Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Attack of the Laurens... and a Jess!

Sunday I had the amazing opportunity to see Lauren Oliver, Lauren Morrill, Jess Rothenberg, and Nova Ren Suma at the most recent author's salon at the Hudson Valley YA Society in Rhinebeck's Oblong Books. I go to these events as often as I can, and I am always blown away by the amazing YA authors I have the opportunity to meet and how passionate they feel about their target audience: young adults.

But what really blew me away about this particular salon was just how young they were! These young women are successful. They are published. And many, through social media, have demonstrated their pure star-struck pleasure at finding their books on the shelves of their favorite bookstores (like the Strand). When we read these books with our students or our children, I think the idea of who the author is can be lost on any reader (myself included). SO coming to an event like this can make that person real for you, and in my case, often it can also make the book better for you!

So what were my impressions of these young women? Nova Ren Suma is that deep, poetic writer who would appeal to the young women in the world who aren't quite sure where they belong. They are original, unique, and content to be so, but they are looking for something deeper and more serious from their life and their choices. Suma can deliver a means for that introspection they crave so deeply. Not to mention she was wearing FABULOUS shoes!

Lauren Morrill is a RomCom junkie. Yep, we all love our RomComs, even though we might pretend we don't when the literary and cinematic snobs of the world mock them (because let's face it, we are all still teenage girls inside our adult bodies, insecurities and all). And Morrill is unapologetic for her love of them, which I love so deeply about her! Meant to Be was so much fun, but her new book is described as "Parent Trap meets the Cutting Edge". WHAT?! Sound incredible? Yeah, I thought so!!

Then there is Jess Rothenberg, the author of The Catastrophic History of You and Me. She openly talked about her decision to write a book about a girl's heart literally breaking in half and killing her was the result of a bad break-up. She joked that it was the perfect revenge on the guy if it ever got published (Ha! And it did!). I loved that she talked about this catalyst for writing, especially since we so often keep our true emotions, especially about heartache, to ourselves. She was so honest and candid, and she is a great role model for all those girls out there. Don't get angry, don't wallow. Instead, Write About It!

And then there is Lauren Oliver. Oh, Lauren Oliver! This was the second time I had seen her at HVYAS, AND *swoon* she recognized me! While Oliver can be considered the heavy hitter here in terms of sheer amount of published books, she is still so down to earth and honest. She is hilarious to watch on these panels and unapologetic about her PR for her books ("How many of you have read the first two books in the series? Awesome! And the rest of you, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR ALREADY??!!"). Her enthusiasm is infectious, and you can't help but want to read every single thing she has written once you have heard her speak!

So why should we send our kids to author readings and panels? Because there is something so satisfying about listening to an author and realizing they are human. They are people who love RomComs, who go through bad break-ups, who are spazzy and hilarious. They MAKE their books even more exciting! So take your kids to an HVYAS event. They are awesome!

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