What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'young adult literature')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: young adult literature, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 240
26. July 17 is Philippine National Children's Book Day

How will you celebrate? =D

0 Comments on July 17 is Philippine National Children's Book Day as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
27. Miscellany 6-14-2012

* This is my second guest blog post for PaperTigers. Please read it to find out about some new Philippine young adult literature. =D

* Click here to read about a possible international book bloggers meetup. If it happens, I'll definitely be there!

* Fantastic news! Tu Books has announced the first annual New Visions Award. The New Visions Award will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and a standard publication contract with Tu Books. An honor winner will receive a cash grant of $500. Click here for more details. I look forward to reading the winning novels!

0 Comments on Miscellany 6-14-2012 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
28. Book Shopping in Singapore

Every year, the Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) in Singapore sets up a wonderful bookstore for the festival attendees. This year, the bookstore was the best it's ever been because it was run by Bookaburra, a specialist children's bookseller in Singapore that believes in "good books and even finer children." There was a greater variety of the latest children's and young adult books from all over the world and the people from Bookaburra were doing a great job hand-selling. This, of course, was dangerous for the wallets of all the festival attendees!

While in Singapore for the AFCC, I made sure to visit Woods in the Books, an independent picture book shop for all ages. The shop had a well-curated collection of new and classic board books, picture books, comics, and graphic novels from around the world. The Sunday afternoon I was there, there were so many customers: artists, families with very small children, and young professionals (I could even hear them talking about the books they were reading). Very heartening!

When in Singapore, please make sure to visit Bookaburra and Woods in the Books. Or you can wait for the 4th Asian Festival of Children's Content (May 25-28, 2013). That's okay, too. ;o)

2 Comments on Book Shopping in Singapore, last added: 6/12/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
29. Fall books cover reveal: Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Check it out at The Open Book!

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. You can comment here or there.

Add a Comment
30. Updated multicultural SFF booklist

ETA 5/22/12: I’m keeping this book list up to date on Pinterest nowadays, linking each book to its Goodreads entry. It’s much easier to just pin a book than to keep this list up to date. For the running lists (broken down by age group and genre) and more, go here:


ETA: I’ve finally gotten the ability to edit the post back, so I’ve put as many of the suggested books into the list now as I can. Suggestions always still welcome. This is a continuous project.

I’ve gotten a lot of great suggestions to add to the list, but my website seems to still be broken, and my own computer has a dead motherboard (well, it did when I started writing this last week—thankfully, it’s now fixed). I’m still figuring out why WordPress won’t let me edit any of my old content.

So, in the interest of having one place that people can use as a resource, I’m going to copy everything into this entry. Rather than divide the list by what I’ve read and what I haven’t, which was just more a personal exercise last year in wondering whether my own reading habits had reached past my own culture, I’ll divide the list by age group and genre (fantasy/SF). What that means is that I am not making a comment on how good I think a book is or recommending it/not recommending it—there are several books on this list I haven’t had a chance to read yet. It’s simply a list compiling what’s out there. I’ve also added books that I’ve discovered over the last year or that have been suggested to me in the comments. Go to the previous booklist post for comments on some of the books in this list.

Middle Grade Fantasy

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, 2009, Grace Lin
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, 2008, Nahoko Uehashi, and its sequel, Moribito II
  • City of Fire, Laurence Yep
  • The Tiger’s Apprentice, Laurence Yep
  • Dragon of the Lost Sea, Laurence Yep (and pretty much anything else written by Laurence Yep)
  • Zahrah the Windseeker, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Chronus Chronicles, Anne Ursu (someone mentioned this and I haven’t read them—are the main characters people of color or is it set in a non-Western culture? from its Amazon listing, it seems to star a white girl and use Greek mythology, which are great, but don’t fit the definition we’re using here)
  • The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan
  • Sword and Wandering Warrior, Da Chen
  • The Conch Bearer, Chitra B. Divakaruni
  • Circle of Magic quartet, Tamora Pierce
  • Circle Opens series, Tamora Pierce
  • Pendragon series (?)
  • Un Lun Dun, China Mieville
  • Lavender-Green Magic, by Andre Norton
  • Dragon Keeper and Garden of the Purple Dragon, Carole Wilkinson
  • Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja, Simon Higgins
  • The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle, Deva Fagan
  • Magic Carpet, Scott Christian Sava
  • Marvelous World #01: The Marvelous Effect, Troy Cle
  • Ninth Ward, Jewel Parker Rhodes

Middle Grade Science Fiction

31. Cassandra Clare on the Myth that Authors Automatically Condone What We Depict

Cassandra Clare has written an important piece called Rape Myths, Rape Culture and the Damage Done. If you haven’t read it already you really should. Be warned: she discusses much which is deeply upsetting.

