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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guest Post: Denise Jaden (Author of Losing Faith)

I want to thank Denise Jaden for stopping by my blog today to share with readers her thoughts about YA books today.

Denise Jaden's writing has appeared in Mississippi Crow Magazine (Spring, 2008), The Greensilk Journal (Fall 2007 - where her story, LOCKED AWAY, won an Editor's Choice Award),and The Tidepool Fiction Ezine. Her novels have received various awards through Romance Writers of America. Her first novel for teens, LOSING FAITH, is forthcoming from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster in September 2010. She lives just outside Vancouver, Canada with her husband and son.

LOSING FAITH is in stores now!

Some of the Best Things about YA Books Right Now

The young adult fiction market has been growing and stretching and making room for some amazing new authors in the last few years. No longer does a YA book have a large set of parameters it must meet. Genres are widening and crossing with one another, an ever-growing literary flavor is being welcomed, and overdone ideas about character relationships and plot outcomes are a thing of the past. Because of this, not only has YA exploded in growth in the last few years, we’re also seeing more and more adult readers who are being drawn to YA.

YA fiction has an immediacy that isn’t always there in other genres. You’d be hard-pressed to find a recent YA that doesn’t kick in and hook a reader within the first chapter. You’re always in the moment with the teen hero, and even those readers much older than their teen years can truly feel like they are part of the story.

A great example of this immediacy is THE DUFF, a contemporary YA, releasing this September. The main character, Bianca, finds herself quickly kissing the one guy who makes her blood boil. How could you not read on?

I mentioned an ever-growing acceptance of literary language in YA. A great example of this is THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, written by established poet and literary agent, Jandy Nelson. It’s one of those books you want to soak into for a good long while. You’ll want to read it again and again.

As for fresh ideas on character relationships, check out NOTHING LIKE YOU by Lauren Strasnick. The main character, Holly, sleeps with a boy not for love or acceptance, but rather to deaden the other pain in her life. But that’s just one unusual relationship in this book. Holly’s relationship with her best friend Nils takes plenty of unexpected twists and turns too.

These are only three examples in a very large sea of amazing recent YA fiction. What are some of your favorites? And what do you think are some of the best things about YA fiction today?

Thanks so much for stopping by Denise! For more info about Denise Jaden and her books, please visit her website here.

Check out the book trailer for Losing Faith!


  1. I think one of the great things about YA right now is the room for creativity - the genre is so popular that I think publishers are willing to take more chances with unique book ideas. Also I just love the fact that there's such a variety of YA books to choose from! I remember a time when the YA market hadn't exploded yet and the selection was a good deal more limited, so it's great for teens these days to have so much choice.

    A Tapestry of Words

  2. Yeah, there are lots of YA books. I think there have been more YA books in this year than adult books. See, adults too like to read YA books. And I believe that the reason is because we all have a teen inside us that one days wakes up wanting to explore what he/she lived in his/her teen life. So, we find ourselves drawn to the hero in the YA book. The YA book is a fascinated world, and sometimes we lived some things that happened in the book in our real life, we only don't realize it.

    I'm 18 years old, and I love YA books but I also love adult books. I've started into the reading world reading an adult book at the age of 15.

    It's good to know there are lots of kinds of YA books out there for everyone. :)

  3. YA has grown so much that there is really something for everyone out there. It's not just vampires and werewolves anymore. There are some beautifully written contemporary YA novels (and some great vamps, werewolves, etc. stories too).

    It's also not taboo for adults to read YA anymore. Before, it was almost embarrassing, but YA has expanded so much that it's finally getting the respect it deserves.

    Some of my favorite books (that I read this year) have been The Sky is Everywhere, Paranormalcy, Mockingjay, Love You Hate You Miss You, The Secret Year, The Returners, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and so many more.

  4. Like Denise, I love how YA lit has really grown, expanding to embrace a wide variety, from literary to genre-bending paranormal & dystopian. The consistent thing in YA is a GOOD STORY!

    It seems in some books for adults, there's more leeway for a meandering plot or excess description or whatever, but in YA, you'll almost always get a tight story with bang-on dialogue and believable characters. Maybe the YA market demands no less? (Not that there aren't some awesome books for the adult market -- there are, but I think I'm spoiled by YA lit, lol.)

  5. I agree that the popularity of YA has allowed the range of books to increase. There are so many good ones. And the realistic fiction deals with a lot of difficult issues teens face like drug addiction, suicide, food issues, being overweight, etc.

  6. I love how YA is appealing to everybody not just teens. There is some seriously good stuff out there! Also a lot of my favorite adult author's have been trying their hand at it and they're just as good. I love P.C. & Kristin Cast's House of Night books, Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires, and Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series. Melissa Marr is awesome as well.

  7. I love the trailer! One of my favorite things about YA fiction is that it doesn't trivialize teens and their thoughts and feelings. Adults often forget how difficult it is to be a teenager once they've moved past that stage of development. I think it's so great for teens to have so many great sources that treat their problems as serious and real.

  8. I think one of the great things about YA is you don't have to be a young adult to enjoy them. I first thought they were just for teens but quickly found out they weren't. Probably the best known are the Twilight books.

  9. I think a great thing about YA is the variety of stories and that these books can grab older readers the same as younger ones. Authors take risks and build new worlds and places that everyone can enjoy. I read some adult books but they just don't carry the same attachment that I feel with some YA books.

    Some recent favorites have been The DUFF, Perfect Chemistry, Vampire Academy series, and so many more

  10. I do agree that the YA standard is changing, and that this makes the genre more accessible to teens and adults alike. My mom and I pass YAs around, even though we're both adults!

    The topics and writing for the genre have definitely become increasingly better. Authors of adult-targeted books can no longer look down on YA!

  11. I'm so glad that YA is growing, even though I haven't been reading it that long. I'm a teen, and I find it cool that there are adults out there that I can talk about the books with!


  12. I love this guest post! I agree. YA is stretching and making room for new. amazing authors. The Duff, The Sky Is Everywhere and Nothing Like You are all fabulous contemporary reads. :)

  13. Great guest post! There really is a lot available in YA and I love discovering new books each day that sound amazing.

  14. I think the fact that you are instantly hooked is one of the great things about YA. Its not drawn out, you get into the story right away and want to know what happens.

  15. I think all these reasons are why I am still reading YA as an almost 24 year old. The books just keep getting better and better... much more interesting and more quality than when I was a teenager (although those types of books still existed then, too -- e.g. Sarah Dessen).

  16. There is a lot of diversity in the YA market. Whatever it takes to keep teens reading!

  17. I love Ya books and their are so many right now. I just started reading a year ago and never new how big Ya was. Their are so many great Ya writers.

  18. I think its great that there are so many YA books! The more the merrier!

  19. YA has really expanded throughout the years from what it's grown from. I really love that current YA authors and debut authors are exploring the depths of the genre and pushing it farther than it ever has. There is just something about the genre that appeals to our young adult selves (yes, it pained me to say that), even when we're past adult age. We can relate to some of the things situations in YA novels, and can connect with the way the characters are portrayed.

    Some of my favorite novels include Twenty Boy Summer, the Vampire Academy series, the House of Night series, the Hunger Games,

  20. I too love the diversity in YA. I think, besides I teach the age, that I keep reading YA. It's always changing and growing.

  21. I have always enjoyed YA Lit, even though it has been a really long time since I was a young adult. The trailer was so cool! Really makes me want to read/win this book!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net


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