YA is Exploding the Internet

Alright, if you haven't noticed...this week has brought a HUGE in-flux of YA buzz. It's probably rebounding from the success of The Hunger Games movie this weekend, but it's certainly everywhere. At least in my world. Today especially--even though it's only 9:30 am when I'm starting this--the New York Times has a slew of posts about YA fiction. (Check all these out here!)

Teenagers do not passively love young adult fiction and its authors. The ferocity of our devotion rivals the heartbreak caused by the very same novels. 
Bottom line, there's one thing that young adult novels rarely are, and that's boring. They're built to grab your attention and hold it. And I'm not as young as I once was. At my age, I don't have time to be bored.
Why am I sharing this right now?

A few reasons.

First, this is really exciting to me. I love that people in the world are talking about YA books, even if some opinions seem completely ridiculous.  I love it because I am an adult reading YA, writing YA, talking about it, passing it to friends, getting excited. I can't even attempt to read adult fiction for reasons that the people in these articles point out. I know how good YA books are. How amazing the authors are. I am passionate about these books. So if people are talking about them, that's awesome! Because I want other people to be passionate about them too, to see them for what they are and to discover something about themselves from reading. That's what makes YA so special I think.

Second, as much as it excites me, it makes me nervous. I want to build up this little protective shield that says STAY AWAY. This is threefold.

1. I am a writer. This industry is hard already and the more people who fall in love with YA, who branch out into it, the harder it will be for me. Now, I get that it's totally selfish--but that's okay. My selfishness doesn't mean I don't want YA to be talked about or read--because I do--it's just part of my nervousness/shielding.

2. Quality. YA books are quality. What if that changes? What if we get so focused on the popularity and the next big thing that we (as a genre) loose the essence of what makes us so amazing and connectable? Now, this is a weird nervousness because I don't really believe that would happen. But it's something to think about. YA books stand out because they are supposed to. Because they are well-written and deal with hard issues. They are not afraid. I don't ever want to see us become afraid.

3. It's a territory thing. You know how some of us are "originals" in the Hunger Games phenom? Like, we read the books first! I can't help but feel this way in regards to the genre as a whole. "I was here first!" I know that's kinda silly. But I get really protective of things that I love, be it a book or an author. What would happen if they get lost or changed in the rush? I don't even know what I'm trying to say with this point...but hopefully you get it.

Ultimately, I think it's a good thing. It's exciting! I love YA and I'm glad people are talking about it. It allows me to talk about it too in avenues that I wouldn't normally. I can't wait to see where this growth takes us. It's all about getting people to read, to connect and to grow. And as long as YA keeps doing that, then I think we're going to keep taking people by surprise.

What do you guys think about all this talk??? 


Hunger Games Movie Thoughts

I wanna preface all this with saying: I am completely satisfied. I think it was probably the best adaptation from book to movie.

**Warning: spoilers below!! From books and movie and pics**

I read this post over at my friend Nikki's blog and I was like "hmm...." This is not in direct comment to her post, but she really made me think, so I wanted to address those thoughts too. Nikki writes:

...the first time around, I couldn't help but be fixated by all the little things that weren't there.

I was okay with Madge not being there, but I missed seeing Peeta's dad give Katniss cookies, I missed getting to know Rue, I missed Peeta saying "come to finish me off, sweetheart," I missed more time in the cave, I missed the Mutts being the dead tributes, I missed Katniss and Haymitch right after the games, and a hundred other little details that weren't there....

Again, I was pretty satisfied, but after reading her post I started thinking. And now, I'm gonna nitpick. Which is all this is because, ultimately, they did an awesome job. 

I can see how those little things were missing---the only one I noticed while watching was Madge and the mutts. It did lose something on the horrifying level without the tributes faces.

I felt like we knew Rue enough. Sure, it's not this history lesson of her life and character, but we saw the thing that drew Katniss to her: her similarity to Prim. As an older sister, I understand her instinct to protect her and really that's all I ever needed. So I think they handled that well. (And I love the flashback to District 11 in that moment. It was so so emotional that it made me cry.)

I think everyone was pretty perfect. Haymitch and Effie were just amazing. Seneca Crane, President Snow, Caesar Flickerman, Cinna (despite his smaller role): perfection. Even the setting was how I imagined it, if not better. District 12 and the Hob, so perfect.

I love all the little things that I didn't expect to be in the movie. Mainly, the way Ross foreshadowed Mockingjay with the use of roses. I guess they're in the book, somewhat, but I never noticed it before. Snow in the rose garden with Seneca Crane..Katniss having a rose in the chariot at the parade...Peeta talking about 'smelling like roses'. It was sorta awesome.