What I want to briefly comment on here is the notion that to write about rape or war or any other terrible thing is to automatically condone it. Cassie writes:

[T]he most important point to be made here is that to depict something is not to condone it. This is a mistake that is made all the time by people who you would think would know better. Megan Cox Gurdon in the Wall Street Journal, for instance, excoriated YA books for being too dark, zoning in specifically on “Suzanne Collins’s hyper-violent, best-selling Hunger Games trilogy” and Lauren Myracle’s Shine, which depicts a hate crime against a gay teenager. Anyone paying any attention, of course, can tell that while violence is depicted in the Hunger Games, it is hardly endorsed. It is, in fact, a treatise against violence and war, just as Shine is a treatise against violence and hate crimes. Gurdon notes only the content of the books and ignores the context, which is a unfortunate mistake for a book reviewer. If the only people in the book who approve of something are the villains (nobody but the bad guys thinks the Hunger Games are anything but a moral evil) then it is a fair bet the book is about how that thing is bad.

What Cassie said. If you follow that argument through to its logical conclusion than we who write books marketed at teenagers must not write about conflict. We must only write upbeat, happy books in which no one is hurt or upset and nothing bad ever happens. But even that would not be enough because I have seen books like Maureen Johnson’s The Bermudez Triangle described as “dark.” A gentle, funny, wry book about two girls who fall in love is dark? I’ve seen other upbeat, happy books described as “dark” because the protags have (barely described at all) sex.

The complaint that YA books are too “dark” usually does not come from teenagers. Teenagers write and complain to me that there’s no sequel to my standalone books, that there should be four or five books in my trilogy, that I take too long to write books, that I’m mean about unicorns, that zombies DO NOT rule, that they hated that I don’t make it clear what really happened in Liar, that Liar made them throw the book across the room,1 that their name is Esmeralda/Jason/Andrew so why did I have to make the character with that name in my books so mean, that one of the Fibonacci numbers in Magic Lessons isn’t, in fact, a Fibonacci.2 I also get the occasional complaint that their teacher made them read my book when it SUCKED OUT LOUD. People, that is SO NOT MY FAULT! BLAME YOUR TEACHER! 0 Comments on Cassandra Clare on the Myth that Authors Automatically Condone What We Depict as of 1/1/1900

Add a Comment
32. A Little Taste of What's Discussed at the Asian Festival of Children's Content

0 Comments on A Little Taste of What's Discussed at the Asian Festival of Children's Content as of 4/13/2012 1:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
33. Waiting On Wednesday: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 8 May 2012)

Book description:

When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

You know what I love about the book cover? It shows the boy's eyes. Usually when an Asian model is used for a book cover (or when it's *supposed* to be an Asian on the cover) his/her eyes are not shown. Sigh.

Click here to read Publishers Weekly's interview with Patricia McCormick about Never Fall Down, and watch the video below for Patricia McCormick's interview with Arn Chorn-Pond, the man who inspired the novel!

[Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.]

5 Comments on Waiting On Wednesday: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick, last added: 4/12/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
34. A Proppian SCBWI-CCP Workshop for Children's & YA Book Writers

When: 26 May 2012, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Hosts: Philippine chapter - Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)

YA author, journalist, cultural promoter, translator, and language and intercultural communication teacher Tanya Tynjälä (SCBWI Peru/Finland) will conduct a workshop on writing stories for children and young adults.

The lectures and exercises will be based on the work of Soviet formalist scholar Vladimir Propp who analyzed the basic plot components of Russian folk tales to identify their simplest irreducible narrative elements.

This workshop is open to anyone age 18 and above who is a published or aspiring writer, or who teaches or wants to teach creative writing for children and young adults.

