Firstly, I've been very fortunate to receive a CAL Creative Industries' Career grant to help me to get the US in November to attend the YA Literature Symposium (YALSA - St Louis) and the YAllfest (Charleston). I will be co-presenting at the former on Australian YA and the up and coming authors that everyone should be on the look out for. I am incredibly excited to hear all my fellow presenter's opinions on topics ranging from future trends, blurring genres, LGBTQ lit, transmedia and social reading. I've signed up for pre-conference programming as well so I expect my brain may explode by the end of the weekend but at least I'll die with a huge grin on my face.
YAllFest is a different kettle of fish in that it's a day of panels with a truly amazing array of authors on the schedule - at last count 44 YA authors, many having graced the NYT bestseller list. Between the two events I will be getting my fill of American YA authors, librarians and programmers which is a dream come true.
The plan currently is to spend some time in LA and New Orleans in and around the two events but nothing is concrete as yet. Please tell me if you're attending any of these events - it will be great to finally match faces with names and twitter handles.
On an unimportant note...
I watched two episodes and decided Girls was not for me. I couldn't get into it and I didn't relate to anyone. A few weeks later I gave it another go and developed a fascination with it. Partially because others convinced me to and secondly, I think it improved at the episode 4 mark. It just proves that I shouldn't give up until I've hit the rule of 4 (4 eps then out). Also, I made the realisation that its not important if I relate to a character, rather that I believe the character.
Regardless I have been really interested in Lena Dunham's (series creator, writer and Hanna) career trajectory with regards to her indie film Tiny Furniture and Girls. More than anything I love that she's created a show that demonstrates the complexity of women, their relationships to one another and a new edge to the dramedy genre of TV. It's bold and there should be more of it.
Lastly, I am still a little stunned that Dunham (and actor Adam Driver) got me to a place where I felt 'like' for the Adam character. Brava.
I got an iPad.
I am steadfast in my need to not become a person that talks about their Apple products all the time. I didn't like hearing from them pre-iPhone, iPad or Macbook and I don't ever want to hear myself becoming smug like that.
I've been on a bit of an American YA contemporary binge of late.
I've carved my way through:
- Getting Over Garrett Delaney (Abby McDonald) - Surprisingly really enjoyed it. The notion that the main character was inadvertently brainwashed and needed to detox once she realised Garrett would never be hers was fantastic. Her pop culture training was just brilliant - I need to write down that list she creates to catch up. McDonald has depicted a strong female that finds herself sinking into behaviour she thought she was actively resisting, something all too common for many teens. The cafe crew were fantastic and despite the title, it was less about boys and more about self-realisation and strength.
- From What I Remember (Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas) - The smart girl wakes up in bed with the popular guy married....zoom.....and we relive the past 48 hours from a variety of perspective. It's the Hangover for the teen set and it goes above the premise to depict well rounded characters all out of their comfort zones. Each character has their own issues and yet it's all tied up in a hilarious and raucous bow.
- My Life Next Door (Huntley Fitzpatrick) - I am about 60% through this one so far and it's not entirely what I expected...it's better. Samantha's living the colourless and pristine life of a senator's daughter looking out at her neighbouring family's messy existence with envy. Two words collide when one of the boys, Jace, introduces himself. While there is an instant attraction between our couple, Fitzpatrick spends time fleshing out their understanding of one another as people and as a partner. Strong debut. (Also - best author name ever?) Update: Sadly there was an event late in this novel that took me out of the beautiful world created and upturned it. Disappointed.
- The List (Siobhan Vivian) - I reviewed this title for work (Centre for Youth Literature's blog - Read Alert) and I really enjoyed it. To be honest, I wanted it to be longer so I could get to know all the girls better.
Hit me with your recommendations, people!
Since blogging -
This month celebrates eighteen months as the Program Coordinator at the Centre for Youth Literature. It has flown by exceedingly fast, so fast to be unbelievable. I would never in a million years have thought I would be in a position to make my love of YA a career. So many people think that writing is the one way they can follow that passion and I do want to say that there are many more - being an author isn't the one and only.
I miss blogging. Since I've stopped its been like a withdrawal from a strong influence - I've eased out of the blogging world in a way that has been both freeing and unsettling. Blogging was a huge part in helping me re-define what I wanted career wise, what I was passionate about personally and the source of many quality relationships. If not for twitter, I doubt I'd be on the radar of many people. It really is like once you're out - you're out.
And that makes me sad. But I've gained a lot too.
I am still doing many of the things I used to blog...except I don't blog about them anymore. I still review, I still interview, I still program and discuss. It's just all in person now. With the exception to the review or book list I posed on Read Alert.
Thanks for reading to the end - amazing that you stuck with me for that entire post.
I hope that wherever you are, you're having a smashing weekend