Thursday, November 15, 2007

What's a YA? Is it the same as "Teen"?

Thanks to everyone who posted and who emailed suggestions!
Here's the name I pulled out of the hat to receive one of my ebooks (the ebook of your choice, which can be seen on my website):
Colleen McEuen!!!

The main reason I resisted reading the Harry Potter books long after everyone else gave in to the obsession, was because I don't generally like kid books. Or kid tv/movies. That included teenage books/movies/tv, too. I had lots of prejudices about the ridiculous nature of those things. At least the standard ones I'd been exposed to here in the USA. (Although, I really enjoyed "The Neverending Story" when I took my son to see it years ago. I went right out and bought him the book. And I loved movies like "The Lost Boys." Maybe there had to be a simultaneous adult plotline in order for me to enjoy it. Or maybe it was the clever humor.)

What I noticed about the HP books was the maturity of the young characters. Nobody was whining for the latest trendy shoes, or the most absurdly expensive cell phone. Instead, they dealt with weighty issues. And the kids weren't sexualized.

Anyway, I have a point. Really. After devouring all the HP books, I had to rethink my ideas about the Young Adult category. (Another limiting idea I had about books targeting a younger audience was that they'd be "sweet," or morally rigid. Not my thing.)

I recently read Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" vampire series, P.C./Kristin Cast's "House of Night" vampire novels and "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead. I enjoyed them all. In fact, maybe because the books don't contain a lot of sex, they can explore deeper and/or more interesting themes. I liked them much better than a lot of the best selling adult vampire novels I've read lately. More character focus.

When asked if I'd consider writing a YA, I always said I couldn't imagine it. Now that my education is expanding, who knows what can happen?

Do you have any recommendations for great vampire/paranormal YAs? How would you define "YA"? Leave a comment and I'll randomly select a name to give away a download of one of my ebooks (you can see them on my website: this Sunday evening.


Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I have to recommend Rachel CAine's Morganville Vamps series(however I recommend you have books one AND two on hand becuase the ending for one really freaked me out). Also Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series just ROCKS!

I think for me, YA just means the characters are teenagers. The writing itself doesn't come into play (in other words there's no writing "down"). I definitely prefer meatier books, regardless of genre.

Funny enough I couldn't read Meyer's books but I loved the Cast books.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager one author in particular touched me in a way that helped to inspire me to write, Lisa Jane Smith aka L.J. Smith. She wrote such series as The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, and the Night World. My eldest daughter, who is ten, reasd all my copies of her books, as well as some of the books you mentioned above. She stated that the book Twilight was a little more refined in its style of writing but that the books by LJ Smith were just as wonderful. She especially loved the characters.

So there is my two cents, as well as my kid's.

Thank you,
Colleen McEuen

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would highly recommend Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Series. They aren't about Vampires (sorry)...but, they are about Dragons, magic and an alternate world. My son and I both read them and couldn't figure out why they had the designation YA....they are ageless books. Book one is Eragon (they made a horrible movie of that no attention to the bore no resemblance to the book at all) and Book 2 is Eldest. I believe that the third in the series is due to come out soon......I don't have the name of that one yet. Once I started Eragon I couldn't put the book down.....and they are both are nice BIG sons reaction to them was the same.

Here is the authors website:

Really, really good meaty books. I completely bought into the world he created and wanted more....

That's my recommendation!


12:54 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I'd have to recommend NINTH LORD OF THE NIGHT, by Diana L Driver. It's published by a small indie, and has both paranormal elements and a plot line that will satisfy an adult. In fact, it is more suitable for older teens. No vampires, but lots of fun. It's been optioned for film and hoping it makes it to screen. Would love to see it come alive.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I highly recommend Katie MacAlister's YA books. She writes under the name Katie Maxwell for young adults. It's vampires and dragons dealing with being teenagers. Like being a teenager isn't hard enough as a human. My daughter has read them and so have I. Katie has a wonderfully wacky sense of humor and if you can sit and read any of her books without laughing at least once, well you have NO sense of humor at all.


5:31 PM  
Blogger Laura Elliott said...

I heard Uglies by Scott Westerfield is pretty good. No vampires, but it's futuristic.

8:32 PM  
Blogger PC Cast said...

First, thanks for the lovely compliments about the House of Night. The series is soooo much fun to write.

I love YA and would highly recommend Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY, even though it focuses on the fey instead of vamps, as well as anything by Anette Curtis-Klause (THE SILVER KISS is vampire). Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has a vamp series, but I like her fantasy HAWKSONG books better, and everything by Robin McKinley. SUNSHINE is her vamp book and it's not YA, but it's magic.

Again, thanks for giving the nod to my series!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Amie: Thanks so much! I enjoyed Rachel's other series, so I'm sure I'll like the "Morganville Vamps." I'm very happy to learn that YA doesn't equate to a lack of meaty writing. That's been my favorite discovery!

Colleen: I really appreciate the recommendation about L.J. Smith's books. She's a new author to me, so I'll go and check her out. Many thanks!

Dear Glsmeltr: Thanks so much! I'll go explore!

Dear Pauline: Much appreciated! That's also a new author to me. Yay!

Dear Angi: Thanks so much! I'm familiar with Katie's vamp books. I'm glad the YAs are good, too.

Dear Laura: I'm hearing a lot about that series. I'll definitely have to check it out! Thanks!

Dear PC: You're very welcome. Thanks for the additional recommendations. My list is getting very long! And, by the way, write faster. Grin.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Marissa Doyle said...

Sheesh, Lynda, you could've just asked me! :)

What pushed me into writing YA romance and leaving behind adult romance was that there's more freedom and fewer of those expectations (some folks call them rules) that exist in adult stories. YA romances very often focus on the MC's growth as a person (coming of age) as on the romance plot aspects, and that's what makes them fun to write--watching your MC change and mature and take the steps to the next level. In that way it's kin to women's fiction, which also focuses on the MC's growth and change. I also appreciate the fact that a spectrum of sensuality is acceptable--there're no expectations. A book can have sensual overtones or not, and both will sell well. Of my two upcoming YA books one deals much more openly with sex, because virginity and lack thereof is important to the plot. And my editor was happy with both.

My fave YA paranormals: "Sorcery and Cecelia" by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, and "A College of Magics" and "A Scholar of Magics" by Caroline Stevermer. You also might try Libba Bray's "A Great and Terrible Beauty" books. These are all historical, BTW...but does that surprise you? :)

Great topic, Lynda!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Marissa! Great to "see" you! Thanks so much for your wonderful suggestions. Onto the list they go! I'm so happy the date for your book release is approaching! Yay! Major hugs to you, my friend.

12:29 PM  
Blogger L. Rosario said...

I've read the Twilight series (love it!!) and now I'll have to look at the other two you mentioned. I agree, I adore the character development in YA and the depth of emotion. The kids these days are lucky to have such talented authors writing for them :)

1:40 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Thanks for commenting, L!

4:29 PM  

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