Fee: Includes lunch, transferrable, nonrefundable

P800 if you register on or before April 20

P1000 if you register April 20 to May 15

P1200 if you register after May 15

P100 discount for SCBWI members

If interested, please contact SCBWI Philippines: Beaulah Taguiwalo, Regional Advisor (taguiwalo8888@yahoo.com) / Dominique (Nikki) Torres, Asst. Regional Advisor (nikkigtorres@yahoo.com)

0 Comments on A Proppian SCBWI-CCP Workshop for Children's & YA Book Writers as of 3/31/2012 4:14:00 AM
Add a Comment
35. Portraying people of color in children’s/YA fantasy–are we anywhere near “there” yet?

3/21/2012, ETA: Because this post has been linked a lot over the course of the last several months, I just wanted to point out that this was posted when I was in the process of starting the small press that became Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, where we publish middle grade and young adult science fiction, fantasy, and mystery starring main characters of color. We’ve published five books so far, and I think you’ll love them. If you believe, as I do, that more stories like these are important—awesome fantastic adventures in which people of color are the stars—please check them out and share them with your friends.


When I was in the fourth grade, I always wondered why I wasn’t born Japanese. You see, back then (mid-80s), the news was always saying that the Japanese had the best education system in the world, and that Americans were falling behind. Given that my life goal at the time was to be the smartest kid in the world, I really, really wished that I had been born Japanese.

Nothing I could do about that, but I could do my geography project on Japan. (I was in the accelerated group, and we did countries of the world instead of state history in the fourth grade. I also did Australia and India.) But the only resources I could find in our relatively small school library were a decade-old encyclopedia and several books from the 50s. I ended up making a small English-Japanese dictionary with about five words (which I still have around here somewhere) for my project to go along with the report.

I can’t recall having read one single book from the time I was able to read until the time I graduated high school about any character who was from an Asian country or about an American whose family background was Asian, however. There just wasn’t anything like that available to me in small-town farm country in Illinois. I’m sure this is as much to do with librarian/teacher selection as it had to do with publishing availability, but that’s just the way things were.

Looking at the CCBC’s report from last year of books published in 2008, however, I’m not sure we’ve come very far from that. We’ve come a long way, yet how far is there to go?

Ever since Race Fail 09 (which I didn’t follow much of, but even reading a part of which was very thought-provoking), I’ve become even more aware of this issue as it relates to fantasy than I have before (even though before that, as an editor, I always tried to acquire books that were as diverse as possible, whether that meant magic-wielding kender or girls from all over the world battling vampiric fairies). I’ve pondered on it for several months, and it’s been great to see so many authors pondering on it in their blogs, too. Just in the last few days, I’ve found a couple great posts on it by authors R.J. Anderson and Mitali Perkins (Mitali has a lot of great insights into this, as you can see from her blog).

The biggest thing I’ve been pondering is that it seems to me that in children’s and YA fantasy, we’re probably at a smaller percentage of multicultural themes and characters than realistic books (note that I’m conflating race and culture here on purpose—I’m using race and culture in an and/or way). Note how in the CCBC report, they

Add a Comment
36. Happy Book Birthday to Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction - An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories

Today is the launch of Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction (Stone Bridge Press), an anthology of thirty-six Japan teen stories. Proceeds from the sales of Tomo will go directly to long-term relief efforts for the teens displaced by the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami disasters. Buying this book will help pay the educational expenses of these affected teens!

Tomo is edited by Holly Thompson and the stories are by authors and illustrators from all around the world who share a connection to Japan, including Andrew Fukuda, Tak Toyoshima, Alan Gratz, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and Shogo Oketani.

Visit the Tomo blog for more information and please do everything you can to support the book. I'll be posting my reviews and interviews as soon as I can!

0 Comments on Happy Book Birthday to Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction - An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
37. Book List: Verse

Verse can so often be a scary undertaking for readers but today we’ve listed some titles that make verse novels relevent and appealing to even the most reluctant.

Song of Sparrow FNL JKT.inddSong of the Sparrow – Lisa Ann Sandell

The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters, lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere— joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry.

Words cannot accurately encapsulate how much I adore this book.  It is my number gifted book and I am yet to meet a person who fails to realise its magnificence.  Even the verse adverse appreciate the gentle turn of phrase, the emotional plight of the heroine and the lovely spin on Arthurian legend.


badboyA Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl – Tanya Lee Stone

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy, a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

A verse book that uses Judy Blume’s Forever as an important plot point?  Check.

A book that depicts girls are proactive and strong without needing to excel in archery.  Check.

