February 15, 2013

On Multiculturalism and Diversity in Marie Lu's Legend and Prodigy

There's something to be said about Marie Lu's quiet exploration of multiculturalism and diversity in her novels Legend and Prodigy. Lu does a fantastic job of creating a world that feels natural and real all while being completely filled with characters from different backgrounds, races, and beliefs. Characters believing different sets of political variations are at odds, while some of the same members of each party are working together. Black is not white, yellow is not gold. And yet everything is exactly as it should be - there's a very real sense of REAL hidden within Lu's writing. What I mean is this: Lu writes with certainty that the world is a diverse place filled with people of all colors, races, religions, etc etc etc. Instead of making a very specific point, instead of writing a novel using the specifics of a certain character's race or religion or views or whatever, she includes all of this in multiple characters - and by doing so creates two novels filled with more truth than many more specific ones have before. She nails it perfectly.

The senses of multiculturalism and diversity in Legend and Prodigy don't slap you in the face. They do not scream for you to notice them. They're not even (for the most part) a major part of the story. They're just there. Very present in the background. And for that Lu should be proud.

These things should just be.

Diversity should just happen.

Multiculturalism should just occur.

Equality should just be.

They don't need to be loud to make a difference.

Both Legend and Prodigy are filled with political problems, high-stakes action scenes, and romance. The good kind of romance. The kind that sneaks up on you. That makes you swoon when you least expect it. That kind. In all honesty, I really enjoyed both Legend and Prodigy. Both have great plots. The writing is fluid and very good. I loved the characters, Day and June, and Lu's voices for each stayed constant and connected. But my favorite part was how Lu created her diverse world filled with mentions of equality, racial diversity, and her awesome fusion of cultures.

Legend and Prodigy are diverse not because they want to be, but because they simply are. In that, they're both a lot like the real world. Like living or breathing or just existing. There's not a sense of morals being preached or ethics being thrown, but instead we're left with a feeling that this is okay - this diverse and political and multicultural world is how it really is. How it's supposed to be.

We're all different. And that is okay. Better, that's great. That's normal. That's life.

Again, there's something wonderful to be said about books like Legend and Prodigy that present diversity, multiculturalism, and equality in such natural ways that the reader believes life should always be so colorful.

And really, it should.

We need more books like these two.

February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to you all! 

Thanks for always being so supportive of what I do. It's greatly appreciated. 

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out my guest post on love in Young Adult novels HERE. I've always thought young love is something to be proud of, and that as adults we should strive for that sense of fearlessness when we love. It's a difficult thing to do, sure, but it seems to me that it's a worthwhile thing. After all, what's love if not fearless? That, I think, is something we learn daily if we are readers of Young Adult novels. 

And, like Orion (Yes, the constellation) from Light of the Moon says, 
"Sometimes being brave just means falling in love."

And for all of you wanted a book boyfriend or girlfriend to be yours for Valentine's Day, I have a few suggestions:

SAM ROTH from Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver because he sings and writes poetry. If those aren't your things, he is also a werewolf, a leader, and he sneaks in through windows to visit the girl he loves.

"Right now, every phrase, every lyric, that I had in my head ended with the same word: love." - Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver

HERMIONE GRANGER because come on. She's Hermione Granger. She needs no introduction.

ETHAN WATE from Beautiful Creatures because he's strong and understanding at the same time. His character growths throughout the books - and yet there's always the sense that he'd do most anything for those he loves. Plus, southern gentleman. You're welcome.

"I never loved you any more than I do, right this second. And I'll never love you any less than I do, right this second." - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures

LENA HALOWAY from Lauren Oliver's Delirium because she is not perfect but she is willing to fight for love. There's something epic about fighting for love - not because you there's no reason, but because there's no other option. Love wins.

Who is your Valentine this year?

February 12, 2013

Cover Reveal: Click To Subscribe by L.M. Augustine

Click To Subscribe 
Author: L.M. Augustine 
Genre: YA romance 
Release Date: April 2013 
Designer: Allie Brennan (who is fantastic and brilliant and totally recommended by L.M.) 

 Blurb: "1,135,789. That’s how many subscribers sixteen-year-old West Ryder has on his web vlog series. But he only has eyes for one of them. 

