We Love YA: Emily

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

One of the perks of having a book blog is you get to connect with people from all over the world. I mean look at me, I’m from the Philippines. I think it’s amazing to find a person from another corner of the globe who likes the same books that I do. This is how I met Emily of Emily and her Little Pink Notes, she’s an Italian living in Dublin. I can’t remember how I found out about her blog but I do remember that it was because she loved Marcus Flutie of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series that I decided to follow her. Since then, I’ve discovered that we like reading a lot of the same books and it’s been so much fun interacting with her online. Let’s all give Emily a warm welcome!

Why do you love YA?
“Sometimes you met someone that changed the pattern, who wormed their way past the cracks in your heart, caulked them up, sealed themselves in, and stayed there. Sometimes they did it by insisting you meet them at every step…” (Tap and Gown, Diana Peterfreund)

Those few lines describe the sort of reader I am, I don’t think about myself as a YA reader. I love reading, I love when a book is able to create all sort of emotions within me. I love when a book insists on my attention, slowly gets under my skin and becomes mine.

I like feisty heroines, human failures, sweet awkward characters, duplicity, clever dialogues, humour, rebellion, rock music, poetry, principles of love. I crave adventure.

Coming-of-age stories deal with existential issues and feelings that stay with us forever. I am thinking of that song by the Undertones “Teenage Kicks” (Are teenage dreams so hard to beat/ Every time she walks down the street/ Another girl in the neighbourhood/ Wish she was mine, she looks so good/ I wanna hold you wanna hold you tight/ Get teenage kicks right through the night).

Teenage dreams are hard to beat, what I am supposed to exchange them with? I reached a point in my life in which I am surrounded by people concerned about apartments, cars, material evidences of dubious achievements. YA characters are kindred spirits, at least some of them are.

Every time I enter a bookshop I go straight to the YA bookshelf because I know that lots of brilliant books are labeled that way. If the publishing industry needs to put label on things it’s fine by me, as a reader I would advise to experiment all sort of genres because most of the time what makes a memorable read it’s the writer’s ability not the genre, the plot or our expectations.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
Contemporary Fiction: It all started with Diary of A Crush by Sarra Manning (a British YA writer), I was hooked on Edie and Dylan’s story so I highly recommend those three books especially if you are 16 and able to enjoy their full potential. I adored the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. I recently discovered Diana Peterfreund and her Secret Society Girl series, I can’t recommend tit highly enough.

Other favourites of mine: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (I also really liked Looking for Alibrandi), Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice (it hasn’t been labeled as YA but it fits right into the category). Plus I would like to mention Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and This Side of Paradise by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, they are beautiful coming-of-age stories, two of my favorites.

When it comes to fantasy I grew up reading Tolkien (I read them all: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Silmarillion) and Michael Ende (Momo, The Neverending Story), then I got really into Harry Potter, I read those books more than once, they are perfect for all ages.

I also want to mention Pullman, His Dark Materials Trilogy is a masterpiece. Recently, I loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore and I am currently in the middle of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, those books are fantastic, well-written, engaging, fun. A few months ago I read The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and I fell in love with Harry, I like smart brave heroines and Harry is memorable. I pre-ordered Mockingjay and I can’t wait to see what happens in Katniss’ world.

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
I think the answer to this question lies within my blog. I try to write reviews that discuss the actual book but also let people into my world, I suppose this way fellow bloggers can understand if we have something in common and try one of my “picks”.

My friends know who I am, what I like, what I despise, where we agree and where we disagree, I have already succeeded in forcing most of them to pick up a YA book (Suzanne Collins is being incredibly successful).

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Teenage dreams are hard to beat, what I am supposed to exchange them with? -> Love that line! Thank you so much for doing this, Emily! I get your point about being able to relate more to YA characters than the people around you. Some of my favorite characters feel like they’re old friends. 🙂 You mentioned some of my favorite books in your list and I’m putting up the ones that I haven’t read in my wishlist.