A flowing style that weaves the tale of three independent girls who find themselves confused by their hormones and their choices?  Check.


starjumpsStar Jumps – Lorraine Marwood

A poignant verse novel depicting the joys and heartbreaks of a farming family as they struggle to cope with the devastating effects of long term drought. Told through the eyes of Ruby, day to day farm life involves playing in grassy paddocks with siblings, doing jobs and helping out, and witnessing birth, death and sacrifice. The family are devastated when they have to sell off some of their herd, but in the spirit of hope it is Ruby who tries in her own small way to help the family by making miniature bales of hay.

Skewing a little younger, this award winning title depicts the difficulties of living in Australian rural areas and the stresses that places upon the families that work the land.  Marwood has a lovely way with words


There is also:

  • Steven Herrick (Sl

    0 Comments on Book List: Verse as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
38. Book Review: Graffiti Moon

graffLucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.

Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.

Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.

Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.

An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.


Cath Crowley gets it. She understands perfectly the feelings of desire and recklessness that come with being young and in crush, and she puts these into words that resonate and characters that are real.

Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In Art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.
- p 26-27

On the surface Graffiti Moon is about love. Guys and girls chasing each other, often literally, trying to find the perfect fit. At its heart though, Graffiti Moon is about wanting. Each of the characters is longing for something – something to prove their worth, fix their faults, make them complete. In their most reductive forms, Lucy wants perfection; Ed wants acceptance; Leo wants stability; Jazz wants adventure; Daisy wants appreciation; and Dylan wants to feel worthy. It is the angst of this wanting, the tension arising from each character’s shortcomings that builds drama and suspense throughout the book. 

This tension is further facilitated through Crowley’s use of rotating character perspectives. The reader is allowed the privileged position of seeing Lucy and Ed in all of their truth – the beauty and the flaws. We see the misunderstandings and the missed connections between them even when they cannot. Crowley is skilled at creating complex characters and I applaud that all of them, regardless of gender, are dirty, mischievous, and sweet. It has to be said that Ed, Leo, and Dylan are the best bad-boys-with-good-hearts to appear in contemporary YA since Markus Zusak’s Wolfe brothers.*

Special mention must also be made of the non-traditional family situations in Graffiti Moon – Leo lives with his grandmother, Lucy’s father lives in their family shed. Crowley subtly reinforces the message that life and love are a matter of individuality; that the best way is not necessarily the typical way.

Graffiti Moon is a very visual novel. There are many beautiful descriptions of Shadow’s and Lucy’s respective artworks, as well as many references to well known artists and their works, from Picasso to Bill Henson. This gives Graffiti Moon a depth of reality that you don’t often see, and from a teaching perspective lends itself to more interesting classroom discussions and art exercises.

I don’t want to raise expectations too much as often the best reading experiences are those discovered quietly, but it’s hard not to when this book just. nails. it. I’m not the only one singing its praise either – among its honours Graffiti Moon has won the 0 Comments on Book Review: Graffiti Moon as of 1/1/1900

Add a Comment
39. Book List: xxx’s and ooo’s

flower_heartIt’s that time of the year again – that time when teddy bears show up with red pillowy hearts clasped to their chests and red roses triple in price.  Valentine’s Day.

In honour of this day –  a day in which Christian martyrs were honoured (many centuries past), courtly love was celebrated and now a day for lovers…and chocolate.

Here’s are some lovely reads to keep your heart fluttering.

Fault in Our Staers

The Fault in our Stars – John Green (2012)

Can any book compete with the bountiful feelings spilling out of readers for this book?  Two cancer stricken teens in love and full of philosophical and snarky conversation?  The answer is pretty simple, no.

Green has demonstrated real growth as a writer, as well as a firm handle on his trademark humour.

Liz’s review can be read here.


annaandthefrenchlkissAnna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (2011)

Voted most likely to make you want to pucker up to the nearest charmer with a gap in his teeth, Anna and the French Kiss is a delight.  You’ll fall in love with both Anna and the boy as they become friends and get to know each other – no instant love connection here.

Anna and the French Kiss takes the impossibility of an imagined connection and the pain of pining for someone who belongs for another, jumbles then all up and adds a foreign language.

Better yet, it all takes place in Paris.

And there’s macaroons.  Delish.


mandragoraMandragora – David McRobbie (1994)

While this tale could largely be aligned with history (based on Victoria’s naval history in the Warrnambool area) and paranormal (mandrake before the Potterfication), there is a lovely touch of romance.

