Friday, November 30, 2012


Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Today's question is:

Q: I called my boyfriend cute and he freaked. Is that normal? 

A: You WHAT?!

How do you even live with yourself you unholy skeletess? What on Earth possessed you to use the dreaded "C" word?

Whelp, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you but this is your life now:

  • Friday - Your boyfriend avoids you at school/work/court-ordered community service.
  • SaturdayYour dinner-and-a-movie plans are unceremoniously cancelled when he goes to visit a dying uncle whose name you've never heard. When you ask for picture proof, he sends this:
He's, um, my Uncle Hey-Zeus  from the Mexican side of the family
  • Sunday - All your messages go unanswered, even the proxy ones you send via his bros, mom and, in desperation, XBox Live account.
  • Monday - You spot him wiping away streaked mascara and hugging his buds who won't let you into the Circle of Trust. As you leave, you hear him say, "Well if she doesn't know what's wrong, I'm not going to tell her."
  • Tuesday - He changes his Facebook status from In a Relationship to Widowed.
  • Wednesday - Drunk dialing. So much drunk dialing.
  • Thursday - You get a text asking if you guys are still on for all-you-can-eat shrimp at Red Lobster?
  • Friday - At dinner, you ask if everything's okay. He gives you a funny look (like when a dog sees itself in the mirror) and says, "What are you talking about?"

Now, admittedly, you'll end up right where you started. But is it really worth a whole week of your life?

Look, I know you were trying to be nice. Sweet even. In your mind you were paying him a compliment. But you have to understand that from the moment a word leaves your mouth to the moment it's understood by your boyfriend, it must traverse a complicated, hostile environment like this one:

This isn't a game, it's an MRI
Say the right word and you win! He'll snuggle you as big spoon while you watch Veronica Mars re-runs all weekend. Say the wrong word and you lose. Now you're inside a mental cage, gnawing on your own leg to survive.

Part of the issue is that the male brain applies definitions according to a mind-map that's very different from yours. For example, here are 4 words followed by 4 pictures. Match up the correct photo for each word.
  1. Cute
  2. Yummy
  3. Gorgeous
  4. Top drawer, wot?

D.  -

Correct Answers: 1-C; 2-C; 3-C; 4-C

Ask your boyfriend to take this same test. Now do you see the problem? 

It's not simply a matter of mistranslation. If you had called him yummy and then licked your lips, he might understand you want him to kiss you already. (Or he might think you need some Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme. Either way, he's happy because sexytime or tacos, it's all good.)

But when you use the word cute and don't immediately follow up with a detailed PowerPoint explaining why you love his jawline or think he looks hawt in skinny jeans, he is now left with the only definition of the word he understands.

Cute = Emasculated.

Seriously, using the word cute around a guy is like telling him you invited Edward Scissorhands over to shave his junk. The word causes a dangerous drop in testosterone, loss of hair and the liklihood he'll take up dressage. Congratulations. You're dating a princess. 

I know it's not your fault. It's ours. When you use a word we don't understand, we should just ask what you mean. You'd probably say cute means fine, hot or sexy, right? Note: I suggest you start with sexy as the other two might result in similar misunderstandings.

But since all wars and 90% of sitcoms hinge on men not asking simple questions to clear up huge misunderstandings, he's not likely to ask what you mean. So how to avoid losing a week of your life?

One way is to eliminate any word a guy is likely to misunderstand and only add words with clear male meanings to your vocabulary. That's fine if you're cool with functional illiteracy. The only upside is that you'll be like an Intercourse Eskimo. You'll know a hundred words for sex.

A better solution is to let Johnny Depp explain the phenomenon of words with multiple meanings. Why?

Because Johnny Depp.

In the following clip, he explains the many meanings of fuggedaboutit [NSFW].

Show the clip to your boyfriend and then explain that cute also has many meanings and be specific about which one you meant.

With any luck, and Johnny Depp's help, your guy might just get a clue.

If not, then. . .fuggedaboutit.

Copil once did a cute thing back in the nineties. It's been downhill since then. You can see for yourself on Twitter (@Copil).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

YA Inspired?

Every Thursday, we post a question for our followers--and every Saturday, one of the commenters will be selected to choose a title from our Vault! Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome books... OR ***NEW!!*** the book of your choice from the Book Depository!

