To wrap up Contemporary YA Week here at STACKED, I wanted to send a huge thank you both to our guest contributors, as well as to our readers who keep asking for more posts about contemporary YA. In fact, I’ve already received some suggestions for what to consider next year, and I’m compiling a list of those topics so that I can try to make it happen.
If there’s ever a topic that interests you as a reader, I’d love to know. Or if there are things you’ve thought about this week you’d like to read more about, leave those things in the comments. I can’t always follow up or through, but I do always think about them. And I hope the booklists, as well as the rerunning of some older content was valuable, too.
So please, feel free to give us feedback or suggestions or ideas for future contemporary week features — as well as ideas for posts about contemporary realistic fiction outside of this series — because it’s helpful to us to know what’s of interest.
Just because it’s fitting — and because I’m about to dig into revising — I thought it’d be worthwhile to talk a little bit more about my book about contemporary YA too.
The Real Deal: A VOYA Guide to Contemporary Fiction for Young Adult Readers should be out sometime next year, and you can add it to your Goodreads shelf if you want to. As it stands, I’ve not added a short description because the description of the book’s fairly evident from the title.
My book has three distinct parts that all build upon one another. The first part talks about how we define contemporary YA, how reader’s advisory for contemporary YA works, how to be effective and innovative in your reader’s advisory and book recommendations, and gives you the raw tools for working with YA readers and contemporary YA fiction.
The second part contains 10 thematic book lists, each with 15 annotations that can be used not only as book descriptions, but as book talks. They also include read alikes and appeal factors for making connections between and among different books beyond those within the thematic list itself (in other words, while the book list might be about health and well-being, the appeal factors might hit on the fact the book has a great family element to it, making it connect with some of the books in the relationships book list). At the end of each of those thematic book lists is a long list of other books, too. Here’s a sample of one of the annotations:
Finally, the third part of the book might be my favorite: conversation starters. I’ve pulled from the book lists and pooled together five or more books on a big and heavy topic and developed a series of questions and discussion fodder for them. Some of the topics include sex and sexual assault, military service, body image, and more. Essentially, this portion of the book puts the things in part one together with the things in part two and offers a way into talking about tough or touchy subjects with readers. This was the most fun and most challenging to write, but it’s also the part I think will offer the most value. I hope, at least!
Nearly every chapter in the book — and there are 22 — begins with insight from a variety of contemporary YA authors, as well as teachers and other librarians, about what contemporary YA has influenced them or how it is they implement contemporary YA into their own work. I thought it was really important to incorporate some other voices into the book, and I’m really pleased not only with what those contributors had to offer, but how well those contributions played into the things I was talking about in my book.
There’s really not much more to report at this stage in the process. The book’s been with my editor and the publisher now for a few months, and it’s in line for the design process, meaning there will be something that looks like a book-shaped thing very soon. In the mean time, I’m writing an index (yes, writing my own index) and going through the manuscript itself to clarify, tighten, and reword some of the things I haven’t looked at since I turned it in. I’m hoping to sneak in a few more titles into my book lists, as well, since I’ve read quite a bit in the interim.
I’m excited about this book and pleased with how it all came together. I think it’ll be really useful for those who love contemporary YA and those who work with YA readers in particular. And of course, when I know more — publication date, cover, so forth — I’ll share. But I believe this update pretty much covers what to expect content wise.
Perhaps the best part is at this point, I still love contemporary YA and I think that maybe I like it even more now that I’ve spent so much time thinking about it. In fact, I feel like after writing it, I could write even more books on some of the things I hit on within it. Maybe some day!