While the present day characters of Adam and Catriona are strong, independent and crushing on one another – it’s the couple of the past that makes me a little weepy.  The story of Margaret and Jamie is interlinked with the present characters, a shipwreck, mandrake dolls and some possession which makes for a rollicking read.


Going Too FarGoing Too Far – Jennifer Echols (2009)

While tFioS might be the go to in YA cancer stories, this one can loosely link in – any more and I spoil the unfurling of the story.

Meg is a complex, strong, contradictory protagonist with boatloads of humour, snark and moxie. She’s tortured, yet exuberant. All her characteristics, her dialogue, her motivations and her decisions are all clear to understand and as such y

0 Comments on Book List: xxx’s and ooo’s as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
40. Book Review: Cinder

CinderCinderella goes steampunk. It’s a sexy concept, and from the cover you might expect some kind of femme fatale Cinderella who can punch out baddies in a single blow without missing a step in the waltz. Marissa Meyer’s imagining, however, is far more human.

Cinder is a cyborg in a futuristic Earth where the human race is served by machines and cyborgs are feared and revolted. Cinder is entirely the legal property of her stepmother, Linh Adri. She is also the best mechanic in New Beijing – so much so that Prince Kai, royal heart-throb, seeks her services. As she is drawn further into Prince Kai’s world Cinder is desperate to keep her “deformity” hidden.

Prince Kai’s problems are far greater – he is struggling to maintain peace with the race of Lunars that inhabit the Moon, and to find a cure for letumosis, the plague-like disease ravaging Earth.

Sound complicated? Cinder does feel overloaded with plot at times and sophisticated readers will see, like a cyborg’s parts, the mechanics at work.

What saves Cinder is the strength of its characters. Cinder’s struggle to accept herself and her efforts to carve a space in the world for the people (and androids) she loves is easily relatable. Iko, the WALL-E-esque sidekick, provides heart as well as comic relief. And it’s a pleasure to see Adri given more depth and nuance than most stepmother tropes.

Cinder is an easy and enjoyable read. It’s Meyer’s debut novel and the first in The Lunar Chronicles – with three subsequent titles already slated for release, the future looks promising.

Penguin: Read an extract.

0 Comments on Book Review: Cinder as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
41. The unreliable narrator: writing in the first person

Doing a study guide is an interesting way to discover things about your own books - especially if you do it 16 years after the book was published. A bit of distance, you could say.

Or, since Peeling the Onion was written in the first person, 'I could say.' And I, of course, can say anything I want. That's what fiction writers do – and so do first person fictitious narrators.

The problem with first person narration is that it's only one person's point of view. The other characters' motives, thoughts and beliefs (and their actions) are seen purely through the protagonist's eyes. The more absorbed the reader is with that protagonist, the harder it is to step back and wonder if there could be another side to the story.

As I was going through some of the notes that teachers and student teachers have sent me for this book over the years, it struck me that many of them, and most students, believe everything that Anna says – about her emotions and actions, which is good, because the point of her internal dialogue was to report as truly as she (or the author behind her) possibly could   – but also about the other characters. And that's a problem.I love my Anna. She's a teenage girl fighting for her life and independence; at different times she's depressed, determined, overwhelmed, angry, bitter, hopeful, and occasionally many of these at the same time, or at least on the same day. People who are angry, wounded and bewildered do not always make reliable reporters. Teenage girls have been known (just occasionally!) to focus their dislike of someone on superficial characteristics like hairy legs. As readers we have to stand back and remember that, and as writers we need to drop a few clues, without ever stepping outside the narrator - because the main point of using the first person is for the reader to be pulled in and identify with that 'I.'

And if that sounds very clinical, it's what I'm thinking as I do notes 16 years later. At the time it was just what felt right after several drafts in the third person. I'm probably a bit more conscious now of why I make decisions once I've made them, but feeling right, or sounding right when I read it aloud, is still the only way I know how to choose which way to tell the story.

The Study Notes will be posted on my website as soon as my publisher has prettied them up for me. Email me if you need them earlier.

0 Comments on The unreliable narrator: writing in the first person as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
42. Book List: Modern Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are pervasive. Across cultures and throughout time fairy tales are retold, reworked, reimagined. So what do the classics look like when they’re placed in a more contemporary setting?


