Tuesday, September 11, 2012

YA Confidential's Greatest Hits

Tomorrow is our anniversary! That's right, this blog has been up for an entire year! Stop by tomorrow because we're having a big celebratory giveaway.

Today, we're looking back at some of our favorite posts and comments from the past year.

Our blog wouldn't be nearly as fun without the great comments we get from readers. From the beginning we wanted it to be as interactive as possible, and that's why we began From the Vault Thursdays and Comment of the Week. There were SO many great comments over the past year.

Here are a couple of our favorites from the HUGE bank of amazing Comment of the Week winners:

First, a fantastic answer by Stefi Hors about her favorite YA cover:
My all-time favorite cover is Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl.

The way the girl is trapped inside the car, windows all fogged up, looking out at the world, with the book's title written in the fogginess with her finger is just the perfect depiction of what the book is about.

Short summary of the plot: Deanna's father catches her having sex in the car. At 13. Fast forward to age 15, and her whole identity is till defined by that one stupid moment. Everyone in school still thinks she's a total slut. Even though that's the only guy she's ever been with. The guy she slept with makes fun of her. Her parents assume all she's about is sleeping with boys.

That's why I love the cover - the car and what she did there trapped her, the way she's stuck in the car in the cover. That one action has become her identity - people can't see her, just what she once did. Like the foggy windows in the cover, everyone's perception of her is shaded by her past action.

And it seems to me that, in the cover, she's looking out the back window. Because her history has become her and she can't move forward. But now she's trying to rewrite herself, like she writes the title of the book in the window, writing through the fog. To rewrite her story, her past and herself - for herself.

Next, one of the toughest questions we've asked this year was about books that inspired us as children, and Suzanne Van Rooyen left us a gorgeous and poignant response:
One book in particular stands out. It was the story of a little Romanian girl at the time of Ceausescu. I vividly remember the story being called "The Sounds of Silence" but despite my best and desperate efforts I haven't been able to find it, so perhaps I remembered the name wrong - and I can't remember the author. Anyway, in the story the little girl has a birthday and for her birthday her mom places a yellow flower in a vase on the kitchen table and serves her a boiled egg (or some other tasty treat - don't remember the specifics but it was something like an egg or piece of cheese, not a triple stack of toffee waffles with Belgian ice-cream). The girl is delighted and acknowledges what her mom must've sacrificed in order to afford the treat. That's it. When I read that at all of 8yrs old I didn't understand how a flower and egg could be so special (given my privileged upbringing). It really made me stop and think. My first lesson in socio-economic stratification. It also made me want to write stories not just about enchanted forests and unicorns, but about real people living real lives. Perhaps it triggered the dystopian writer in me. Even though I write SF these days, that seemingly mundane scene in that children's book has never left me, always serving as a reminder of how the smallest things can have the most profound meaning.

If you want to browse through more of the awesomeness, click this link to read all the CotW posts!

And because we've loved coming up with ideas for posts and interacting with everyone, a list of some of our favorite posts from the past year:

Come back tomorrow for our giveaway!


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