Earlier this week we posted about this year's Youth Media Awards, and since then we've been lucky enough to interview two of the honorees!
First up: Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, talks to us about Why We Broke Up, an "intoxicating, melancholy meditation on love" that is even more special for its illustrations by Maira Kalman. In the interview, Handler discusses writing from a teenage girl's perspective, collaborating with the talented Kalman and why he won't reveal his own worst breakup. Why We Broke Up received a Printz Honor. Read more here.
John Corey Whaley, a 28-year-old debut novelist (and former schoolteacher) probably had the best day of his life earlier this week when Where Things Come Back was honored with the Printz Award. In his enthusiastic interview, Whaley tells us about how he reacted to this incredible news, how he came to write this story and what he's working on next. This book is of special interest to me because it takes place in Arkansas, and one of the themes is the rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker! (As a native Arkansan, I have gone searching for this very bird in the Big Woods.) Read more about Whaley and his Printz Award-winning novel here.
Finally, I know that not all of our readers are children's book enthusiasts, but both of these novels definitely have "crossover" appeal—the stories are universal, the writing is superb and you don't have to be 14 to connect with the characters.
We featured both of these interviews—as well as 10+ other book recommendations—in this morning's edition of Children's Corner. Click here if you'd like to sign up for the enewsletter.
Will you be checking out these novels? What teen books do you think will appeal most to adult readers?
Zarr's first novel, Story of a Girl, was a National Book Award finalist, and her third novel, Once Was Lost, was described in BookPage as "part realistic fiction, part mystery, part religious story and all together one gentle, smart read that features believable characters, flaws and all."
I like Zarr's work because no matter how many dystopian/post-apocalyptic/paranormal YA books I read—my heart will always be with realistic contemporary stories filled which characters in a world that I recognize.*
How to Save a Life is the story of two teens, Jill and Mandy. Jill's father recently died and her mother plans to adopt a baby, and Mandy is pregnant, and wants a better life for her child than what she is able to give.
This summer at the American Library Association's conference in New Orleans, Zarr dropped by the BookPage booth to talk about the process of writing a dual narrative, why this book was a joy to write and why she writes for teens. Check it out:
Do you have any favorite authors who have books coming out this month? Today?
*I enjoy the paranormal stuff, too, but even as a kid I liked realistic stories the best. Prime example: Madeleine L'Engle is my favorite author of all time . . . but I always preferred the Chronos framework to the Kairos books. Bonus points of that means anything to you! What are your preferences re: contemporary realism vs. paranormal?
Our reviewer practically dares you to read one of this year's Newbery Honor winners: "What’s the title? It’s Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus, but seriously, you wouldn’t like it. I mean, why would you want to read about a kid thrust into a situation that would scare the pants off of most people, when you won’t even try peas?"
It's a true story based on the life of Manjiro, a Japanese fishing boy, and we loved talking with Preus at ALA 2011 about why she chose this true story to become her first YA book:
What is your favorite novel based on a true story?
Heart of a Samurai came out a year ago, but it's still one of our favorite middle grade novels. Have you read it? Will you?
For more author interviews from ALA 2011, visit our YouTube channel.
Tim Wynne-Jones (author of the Rex Zero series) has a new book out this week. Called Blink & Caution, it's about a couple of teen runaways who get drawn into a dangerous crime—and fall into an unconventional romantic relationship.
Our reviewer Heather Seggel liked the book so much that we decided to interview Wynne-Jones for the latest issue of Reading Corner. The questions in the interview range from serious to silly, but here's my favorite:
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with one fictional character, who would you want it to be?
Probably Hamlet. I'd make him do all the work. It would be good therapy for him—no time to stand around soliloquizing. Is that even a word? Anyway, Hamlet. I just hope the island would be somewhere tropical and not in the North Sea. Who wants to hang with a melancholy Dane when it's cold and rainy all the time?
I know many of our adult readers enjoy YA books—will you check out Blink & Caution?
Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to interview Alexandra Adornetto about Halo, her New York Times best-selling book that's the start of a new trilogy. It's always exciting to meet authors, but it was a special treat to chat with Ally—she's only 18, after all.
Halo is Ally's fourth novel, although it's her first to be published in the United States. The story is about three angels who come down from heaven to battle the Dark Forces present on earth. Two of the angels are experienced, but one—Bethany—is just a teenager. Besides coping with her divine responsibility, she's also got to deal with prom, high school drama and Xavier Woods—a sweet and sexy mortal boy. You'll have to read the book yourself to find out if Bethany and Xavier can be together, but in the meantime, watch Part I of our interview with Ally. (You can watch Part II on BookPage's YouTube channel.)
Judging from the raves on Ally's Facebook page, it's clear that the Halo trilogy will be a huge success—teens love the book and enjoy talking to Ally. I even heard a rumor that at her recent signing at Nashville's Davis-Kidd Booksellers, fans were lobbying for the young author to come to Vanderbilt for college!
Enter to win a SIGNED copy of Halo by leaving the answer to this question: What kind of music does Ally like? (Hint: the answer is in Part II and on Ally's Facebook.) The contest will run through October 15.
*Note: This contest is open to everybody (all ages, non-U.S. residents, etc.).