I mentioned in this weekend’s links of note post that I’ve been working on a couple of different projects. One of them has been on a presentation for the YA Lit Symposium, and the other one is something that has sort of been in the back of my mind for a few months now.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about the things I’m passionate about. About the things that I’ve had the chance to write about here on STACKED and elsewhere. About how much I love writing about and thinking about certain topics and issues. I started to really consider how I can take what it is that interests me and take it out a little bit further.
(I feel like building up really good tension here so that this is really as exciting an announcement to whoever reads it as it is to me, but I fear I’m doing a terrible job. Humor me, please.)
Last week, I submitted a lengthy outline to VOYA for a book.
This weekend, while out of town, I had a contract in my inbox.
Today, I signed and returned that contract.
In other words: I’m writing a book.
A book about contemporary YA fiction.
It’s not just a book of book lists, though, and while there will certainly be a nice chunk of the book devoted to thematic and topical book lists (with book talks, links to well-done and worthwhile book trailers, with read alikes, and other readers’ advisory materials), it’s a lot more than that. My vision for the book — which should be obvious by now isn’t yet written — includes a large first part devoted to some of the things I’ve talked about before: why contemporary YA matters, how to be an effective critical reader and evaluator of books, and how to make connections among and between books. It’s also going to give a historical overview of the growth of the genre and the way it moved from “problem novels” to how it broaches different themes and topics in today’s world. It’s going to cover how to effectively provide passive readers’ advisory, as well as how to give a book talk (with attention to the evaluation of and use of book trailers).
The book will also include readers’ guides to different topics for book group and classroom use. These would be over niche topics within contemporary YA fiction that could make for interesting conversation — for example, the topic of military service would highlight 4 or 5 books that feature this theme and provide a means of examining them individually and as a group.
And of course, there will be a section devoted to how to be an advocate for contemporary YA fiction.
The book as I see it will be useful not just for librarians, but also educators, youth advocates, and, I hope, general readers looking to educate themselves on the genre and also looking for a resource to a lot of new reading material. It’s also going to be very up-to-date, meaning materials will be from 2009 to the present (thinking by the time it’s in print, nothing in the book will be more than 5-6 years old). There will, of course, be a lot of time devoted to talking about classics and staples in contemporary YA, so those won’t be overlooked.
I’ve been processing this all because, as much as I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, it all came together very, very quickly. Like I mentioned: this isn’t written yet. And it won’t be done for quite a while because I’ve given myself a nice lengthy deadline in hopes of devouring as much relevant material as possible.
As far as what this may mean for blogging, I am pretty sure it means nothing different will happen here except maybe for more reviews. I don’t plan on talking about this project a whole lot until there is a finished product in hand (or there are parts of a finished product, at least) and I can talk about it as a tangible thing, rather than an idea I’m still wrapping my head around.
I’m writing a book about contemporary YA fiction.