Now, on to my recommendations. For fantasy, I have a feeling you’ll like Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith – the main character is an impoverished countess who tries to organize a revolution. Also, I’d love for you to give Tamora Pierce’s books a try. All of her books have strong female protagonists. You can start with Alanna: The First Adventure, the first in the Song of the Lioness series – which is about a girl who pretends to be boy to train in knighthood. Since you seem to be enjoying Megan Whalen Turner’s books, I’d like to recommend Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones since Howl and Gen are surprisingly similar.

For YA contemporary fiction, I recommend The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I really liked both of these. I’m not sure where A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb falls under but I highly recommend that as well. I believe all three are debut novels and I’m excited to see what these authors will write next.

For historical fiction, I’d love to know what you think of Eva Ibbotson’s YA books – A Countess Below Stairs, A Company of Swans, A Song for Summer, The Morning Gift and The Reluctant Heiress.

What about you, dear readers, what do you think of Emily’s answers and what are some of your recommendations for her? 🙂

We Love YA: Michelle

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

One of the reasons why I love blogging is I get to meet such lovely readers. Today, I have here a good friend of mine, who I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for the blogosphere. Please give a warm welcome to Michelle of See Michelle Read. Michelle was a former librarian and I guess that’s where she gets her talent for recommending books. I was very flattered when Michelle started commenting on my early posts (even when they were still in LJ) and I’ve gotten some pretty great recommendations from her. I read all her posts and I even comment on most of them! If you’re into YA and fantasy like I am, I highly recommend that you go over Michelle’s blog and check out her reviews.

Why do you love YA?
Truth be told, I wasn’t much of a YA reader as a teenager. Like many teens (at least those who grew up before the current YA explosion), I moved immediately from The Baby-Sitters Club chapter books straight to The Lord of the Rings and The Bourne Identity series. Not a bad jump, but it still left me missing out on quite a lot to be sure. I do often wish some kindly librarian would have stopped me during one of my many library rambles to point out some treasures like Alanna or The Dark is Rising or even The Changeover.

But luckily, I’m now making up for lost time. See, I’m no longer a teenager, but one of the reasons I always make a beeline for the YA section in any bookstores is this: YA books are intense by nature. I simply don’t think there is any other genre that captures the awkward newness that permeates every particle of your life as it does when you are a teenager. I particularly enjoy reading about teens who are dealing with complicated relationships. Relationships with their family, with their friends, and especially with the opposite sex. This aspect could also be stretched to include a protagonist’s struggle to establish a relationship with their own self.

Basically when they are confronted with tough situations that force them to make a choice that is neither black nor white and one that they can only decide for themselves – no matter how hard it may be.

Above all, I love those YA books that contain clever dialogue and witty observances on life and those around them. I love that change is a necessary part of every teenager’s existence and I am ever so grateful to those authors who are able to capture it in seemingly effortless ways.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
Whew. This is going to be a hefty list. My favorite books (whatever the genre) tend to include characters that are complex, intelligent and driven by some larger purpose. I cannot tell you how much I love it when a book is able to catch me by surprise. And I’m not just talking about plot-revelations-surprise but also in terms of character growth and development. Also, if it has any references to Russia I’m probably going to love it.

Contemporary Fiction:
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty
The President’s Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fantasy:
The Demon’s Lexicon, The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Fairy-Tale Retellings:
Beauty by Robin McKinley

Historical Fiction:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White
A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

Dystopian Fiction:
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
If you haven’t read a YA book yet, why not? This truly is a genre with something for everyone, no matter your reading preferences. There are countless superbly written fantasy, contemporary, dystopian, and even humor books to tempt even the pickiest readers. And if you are worried about any stigma being attached to reading YA, don’t be. No one should be able to pick which books you like or dislike. If you start something and it’s not what you are looking for, put it down and go find something else. There are simply too many amazing and memorable novels available to waste your time on something you don’t enjoy. That said, don’t be afraid to give something new a chance too. Because after all, isn’t part of being a teenager all about trying new things for the very first time?

