Monday, May 12, 2014

{Guest Post by Corey Ann Hadyu} Under the Radar YA

Hey guys! Today, I am excited to have Corey Ann Haydu on the blog, talking about some of her favorite Under the Radar YA books! If you didn't already know, she's the author of OCD Love Story and Life By Committee (which comes out tomorrow), so you should definitely check out both books!

Under the Radar YA

Great news: none of us are running out of books to read.

If you love YA literature, you are living in the right moment of time. New wonderful books are coming out every single day (or, like, mostly on Tuesdays and sometimes Thursdays). Your tastes can be incredibly specific and you will STILL have a huge list of books that, if you’re anything like me, it feels like you will never ever get through.

And this is a wonderful thing. Except it also means that some books get a little lost. Or maybe tons of people read them but for some reason no one’s talking about them. Or they are critically beloved but haven’t reached enough readers. Or maybe they’re library favorites but not talked about on blogs or Twitter. It’s hard to know.

Recently, people started tweeting more about their favorite Under the Radar YA novels, and I've been so happy to see people promote books they believe in that their friends might not have heard of for whatever reason. This is such a beautiful part of Twitter, and I wanted to dedicate a blog post to exactly that.

I don’t want to define Under the Radar with too heavy a hand, because it can mean almost anything. For the purposes of this post, I consider Under the Radar anything that I don’t think is getting talked about ENOUGH, given how fantastic it is.

We all want our favorite books to be huge. We want them to have tons of readers. Mostly, selfishly, so that we have more people to talk to about them.

In the case of contemporary YA, I’d say most books could be considered “under the radar”, since even books that get great recognition critically don’t usually make it to bestseller status or get the reader love they deserve.

I want to have more people to talk to about the following contemporary YA and MG books:

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick:
Anything Lauren Strasnick. If you love contemporary YA with unique characters and truly spectacular writing, I expect you to be reading Lauren Strasnick. Today, every day. Always.*
sidenote: I champion her work so often she is probably going to start to think I’m stalking her. I’m not. I am, however, stalking her books.

This Full House and True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff: 
I got my MFA in Writing for Children at The New School, and True Believer was on one of the best course reading lists I've ever had—the reading list for David Levithan’s class on YA literature. These verse novels are everything. Gorgeous. Diverse. Heartbreaking. Enlightening. Authentic. I’m so grateful True Believer was on that course list, since I may never have read it otherwise—I didn't know much about novels in verse, and like so many readers, I’m naturally drawn to stories about people like me. The sad thing about doing that is that you never find out how many people are actually “like me” even if they’re not “just like me”. This character is from a wildly different background and culture than my own. But she’s curious and ambitious and loved learning and in so many ways she, too, is “like me”. What a huge lesson to learn.

Speaking of novels in verse! Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay:
If you have been curious about this whole YA novels in verse thing but are scared you won’t like it, this is the book to start with. It’s a quirky, romantic read with great writing and a classic, confused, unique main character. It’s like reading a great indie movie.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers:
 I want to believe this author isn't Under the Radar, but not enough people have read this book. I was inspired to write more challenging, complicated, layered characters after reading this one.

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor:
This is MG for anyone who loves dark, difficult contemporary YA and isn’t so sure they’ll be able to relate to an MG voice. If you love reading about troubling family circumstances and strong characters and the search for hope in a world where it’s hard to find any—this is for you. Give MG a try. You’ll like it. This book was recommended to me when I was trying to find my own MG voice for my upcoming MG debut, Rules for Stealing Stars and man did it help me and inspire me and push me to be better.

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George: 
I heard Madeleine George read at an event in NYC and she was so much more than a reader, she was a performer. The excerpt she read was hysterical, and this book is really unique—both in terms of its alternating perspectives and its content. Plus it’s an LGBTQ read, and a really interesting one about two girls falling in love, even though one of them isn’t ready to own their relationship yet. This should be on every YA list and especially every LGBTQ list.

And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky:
 I love Sylvia Plath. You probably love Sylvia Plath. This book is an ode to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. And it is one of my favorite YA novels of all time. It is criminially under-talked-about.

Pure Sunshine by Brian James:
 This is a kind of incredible book about intense drug use. It has a compact, tight, physically intense feeling to it. It came out in 2002. I’ve never read anything like it. If you love Ellen Hopkins, you need this one immediately.

The Vow by Jessica Martinez:
Martinez writes such fantastic and diverse YA fiction I am in awe of her. This book is a great pick and very timely. It’s about friendship. And marriage. And immigration. And the meaning of love. It’s got a great structure and a lot of heart. (Her upcoming novel, Kiss Kill Vanish is one of the most arresting, unique YA novels I've ever read, so you’ll have a wonderful follow up to read after this one. But here’s hoping Kiss Kill Vanish is very much above the radar.)

Kendra and Tyrell by Coe Booth. 
Again, these are books assigned to me in David Levithan’s class that, again, I might not have picked up because of that awful impulse to read about girls whose high school experiences remind me of my own. And again, I came to realize I enjoyed even more reading about lives outside my comfort zone, and that I’d find emotional common ground with these characters even if our high school circumstances were world’s apart. These are raw, beautiful, challenging books that I couldn’t put down. As we continue to search for diversity in YA, Coe Booth and her incredible characters and superb writing should be on everyone’s lists. Tell publishers you want more books with characters you haven’t met before. And remember that the best part of reading is often finding emotional truths that resonate beyond circumstances.

Thank you, Corey, for that great post! I know by TBR just got a little bit longer! And in honor of her new book coming out tomorrow, let's take a little look at it, shall we?

the book:

Title: Life By Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 13, 2014

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they've dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

the author:

Corey Ann Haydu:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Corey Ann Haydu is a young adult novelist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her first novel, OCD Love Story, came out July 2013 from Simon Pulse. Her second novel, Life by Committee will be out in Summer 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books at Harper Collins.
Corey grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts where she learned a deep love for books, cheese, cobblestone streets, cold weather and The Gilmore Girls. She has been living in New York City since 2001, where she has now developed new affections for New Yorky things like downtown bookstores, Brooklyn brownstones, writing in coffee shops, the Modern Love column in the Sunday Times, pilates, leggings, and even fancier cheeses.

So what are some of YOUR favorite Under the Radar YA books?

1 comment:

  1. Great idea!! Two of mine are stand alones. Orleans by Sherri L. Smith (still hoping some day for a sequel) and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.