One enviable thing that teens today have that my generation didn't really have is access to authors. Many of today's popular authors have a huge fan base—and that is because it is really easy for authors to connect with fans, however vicariously, via Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and all those other fancy Interwebs kind of ways. As a reader, you can virtually peek into their lives, be their friends, and get a sense of who they are – or, at least, who they want you to think they are. They are creators of fictions, after all. But these authors aren't just letting us peek into their lives, they are also meanwhile writing great books that win awards and sell lots of copies. With this huge fan base and intense fandom, books sell better. So it works out well for these authors to create this persona and let us in on their coolness.
So, who are these authors, and why should you care? Take Libba Bray, for instance. Her book, Going Bovine, won the Printz Award in 2010, and her latest book, Beauty Queens, was one of the best audios I've ever heard. You can find her online at her website, be her friend on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @libbabray. I had the fortune to meet Libba Bray at a library conference a few years back, and unless she is a really amazing actress, she truly is as cool and friendly as she seems online. And then there's Maureen Johnson, whose recent book, The Name of the Star, fittingly has plenty of fans. It is all about a modern-day Jack the Ripper and some ghosts in London, and you won't be able to put it down once you start reading it. She tweets an amazing amount (I don’t know how she writes these great books in between those tweets) and you can follow her @maureenjohnson. Of course I cannot leave out John Green here, even though I wrote about him in a previous post, because he and his brother Hank could be credited with making this online presence a necessity for YA authors, due to their Vlog Brothers project. Following John Green allows a peek into his heartfelt novels, like his recent The Fault in our Stars. And by the way, I don't really think Maureen Johnson or John Green are pretending to be anyone other than themselves, either.
There are tons of other authors out there that you can interact with and follow and watch, such as Neil Gaiman, who Tweets @neilhimself (you and 1,699,415 other people); Arthur Slade, who is a ton of fun to read on Facebook; Daniel Kraus, who just won the Odyssey for his amazingly creepy book, Rotters; Sarah Dessen, Holly Black, Lauren Myracle, Maggie Stifevater, Lesley Livingston, Christy Ann Conlin, and many, many more authors are out there, giving us tiny glimpses into their thoughts, daily lives, what they are working on, and even what kind of cupcakes they like best. For readers and for those who want to be writers, these little glimpses are simple little thrills that deepen our literary experience in a way that previous generations were rarely privy to. The other thing authors do a lot these days is tours. We have our very own Canadian YA Author event scheduled for May 24 at the Wolfville Library, where you can meet the brilliant Carrie Mac. See you there!
WHAT IS YA? Will be a monthly feature, published on the 15th of each month, written by Angela Reynolds, our Head of Youth Services. We are giving away YA books to go along with it! Make a comment below about one of the books we talked about, and you’ll be entered into a monthly draw for a YA review copy. Must be able to pick the book up at one of our branch libraries; no books will be shipped or mailed.