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Thank you for your wonderful answers, Michelle! I agree with you on the intensity that can be found in YA novels. I also feel like I’m making up for lost time when it comes to YA books. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time and recommend some of our favorite YA books to our younger self?

I love your list of favorites, by the way. There are a lot of familiar titles in there and those that aren’t familiar will be added to my wishlist. Now on to recommendations, I think it’s hard for me to recommend books that you haven’t read because you’ve read so many. So I checked Goodreads and it seems like you haven’t read Elizabeth E. Wein’s books and I’d love to know what you think of them. I started with The Sunbird and followed that up with the Mark of Solomon duology: The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom. I’m curious if you’ll like the main character, Telemakos, as much as I did.

Since you also enjoy humor in books, I recommend the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate because I find Bartimaeus pretty hilarious. I also love Garth Nix’ Abhorsen Trilogy: Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen and I have a feeling you might like his particular brand of fantasy as well.

For contemporary fiction, I know you’ve read Jellicoe Road and I wonder if you’ll also like Melina Marchetta’s other books, Saving Francesca and Looking for Alibrandi? Also, I’m not sure if you’ve given the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty a try. It starts with Sloppy Firsts and the male protagonist in that one is one of my fictional crushes (I ♥ Marcus Flutie). You also know how much I enjoyed reading The Sky is Everywhere so I’m throwing out that suggestion too.

Okay, I think that’s it. I’m out of suggestions. What about you, dear readers, what are your recommendations for Michelle? 🙂

We Love YA: Chachic

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

Yes, as weird as it seems, I’m going to feature myself here today. I know I just posted Angie’s We Love YA feature last Friday but I wanted to participate in The Book Smugglers’ free for all event for their Young Adult Appreciation Month. I emailed them on Friday to ask for suggestions about a post and Ana replied and said it would be a good idea to answer the We Love YA questions myself. What’s funny is, I thought of the exact same thing right after I sent her the email. So here goes.

Why do you love YA?
Recently, my high school barkada (Filipino term for group of friends) and I looked over old letters and pictures. Yes, we all had a good laugh over how we all looked back then and how emotional our letters were. We all noticed that we were all so intense as teenagers. We felt strongly about everything and the smallest things affected us in very big ways. Imagine bottling up all of those feelings and storing them inside a book. That’s what YA books do. A YA book captures a slice of life and serves it up in a compact package.

Why do I read YA? I’d like to quote C.S. Lewis here: “We read to know that we are not alone.” It all boils down to this – I read YA because I can relate to the characters. This doesn’t just mean that I can relate to them because I experienced something similar or because I want to face the same adventures. What I mean is I can just relate, simply because I can understand their thoughts and actions in relation to their situation. You know that feeling that you get after reading a particularly good book, when you feel like you experienced everything with the characters and they’ve become old friends because you went through so much together? Doesn’t that always amaze you? I always find it remarkable when I come across books that I can totally relate to, the ones that can make me say, “This is why I read!”

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
I always pimp out my favorites to any who’d care to listen. I even have a list here in the blog, complete with links to the reviews that I have but let me make it easier for you guys and enumerate some of them here.

Fantasy
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner – The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Sasharia En Garde duology by Sherwood Smith – Once a Princess, Twice a Prince
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
Daughter of the Lioness Duology by Tamora Pierce – Trickster’s Choice, Trickster’s Queen
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman – The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud – The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, Ptolemy’s Gate
The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

Fairy Tale Retellings
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

YA Contemporary Fiction
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings, Perfect Fifths

Historical Fiction
The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein – Sunbird, The Lion Hunters, The Empty Kingdom
A Countess Below Stairs, The Reluctant Heiress and A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
Most of my friends in real life don’t read my blog. Why? Because most of them don’t read or when they do, they don’t read the same kind of books that I do. Whenever they tell me that they’re not into reading, I always say that it’s just a matter of finding the right books. Maybe you feel like you don’t like reading because the books that you’ve read don’t speak to you and you can’t really relate to them. I follow that up by asking what are the sort of books that they think they’d like. Fortunately, YA has so many genres under it so it’s easy to pick a book that would match the description that they give. I love giving recommendations but it always feels better when you know that a person loved the book that you recommended.

