Monday, 13 July 2015

Launching the #quietYA Celebration - An Interview with...Me!

Well hello there!

As some of you may know, back in April I started the #quietYA tag on twitter and it's become pretty popular. A few weeks ago, Rachael Allen got in touch with me and asked about doing a giveaway. And here we are today - launching three Rafflecopter giveaways, plus a twitter giveaway, featuring 21 authors across three days and a number of different blogs. Rachael and I agreed that a really good way to help kickstart this event would be for me to be interviewed by her to talk about how all of this happened. So, without further delay, I'll turn it over to her.

I’m so honored to be writing this kick off post with Julie because I love #quietYA and everything it has been doing for some really wonderful books. I have a bunch of questions for you, Julie, so here goes!

Quiet YA can be defined in different ways. As the creator of #quietYA, how do you define it?

Well, officially, quiet YA is all about books that are more literary/character based. Less action and less intense - Eleanor & Park is a great example of a quiet book. But #quietYA isn't quite the same. For me, it's about the books that don't get a lot of attention. My official rules have always been no bestsellers, no (major) award winners, just to keep it simple. A lot of quiet books also fit into the #quietYA category, but not all, which is why there's been some confusion. I've felt kind of bad about that, but I was really just trying to think of the shortest hashtag possible.

I’m really glad you explained that because I think a lot of people have been wondering. Side note: Does anyone else think of this whenever they hear the words “major award”? Just me? Okay, then, on to the next question…How did you come up with the idea for #quietYA?

It was a combination of things, honestly. For one, I was a publicity intern for a major publishing company at the time, but most of their YA didn't get a lot of attention. I've been a blogger for a long time and I've also been in the publishing industry and worked with authors for a few years, so I've seen what a struggle it is for everyone to get coverage of a lot of titles. I've also noticed a lot in recent months that the blogosphere is so supportive of books, but we're a bit of an echo chamber. It's the same handful of books that get tossed around all season. Older books and books that didn't pick up steam fall off.

The real tipping point - and I even scrolled through the entire tag to see if the dates matched up - was this Buzzfeed article about "underrated" YA books, as suggested by community members. Many of them were bestsellers. A good number of them had been adapted as movies, or had sold rights for it. A decent number weren't actually YA books. Essentially, this list is a mess and an insult to actually underrated YA books and authors. But it wasn't viciously meant - I think these people just genuinely don't realize how many books really ARE underrated because they'd never HEARD of them. I was so angry that night when I read the article, having put it off all day. I knew I had to counter with ACTUAL underrated books, but decided to wait until the next day since it was so late. It didn't take long for people to start going with me.

Silly question: What were you doing at the EXACT moment you got the idea? Reading Quiet YA? Eating ice cream? Reading Quiet YA while eating ice cream (FTW)?

Man, now I wish I was eating ice cream. But instead I was doing something I do almost as often as I eat ice cream - ranting on twitter about an article when I probably should've been asleep (literally, it was TWO IN THE MORNING) (I did go through a few of my first suggestions in the tag and apparently I did stay up after my rant and finished reading a quietYA title I fell in love with - SILVER IN THE BLOOD by Jessica Day George.)

What are 3 Quiet YA books that you wish every human would read?

I'm gonna cheat a little bit here, but:

a. Every book that Jaclyn Dolamore has written. She's always my go to recommendation and I'm actually rereading one of her books now. So far, she's written a steampunk duology with a WoC heroine, a historical fantasy featuring mermaids and "winged people", a love of books, and an adorable romance, and an alternative history duology featuring zombies, political conspiracies, and diverse sexualities. She's been writing these magical, feminist, quietly diverse books for years and she deserves so much more attention than she gets.

b. The HOURGLASS trilogy by Myra McEntire. It's one of the first time travel YA books I ever read and I completely fell in love. Snark, smarts, and swoony boys in each book, and again, there's a quiet diversity in the main characters. I adore Myra and these books and they're probably my favorite books ever.

c. Because I have to represent my contemporary love - Leigh Ann Kopans writes incredible contemporary upper YAs that explore class issues, privilege, sexuality. They're fun and sexy and so true to life and I completely, 100% adore them.