As one of the internet’s most prestigious video bloggers, West talks about high school relationships under the name “Sam Green.” As far as he knows, no one from school, not even his best friend, Cat, has seen his videos. But the highlight of the whole thing is Harper Knight, who comments every day at exactly 2:02 in the afternoon. He doesn’t know anything about her aside from the occasional deep philosophical messaging on why pizza tastes so delicious, but as stupid as it sounds, he might be falling for her. So when they finally agree to meet in real life, West’s hope for romance seems more and more in reach. But that all changes as soon as he arrives at their meeting spot and sees Cat walking toward him, wearing the same “I <3 Sam Green" T-shirt Harper promised she'd have on. 
To his alarm, West realizes he is falling in love with the best friend who has always been a sister to him."

Add it on Goodreads.

Some things: To celebrate the cover reveal there is a giveaway! ARCs won't be ready until late March/early April, but if you win one, you will be the first to get it. For those of you interested in the book, check the author's Facebook page and blog (links above) because he will be posting a number of excerpts of Click To Subscribe throughout the week.

And to anyone reading this: thank you! Your support seriously means so much to me. (Me=the awkward author, L.M., who has raided this blog for the day. MUAHAHAHA!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 7, 2013






AGE GROUP: 14 - 20+



Final Awaken Cover



Three things run through my mind at this very moment…
ONE, my life as I once knew it will never be the same.
TWO, the person I’m in love with might not even exist.
THREE, the deception that has unfolded before me has the power of life and death.

Sixteen year old, Breanna Davis, has heard the saying; life isn’t always what it seems…well, that saying rings true now more than ever. As horrifying visions appear before her, revealing tragedies that will forever change the fate of those she loves, she realizes that she may be the only person who can stop them from becoming reality. Amongst the chaos of this new discovery, Bre is faced with a stranger, Eve, who moves in on Bre’s friends and begins to follow her every move. As Eve’s true motives begin to surface, Bre must fight against, not only the visions, but the dangers Eve holds close. There is another secret kept- Collin, a boy held captive in Bre’s dreams, the boy she is secretly falling in love with but isn’t sure he even exists. As she tries to make it work with Austin, an old friend who could possibly be more, Bre battles against her feelings for Collin. Bre is faced with an almost impossible decision, to choose her life or follow her destiny. If she doesn’t intercede, people will certainly die. If she does, her own life could be at stake. In the end, if she fails, she’ll lose everything.
Jaime Guerard - Copy (2)

February 6, 2013

The Fiery Hearts: Young Adult Love

On Monday I had a guest post featured on Literati Literature Lovers blog. As part of their Lovers Month, I decided to write about love but focus my post on the different aspects of young adult love we see so often in books but might not think about. Or, the aspects we brush off as young. I talk about things like the speed at which young lovers fall in love, the desperation they have for each other, their want for love, and, mainly, the idea that young love is more fearless than adult love. 

I focus on the idea that, although we are certainly more mature as we age, we are also more aware of things that make love more difficult. We begin to have baggage, past heartbreaks. We have more and more reasons to say no. The truth is that most of these "adult" things happen without us knowing, without us even meaning to, without any reason at all - but all these adult reasons make us a little more fearful. Cautious.

But see. Young lovers are rarely fearful.

And that's an incredibly good thing.

These days, we often see teens in books fighting for the end of the world, battling paranormal creatures, or something equally extreme - and yet most of them are still willing to fall in love. Most often, love is their reason to fight in the first place. 

For them, love may happen quickly, but for these young characters, love is real. Love is so real it's worth fighting for. 

Really, that's a truly incredibly beautiful thing we're teaching teenagers. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of a community so involved in the advocacy for young love. Perhaps, though, we should all be a little more fearless when it comes to following our hearts.

Check out my full article HERE.

What do you think about young love?

February 5, 2013

Blog Tour: Interview with author Ryan Hunter

Today I have the honor of interviewing Ryan Hunter, author of the YA novel inDIVISIBLE, as part of her blog tour. After my interview with her, I'm so excited to read this book. Ryan really has a way with words. Check out the interview below!