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Whew, those were difficult questions! To everyone who did a guest post for me for this feature, I have more respect for you guys. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to answer three measly questions.

So, so, so. Based on my answers, do you have any recommendations for me? 🙂

We Love YA: Angie

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

I’m so excited to present today’s We Love YA feature – Angie of Angieville. If it isn’t obvious by the number of times I’ve mentioned her here, I’m a huge fan of Angie’s blog. Once she gives a book a great review, I have this urge to grab that book as soon as I can and read it. I trust Angie’s recommendations and some of them have even ended up in my favorites list. Angie has been blogging for a couple of years and I consider her one of the greats in YA and fantasy blogging. I’m amazed that she doesn’t have more followers because I think her blog is amazing. It doesn’t hurt that we share our love for a certain incorrigible thief of Eddis. I was a lurker in Angieville long before I started my own blog and it’s with great pleasure that I welcome Angie here in my book nook. Let’s all give Angie a warm welcome! 🙂

Why do you love YA?
You know, it’s interesting. I never thought of the books I love that feature teenage or young adult protagonists as being under the “YA” label until it came into widespread use in the past several years. Because all the books I read that would technically fall under that broad term hailed from a host of different genres, including science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary, paranormals, and mysteries. And I tended to think of them in those categories, rather than lumped all together because they happened to share somewhat younger heroes than those in other books I read. Now the term is bandied about on a near constant basis, and people talk about whether they do or do not read YA and why. I read and love young adult literature for the same reasons I read the best books of any kind — because I am drawn to strong characters and witty, sophisticated writing. I love young adult protagonists, I think, because they are so often put into natural situations that challenge them immensely, that force them to discover what they are made of, and to make decisions (often excruciatingly painful ones) about who they will be and what kind of life they are interested in leading. Those questions and conflicts never grow old for me and, honestly, I don’t think they go away either. The perspective we take on them evolves over time as our experience grows, but I find myself facing incarnations of those same issues on a daily basis as I take on new roles and come up against new responsibilities and obligations. I gravitate toward young adult literature because — like its characters — it can be anything it wants to be. It can be any color, shape, or size, and can take place in any time and on any world that the human imagination can conceive of. It is, in a word, remarkable. And that is why I love it.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
I’m going to have to just break it down here a bit in order to make an even remotely fair (but nowhere near comprehensive) list:

Fantasy
The Chronicles of Prydain and the Westmark trilogy by Lloyd Alexander
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Science Fiction/Dystopian
The Time Trilogy by Madeleine L’Engle
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Contemporary Fiction
My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Tillerman Cycle by Cynthia Voigt
Life Without Friends and The President’s Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White

Historical Fiction
Morning is a Long Time Coming by Bette Greene
A Song for Summer and A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
No one should ever feel or be made to feel ashamed of the books they read and love. Certainly not because of some arbitrary designation based on marketing. Life’s too short for that kind of crap. Finding books you love is all about making that connection with the character or the words on the page in such a way that it gives you the deep tingles and almost seems to freeze time itself for just a moment. Young adult literature is the perfect place to go looking for that experience because of its breadth and depth and because literally anything could be lurking under those glossy covers. Happy reading!

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Wow, Angie, just wow. If I haven’t been a huge fan of your blog before, I would be after reading your answers. What you said describes perfectly how I feel about YA. It all boils down to reading good books that you can relate to, regardless of the genre. It just so happens that there are a lot of amazing books in YA and there are more being released each day. Like you, I didn’t think to categorize the books that I love as YA until I saw the label “YA” being used all over the publishing world. I guess I’ve been fortunate because my friends don’t judge the books that I read. Most of them aren’t readers so I think they’re generally amazed at how crazy I get when it comes to reading.