To enter, follow YA Confidential and please make sure that your email address is linked to your comment in some way! (So we can get in touch with you :)

Today's question:
Have you ever been inspired by a character in a YA to try something new? (For example, after Hunger Games, interest in archery sky-rocketed!)

Our Answers

Sara: The Hunger Games! I have wanted to take a survival course so badly since reading! I’ve even tried to invite friends, but so far, no takers. Now I’m pregnant, so it’ll have to wait. Also? Anything with zombies (especially reading Courtney Summers’ This is Not a Test) leaves me for weeks (okay, much longer) wanting to stock up on canned food and weapons to prepare for a zombie apocalypse…

Copil: Interstellar Pig by William Sleator encouraged me to play more board games for the same reason The Last Starfighter encouraged me to play more video games. I wanted to meet aliens. Didn't happen until I joined YA Confidential, though.

Karen: Years ago, I read this little unknown YA book called Twilight and I wanted to try dating a vampire, but I couldn't find a paranormal creature option on the EHarmony search tool.

Matt: No comment.

Your turn!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Undercover Wednesday... Coming to a Close

So, I'm currently reading this book:

Reached (Matched, #3)

From GoodreadsAfter leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again. 

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

Reached is totally and completely awesome so far (Ally Condie writes SO beautifully), and I'm excited to finally know the answers to all the secrets that have been hinted at in the first two installments of the Matched trilogy. But, part of me kind of wants to put this book down... just up and quit reading it indefinitely. I've been invested in the Matched trilogy since the very first book came out, and I'm all kinds of sad to see it end. If I STOP reading now, I'll never know if the Rising and the Society find a peaceful resolution, or if the people of the Reached world will get to stop worrying about the Pilot and the Plague. Cassia and Ky and Zander's story won't come to a definite close, and I won't have to say goodbye to these fantastic characters whose lives I've followed since 2010.  

That's totally how it works, right? Avoid the last book in a trilogy and the story doesn't really end? Kind of like how I mentally ignore that my five-year-old is learning to read and losing her teeth and sassing me up, down, and all around. If I don't acknowledge the fact that she's growing up, she'll remain frozen in time, an innocent child forever, right? 



What makes this all especially hard is that there are SO MANY trilogies that have just -- or are about to -- come to an end. 

Take this one, for example...

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1) Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2) Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)

And this one...

Across the Universe A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

And this one...

Delirium (Delirium, #1) Pandemonium (Delirium, #2) Requiem (Delirium, #3)

And don't even get me started on the trilogies I've already had to say goodbye to: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Summer Series by Jenny Han, and The Wolves of Mercy Falls books by Maggie Stievfater. 

My poor, sad heart just can't take it! 

The only (ONLY) bright point of light on this otherwise cloudy topic of conclusions is that it *is* fun to have a complete trilogy to display on my bookshelves. Seeing those trios of pretty, matching spines always makes me smile, because even though the story is over and done with, I can always relive it. 

Is there a trilogy you were particularly reluctant to say goodbye to? Is there one concluding in the near future that's got you feeling the sads?  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It’s the Most Wonderful (Busy/Crazy/Insane/Happy/ Stressful) Time of the Year

Eating, shopping, Christmas trees, turkeys, time with family, decorating, parties—it IS a most wonderful time of the year, but you and I both know it’s also a BUSY time of year. Between my full-time job, my part-time job, my kids and their schedules, my husband and his soccer schedule, writing, blogging, . . . well, things are twenty shades of cray cray at the Miller house. Factor in the holidays and yeah, I spend most hours of the day looking and feeling like this guy

November and December are busy, a good busy, and most days I handle the craziness of the season well, but then we have weeks in November where middle school soccer starts up, my husband’s soccer team makes a State Championship run (which they won, btw), and despite all the awesomeness of everything going on, things get just a wee bit overwhelming, I fall into a mild funk, and then I push aside some, um, . . . important things. Ya know—like the roundtable.


So, obviously no roundtable this month. And obviously, Alison needs some serious lessons in time management. So, I went to our teens to ask them how they handle busy times of year. With school and activities and jobs, I know that some of our teens are even busier than I am. Do they manage their time well? If and when they get stressed, how do they cope? Does the busyness and stress ever get them down? And how do they deal with that?