I also think that Jennifer Lawrence was an amazing Katniss. I've never seen a movie where the main character has less lines than anyone else and yet, still manages to carry the whole movie. Her eyes and the looks, her facial expressions were amazing. So amazing. She was also perfection. I'm so impressed with her and the way Ross still made the movie feel first person.

AND OMG--I have never liked Gale in the books (I was always sorta apathetic to him) but I do in the movie. I DO. I did not expect that.

Now I wanna talk about Peeta, because in all the things I've heard since Friday the opinions on Peeta have been the most torn.

I think people, even people who are Team Peeta in the books, are a little torn because the movie was missing something. First, I don't think that should be blamed on Josh--b/c he delivered. Trust me. I've seen every movie the boy has done since he was twelve, and he delivered. But I think they wrote LESS of him in the movie, and that's why there's not a lot of talk about how awesome he was. They wrote him down a bit.

He was so adorable and perfect in all these moments.
Especially when he's waving to the people. Gah!
Nikki mentioned in the quote above that she wanted him to say that line "come to finish me off, sweetheart," but I don't think we needed that. This Peeta, movie Peeta, wouldn't say that. There's just this lack of development with him in aspect to the writing of the story and while they were pretty true to him, it's the small things that totally change a character. They didn't really write him with the snark and the "sweetheart" thing just wouldn't fit him. The charisma is there, as we see in the interview scene and the train scenes, but the rest of the small Peeta things aren't as prominent. I think what they did capture is the essence of who Peeta is and why people like him: this underdog, this really genuine and sweet boy. He's totally the boy who would secretly love a girl and never tell her, and the same one would give up everything for her, who would fit and sacrifice himself. Plus, can't yall just imagine Josh saying "Real or not real?" and your heart swoon over that. I can.

And sure, the cave scenes could have been longer with Peeta and Katniss--but geesh the movie was already over two hours. There's only so much they can put in there.  

I also think Josh did really really a good freaking job with what he had. I think he and Katniss had this really WEIRD chemistry, which if you think about it is how it's supposed to be in book one. B/c it IS a weird chemistry. They're on the brink of the death and they have this history and there's no one who can say that isn't weird. I really liked their chemistry, especially in the cave and when he almost eats the berries. The first part in the cave, when he's talking about her, the audience was silent in both screenings. I don't think that can happen without chemistry. and then later when he rubs the medicine on her forehead, yeah, that's so hot that it's almost weird. I don't even care.

I don't know. I was not disappointed in the aspect of their chemistry, but it seems like I stand alone on this side. I've been defending it a lot on twitter. I think they were amazing.

After two viewings, I still feel satisfied. I do think they changed small things but it's not like HP where it's not fixable. That's the positive thing about Gary Ross directing the next one (and hopefully all of them) b/c he can already have this vision and follow through on it. 

I can't wait until Catching Fire. Josh is going to win over all the naysayers in that one if they write his role well. Just wait. Just wait. I'm really excited for the new cast of CF and MJ to be announced. As long as they nail the script and Finnick, we'll be golden again.

What did you guys think of the movie??

(Also, side note: here's my pick for Finnick: Taylor Kitsch. Someone with power please make it happen.)


Shifts in Passion

Passion is one of those things that surprises you.

When it hits, at least for me, it initially comes with this overwhelming sense like "I had no idea I liked that so much" and then, pretty quickly, life becomes unimaginable without it.

I've always been someone who harped on living life with passion. It's one of the things I never saw anyone in my own life have growing up, and it was the only thing I really wanted to achieve: passion. 

It's spring time and guys,  I LOVE SPRING. I've been in a good mood all week. In a post-London (which was more amazing than words can express), welcome to sunshine good mood. And with the sunshine, comes the realization that my passions are shifting. 

Not away from writing, don't worry. I still can not live without writing. I couldn't not be a writer now that I am. 

But I love editing.

In case you didn't know (I didn't announce it or anything) I'm an associate editor with Spencer Hill. The last few months have been me jumping in and helping with nearly finished books, copy edits, promotion, and the never-ending slush pile. But then Kate told me I could be on the look out for my own project. 

I don't *officially* have a project yet, but I've been reading MSs like the world is ending just hoping to find one I get excited about, one I connect with, one I see potential in. It's hard.( I totally get why agents complain sometimes.) But, I have learned that I love the idea of working hands on with a book. Of brainstorming with an author. Of offering suggestions to make a story be the best it can be. 

And let me tell you--I love it. 

I guess it makes sense. I do have my tendency of being a Type A person. Plus, I'm a reader. I should love it all, I think, so those two sides of me--mixed with my writer me--are so prominent. 

Passion is surprising. 