Now on to my recommendations. This is a bit tricky since you already mentioned a lot of my favorites. But I do know that you haven’t given Elizabeth E. Wein’s books a try and I have a feeling you’ll like them because I got the recommendation from Sounis. The series starts with The Winter Prince, which is woefully out of print, followed by A Coalition of Lions. But you could read the series out of order and just start with the ones about Telemakos – The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom. These were the ones that I read first. I would also love to see your thoughts on the Sasharia En Garde duology by Sherwood Smith – Once a Princess, Twice a Prince. Also because you love the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, I was wondering if you’d like to give her epic fantasy books a try. Maybe start with the Hurog duology: Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood, which I loved. Last but not the least, I hope you get to read Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta because you loved Jellicoe Road.

Whew, so it turns out I still have a couple of recommendations up my sleeve. I’m off to add the books that Angie mentioned to my wishlist. How about you, dear readers, any suggestions for Angie? 🙂

We Love YA: Bluemoon

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

I’m posting this today because I’m planning to post a Want Books meme tomorrow. I noticed that I mostly do memes on weekends – Retro Friday, We Love YA, Want Books and In My Mailbox. If you haven’t seen the other We Love YA! features, click here to view them all. I met Bluemoon over at Goodreads because we’re both members of the Filipinos and YA Fiction for Adults groups over there. Both of us are members of Filipino Book Bloggers and co-contributors in the YA newsletter, YA, Y Not? So as you can see, we pretty much interact with each other in various group discussions. Bluemoon is a Filipino who lives in Canada and her favorite bookstore is Chapters. She also has a blog called My Bibliophile Lobe. I hope to meet up with her when she goes on vacation in the Philippines in 2012!

Why do you love YA?
So YA? I think I love YA because it still tries to embody the innocence of middle grade novels and at the same time there is still a rebellious streak that keeps many adults interested. It’s hard to explain really, but what I mean is that YA novels give you the right amount of love, gore, hate, rebelliousness, death, peace, action, romance, etc. without it being overdone or underdone. Middle school novels give you a peck on the cheek, while an adult novel (for better lack of words) gives you the full-blown love scene. YA novels give you a peck on the cheek, a little mouth and maybe an undying proclamation of love. So you get the flutter and the butterflies just as much as with the adult novels. OR middle school novels give you the knife and the blood, while the adult novels provide readers with the bone-crunching action and the gory details of the decapitation at the end. YA give you the sword/ gun fights, maybe a death or two, but minus the gruesome, very detailed accounts of the murders.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
There are many YA novels that I LOVE, but I think my top choices will have to be The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling, The Darkest Power Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Pendragon Series by D.J MacHale and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
How can I encourage people to read? No way really to encourage them. Buy them a book, pray that they will read it and hope that they will love it. No sense of pushing people to read books if it’s not within them to read. I think the more you push the more they turn away. But wouldn’t it be great if everyone tried to read at least one book.

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Thanks for your answers, Bluemoon! I love the analogies that you used and I would have to agree. YA has the right amount of everything – romance, action and adventure. As for recommendations… *rubs hand eagerly* Here’s my chance to pressure you to read the books that I’ve been recommending for the longest time! You need to read Catching Fire soon because Mockingjay is due to come out in August. Also, I know you really liked The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, so why not read the rest of her books? There are three other books in the Queen’s Thief series and they’re even better than The Thief. You know I always go on and on about this series. 😛 I also know you like urban fantasy so if you want something new, check out the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews starting with Magic Bites. The series isn’t YA but I have a feeling you’ll still like it.