Here’s what they had to say…

LISSA: November is probably the most exciting month for me, which I love since I crave busyness. As a general rule, whenever I know that I have a lot on my plate, I try to tackle everything one at a time, in order of what's coming up closest. When I'm stressed, I try to incorporate things I really love into my schedule - i.e., if I'm studying, I'll make a huge One Direction/Ed Sheeran/Taylor Swift/John Mayer playlist (which I'm listening to right now because ohmygodguysIvebecomeahugedirectionerrrrr (Agent A loves this as much as she loves One Direction)) and will listen to that as I work; if I'm buying presents, I'll drag a friend along; if I'm practicing a speech, I'll start talking in weird voices and will start doing crazy dance moves as I rehearse. Which, by the way, reallllllly helps.

LAURA: Whew! I’m a giant stress-ball, but more like the bottle-it-up kind. I’ll self-combust occasionally, especially during the holidays or when people push, but most of the time I keep my head down and blinkers on. It’s not a method I’d encourage, but it’s the only one that works for me.

LEXIE: I handle it as best as I can--one step at a time. I try and get as much done as soon as possible and not put things off until the last minute, even if it's sometimes unavoidable, to dodge unneeded stress. When I start getting really stressed out and overloaded, I try doing something that requires minimal brain power to unwind. It does get to be a little much sometimes, and it will get me down, but I just sort of push on. I handle the craziness as best as I possibly can, and try and remember why I'm doing so many things, why I have so little time--because I love what I'm doing, because what I'm doing is important, etc. I deal with things as they come.

ERICA: I am pretty good at managing my time, but the busyness really gets me stressed, particularly with all my finals and stress that comes at the end of the semester. I'm terrible at coping with stress though. I don't really have any ways to cope and it really does get me down sometimes. That also is something I don't really deal with well so I just kind of push it down and ignore it the best I can until it goes away.

LENNON: I don't handle it. I power through it and then I break. Then I get over and the cycle starts again. For example, I'm not going to finish NaNoWriMo this year, which I hate but I simply can't do it this year. I want to maintain my 4.0 so I can get into a good college so I have homework for high school level and homework for my college classes, I am the stage manager for my year's performance of Antigone, and I'm a house rep this year.

KATIE: One day at a time! Literally! Sadly no... I've been starting to leave things to the last minute. Coping? Watch Doctor Who? :) Yes it's inevitable sadly. I always find that talking it out always helps.

RIV: Everything revolves around caffeine, sugar, and forcing myself to take a deep breath and kill time on Tumblr.

And in the busy craze of the holiday season, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of what’s important. So since US peeps just celebrated Thanksgiving, I asked our teens to tell us one thing they are truly thankful for.

LAURA: My family. Life wouldn’t be the same without them, even if they do make me angry enough to deny it some days. I’m a walking Second Chance and they make each day worth it.

KATIE: One thing I am truly grateful for is my family! I have no idea where I would be without my mom!

ERICA: I am truly thankful for how blessed I have been this year particularly. I have struggled through a lot of more personal issues this year and without my family and friends, I don't think I would have pulled through the same way.

LENNON: As cheesy as this sounds, I really am thankful for my family and friends. I would be a wreck without them, they mean the world to me. I love them all to death.

RIV: Without getting all cheesy, I'm going to say that I'm thankful for my ability to write. It's such a great way of expressing myself. My stories, and the community connected to them, have helped me through a lot. (I'm also really grateful for Doctor Who. Because without it, I might actually have time to do normal things.)

LEXIE: People who care.

LISSA: I'm really thankful for my family, above everything. The love and support they have for me, and the great laughs and debates I have with them, make my life sososososo complete. I honestly have no idea what I would do without the ones I love -- my love and admiration for them goes beyond words.

It’s also important to take time out for ourselves. Since I know our teens love to read, and with Christmas right around the corner, I asked them: What book tops your Christmas wish list?

RIV: Since you're being evil and making me choose one, I'm going with the John Green (signed) box set. (Agent A reaction: There’s a John Green box set?!)

KATIE: I have such a huge pile of books to read all I want is time to read them!

LISSA: I really want to get to Les Miserables -- my excitement for the movie is like ashlfdshlgksdfhl!

LAURA: Oh, no. I could list about two hundred books! But I have been dying to read Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard all year. Everyone keeps telling me how good it is!

LEXIE: I don't celebrate Christmas, but for my Chanukkah lists, if I'm getting any more presents, the books I'd be sure to request are probably Days of Blood and Starlight and Send Me a Sign.

LENNON: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The majority of those are books I want to read before the movie adaptions come out.

