I wrote this last year, and I’ll share it again today:
Today is a day of reflection. As a New Yorker who, along with the rest of the world, experienced tremendous sadness 12 years ago this morning, I think it’s important to think about not only the profound tragedy of that day but the way in which it made all New Yorkers, all Americans, consider our connections to each other. Literature transcends political and religious affiliations. It rises above what separates us from each other and forges a bond between reader and writer, between readers and other readers. It’s with that idea in mind that we celebrate what this community has meant to us. We hope you won’t think it’s disrespectful for us to do so today.
This year, Diana and I wanted to celebrate Teen Lit Rocks turning two by giving away a book to four lucky readers. You get to choose the book you want from the following list of our favorite discoveries since last September. The following is a tribute to the authors whose books we “discovered” this past blogging year, and we’d love to help another reader fall in love with their storytelling and characters.
Justina Chen Headley: When we read “Return to Me” as our monthly book club pick in January, Sandie assured me that we would like it. She had already read “North of Beautiful” and raved about it (she has a thing for swoony Asian guys like Jacob or Park). So, we knew that this book was sure to also be good, and it was. Headley’s novel about Rebecca Muir — the perfect teen with the perfect “life plan” whose world is turned upside down and she is left to pick up the pieces. This coming of age novel is especially lovely because Rebecca’s relationship with her mother is also portrayed. This is what makes “Return to Me” particularly poignant, three generations of women in one family repairing their relationship and growing closer to each other. –Diana
Elizabeth LaBan: LaBan’s debut novel “The Tragedy Paper” was a favorite of ours at Teen Lit Rocks. We love books with a story within a story. LaBan weaves the story of Duncan, a current senior at the prestigious Irving School with the story of what happened the previous year with seniors Tim, a new student who was an albino and Vanessa, one of the most popular girls at the school. As Duncan listens to CD after CD, we are also captivated by Tim’s story. Along with that, each senior at Irving must write a Tragedy paper for their Senior English class. This is an interesting assignment that seniors either eagerly anticipate or are apprehensive about. Duncan feels that he has his tragedy as he listens to Tim’s story, but was unprepared for the way it begins to affect his personal life. –Diana
Sarah Maas: I’m pretty easily swayed by my friends when it comes to what books I should read. So when Candice said “Throne of Glass” was excellent, I figured there was no reason not to trust her instincts. After devouring the first book, I requested the second from Netgalley and am now convinced Maas is like Kristin Cashore or Leigh Bardugo or Suzanne Collins, an author who knows exactly how to build a world, create a complicated, kick-ass but flawed heroine, and put her in dangerous situations that she somehow thrives and grows in — against all odds. Celaena is an assassin, but there’s so much more to her than that, and I’m ever so glad I gave the two books a try. –Sandie
Katja Millay: One of the books that impacted me the most this past year was “The Sea of Tranquility” by Katja Millay, whom we had the good fortune of interviewing in April. I kept hearing about it from Brittany and figured one of my favorite fellow book bloggers squeeing in delight meant the book was something special. She was so ridiculously right. I bought the book for my Kindle and read it in an one-night frenzy to see what was going to happen to Josh and Nastya (or “Sunshine” as Josh prefers to call her). They are both incredibly fragile and brokenhearted but manage to help heal each other in the sacred confines of Josh’s garage-turned woodshop. It’s a must-read for anyone who likes their romances intense and life-changing. –Sandie
Rick Yancey: If you’re a regular reader here, you know how obsessive I can become about my favorite books, and “The 5th Wave” certainly qualifies. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and I’m not even a sci-fi fangirl. But Yancey’s “War of the Worlds” meets “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” tale is so gripping I called my post about the book “Unputdownable.” You can’t stop reading until you’ve figured out what that damn “5th Wave” is and means for humanity and the protagonist Cassie. It’s intense and grim and at some points so heartpounding you’re not sure you’ll survive the rest of the chapter, but there’s also humor and romance and that most human of feelings, hope. –Sandie
And now for the fun part. FOUR of you will win one of these authors’ books to read and love and cherish. Enter below for your chance to win, and thanks for reading Teen Lit Rocks for the past two years!