What about you, dear readers, what books do you recommend for Bluemoon? 🙂

We Love YA: Maria

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

In lieu of a Want Books post today, I thought I’d do a We Love YA post instead since I haven’t done this in a while. If you haven’t seen the other We Love YA features, feel free to check them out here. Today, Maria of Wings of Daedalus has been kind enough to answer YA-related questions. Maria is a full-time grad student, a food quality backup supervisor by night and the keeper of three goblins by day (they look remarkably like kids but don’t be fooled by their appearances). Sounds like a lot to handle, right? When she has time for herself, Maria enjoys reading, writing and video gaming. Let’s give it up for Maria! 🙂

Why do you love YA?
I’ll give a little bit of background first: I was introduced to the young adult genre when I was writing a a novel considered young adult fiction. I read some YA books in order to get a feel for the market and what types of books were out there. Once I found out though by reading a couple, I’ve never looked back! I devour these books like kids with candy – inseparable!

Why do I love YA? Too many reasons to list here but I will list the ones that come to my mind first.

Young adult fiction is fresh, bold, honest, and sexy. It’s like breathing in sunshine. These books push the social conventions that adult fiction sometimes skirt around. I partly believe this is due to the fact that teenagers are very curious creatures and they like to dabble in almost everything. They don’t resolve themselves to a life of quiet desperation. They live in a blaze of glory! Teenagers are imbued with an unquenchable passion, a drop of which could set this world on fire.

I love YA literature because the words are honest and heart-felt. The characters are so complex and driven. Since they are teenagers, they are raw, untapped reservoirs of sexual tension, insecurity, stubbornness, curiosity, and emotion. They just… they seem to feel more. And when that is described well in a story, it is like the roller-coaster ride of my life: it makes me cry, laugh, dance, sigh longingly, and reminiscence all in a span of a few hours. I believe this gets lost in translation over in adult fiction.

Why do I love YA? The worlds are vivid. They pop out like accents of color in a grey world.

YA literature is entertaining, fast, and addictive. You can’t just read one. It’s like having a box of chocolates: delectable and dribbling with temptation.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
Hmmm… this is very difficult! Some of my favorite YA books include The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern, The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Fallen by Lauren Kate, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.

As you can see, I’m all over the board!

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
See question “Why I Love YA” and that should speak for itself 🙂 !

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Thanks for those very insightful answers, Maria! Keep us posted on that YA novel that you’re writing! I love how you described YA books. I never would have come up with such a creative description but it describes perfectly how I feel about the genre. YA is indeed vivid and so full of varied emotions. The novels feel so alive because of this, the words feel like they jump out at you from the page.

Now that we’ve established our mutual love of the genre, I’d like to make a couple of recommendations. It seems like you’ve read so many different YA books! I know that The Hunger Games trilogy sometimes go hand in hand with Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Fire so I have a feeling you’ve read those as well. Because it seems like you’re willing to try different YA books, I want to recommend one of my favorite YA series of all time – the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, starting with The Thief. Also I haven’t read If I Stay but I feel like it’s kind of similar to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which I loved.

What about you, dear readers, what are some of the books that you’d recommend for Maria? 🙂 What do you think of her description of the YA genre?

We Love YA: Tarie

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

If you haven’t seen the other We Love YA! features, click here to view them all. I met Tarie when I wandered over to her blog Into the Wardrobe. I was so excited to discover a fellow Filipino book blogger who focused on YA. Tarie has been blogging for several years and when I started my blog a few months back, she was very helpful in answering my questions. She also has another book blog called Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind, which highlights children’s and YA books set in Asia. Be sure to drop by her blogs and check out what she has there. 🙂

Why do you love YA?
I love the themes in YA. I love reading entertaining stories about interesting young people exploring who they are and their place in the world.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
My favorite YA book is Good Enough by Paula Yoo, because it perfectly captures the high school life of overachievers. LOL! I was a bit of an overachiever in high school, so Good Enough feels like a mirror to me.