Beastly – Alex Flinn

Beauty and the Beast in modern-day New York City.

Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Harper Collins


A Kiss In Time – Alex Flinn

When Jack went on holidays to Europe, he wasn’t expecting to find Sleeping Beauty

I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen. Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Harper Collins

SistersRedSisters Red – Jackson Pearce

Scarlett and Rosie March are not your usual Little Red Riding Hoods, and Fenris are no ordinary wolves…

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris—the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend—but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?


sweetlySweetly - Jackson Pearce<

1 Comments on Book List: Modern Fairy Tales, last added: 2/2/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
43. The 2012 American Library Association Youth Media Awards

Today the American Library Association announced the winners of the 2012 Youth Media Awards - the top children's and young adult books, audio books, and videos of the past year. The winners included. . .

Stonewall Book Award

Honor book:

Money Boy by Paul Yee (Groundwood Books)

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Honor book:

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say (Scholastic Press)

John Newbery Medal

Honor book:

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Congratulations!!! Click here to see the list of all winners.

0 Comments on The 2012 American Library Association Youth Media Awards as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
44. On sequels

I’ve been reading a number of highly anticipated sequels lately, as well as editing a sequel or two myself. It has me thinking about the best ways to reintroduce your reader to your characters and plot that they may have just read last week—or maybe it’s been more than a year. How do you avoid over-dumping on the re-reader without leaving the non-re-reader in the dusts of confusion?

One strategy I’ve seen in sequels for young readers, especially, is to just stop the action entirely at some point in the first chapter and explain what happened in the last book. It’s a trick I saw used a lot in series books for kids when I was a young reader obsessed with Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books.

This doesn’t really work for me. Any stopping of the action for an infodump breaks the spell for me as a reader, taking me time to rebuild my suspension of disbelief. It worked to a point in those old series books because my library didn’t always have every single copy in order when I wanted them (not to mention they were missing several volumes), but especially if you’re not writing series books (as in, shared-world), it’s not the best strategy, in my opinion.

Then there’s the school of thought that just dumps you into the action of the new book. This can work, but it’s tricky. One book I read recently is a good example (no, I’m not going to tell you the name of it): I’m right there with the story until the character thinks of another character who she’s lost touch with. He’s not in any scene for the first quarter of the book, and I was racking my brain that whole time trying to remember which of two or three possibilities he could be, and that confusion wasn’t cleared up when he showed up in-scene.  And it’s a confusion that I’m not sure the author could have anticipated. Maybe I should have glanced back at the previous book to remind myself. Was he a love interest? Was he a brother? Was he a potential love interest who turned out to be a brother? (Perhaps too much Star Wars in my diet?) I couldn’t remember until at least halfway through the book, and mostly because I picked up the last book and skimmed. This has happened to me a few times lately.

I think there are ways to help jog the reader’s memory without losing momentum or forcing the reader to go back to the previous book (some readers might not even have the previous book on hand—they might have borrowed it from the library or a friend). In my opinion, the best way to remind readers, whether they’ve just read a book and are launching into the sequel immediately or it’s been a year since they read the last book, is the same principle as getting your reader into a completely new world: through well-placed details planted with a deft touch.

Let’s look at the opening pages of Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy, for an example. The first two paragraphs are right in the moment, Katniss thinking about what’s going on right now and what’s about to happen. We don’t get a direct reference to the Hunger Games until paragraph 3, but all along she’s talking about their outcome because that’s what life is for her now: reporters and camera crews, preparation for the Victory Tour, the dread she feels so much that it’s physically affecting her.

Then in paragraph 3 we get a quick review of book 1 with an in-scene rumination on how much she wants to forget the Hunger Games but isn’t allowed to because it suits the political purposes of the Capital. One paragraph, and it all matters to the current plot. She doesn’t stop the plot to explain what the Hunger Games were, just reminds the reader with a deft touch of the repercussions of all the events of book 1.

Then we’re on to the scene again, and the purpose of Katniss being in the woods: hunting for her best friend, Gale, who can’

Add a Comment
45. Ideas for the National Year of Reading


Last Wednesday, the 16th of November, was the Public Librarians of Victoria Network Conference.

The main topic up for discussion: what to do for the National Year of Reading? Here are some great ideas that the participants on the day workshopped together!


