This Week in YA - Issue #22

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This Week in YA
This Week in YA - Issue #22
By Voyage YA • Issue #23 • View online
Today marks the first day of March, and with a new month and new week comes another installment of this newsletter for you this week, my fellow YA enthusiasts. I always think of March as a hopeful month, filled with (slightly) warmer weather, blooming daffodils, and birdsong, and I wish plenty of hope and good things to you all, especially to any of you struggling these days in general or as a result of any of the recent events in the news in particular.
–Kip Wilson, TWIYA Editor

News & Resources
With March rolling in, Jen over at Pop! Goes the Reader is sharing 68 new YA books coming out this month in Hot off the Press: March 2022 YA.
Black History Month was in February, but there are plenty of fantastic-sounding books by Black authors still to come this year. Teen Vogue certainly agrees with this list of 25 Books by Black Authors We Can’t Wait to Read in 2022.
I thought this BuzzFeed list of 15 LGBTQIA+ Books That Aren’t About Coming Out was pretty amazing. I spotted one book I really loved and another I can’t wait to read!
If you’re looking for some humor to lighten your day, Book Riot’s list of 15 Laugh out Loud Funny Books for Teens might have just what you’re looking for. 
I really appreciated this take over on Lithub outlining How Writing a Children’s Book is an Antidote to Doomsday Thinking. Writing for teens is different from writing for younger kids, of course, but there are some similarities.
Finally, just a reminder that submissions are open for our Voyage Anthology Contest! We’re looking forward to reading your work. 
The 5 Questions Interview Series
Each week, this newsletter will include interviews with industry professionals sharing insight about the who, what, where, when, why in YA today.
Today we’ve got an interview with another debut YA author! Heather Kamins is the author of The Moth Girl, a book about how one girl’s journey with a chronic illness pushes her to choose who she wants to be—in a life she never planned for. I recently “met” Heather through a local writing organization, and I’ve been looking forward to her book ever since. The book will be out in just two weeks, so get your pre-orders in now! 
5 Questions Interview with Heather Kamins, YA author
ABOUT THE MOTH GIRL
Anna is happily average. She runs track with her best friend, gets good grades, and sometimes drinks beer at parties.
Then one day at track practice, Anna faints, but instead of falling down, she falls up, defying gravity in the disturbing first symptom of a rare, mysterious disease.
She is diagnosed with lepidopsy, which causes symptoms reminiscent of moths: floating, attraction to light, a craving for sugar, and for an unlucky few, more dangerous physical manifestations.
As Anna learns to cope with her illness, she finds herself drifting further and further away from her former life. Her friends don’t seem to understand, running track is out of the question, and the other kids at the support group she attends once a week are a cruel reminder that things will never be the same …
ABOUT HEATHER KAMINS
Heather Kamins is the recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and her short fiction has appeared in Guernica and elsewhere. The Moth Girl is her first novel. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, two cats, and the variety of woodland creatures who stroll through her yard.
1. Who: Who are your instabuy, go-to YA authors? And which new talent have you discovered recently?
I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far by Kathleen Glasgow, so she’s an automatic read for me. Also, I was lucky enough to get blurbs from several authors whose work I love — Shannon Takaoka, Kyrie McCauley, and Karol Ruth Silverstein — and I’m excited to read anything they write next!
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour is a book I read not too long ago and I absolutely loved it, so I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of her work. And one of the best things about being a debut is meeting other new authors through my debut group, so I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at books like Lulu and Milagro’s Search for Clarity by Angela Velez, All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown, and One for All by Lillie Lainoff.
2.What: What was the most joyful moment in preparing to bring The Moth Girl into the world?
Not gonna lie, getting the call from my agent that we had an offer (and immediately running to tell my friend and critique partner about it) was pretty spectacular! Other than that, each step that brought it closer to feeling like a real book was great, like seeing my gorgeous final cover art, as well as seeing the text in page layout. Probably the nerdiest (but no less satisfying) moment was getting an ISBN number. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in libraries and educational publishing, but that little number filled my heart with joy!
3. Where: Where is the state of YA right now, from where you sit? Where do you hope to see it go next?
I feel like YA has been ahead of the game in terms of putting diverse and timely stories out into the world. There’s definitely still work to be done, but I hope the category as a whole will keep taking risks, broadening its scope, and bringing more voices into the conversation who might previously not have been included.
4.When: Looking ahead to next year (or beyond), what exciting things are next on the horizon for you?
I’m looking forward to writing more books! As exhilarating as the debut experience can be, it can also be stressful and confusing as you try and figure out how this whole publishing business works. I’ll be happy to go into the next book with a little more knowledge and confidence, not only in terms of the publishing process but also as a storyteller.
I’m hoping that the pandemic will ease up enough for me (and my underlying health conditions) to feel safer being out in the world. I would love to have some in-person book events, travel, etc. But no matter what, I’m looking forward to the things that always bring me joy: talking and laughing with the people I love, playing in the garden, and celebrating successes with my friends — both mine and theirs.
5.Why: Why YA? What draws you to writing for this age group?
There’s so much going on during the teen years: new experiences, figuring out your identity, and the natural conflict that arises as you navigate having more independence and pulling away from childhood roles and expectations. All of those things are fertile ground for interesting stories. And because of all those things, teens need books that can be signposts, that can let them know they’re not alone. The Moth Girl is, in many ways, a letter to my own teenage self, and I know that if I needed to read it, then others probably will, too.
Writing Inspiration from Kip
Sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration, and this was definitely one of those more difficult weeks for many people. It’s easy to feel that the work we do as creative people doesn’t matter when parts of the world are truly suffering—as we’ve seen through news over the past couple of years of areas hit hard by the pandemic, of superpowers exercising oppression and aggression, and individuals suffering from injustice. 
I of course try to keep things light when bringing the YA news to you each week—reading and writing are definitely bright spots and escapes for many—but I just wanted to acknowledge that sometimes even escapes like these don’t help. And sometimes they shouldn’t. 
With all of that in mind, I wish you all the inspiration you need at the moment it will help you—and others—the most. It might not be now, and it might not be next week, or next month, but I hope it will come when you need it.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for true inspiration, there are plenty of individuals out there doing great things. When we feel uninspired, it’s sometimes best to take a step back and observe and uplift those individuals and efforts rather than trying to get unstuck ourselves. Wishing you and them the very best for the week to come. 
Thank you for joining me on this voyage!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Voyage YA

with Kip Wilson

I’m so excited to kick off this series of weekly newsletters for you, my fellow YA enthusiasts. As a YA author and associate editor at Voyage myself, I’m looking forward to sharing exciting news from the YA world, interviews with authors and the occasional agent, editor, and professor, and last but hopefully not least, my own bit of YA inspiration each week.

About me: Kip Wilson is the author of White Rose (2019, Versify), a critically-acclaimed YA novel-in-verse about anti-Nazi political activist Sophie Scholl, and The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin (2022, Versify), a YA novel-in-verse about an aspiring singer in a queer club in 1932 Berlin. Kip holds a Ph.D. in German Literature and was the Poetry Editor at Young Adult Review Network (YARN) for five years before joining Voyage as an Associate Editor in 2020. Her next YA novel-in-verse, One Last Shot, is forthcoming from Versify in 2023.

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