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
Recently I heard someone (an adult) respond to YA with an “EW.” But I believe good literature is good literature. It doesn’t matter if it is fantasy, YA, crime fiction, literary fiction, or any other genre. Good characterization is good characterization. Good plot development is good plot development. Good writing is good writing!

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Whoa, someone said “Eww” about YA?! That person better not show his/her face online or he/she will feel the wrath of YA book bloggers all over the world. Seriously though, I get what you mean. I had a friend who told me before, “Diba pambata yung mga binabasa mo?” (The books that you read are meant for children, right?) That’s why I enjoy book blogging so much, you get to meet people who like the same books that you do and understand that YA is such a great genre. 🙂 You are totally right, Tarie, good literature is good literature! Thanks again for taking part in this feature. As for recommendations, I know that you’ve read Graceling by Kristin Cashore so I recommend its companion novel, Fire. For a fantasy novel with a more Asian feel, I’ve heard good things about Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson. I haven’t read it but I’m definitely interested. What about you guys, what are your recommendations for Tarie?

If you’d like to be featured in We Love YA!, just leave a comment in this post. 🙂

We Love YA: Evert

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

If you haven’t seen the other We Love YA! features, click here to view them all. I also added an icon in the sidebar for it, part of my tweaking the sidebar for Bloggiesta. Today, my good friend Evert is featured in this segment of We Love YA! I’ve known Evert for a couple of years now and ever since we met, we’ve been exchanging book recommendations since we realized that we have similar tastes. I’ve recommended several of my favorites to her and she ended up loving them as well. She’s into fairy tales and any fantasy with a strong female protagonist. Outside of reading, she enjoys baking and has her own online bake shop, feel free to check it out at Evert’s Desserts.

Why do you love YA?
What I love most about young adult stories is that you can always go in another world and learn something grounded to reality. YA stories teach you about life without being too blatant about it. They conceal the truth in adventures, magical elements, or sometimes a character. You can travel to places where anything is possible – from mythical creatures to wizards to princesses down to twins living in California. You also learn to love the characters in the stories. It does not matter what setting you are in, young adult stories always capture a certain beauty about real life.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
– Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
– The Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
– Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
The Goose Girl and Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
– The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
The Two Princesses of Bamarre and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
Hmm, maybe the first step is to encourage people to actually read!

Read YA because you get your share of entertainment and still learn a lot from it. YAs are generally a light read and you do not get a headache from too complicated plots. They tackle a lot of issues and you may actually relate to them.

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Thank you, Evert, for answering those questions! I would have to agree that it is very easy to relate to the characters in YA books and this is one of the reasons why I love YA so much. As for recommendations, I’d say it’s high time you give Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones a try. They are both great fantasy authors. All of Tamora Pierce’s novels have strong female protagonists and Diana Wynne Jones’ books are just hilarious. For something outside of fantasy, I recommend Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. What about you, dear readers, what are your recommendations for Evert? 🙂

We Love YA: Ashley

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

Ashley of Addie’s Reads and Reviews and I met in one of my Goodreads groups. She is also known as Addie, is 24 years old and lives in Walnut Creek, California with her family and 6 pets (3 cats, 2 dachshunds, and a bird). Ashley is a complete bookaholic and will read anywhere, anytime. She enjoys different genres but her favorite is YA.

Why do you love YA?

I love YA because with YA there is something for everybody. Everyone can relate to the characters or the situations involved in one way or another.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?

I have many favorite YA books.

Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
Rainbow Trilogy by Alex Sanchez
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Other favorite authors include: Rick Riordan, Ellen Hopkins and Kaza Kingsley.

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?

I would encourage people in to read in general. It’s a nice relaxing thing to do before bed, while you are waiting, on a rainy day. With reading you can escape your world and enter someone else’s . For YA specifically, it’s a great and fun genre. YA covers many different issues that you can relate to; love, friendship, dating, relationships, school, parents, personal growth, etc. So go to your local bookstore, find the YA section, and spend a couple of hours there. I guarantee you will find many different books that will peak your interest.

