I had the great fortune of meeting Sarah at the 2nd annual Kidlit Blogger Conference when it was in Portland, OR, then finally met Tanita (who spends most of her time haunting the foggy bluffs of Scotland) at the Newbery and Caldecott Awards dinner...quite possibly the coolest literary event I've ever attended, made even better by getting to meet her in person.
Welcome, Sarah and Tanita!
What I Love in YA and Can't Get Enough Of:
Aquafortis (Sarah): As far as genre goes, I will read just about any dystopian book that crosses my path, and I love sci-fi and fantasy as well as contemporary stories. But one thing I'm really loving is the growing steampunk genre. Fun!
On a more serious note, what I love about YA as a whole is, when it's at its best it approaches readers honestly; it isn't afraid to be unconventional; and it reminds readers that coming of age is an ongoing journey, not the static endpoint of reaching adulthood.
Tanita: And this is why we’re just geeks here together at Wonderland – I, too really love speculative fiction. I admit to being a little vampired-out at the moment, and I never did find that zombies did it for me, but I do so love the unusual in this genre – and every time I turn around I find something unexpected. Greek Goddesses! Killer unicorns! I love it.
Whether it’s dystophia, steampunk, cyberpunk or any other subgenre permutation, the beauty of young adult fantasy and science fiction lies in its potential. Seen otherwise as just stories for children, fiction for young adults is perhaps the single field in which so much in terms of ideas is made accessible. I love that even outside of the speculative genre, so many of our stories are wrapped up in “what if?”
What We Need More of in YA:
Aquafortis (Sarah): Humor—the laugh-out-loud kind. Whimsy. Not just guy books but "unisex" books. Books with multicultural characters that aren't necessarily "about" ethnicity. Graphic novels. A return to traditional illustration/artwork on book covers.
Tanita: Ooh, this is a big question. Is it too weird to say we need more ordinary stories? Tales of characters who aren’t SAT whizzes, whose mothers might be deaf in one ear from an accident, characters who don’t live in perfect houses and own their own computers, whose fathers work for the Hormel plant and who have to take the bus but also stories wherein that is not the focus – that’s what I mean by ordinary. Also, I think we need big, sweeping fantasy romances which feature multicultural characters. How weird of a world is it if all the Princes are blond and all the Princesses are Snow White? I dearly want to see some diversity in speculative fiction.
Favorite books, Aquafortis (Sarah):
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L'Engle
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Favorite books, Tanita:
Oh, how I loathe picking five of anything. Recent favorites, off the top of my head include:
Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones
Dull Boy by Sarah Cross
Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins
Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
The Theodosia Series by R. L. LeFevers
… and so, so many more.
Thank you, ladies!
Readers, what do you think about steampunk? Speculative fiction? Ordinary stories? Multicultural heroes and heroines? Tell us in the comments, plus a chance to win this week's book prize. Even better? Tell your friends to stop by! (US addresses only, one comment/post toward prize.)