None of these authors have announced any new published projects which is obviously a concern to me, so I'm just going to have to keep shoving them in everyone's faces until there's news.

Oh, man, I love me some Myra McEntire! Also, Jaclyn Dolamore is doing a guest post AND giving away BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY as part of this #quietYA event, so stay tuned!

Next question: Is there a Quiet YA debut that you've really loved so far this year (because I am all about showing love to our debut authors!)?

Several! TRACKED by Jenny Martin is an incredible sci-fi and I'm going to be begging for the sequel as soon as it exists. WRITTEN IN THE STARS by Aisha Saeed is so devastating and beautiful and important. THE CONSPIRACY OF US by Maggie Hall is an amazing read-a-like for fans of Ally Carter that I'll also be begging for a sequel to. MADE YOU UP by Francesca Zappia is an incredible read about a girl with schizophrenia and mental health is underrepresented in YA, but schizophrenia in particular is one that needs more intention. And I read it before it had an editor, but WE'LL NEVER BE APART by Emiko Jean is an incredible psychological thriller that could only have gotten better since I read it.

These picks make me so excited because I’ve had the chance to meet both Jenny Martin and Aisha Saeed this year, and they are two of the most lovely people. Also, you guys are gonna have a chance to win TRACKED later!

I have one more question, and I’m going to end it on a feels kind of note. Is there a Quiet YA book that changed your life? 

Well, depends on what you mean by "changed my life." I could make arguments that a number of books changed my life because in reading those books, I was able to connect with the authors and I've had a lot of authors do incredible, generous things for me that have helped me with school and my future career and making new friends. More authors than I could possibly list without missing someone. THE SEASON by Sarah MacLean is a book I loved so much I started reading romance novels because I was just so desperate to read more of Sarah's books. SPIES AND PREJUDICE by Talia Vance convinced me to watch Veronica Mars, since it was a comp title, and I think that watching Veronica Mars is pretty life changing. VIXEN by Jillian Larkin changed me because the paperback was the first blurb I ever had. I hadn't even graduated high school and I was blurbed on a book and that does incredible things for your psyche. 

More traditionally, THE LOST GIRL by Sangu Mandanna forced me to really examine grief and what it does to people and the lengths people will go to avoid that level of pain. It also pushed me to think about identity and personhood. CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge got me thinking about monsters and good and evil and that very thin line between them. DARK METROPOLIS by Jaclyn Dolamore made me think about mortality and immortality. LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley was a much needed, heartbreaking reminder to me of the not-so-long-ago history of segregation. DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy, which isn't out until fall, is the book I needed as a teenager because it's such a wonderful reminder that you don't have to be skinny, or in any way traditionally attractive, to have value as a person and to be someone people could be romantically interested in. It was the most honest portrayal of what it is to be a fat girl I've ever experienced.

I just read DUMPLIN’ this week and completely agree that it belongs in the life-changing category. I also think my life won’t be complete until I go karaoke-ing with Julie Murphy, and someone sings Jolene. Just not me. Because I’m tone deaf. And I am bumping all the rest of these to the top of my TBR pile! Thank you so much for sharing these book recs and your thoughts on quiet YA. And thank you for creating this hashtag.

On behalf of everyone writing Quiet YA, I’d also like to say a huge thank you to every blogger, publishing professional, librarian, and book lover who has participated in #quietYA, or who, in any other way, champions Quiet YA books. These books don’t get the same amount of buzz as some of the giants in YA do – it would be impossible for every book to get that kind of buzz.

But what that means is this: Every time someone leaves a review on Goodreads or cross-posts a review to a retailer, every time you tweet about a new book you loved or gush to your best friend about it over ice cream, it means the world to us. We wouldn’t be able to keep writing books without people like you, and boy, do we love writing books a whole lot. So, thank you. And please don’t ever stop. :)

Julie is a college student generally based near or in New York City. When not in class, she's a publishing intern, freelance editor, occasional bookstore employee, avid Mets fan, and eater of mac and cheese across Manhattan. And when she's not in New York City, her life revolves around her cats and ranting on twitter at @DailyJulianne. Maybe someday she'll actually finish writing a book.

Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. In addition to being a YA writer, she's also a mad scientist, a rabid Falcons fan, an expert dare list maker, and a hugger. Rachael is the author of THE REVENGE PLAYBOOK (HarperTeen, June 2015) and 17 FIRST KISSES (HarperTeen, 2014). Follow her on twitter @Rachael_Allen.
I want to thank Rachael SO much for pulling this all together and getting in touch with me about it. It's becoming such an amazing project to really celebrate something that's become a shockingly large part of my life and I'm thrilled we get to have this little party for it. I also learned just how hard interviews can be.

And now, the part you're all really excited for, the giveaway! Not only is there a Rafflecopter here, but there's also one launching on four other blogs today, each with different guest posts from some of the authors featured in the giveaway. And tomorrow and Wednesday will each feature NEW blogs with NEW giveaways So be sure to check out:

A guest post with Jaclyn Dolamore at Watercolor Moods 
A guest post with Amber Keyser at Her Book Thoughts 
A guest post with T.A. Maclagan at ReadWriteLove28 
A guest post with Maria E. Andreu at A Bit Behind on Books

A guest post with Sarah Tomp on My Not So Real Life
A listopia from Read.Sleep.Repeat. 
An interview with Helene Dunbar on The Fox's Hideaway
More recommendations on The Forest of Words and Pages

Melody's top five recommendations on Hollywood The Write Way 
More recommendations from Chloe on Writer on Wheels
An interview with Mary Crockett on YAdult Review  
A guest post with Ann Redisch Stampler on Read My Breath Away

And without further ado...the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!



  1. I saw this coming by on twitter, I'd never even seen the hashtag #quietya before. There's so many lovely books though that don't nearly get enough attention. My favorite recommendation: Dualed and Divided by Elsie Chapman.

  2. I just put the Conspiracy of Us on my TBR and bookmarked this page for future reference. Lovely interview!

  3. I loved this post! Glad to see Quiet YA getting the publicity it deserves! My favourite quiet YA read is What If by Rebecca Donovan.

  4. Lies We Tell Ourselves was incredible!

    My TBR list seems to have expanded after reading this... Thank you, I think ;)

  5. Because of your recommendations, I just added The Season, Vixen, and Spies and Prejudice to my TBR. They sound so good!

  6. I haven't read most of the books on this list yet, but I'm really looking forward to Written in the Stars for awhile! My favorite quiet YA book is How I Live Now. Even though a movie was made for it, I rarely see the book get the attention it deserves. Thanks for the giveaway :)

  7. Love this post, and the attention to YA books flying under the media's radar. YA books have been growing in popularity over the past decade, and so many people talk about how "big" YA books have become ... but it's just a handful of books receiving the bulk of that attention, and a handful of YA authors receiving the bulk of the sales. But there are so many other amazing books out there, and, for better or worse, it's up to readers and bloggers to spread the word on these books not receiving as much promotional attention.

    I loved WRITTEN IN THE STARS! Read it in one day, and I'm eagerly awaiting Aisha Saeed's next book. I also really enjoyed FAKING NORMAL by Courtney Stevens. I have CRUEL BEAUTY and MADE YOU UP on my TBR list, and I'll add TRACKED and SILVER IN THE BLOOD to it as well.

    Thanks again for the post, and support for #quietya books!

    --Sam Taylor, AYAP Intern

  8. I haven't read any of the books on your list - YET! I'm planning on it though! They all sound good!

  9. This is such an incredible and important idea!! Love that you're giving attention to those sorely overlooked but wonderful books. You recommendations have added a few to my tbr, and also made me want to reread The Lost Girl and Made You Up, I loved both of those so so much. I also love these #quietYAs: Last Time We Say Goodbye and The Game of Love and Death.

  10. QuietYa means to me you pick up a book bc you like it, not because it's a fad

  11. I think #quietYA is a great event to refocus on fab YA that's flown under the radar or perhaps been forgotten, even though it's a great book. I'm definitely adding some of these titles to my "To Read" list.



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