Aisha Saeed is one of the founding members of We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse narratives in children’s literature. With the publication of Written in the Stars, Saeed is now also a YA author.
David Arnold makes his YA debut with Mosquitoland, the tale of a teen runaway on a 947-mile journey to find her mother. It all begins on a Greyhound bus, but dangers big and small make Mim's journey treacherous and transformative. "I am Mary Iris Malone," our heroine says, "and I am not okay." Through letters to a character named Isabel, as well as through clever, authentic narration, she reveals the confusion, pain and heartwrenching vulnerabilities that spurred this epic journey. BookPage met Arnold when he came through Nashville promoting his book, and it was a delight to pick this new author's brain.
Andrew Smith almost gave up writing for teens in 2011, when an article in The Wall Street Journal blasted his work as being too dark for teen readers. But fans of his previous novels and those who pick up his latest offering, The Alex Crow—will be glad that he stuck to his craft.
Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun dazzled us with elegantly crafted prose and flawless narrative structure as it switched between the perspectives of twins Noah and Jude. Its captivating balance of heartbreak and hope garnered it the 2015 Printz Award, so we caught up with the San Francisco-based author to find out what it's like to win the Printz.
Teacher/artist Renée Watson makes her YA debut with This Side of Home, a novel about African-American teenage sisters navigating friendships, relationships, school politics and future plans. The sisters' identities are intertwined with issues of class, race and gender, allowing Watson to explore all of these issues through their eyes.
In the dusty, crowded streets of Kolkata, two species of monkeys struggle for dominance and power. It’s rhesus versus langur in Richard Kurti’s Planet of the Apes-eque debut novel, Monkey Wars. Political stakes are high, blood is spilled, morality becomes hazy and a forbidden romance ignites in this smart, fast-paced story. BookPage contacted Kurti to talk about the inspiration behind his debut, his career as a screenwriter, the darker side of teen lit and more.
Roald Dahl's timeless adventure, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory is a fun and informative peek into the Wonka world. Featuring excerpts from early drafts, movie stills and behind-the-scenes photographs, early illustrations and so much more, it's like a wondrous boat ride down that chocolate river, but with journalist Lucy Mangan at the helm. We spoke with Mangan via email about the beloved classic, its lasting impact, candy and (naturally) squirrels.
From the brilliantly bizarre mind of A.S. King comes a haunting look at a bleak future—not only for teenager Glory O’Brien, but for all women.
Broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent Atia Abawi has spent years on the front lines of war and historical events, covering stories for outlets such as CNN and NBC. During her five-year residency in Afghanistan, Abawi became attuned to the stories of the people, their cultural traditions and the deeply rooted tensions and resulting violence that has plagued the country for so long. Her experiences inspired her first novel, The Secret Sky, which follows the budding romance of two teens from two very different tribes, who must struggle against opposition from both their families and the Taliban in order to forge a life together.
The last thing Emma saw before going blind was the bright, spinning colors of fireworks—and then it all went dark. In the sensitively rendered and beautifully written Blind, Emma shares her story of courage and resilience as she comes to terms with a world that is forever changed. And when her insular hometown is shaken by a local teen's suicide, Emma's own tragedy is placed in sharp relief.