-deep into gift buying. And while some people are fairly easy (hope you like that iTunes gift card again, Dad!), others can be a little more difficult. Take fans of young adult novels for instance: it’s not always easy to predict the hottest books or best reader-inspired presents. But if you have a Twilight-loving, Hunger Games-obsessed person to shop for, have no fear. Whether they’re a teen or an adult, here are the perfect presents for the YA lover in your life: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014) This holiday-themed anthology includes stories by almost every famous YA author…

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Retelling favorite enchanted stories never goes out of style

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The young adult market can be a fickle place with trends gaining traction for a while and then quickly disappearing. Five years ago, vampire novels crowded the shelves. Now even dystopian novels are ‘out.’ Zombies are dead (ha!) and so are angels and demons. But there’s one category that never seems to go out of style: retellings. Retellings are stories that take a novel we know and love and “retell” it in a new, inspired way. The general plotline and the characters might be familiar, but somehow the story has been reimagined: maybe the characters are placed in a new setting, maybe someone who was once bad is now good, or maybe a lesser-known character finally gets a voice. We…

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If I Stay–the book and movie that consumes you

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Avid readers know that sometimes choosing a book can be a shot in the dark. There’s no guarantee that just because you like a cover or a synopsis the book will live up to what it promises. So often the fantasy of what a book could be is better than the reality of what it is. But then there are those rare books that you start reading at 9 p.m. and finish around dawn—books that consume you, books that you want to burrow inside of and make a nest, books that you think about for days, weeks, years after reading them. If I Stay was one of those books for me. When I first saw the cover and read the…

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Five most unexpectedly stylish characters from YA

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It’s no secret that I love reading about clothes in books. Outfits in young adult novels are particularly awesome – clothes can help establish a teen’s sense of self, sense of place, social status, and sometimes even their species. But while clothing is often described, there are few true ‘fashionistas’ in YA. You know who I mean – those girls and guys so totally obsessed with style that they’re budding fashion designers, sewing their own clothes, or just overly invested in what everyone around them is wearing. These characters are my people. So in honor of my fellow fashion-obsessed readers, here are the top five stylish characters in YA: 1. Claudia Kishi, The Babysitter’s Club For all you ‘90s kids,…

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The book you wish you had read as a teen: Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods and Monsters

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You probably have a list of books that you were never quite the same after reading; I know I do. Stories that were just what you needed at a specific point in your life, novels that, had you read them at another time, you would have liked well enough but that would not have had that same kind of absolute, lifelong resonance. I liked Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods and Monsters well enough. I liked her whole Daughter of Smoke and Bone series a lot, actually. But what I really wanted, reading it, was to send it—as if in some kind of reverse time capsule—to my adolescent self, knowing that she would find it formative and essential  instead of  just…

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Rachel Carter reveals the secrets to time travel in Find Me Where the Water Ends

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If I had known how difficult it was to write time travel, I might never have started my young adult novel, So Close to You. But back when I opened that blank document and typed my first word, I was blissfully unaware. I loved reading and watching time travel, so why wouldn’t I like writing it? How hard could it possibly be? Very, very hard, is what I should have told myself. I didn’t even really set out to write time travel. I wanted to write about the Montauk Project, a real life conspiracy theory that suggested Nikola Tesla had faked his own death and created paranormal weaponry for the government during World War II. Every year, conspiracy theorists flocked…

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What I learned from being dead: Amy Talkington’s LIV, FOREVER

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Young adult fiction is always looking for the “next big thing.” Whether it’s vampires inspired by Twilight, or Hunger Games-style dystopian novels, teen readers often seem to take to specific genres in flocks. At times, this can make the shelves in bookstores look strangely identical, with dark fonts splashed across covers or anonymous hands holding flowers. Liv, Forever, screenwriter and director Amy Talkington’s debut tale of the supernatural, falls into some of these familiar tropes: ghosts and novels set in boarding schools are not necessarily new territory. But at its heart, Talkington’s novel isn’t just a ghost story; it’s a mystery. And right now mystery seems perfectly poised to be that “next big thing” in young adult literature. Liv, Forever…

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The Hunger Games sparks a rebellion on Black Friday

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Black Friday is fast approaching. While the ambitious and sale-savvy among us hit malls mid-November, some of us will be focused instead on literature and film. And by that I mean we will be in line to see the latest Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, out in theaters November 22nd and already breaking box office records for a November release. The film is based on Suzanne Collins’s second installment, published in 2009 by Scholastic, in her Hunger Games trilogy. With these books, Collins writes fast-paced, page-turning action that propels readers through her version of the classic hero’s journey. Heroine Katniss Everdeen narrates her story and readers are pulled into her gritty, adrenalin-filled fight for survival. There are many readers who…

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