One Writer’s Journey

August 10, 2017

Top 100 YA Titles according to a SLJ poll

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:26 am
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In November of 2015, School Library Journal (SLJ) sent out a poll asking professionals in the field what books would make it onto their Top 100 Must-Have YA books.  The poll was answered by 274 people responses.  29% said that they work in a public library. 43 percent identified as school librarians. SLJ noted that the list contained both contemporary titles as well as genre fiction.

She did note one disturbing absence.  Only 2 books in the top 10 have diverse characters.  Looking at the top 50 books only expands that list to 7 titles.  SLJTeen and YA reviews editor Shelley Diaz noted this lack of diversity and wrote a blog post, “42 Diverse Must-Have YA Titles for Every Library.”

I have to admit that as I glanced at the top 10, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  After all, I’ve read six of them. Not surprising really since these are all popular titles.

1.The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling.  I actually read the whole series in something like 7 weeks.  In truth, that’s not something I would advise. 
2.The “Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I liked these better than Harry Potter but that’s just me.
3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Loved this one too.
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I have to admit that this is the one John Green I’ve skipped.  It sounds like a bummer book, unlike The Hunger Games which is all flowers and happiness.
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve heard good things about this but . . . romance.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This one I’ve somehow just missed.
7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. One of my all time favorites.
8. The “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth. I’ve read the first book and need to read the rest.
9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This is one I want to read again.  I’ve listened to the audiobook and want to read the hard copy.
10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Amazing.  Difficult.  Not fun. Yes, a bummer book, but amazing.

This part makes me look really well read.  But the rest?  Not so much.  I have to admit that without covers and descriptions, I know that I’ve read that author.  But that book?  I’m just not sure so I didn’t count it.

The Top 100 list includes both new titles and classics.  I’ve read all the classics.  I’ve read a lot less of contemporary books and that includes the 42 diverse books.  A bit part of the problem is that I don’t read a whole lot of YA unless it is a genre book.  The SF/F titles?  Those I’ve read.

So I’ll be heading to the library with my list.  You can request the full list and read the SLJ article about the list here. This includes both the Top 100 and the 42 Diverse Titles.



April 12, 2010

Chance to Win a Free Edit . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 10:14 pm
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I’m putting up Tuesday’s post early so that hopefully a few of you will have a chance to take advantage of it.

Former Harcourt editor Deborah Halverson is holding a contest on, her advice site for writers.

If you have a completed young adult or middle grade manuscript of less than 85,000 words, you can enter to win a free substantive edit.

To enter:

  • Visit Dear Editor and click on the “Write to Dear Editor” button at the top of the blog.
  • In the subject line, type “1st Month Anniversary Giveaway.”
  • In the body of the email, type the manuscript title, YA or MG, the word count and your full name.
  • Deadline:  Midnight, 4/14.

Review rules on the home page and good luck!   Halverson is top notch and this edit is a wonderful prize.


March 4, 2010

Patience Pays Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:23 am
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Hip hip hooray for my writing buddy Kristin Wolden Nitz.  Kris got word that her YA mystery will be released this October.   See the details, including the publisher’s book description on Kris’s blog.

A bit part of writing is rewriting and Kris is one of those writers who proves this point.  As is often the case, the editor didn’t accept Suspect, her YA mystery, as is.  Kris had to rewrite the first chapter because it started too slowly.   She also introduced a number of characters, so many that the readers were confused.  She added two new chapters.  She also had to tweak a character that readers in her critique group hadn’t reacted to the way she had hoped.

Sound like a lot?  It was and it took Kris some serious writing time to accomplish it all.  And then, just to make sure she had it right, she read the whole thing out loud.  Out loud.  All  51,000 words.

Hats off to Kris!  Thanks for being a good example of just what a determined writer can accomplish.


February 11, 2010

Book Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 10:43 pm
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Just a quick heads up that I’ve posted a review of Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern on The Bookshelf.

There was a lot to like about this book — the main character has an awesome sense of humor and a style all her own.  I don’t read romances but I like them within the body of a more complete story.

Give this one a try!


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