Sunday, November 25

We're talking about - what else? - BOOKS!

Some people start writing in a particular genre because that's the genre they like to read the most themselves, so it feels like a natural fit. Some people start writing in a particular genre because it's a "hot" market at the moment and they think it will be easy to break in, little realizing how quickly hotness can cool.

I came to write teen fiction in neither of those ways. Rather, I had an idea for a story - about a girl on the fast track for Yale who finds herself pregnant during her senior year in high school - and I realized right away that for the story to be as powerful as I wanted it to be, it couldn't be written in the past tense that characterizes the overwhelming majority of my writing for adults. The distancing effect of time would take the urgent immediacy out of the tale, giving it the safety net of, "Yes, this hard thing happened to me when I was young, but now I play a doctor on TV." But once I started writing in present tense, the voice became authentically young and a new area for me to write in was born.

Since writing that book in typical cart-before-the-horse fashion, I've actually started to read in this genre I'm now published in and what I've come to realize is that teen fiction rocks. With no further ado then, here, in chrnologogical order, are some teen fiction books I've read so far in 2007 that particularly rock:

The Abundance of Katharines ~ John Green
Pretty Little Liars ~ Sara Shepard
King Dork ~ Frank Portman
The Boy Book ~ E. Lockhart
Sold ~ Patricia McCormick
The Christopher Killer ~ Alane Ferguson
The Private Series ~ Kate Brian
Goose Girl ~ Shannon Hale
Son of the Mob ~ Gordon Korman
The Invention of Hugo Cabret ~ Brian Selznick
The Case Against My Brother ~ Libby Sternberg
What Happened to Cass McBride? ~ Gail Giles
Speak ~ Laurie Halse Anderson
Are We There Yet? ~ David Levithan
Harmless ~ Dana Reinhardt
Twisted ~ Laurie Halse Anderson
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress ~ Tina Ferraro
Golden ~ Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Haters ~ Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Life on the Refrigerator Door ~ Alice Kuipers
Prom ~ Laurie Halse Anderson
Peak ~ Roland Smith
Vampire Academy ~ Richelle Mead
Tantalize ~ Cynthia Leitich Smith

And, of course, goes without saying, all my sister TFCers have written great books that everyone should read.

So, now that I've provided everyone with a reading list to last a while, it's your turn. Please holler back at me and tell me what I've been missing, what books I really must read.

Be well. Don't forget to write.


Rose Green said...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Gatty's Tale, by Kevin Crossley-Holland
The Princess and the Hound, by Mette Ivie Harrison
Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Wendy Toliver said...

Hi Lauren,
Great post!
I think you'd like The Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Rose! I read the Zusak in 2006 - such an amazing book - and I know Heather B. Will look for the others.

Wendy, I'll look for the BH book - thanks!

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, Lauren, for the mention of my book! And it goes without saying how I much I enjoyed Angel's Choice!

I'd like to add Revenge of the Homecoming Queen by Stephanie Hale. Yes, Steph is a friend, but she's also an incredibly talented, funny writer, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Jenine said...

I left a list of my faves on myspace, but after checking out your list some suggestions would be:

Dairy Queen/The Off Season by Catherine Murdock

Falling for Romeo by Jennifer Laurens and Getting Lost with Boys by Hailey Abbott (very cute, unserious romantic YA)

Tithe/Valiant/Ironside by Holly Black and/or anything by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I suggest these because I saw you've read a few fantasies and they both write really great fantasy.

Wide Awake and Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

A.S. King said...

Hey Lauren!

Wow. I will arm myself with this list too, on my next visit to Borders!
I'm trying to read a lot of YA this year, so all of these suggestions are super!

The one I HAVE read that's not here? Or Not by Brian Mandabach. I really enjoyed it!


p.s. - I second the vote for Eighth Grade Bites. My niece & nephew won't stop raving about the copy they stole from me.

A.S. King said...

I just noticed how many exclamation points I used in my last post. Can you tell I'm excited?


Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Tina! I'll have to get Steph's book.

Jenine, I'm so glad you stopped by...and left me with such a great list! I hope you'll visit us here at TFC often.

Hey, A.S. - I know you!

Everyone, the excitable A.S. King just made her first book sale to Flux - yea, A.S.!!!

Lisa McMann said...

Hey Lauren!

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Every Crooked Pot by Renee Rosen

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thanks for all your recommendations! I've only read maybe half of them. Yay for more good stuff!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Lisa! Of course I read/loved Renee Rosen's Every Crooked Pot - I blurbed it. :) And I can't wait to read your first book, WAKE.

bevrosenbaum said...

I'm another huge Laurie Halse Anderson fan! And I just read Markus Zusak's new book, I am the Messenger. Utterly fabulous.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Hey, Bev! My list is a bit LHA-heavy, isn't it? :) (Btw, Messenger preceded Thief and I haven't read his earlier books yet.)

Lisa McMann said...

You are too kind!

And I totally forgot you blurbed Renee's book until you mentioned it. *grin*

(and I just mentioned elsewhere that Messenger came before Book Thief -- seems you already knew that! Oops!)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

No worries, Lisa. Great minds. ;)

Little Willow said...

Some of my favorite books released as YA in 2007 include but are not limited to:

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Cupcake by Rachel Cohn
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

Amanda Ashby said...

I just finished our Sara's 'Second Virginity of Suzy Green'. I read it quite a few times while she was writing it, but it was so much better reading it in book form!!!!!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Hey, Amanda!

Little Willow! I'm so honored you could drop by!

Sara Hantz said...

Lauren, I can't believe I haven't read any of the books on your list..... that will definitely change... I love recommendations.

Have you read any Carolyn Mackler? I love her books... always a must buy for me. Also Marked by PC Cast and Kristin Cast was really good. And let's not forget Saving Zoe by TFC's Alyson Noel, or Bev's I Was A Teenage Popsicle.

Melissa said...

I really loved Sarah Dessen's "Just Listen" and Kirsten Smith's "The Geography of Girlhood." Of course, I have about 20 titles still "to read" in my pile, so I am looking forward to some great ones from authors who've posted here--you're all in the stack! :)

Wendy Toliver said...

Hey A.S! Huge congrat's on the sale! Just think, your book might be on our reading lists soon! Yay! (see all the exclamation marks?!?)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Sara!

Melissa, I'm looking forward to reading VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY.

A.S. King said...

Thanks Wendy! And thanks, Lauren, for mentioning the sale. I suddenly feel like I have a lot to catch up on in the YA world, so I'll be lurking around here quite a bit to learn from the experts.
Boy, do I have a lot of reading to do...


Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

You'll fit right in, A.S. - already do.

Alyson Noel said...

Finally got my hands on Sara's
"The Second Virginity of Suzy Green" and I can't wait to read it!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Alyson, we are a real mutual-admiration society here, are we not?

Anonymous said...

sorry to be a dork....but i'd like to add my own book to the list! ; )
its called "almost home" and it came out last month from hyperion teens....its about a group of teen runaways on the streets of hollywood. ellen hopkins and patricia mccormick said some really nice stuff about it, it's good for fans of their work and other "edgy" YA lit....

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Congratulations on the book, Jessica! I see Kirkus gave it a god review - not an easy thing to get!

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