Tag Archives: Young Adult books

If You’ve Never Read a YA Book, May I Recommend…

Barbara Vey -- May 28th, 2013

Don't Turn Around

After 3 years, I finally figured out how to put audio books on my iPhone from the library.  I was so excited about it that I downloaded the maximum of 10 right away.  So, instead of reading books this past week, I’ve been listening to them.

Sadly, half of them I couldn’t even finish.  Either they were boring, I didn’t like the characters or the narrator had an irritating voice.  But, there was a bright, shining star and I have to say it surprised me because it was labeled a Young Adult book and I’m not normally a big YA reader.  I like adult books with adult plots.  Well, I’m here to admit that I was wrong.

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon is an action packed, heart-thumping thriller.  It’s the kind of book that starts out with a bang and barely gives you time to breathe.  And these are all good things.

Noa is a sixteen year old who’s on her own.  After being tossed around the system for years, she breaks free and finds comfort in her computer and etches out a life for herself as a hacker and a loner.  The day she wakes up on a metal table being injected with who know what, she soon discovers things aren’t as they seem.  Peter Gregory is a bored, rich kid who’s hacking skills has lead him to form an online Allegiance group working for the good of others.  But, one night, he hacks into the wrong site.  With goons breaking down his door, he finds himself on the run.


It kind of reminded me of War Games.  The first time I saw it, I was so taken in by the amazing things that kids could with computers and keep in mind that the movie is 30 years old.  I still like watching it, even though the technology seems ancient.

When I can’t stop thinking about it, I know it’s been a great read.  Don’t Turn Around is kind of book I’d gladly buy and give to kids.  It’s clever, exciting and heart-wrenching.  This book is on my list for both adults and kids to read, talk about, debate and enjoy.  The narrator for the audio version, Merritt  Hicks, did a terrific job of bringing the characters to life.

After visiting Michelle’s website, I was happy to learn that this is a trilogy with the next book out in August.  Not only that, but a prequel to the story, No Escape, is being offered as a free download.

Bottom Line:  I know what I’ll be doing today.


Young Adults Rule at RT Teen Day

Barbara Vey -- May 8th, 2013
Liz Czukas

Liz Czukas

Since I didn’t get a chance to attend Teen Day at RT, YA author Liz Czukas has gracious offered to fill us in as Cub Reporter.  Liz is a freelance writer living outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Ask Again Later (HarperTeen, March 2014) is her first novel.  Visit her website, or follow her on Twitter @lizczukas.


This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City.  As a Young Adult writer, I love that RT has a track just for the YA Genre, with plenty of fantastic authors on hand.


"Survival Tips--Getting Your Characters out of Tough Situations" panel, with J.A. Souders, Cole Gibsen, Kelley Armstrong, Kimberly Derting, and Carrie Ryan, moderated by David Macinnis Gill.

“Survival Tips–Getting Your Characters out of Tough Situations” panel, with J.A. Souders, Cole Gibsen, Kelley Armstrong, Kimberly Derting, and Carrie Ryan, moderated by David Macinnis Gill.

The sessions ranged from marketing to romance, from survival tips to issue books with panelists including plenty of big names in the YA world along with some up-and-comers.  On Friday night, HarperCollins and Avon hosted the Red Slipper Party where tons of authors were on hand for a book signing event where attendees got heaps of books!



YA Alley (Picture by Morgan Dormus)

YA Alley (Picture by Morgan Dormus)

Saturday was the all-day Teen Day event, starting with the huge book signing featuring YA Alley where all the Young Adult authors were gathered for fans.  The lines for Veronica Roth got so huge, they started giving out bracelets!  Later, teen readers could see their favorite authors talk on some special panels just for them.  The night ended with the Teen Party where authors mingled with readers for chatting, book signing, and even dancing. Kiera Cass gathered fellow authors and fans for a video of her signature dance move.


The camaraderie is unmatched, the laughter is non-stop, and the books I got to bring home will keep me reading for months!  RT should be on your list if you love YA.

Bottom Line:  It made me smile to see the YA readers sitting on the floor in the hall with their noses pressed inside their new purchases…they just couldn’t wait to get home to start their adventures.