ERICA: Oh there are so many! My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is one on top of my list - everyone keeps saying such wonderful things about it! Also The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind - I am absolutely in love with his books and this one came out a few months ago and I still haven't managed to pick it up. Code Name Verity is another on my list since everyone keeps raving about it.

Thanks to our teens for taking time out of their busy lives to answer these questions!

How about YOU? How do you deal with the busy times of year? What are you most thankful for? And what book tops YOUR wish list?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble, Gobble!

No question this week, just a warm and sincere thank you to you, our readers! WE are thankful for YOU today :) (And the rest of the year, too, of course.)

Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers! We hope you're warm and cozy and surrounded by loved ones. (Actually, we hope that for everyone! Not just US-based peeps!)

Don't forget to take a moment today to remember the things you're thankful for! Family, friends, health, happiness... BOOKS. :)

Now I'm off to find some stretch pants to prepare for ALL THE FOOD I'll be fitting in my belly.

Have a great day--and weekend! We'll be back on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Call for first pages!

What YA writer wouldn't love feedback from real teens on their story? Well, every month at YA Confidential, we offer you the opportunity to get your first page critiqued by our amazing teen spies. 

Send the first page of your YA manuscript to and one lucky submitter will be chosen to have their page critiqued here the blog. Our teen spies will reveal what they liked, what didn't work for them, and whether or not they'd keep reading... Invaluable feedback!  

Deadline for page submission: November 27th!

(If you've submitted in previous months, but haven't been selected, feel free to submit again.)

Happy Tuesday!   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cause Play

Confession, I'm a nerd. Always have been. When I was six, hand to God, I described my mother's womb as a TARDIS and made her cry. It wasn't the most eloquent way of saying she made me feel warm and protected, but it was definitely meant as a compliment.

If you're a nerd, your travels may have taken you through comics, Tolkien, Buffy, computers, Firefly or your local Renaissance Faire.

If you're reading this blog, books probably had something to do with your own Kung-Fu-like journey to nerdvana.

When you can snatch the commemorative Avengers: Comic-Con issue from my hands. . .you will be ready
There's no one true path and that's kinda the point. Being a nerd should never be about fitting into someone else's definition of the term, it should be about your own hobbies, interests and obsessions.

For example, I'm currently sporting a nerd boner for Star Wars VII and the Robocop reboot. You could argue that SW-VII might turn into Jar-Jar Binks vs. The Ewoks and that the new Robocop is just Transformers 4. You make good points but I disagree. Does that give you the right to revoke my nerd credentials?

Nope. You can have my nerd ID when you pry it from my cold, dead, zombie hand.

You don't get to tell me what being a nerd means and vice-versa. There are no gatekeepers in Nerdom.

Lately, though, I've seen a number of successful nerds, by which I mean nerds who get paid to nerd professionally, rail against some perceived menace stalking Nerd Hollow. In each case, we are warned to keep our junior nerdlings indoors and hide our precious nerd eggs until the Mouse Shadow in the Second Moon signals hatchling season.

What horror could drive these self-assigned cognoscenti to howl in the night?

I know, right?

In the most recent kerfuffle, a well-known comic book artist came out swinging against a particularly insidious creature he believes walks the halls of Comic-Con. The Scylla to our heroic Nerd Odysseus is the dreaded cosplayer.

And not just any cosplayer, but, as he put it, the "Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl" who is desperate for attention, doesn't know much about the character she's impersonating and wouldn't give fellow nerds the time of day outside a con.

Okay, I'm not even sure what "Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl" even means. But let's argue for a moment that someone exists that fits the rest of his criteria.

So the EFF what?!

Is this douche arguing that in order to be part of the nerd herd, all cosplaying women have to live atop Maslow's pyramid, have a PhD in comics and befriend every boob-leering troll?

Riiiiiiiiight. Because every male cosplayer is completely emotionally stable, has read all 900 issues of Batman and is an absolute treat to hang out with.

Part of what really riled me about this guy's post is that his self-righteous call to arms tries desperately to recruit nerds like me into his flaccid pitchfork army using words like us and our, as if I'd cast off my own opinions and throw down with him just because he's written some comic books I've read.

Dude, I'm not your bro, bro. Especially not when you've chosen to cosplay as a giant talking dick.

I can't help but think this artist's screed (which I won't link to here), is just the frustrated rambling of someone who was recently friend-zoned. And I have to say, that's giving him the benefit of the doubt. It's quite possible his post was just outright misogyny.