Intensive festival/ Holiday program:

  • Book gigs/ theatre – use local theatre groups of Vic Youth Theatre
  • Writing Workshop (examples Paul Collins)
  • Illustration workshop (examples comics, manga)
  • Book Production (examples cover designs)
  • Book Selection evening
  • Competitions

Mini festival



  • Members of the family’s favourite books
  • Favourite books on display for each person in a family tree

Make a tree/ Use a tree in a pot:

  • Find an author you like
  • Than other books you like that are similar (series, authors, books)
  • Use a leaf as a star review system

Children’s Area:

  • Wall pictures/ image of a tree
  • Branch for different books
  • Children put up authors on the tree, pictures of favourite characters, etc
  • Write on a leaf why they like/recommend a book
  • Different size leaves for grades/ genres or themes
  • Make a special reading corner

Favourite/ comfortable reading areas:

  • Use tree to start conversations about ‘where do you like to read?’

Use the image/ symbolism of growth, strength to start creative writing from a seed to a story:

  • How does it develop?
  • Grow?

What a tree does:

  • A forest, filled with: crime tree/ mystery tree/ romance tree, etc

Environmental issues:

  • How we need trees, different species of trees, uses of trees, etc



  • Students from local secondary schools
  • Workshops over the school holidays
  • Culminating in a performance for the public



  • Database of local contacts
  • Using local contacts
  • Database contacts for state-wide access
  • Finding contacts



  • How to entice writers/presenters to travel
  • Issues for regional and outer suburbia
  • A database of author’s who a willing to travel regional


National Year of Reading:

  • Using National Year of Reading branding to make activities more visible and use this as an enticement
  • Would add funding
  • Also a draw card for the presenters


Art and Writing community project:

  • Originated with an idea from an American artist, Frank Warren, who asked for ‘secrets on a postcard’.
  • A secret (funny, sad, moving, happy secrets, etc)
  • Have the community do their own post secret
  • Have them displayed in the library
  • Alternatively there is ‘six word memoirs’


Suggest books:

  • Have an already established shortlist
  • Creative ways to vote- posters, old fridge, car doors, etc
  • Cork Board – with suggestions/ questions and post-it notes for people to make direct response/ dialogue
  • Utilise skills/ skilled people in the community
  • On-line pdl/ questions of the day (multiple choice, yes or no)
  • To suggest books/ series or not

Favourite Aussie authors

Encourage diversity in reading by asking reading question ‘where do we find Dogmatix’?

0 Comments on Ideas for the National Year of Reading as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
46. Book List: Adios High School

It is no surprise that books written for young people might focus on elements of moving on from adolescence and stepping into more adult worlds.  As exams finish up we thought it might be nice to take  a closer look at books that explore the last year of school and the tentative steps into tertiary education.

The first one will take no one by surprise…

9780140360462Melina Marchetta –  Looking for Alibrandi

Melina Marchetta’s stunning debut novel Looking for Alibrandi is one girl’s story of her final year at school, a year she sets herself free. Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen and in her final year at a wealthy girls’ school. This is the year she meets her father, the year she falls in love, the year she searches for Alibrandi and finds the real truth about her family – and the identity she has been searching for.  Penguin

It is hard to believe that it has been twenty years since this book launched itself into Australians consciousness (and eleven since the film debuted).  While Josie is tiptoeing that fine line of crushing and lusting after two diametrically opposed guys, getting to know her father and unravelling her family history, she is also running the year twelve gamut.  Uni pressure, exams and the great beyond all play an important element in Alibrandi as Josie finds her place in the world, her school and her family.

graffiti_moonCath Crowley – Graffiti Moon

Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.
Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.
Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.
Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.
An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be. PanMacmillan

Unlike Alibrandi which takes place through the entire final year of school, Graffiti Moon takes place over a single evening on the last night of school.  Multiple perspectives lace this exploration of self, art and life.  Ed is an interesting character as his school career ended years earlier and yet he’s surrounded by friends that have seen school through to the end.  It’s an interesting point of difference amongst many youth literature titles that focus on university as an end goal.

9780732289003John Green – Paper Towns

Quentin Jacobsen – Q to his friends- is eighteen and has always loved the edgy Margo Roth Spiegelman. As children, they′d discovered a dead body together. Now at high school, Q′s nerdy while Margo is uber-cool.