1) What inspired you to write your first book? 
 One morning I woke with a story idea stuck in my head that I had to get out. I could find no other way to relieve the pressure than to start typing it out on the dinosaur of a computer I owned at the time. As I wrote, peace filled me, and I knew that it was a feeling I wanted to keep. Writing fulfills something deep inside of me that nothing else can fill. I believe I was meant to be a writer, that my soul yearns for it. 

2) Do you have any specific pre-writing rituals? 
 I love music when I write, but never one type of music. I vary my listening habits according to the book I’m writing and often according to the scene and the feelings I’m trying to evoke in the reader during that scene. I also have a routine that could be called time-wasting, but it helps me focus. I turn on my music, which gradually lulls me into the mood of the piece, then check my email, Facebook and Pinterest … every morning I “pin” three gratitudes to a board and it puts me in a more optimistic and productive state. 

3) Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp? 

 When I started writing inDIVISIBLE, I was still recovering from a year long struggle with depression. I’d been on every med the doctors could imagine and all other forms of treatment. It wasn’t until I found someone who could really counsel me that I began to reach upwards again, and I put that into my writing. I created a character who was like me, in a sense, she was scared of reaching out, of facing the truth, but she moved forward, conquering her fear and doing what she knew was right. She emerged a better person, and that’s what I want people to feel. I want them to know that even though things may be hard and overwhelming, it’s worth it to push through and strive to reach your potential. 

4) Who is your favorite character in inDIVISIBLE? 
 Definitely T. I like his loyalty, his strength, and his ability to run much faster and longer than I can. Most of all I like his heart. He’s a kind person who has set the needs of others above his own. He cares about people and about the future.

5) Are experiences of your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 
 There are quite a few things in the book taken from personal experience. For example, the students in One United are discouraged from being their best, because the best get noticed by the Alliance and are nearly always used to further their agenda. This was inspired by an event several years ago when my child’s principal responded to one of my concerns with, “Children are not allowed to excel at E**** Elementary.” My daughter’s school uses tablets in the classroom and everything they do is monitored, like a simplified version of the PCA I describe in inDIVISIBLE. As far as the Citizens of One United being disarmed, we see the government attempting that very course right now. 

6) What books/characters have influenced your life most? 
 This is tough because there are so many, but I’m going to rule out Berkeley Breathed and Calvin & Hobbs to make it a little easier. Seriously, growing up, I read a book entitled “Mrs. Mike” and it was the first time I’d read a book that truly made me feel the emotions of the main character. I read it over and over because I was amazed at how engulfed I became in the novel. It also helped me realize that love is real, pain is real, and loss is unavoidable. But we have an opportunity to make up our own minds how we’ll handle it all. 

7) If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
 David Farland has done more for me than any other writer. When I finally gained enough courage to admit I wanted to be a writer, about fifteen years ago, I asked Dave for advice. Nerves on edge, voice shaking, I was prepared to hear that I wasn’t good enough, that I was starting too late, or that I was crazy. Instead, he actually encouraged me to pursue it. He’s helped me ever since. 

8) Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 
 I’ve actually gotten to know a lot of new writers on a personal basis, having read few of their novels (because of time restraints), but getting to know them as people. I love their enthusiasm and excitement as they move forward with writing and publishing. 

9) Can you tell us any information about any future books you’re working on? 
 I’m working on the sequel to inDIVISIBLE now. There are some really exciting developments, new characters and more … but I can’t get into it too much yet. 

10) Do you have any advice for other writers? 
 Never stop writing. That’s the advice I was given and it’s exactly what I needed. I actually wrote and published two novels under my given name, Robyn Heirtzler, and considered quitting a few times because of other stresses, but I’m grateful I didn’t. I feel inDIVISIBLE is my most powerful book to date and I’m excited to see where I can go from here. So, keep going. Keep writing and you will only see your work improve. 


Ryan Hunter is the author of inDIVISIBLE, a dystopian that’s being hailed as a modern-day 1984; and Premeditated, a YA suspense. She’s a wife and mother of five. She’s an avid runner, blogger and baker. 

Website: propertyofoneunited.com 
Facebook: facebook.com/authorryanhunter 
Twitter: @ryanhunter45 
Blog: authorryanhunter.blogspot.com