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Thanks for volunteering to participate, Ashley! I would have to agree with you that in YA, there’s something for everybody. Out of the books that you mentioned, I’ve only read the Vampire Academy series and the first book in the Percy Jackson series. I haven’t even read the latest Vampire Academy book! If you like paranormal books set in this world, I’d recommend Maggie Stiefvater’s books: Lament, Ballad and Shiver.

How about you, dear readers, what are your recommendations for Ashley? 🙂 Also, feel free to leave a comment if you want to be featured.

We Love YA: Robby

Magandang Umaga! It’s a lovely Wednesday because today is the release date of two of my anticipated 2010 reads: The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan and Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead. The Demon’s Covenant is the sequel to The Demon’s Lexicon and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you give it a try because it’s awesome. Angie of Angieville just posted an interview with Sarah Rees Brennan with an international giveaway! Head on over there to join. Spirit Bound is the fifth and second to the last Vampire Academy novel and I am curious as to what happens next. Although I have a feeling it will have a cliffhanger ending to set things up for the last book. Both these books are still not available here but I’m hoping to see them around soon. Okay, done with the announcements and moving on to the feature. 🙂

In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.

This is just the second time that I’m doing the We love YA! feature. The first time around, Celina was featured. If you haven’t read that post, please head on over there and give recommendations for Celina. I would really appreciate it and I’m sure Celina will too. 🙂 This time, Robby has been kind enough to participate. Robby maintains Once Upon A Book Blog, a blog about books and music and his blog is just about to turn one! Robby is also turning fifteen in a matter of days. He is writing a new version of an old novel and making his way through yet another composition notebook, filling it with angsty poetry. He is almost always reading and can usually be found drinking a cup of coffee. His iPod has over 4,000 songs in it, and he has listened to every single one. He spends way too much time on the internet. Let’s give it up for Robby!

Why do you love YA?
There is a certain spark that YA ignites in me. Maybe it is because I am a teenager or maybe it is because the world of Young Adult literature is such a vast world full of amazing people. I love YA because of the authors, the authors who writes real books about real people fighting real things that I see every day. I love YA because it gives me something to escape to, something to relate to, something to look forward to. I love the bloggers, the people who comment on my posts and the people whose posts I comment on, because this community is so loving. I have been blogging for just about a year and I am so glad I’m still doing this. I hope to always be a part of this.

What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
This is such a tough question. I think I’m just a positive person, but it is so hard for me to dislike a book. I’m always searching for the positives, and overlooking the negatives. Sometimes I notice little mistakes and just toss them aside. Some books though, for me at least, have no mistakes.

An example of this is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I’m so glad that it is on the summer reading list for my school this summer, because I recommend it to everyone I get the chance to. It is a beautiful, haunting, horrifying portrayal of a girl who has fallen apart, and the story of that same girl finally putting herself back together.

Another example of this is Let’s Get Lost by Sarra Manning. I read this book almost a year ago, but I still remember it so well. Sarra Manning is one of my favorite YA writers, and this has been one of my favorite books ever since I read it. I cried on my bedroom floor, reading this. I cried in my kitchen, reading this. I cried at least once every few pages and was so overwhelmed that I didn’t even bother to hide it. This is the story of a girl whose mother is gone, and the process she goes through as her grieving turns to acceptance.
I could go on. Every book is my favorite, in one way or another.

What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
There are no words. All I can do is thrust a book in their hands and tell them to report back to me in a few days and tell me what they think. They always fall in love, just as I know they will.

How can you not?
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Thank you, Robby for those wonderful answers! I find it awesome when I discover proof that teenagers do love YA. I’m already in my mid-twenties and I never got tired of the genre. 🙂 As for recommendations, I recently read and loved both Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and I have a feeling that you will too! I also suggest that you try branching out to YA fantasy because that’s my favorite sub-genre. 🙂 For the readers of this blog, what recommendations can you suggest for Robby? Based on his answers, what are some of the books that you think he’ll enjoy?