Is this sort of vitriol directed at female fans growing, is there some kind of douchebag breeding ground we missed in the last spraying? Jesus Christ, I hope not.

The last thing we want is to chase away female fans. Do you know what you get when you have female cosplayers? You get Bad-Assery Level: Mega.

"So what exactly did you mean by Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl? Here, speak directly into my microphone."
The above is the work of a female cosplayer who goes by the name of LilTyrant and does this sort of thing for lulz.

Does she look like the problem? Or the solution.

John Scalzi, responding to some other douchebag, said all of this before and more eloquently than I ever couldNo one gets to decide for anyone else how they participate in fandom. And while everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, don't pretend yours defines me or expect to get a pass on your stupidity just because we have similar interests.

We need a lot less of butt hurt comic book guy and a lot more of LilTyrant.

Copil often cosplays as Mo'Ron, King of the Idiots! You can see him in costume on Twitter (@Copil).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Comment of the Week!

Every Thursday we put our heads together and come up with a teen-related question for you all to ponder. Then on Saturday we choose our favorite comment, and the author gets to crack open the vault to peek at what we're hiding inside.

Our Valut has hit the can pick the book of your choice, too!

This week's question:

What book rocks your favorite YA love triangle?

And the comment of the week goes to:

Jamie Morrow

Without a doubt: Cassandra Clare's INFERNAL DEVICES series. From chapter to chapter in both CLOCKWORK ANGEL and CLOCKWORK PRINCE, I found myself waffling back and forth between Jem and Will. It's that whole 100% sweetheart vs. bad boy with a soft side thing. I'm sure whoever Tessa chooses will make me happy, but it will also be bittersweet because the other fella will have his heart broken (assuming something else doesn't take him out of the picture).

Thanks so much for your comment, Jamie! Just shoot us an email and let us know if you want a book from The Vault, or if you want the book of your choice from Book Depository!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tales from the Locker Room (And Other Stalk Worthy Places)

Okay, so I really don’t stalk the locker room, but I do pick up on some interesting things in my classroom and in the hallways. The holidays are approaching and my students’ minds are not on anything algebra-related. Instead, here’s the inside scoop on

what they’re watching

A bunch are going to see it went at 10:00 Thursday. I would ask them about it, but um…I have a feeling they’ll be really *ahem* sick today. ;)

what they’re playing

what they’re listening to singing (ya know—aside from the quadratic formula song)

PS—my boys sing it ALL THE TIME

what they’re saying


Okay, so maybe I just have one student who's determined to "make fetch happen." I think it's pretty awesome.

what they’re excited about

My school’s football team will play in the third round of the state playoffs tonight. My school’s soccer team and my husband’s soccer team will be playing in state championship games tomorrow (not against each other - PHEW). Lots of hype about athletics these days.

Also excited for Thanksgiving break which - PS - cannot get here fast enough. We are ALL counting down the days.

Happy Thanksgiving! Are YOU going to see (have you seen) Breaking Dawn 2? Black Ops fan? What songs are you singing?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Triangular Love

Every Thursday, we post a question for our followers--and every Saturday, one of the commenters will be selected to choose a title from our Vault! Whatever we have available: ARCs, signed books, awesome books... OR ***NEW!!*** the book of your choice from the Book Depository!

To enter, follow YA Confidential and please make sure that your email address is linked to your comment in some way! (So we can get in touch with you :)

Today's question:
What book rocks your favorite YA love triangle?

Our Answers

Jessica: Right now it's THE RAVEN BOYS. We get the clue from the description of the book that there is going to be something between Blue and Gansey. But then we start reading and find that Blue actually starts dating a different character. It's a four-book series, so I know many things are going to change, but I love this hint of a love triangle to come in future books. I might be worried if this was in the hands of a different author, but I know Maggie Stiefavter is not going to give us some trite, overdone YA love triangle. I can't wait to see how this one shakes out.

Matt: None. I hate love triangles.

Sara: You know, I really don’t mind a good love triangle. Especially now since the rest of the YA world seems so over them, I’d say the ratio of books that I read with love triangles is waaaaay outweighed by books that don’t have them. The one that comes to mind for me first is in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. The triangle in this story is super complicated, and I completely understood (even at the times I shook my head) with why the MC had such a hard time sorting through her feelings for both boys.

Katy: Love triangles often bug me, but I love how Elizabeth Scott handled hers in The Unwritten Rule

Your turn!

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