One night, Q is basking in the predictable boringness of his life when Margo, dressed as a ninja, persuades him to partake in several hours of mayhem. Then she vanishes. While her family shrugs off this latest disappearance, Q follows Margo′s string of elaborate clues – including a poem about death.

Q′s friends, Radar, Ben and Lacey, help with the search, 
and a post turns up on a website: Margo will be in a 
certain location for the next 24 hours only. Th

0 Comments on Book List: Adios High School as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
47. Net News: 28th November 2011

Circular-Walking-Bookshelf-thumb-550xauto-377041.  Looking for something to read?  Go no further than this lovely little Literature Map highlighted by Flavorwire.  Just type in your favourite author and watch a series of names juggle to and fro in order to arrange a recommended reading list of authors.  Even better, young adult adults are in the mix including Sarah Lessen, Jennifer Echols, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett and more.

Literature Map
2.  Need proof that time allows you to be more creative?  Check out this two minute video out on youtube.
3.  Do you know all the punctuation marks?  Buzzwire presents 13 that you might not know existed.  I am particular fond of the The Asterism  which they claim “…has an awesome name, a cool look, and a really lame usage.”  Agreed.

13 Punctuation Marks You Never Know Existed
4.  The Amperstand Project is a brand new initiative at Hardie Grant Egmont to flush out those new, undiscovered Australian writing talents.  Targeted at writers of contemporary Australian young adult fiction they are hoping to discover the next Melina Marchetta.

HGE have a whole list of suggestions of what they are on the look for, which you can find here.  Submissions close on the 27th of February, 2012.
5.  Readings has released their top young adult titles picks for 2011.  We were extremely excited to see Vikki Wakefield, Kelly Gardiner and Jane Higgins (among many other fabulous books) on the list as we’ve bee graced by their presence in our programming in 2011.

0 Comments on Net News: 28th November 2011 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
48. Booklist: Going historical

Here are a few ideas for readers who want to move away from dystopian, paranormal or contemporary fiction and immerse themselves in stories of danger, romance, and political intrigue from ages past…

1. VIII – by H. M. Castor

VIIIHenry VIII up close and personal – told from his point of view.  His is a childhood of danger, betrayal, and now and then, love. His father  grabbed the English throne and has been watching over his shoulder ever since. For him, and his sons, the succession is vital: Henry must have sons. No wonder Henry is paranoid.

When his marriage to Catherine of Aragon fails to produce the sons he needs, Henry turns elsewhere … and the rest, they say, is history.

For fans of Philippa Gregory and Sharon Penman.

2.  The Other Countess – Eve Edwards

Other CountessFans of Philippa Gregory’s books set in Tudor England will love this story of Ellie, daughter of an alchemist and a Spanish noblewman, and Will, oldest son of an impoverished family who need him to marry well to restore their fortune.

A love story and much more, the book wears its research lightly but never puts a foot wrong in showing the reader the realities of Queen Elizabeth I’s court and country life. Ellie lives in a world which places more importance on her marriage prospects than on her well-educated mind. And Will has to make up his mind between love for himself and loyalty to his family.

3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

This is History with a twist, superbly written. Australian Markus Zusak has won numerous awards since it was published in 2005.

Book Thief

0 Comments on Booklist: Going historical as of 1/1/1900

Add a Comment
49. Call for Submissions: Tu Books

Tu Books publishes speculative fiction for children and young adults featuring diverse characters and settings. Our focus is on well-told, exciting, adventurous fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novels featuring people of color set in worlds inspired by non-Western folklore or culture. We welcome Western settings if the main character is a person of color.

We are looking specifically for stories for both middle grade (ages 8-12) and young adult (ages 12-18) readers. (We are not looking for picture books, chapter books, or short stories. Please do not send submissions in these formats.)

For more information on how to submit, please see our submission guidelines. We are not accepting unagented email submissions at this time.

What we’re particularly interested in seeing lately: Asian steampunk, any African culture, contemporary African-American stories, Latino/a stories, First Nations/Native American/Aboriginal fantasy or science fiction written by tribal members, original postapocalyptic worlds, historical fantasy or mystery set in a non-Western setting. Please note that while our focus remains on main characters that are people of color, we strongly welcome GLBTQ characters as well.

We look forward to reading your book!

0 Comments on Call for Submissions: Tu Books as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
50. And now part two of the cover reveal: Cat Girl&#8217;s Day Off

Check it out here!

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. Please leave any comments there.

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts