Friday, December 17, 2010
Romance. It’s one of the biggest things most YA readers look for. Yes, we want the rest of the story, but we crave that romance. The intense, burning desire. Feelings so strong they can't be ignored. It’s one of the best reasons to read and write in this genre- the firsts, whether it's first heartbreak, first love, or first person to put your heart back together. So of the books I’ve read in 2010, what are some of the most outstanding, memorable, take-your-breath-away romances for me?
10. Connor and Natalie (Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian): He’s a jock, but he’s pretty darn sweet. She’s an overachiever with her chastity belt very firmly in place. Padlocked, even. But Connor pursues her. And pushes a little harder. And might be a . And there is something refreshingly real about these two, their push and pull and his unflinching affection. Maybe its unconventional, but its there and it’s so memorable and fantastic.
Awkward, brash and misunderstood boy meets quiet and unsure girl. Other boy likes girl. Girl still likes awkward boy. Confusing enough? Maybe. But when Derek and Chloe FINALLY give in to their feelings, it’s one of those amazing, pump your fist in the air, tell the presses kind of moments. There is such a lurking connection and possessiveness between these two, showing up at the right moments before fading again, almost like that pesky little mouse that you just can't quite catch but is oh so satisfying when you do.
8. Patrick and Delilah (Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler): Charming and funny boy reconnects with childhood best friend, now a broken, guarded girl. Said boy fixes the girl in the simplest, most beautiful ways. Does he get hurt? Yes. Does he take all of her crap? No. But is the fight worth it? Oh yes. This is an absolutely realistic relationship, filled with the bad and the good, making you grin like a schoolgirl on crack good in the end.
7. Oscar and Camille (Everlasting by Angie Frazier):
She’s engaged to another man. He’s an Irish Sailor. What do they have in common? A lot, including the way they feel for each other. Oscar might want to punch Camille’s fiancé in the face, but he is absolutely tender and sweet and a perfect gentleman with her. It is such a charming mix, and the way Camille can be the strong girl she is while still relying on Oscar is handled so beautifully. This is a fantastic romance for both the book’s time period, and the modern world.
6. Will and Jacinda (Firelight by Sophie Jordan): He sets her on fire. Almost literally. A simple touch does something to both of these characters that only Sophie Jordan can describe, and man does she do it well. You want intense and engaging budding romance? Read this one. Add in the dragons and paranormal aspect, and it’s an all over hit but man… This romance. And the way it’s written. Uh huh. Get the book.
5. Seth and Rosetta (Freefall by Mindi Scott):
Seth is a mess, trying to get through school and figure things out. Then he meets Rosetta, who makes him want to be a better person. What can make a romance more notable than that? It isn’t to just impress her, but because he wants it. Whether he gets her or not, he likes the person he thinks he could be. And then he gets there, and woo! It is just the best mix of real and sweet and maybe a little painful. Don't let the cover flap of this one fool you, it’s a romance, and a darn near perfect one at that.
4. Adam and Mia (If I Stay/Where She Went by burning love between the two, seen in both books no matter their outcomes, that the relationship just can't be ignored.
): This is one of those couples that love each other so much, but maybe it’s not enough. They have their good moments, but they have their bad moments too. Still, there is such a connection and intensity, such a deep
3. Wesley and Bianca (The DUFF by Kody Keplinger):
Manwhore and I-don't-take-your-crap chick. What better couple than this? Wesley can smooth talk his way… right to Bianca’s back as she walks away. Yet things change, and when they do… wow. They are passionate and intense, not to mention one of the single best lines ever uttered in YA comes from this book.
2. Aiden and Tessa (The Naughty List by Suzanne Young): Peppy cheerleader and basketball star. Cliché? Maybe. But interesting and lovable? Completely. These two have such an interesting chemistry that flies off the pages. It’s hot without going overboard, and Aiden is about as swoonworthy and amazing as they come. He can paint my toenails any time he wants.
1. Alex and Brittany (Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles):
Hot and sexy. That’s the best way to describe this one. It’s a passionate romance filled with fiery emotions and some seriously tough crap thrown in, and comes out so tremendously. Even for the people who aren’t big on romance, this one is still so incredibly worth the read. A dramatic romance if there ever was one, I could reread this one any time and fall for it all over again.
Friday, December 10, 2010
In a Team Blog pre-conference exclusive, I'm chatting with fabulous agent (who also happens to be my agent) Jim McCarthy. Jim is vice president at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management and he will be speaking at the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in NYC being held January 28th-30th. Check out the lineup HERE.
Jim, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. To start, I was wondering if you could tell us what your talk at the conference will focus on?
--This one’s easy! I’m doing the same break-out session three times, and it’s What Makes Your Work Publishable: Today’s Market in Children’s Books. I was asked to present on what our agency accepts, what my taste is, what makes something stand out as something I want to represent, how I perceive the marketplace now, and where I see it going. The lovely folks at SCBWI made it very easy on me—they told me I don’t need to prepare a speech because it’s really about what I do all day and what I think is coming. That’s going to leave tons and tons of room open for questions on this very broad topic (and means I won’t bore myself by giving the same presentation three times in a row!).
Are you currently looking for submissions?
--Always. ALWAYS. I have a really healthy client list right now that I’m thrilled with, but I will never close down to submissions because the idea of missing something brilliant because I wasn’t looking makes me physically uncomfortable.
What do you think authors can learn from hearing an agent speak during a conference as opposed to looking them up online?
--Well, you just get a sense of who that person is. Publishing is a business built on personal relationships, and the agent-client one is (in my totally unbiased opinion) the most important. I think it’s a great chance to scope someone out and see if they’re the sort of person you’d have any interest in working with long term. You get to see them as they are, not as they present themselves in writing. It’s kind of like online dating! But most importantly, you get a chance to ask questions and get clarity on some of the murkier issues in publishing which I think can be invaluable.
There’s always so much talk about what to wear to the conference—layer up, comfortable shoes, etc…. Any suggestions?
--Is there really? I never knew! I go to five or six a year and rarely think about what I wear (this is also true when I’m not at conferences). But…it’s New York in winter, so do wear layers. You can probably get away with spending the entire conference in the hotel traveling from event to event, but it would be a shame not to get out into the city at least for a little while, even if it is bitter cold.
Thank you again, Jim! And we all look forward to seeing you next month!!