If you would've told me I would find this immense pleasure in editing for other people, I would've probably called you insane. It just makes me wonder what other things are out there that I don't know I love yet. 

I can't wait to find them.


A Picture For Everything Random

Prepare for a random post--which is actually about good things! Mostly. I think

  • You know how sometimes people say really really really NICE things about you and you're not sure what to say? Because I've had that happen a couple times this week and I'm just so speechless by it. Because what do you say without it coming off as, "Why yes, I do know I am awesome!" If anyone thinks of an appropriate response, please share. Sometimes "thank you" doesn't seem like enough.

  • Despite this one randomly awful day on Wednesday, this week has pretty much rocked for me! I mean, like stupendously. Part of that is because of London and part because of friends and part because things I've been working so hard for are on the brink of becoming something else. Maybe. And I mean, I have awesome friends who have lots of exciting things happening--and excitement is contagious!! (Even when my arm is killing me.)
  • Did yall see that my girl Carrie Underwood released her new album cover AND single? No??? Well let me share! 
She's so pretty.
Her new song is called "Good Girl" and I'm addicted! Here's a sneak peek, but you should (and must!!) go buy  it. 

  • Speaking of music anyone else been watching The Voice??? Love that show, yall. Love that show...And I enjoy looking at and listening to Adam Levine. As always. Geesh...so good.
He's so pretty.

  • I read a really really really REALLY awesome book ---Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. It comes out in June 2012 and it's this really amazing story of a marine who's come back home on leave, back to the life he left behind and how he has to fit again. It's beautifully written and underlined with humor. It has the most amazing male protagonist voice I've ever, ever read. You should check it out. 

  • I am so excited for the final installment of THIS BOOK which comes out on Tuesday while I'm in London! And then Rachel Hawkins comes here and I'm so pumped to meet her. YAY. 

Anyway, that's my random Friday morning update. Time seems to be standing still since I am London bound in only a few more hours! I don't leave until 9pm so help me pass the time by leaving other fun updates in the comments!! 

Everyone have a lovely week!!!!


I go to London in ONE week!!

You know, you dream about something for a long time and never really, truly believe that it will happen. You plan and think and hope and talk about doing it. I know my best friend from high school, Ashley, and I always talk about London. About how we're going to find a way around the law and move there, marry some hot dude with a British accent and live happily ever after.

Of course, I never really believed that--even when I talked and "planned" it. I'd never been to London--and really had/have no money to go--so it was always a talk. An idea. A dream.

Sometimes writing is like this. We have these big plans and ideas and dreams of writing a book, of getting an agent, of getting said book published. We work incredibly hard to write a novel. We dream and hope and think and talk about the future. We dream. We spend a lot of time dreaming, in fact. 

London and publishing are the same in this regard. They're both the happily ever after with the hot British guy. But if there's one thing I've learned from writing--and from planning a trip to London--is that it's a lot more than just dreaming. It's doing. It's deciding and it's pursuing.
That's what I had to do. 

I'm going on this!
See, I had this trip to London all planned with grad school. It was going to be awesome--full of shows and history and art. Glorious. But then I dropped out of grad school and saw my opportunity slipping away. So, what did I do? I made a decision. I decided I would go to London and I bought a plane ticket one unseasonably warm day in November. I decided and I did. I even found a friend to go with me so I didn't have to experience this thing I've always wanted alone--because things like dreams are better shared with someone else.

I was going to London, alone, and it would be totally awesome because I dreamed about this. But it was months away and it didn't matter really. We planned---kinda. We spent money and I felt it each time the cost increased and my savings account decreased.

My trip to London is risky. It was a risk financially, emotionally, mentally, and if I had to go alone like I planned, probably wouldn't have been the safest either. But I made a decision and I
made it happen and everything has been working out.

 It's kinda incredible how much this whole thing is teaching me--and how it's reminiscent of writing. Writing is a risk. There's no "sure thing" in pursing this profession. But we have to do it because it's the dreaming, it's the hoping and thinking and talking that makes us want it.

Life is about taking risks. It's about making a decision and pursuing it. Life without those things? Pretty boring. We need to dream--about writing, about making movies, about going to far off countries--because the dreaming shows us where we want to be and the rest gets us there.

For me, my dreaming is leading me to London.  I go to London in one week!! One week! I am so excited about this! It doesn't even feel real yet.

This is gonna be good. All of it. Whatever your dream is---pursue it. Maybe it will lead you to hot British guys. Maybe not. But if it's your dream, you'll definitely get some form of happily ever after. I just know it. Whatever you do--don't miss the moment.

"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake." - Marie B. Ray

Anyone have any recommendations of good London-area things to see or do? Touristy? Non-touristy? Book stores? Parks? Coffee shops? Ideas welcomed!!