Every week, Figment features a blog that we think is all kinds of wonderful. This week, we’re featuring Em and Nora of Love YA Lit!
When their attempts to put together an analog YA book club fell through, Em and Nora decided to go digital. Love YA Lit went live last June. When they’re not juggling grad school, library work and radio show hosting, Em and Nora write about appreciating YA fiction from an adult perspective. Though their site is mostly composed of book reviews, they hope to expand with blog partnerships, increased author features, and perhaps even a YA-themed radio show.
Figment asked Em and Nora: you are both obviously passionate about YA books. How did you two first cross paths, and what inspired you to form your own blogging partnership?
Em: Nora went to college with my fiance. About ten years later, they discovered that they both had returned to live in the Hudson Valley (New York) and we all met up for dinner. Nora and I connected on various levels including our love of YA lit and pop culture, and our goals of working in libraries. We were friends for about a year before we decided to become blogging partners. Nora had made a blog for one of her grad school classes and I loved reading it – her writing is funny and smart. So I was sad when she let the blog go and asked her if she wanted to start a new blog with me. We have complementary skills and ambitions, and work well together, so the partnership has been great and we hope that this comes through in our blog.
Nora: Em is really great with technology, so I knew she would be able to help pull off that side of the blog. She is also great at meeting other bloggers and networking. It is a lot of fun to work together and to talk about all the books we are reading. I think we have distinct tastes, but with a lot of cross-over, so the blog can work for a wider audience.
What are some of the highlights of what you’ve read in the last year? Any exciting YA trends on the horizon?
Nora: I loved Across the Universe, Mockingjay, Yummy, Ship Breaker, The Card Turner, and Tyrell. I also caught up on lots of older YA from the last 10 years or so, and have developed a secret addiction to Jodi Picoult audiobooks. Sad, but true. As far as trends, I think because of books like The Hunger Games YA is taking a deeper and darker turn, and that there is a huge audience for speculative fiction. Also, more Sci-Fi/Genetics stuff seems to be coming out, which is great.
Em: I have read so many amazing YA titles recently! Some favorite reads from the last year (not all recent releases) include Zahrah the Windseeker, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, The Freak Observer, Bleeding Violet, Huntress, Nothing, Paper Towns, Revolution, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Girl in Translation (adult->YA crossover), Ship Breaker….I could go on, but will stop there! Exciting trends? Like Nora, I love dystopian lit and I’m seeing more and more of this following the success of The Hunger Games. The trick with trends, though, is that just because a book is in a genre that I like, doesn’t mean that it’s a good story or that it’s written well. Hopefully, there will be some new dystopian titles/series that emerge out of this trend, that I love as much as The Giver, The Hunger Games, Ship Breaker, the best of the best. Another trend that I believe has potential is the growth of published titles by and about people of color. Clearly, the YA genre is still predominantly white, but I’m seeing more and more outstanding, popular titles from authors of color – Dia Reeves, Malinda Lo, Nnedi Okorafor, to name a few recent authors whose work I have read and loved. The blogging community has also been quite vocal when publishers attempt to whitewash covers for stories about people of color. And authors are banding together to celebrate diversity in YA literature through sites/tours such as Diversity in YA Fiction. There’s still a ways to go of course, but I do have hope.
Visit Love YA Lit at loveyalit.com!