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This Week in YA - Issue #40

This Week in YA
This Week in YA - Issue #40
By Voyage YA • Issue #41 • View online
It’s another new week and another installment of this newsletter for you this week, my fellow YA enthusiasts. There’s plenty of good news this week, including some exciting announcements in the field of YA. As always, we’ve got some lists of books you might want to add to your TBR, some events to share, and we’ve also got an interview with an author whose sophomore novel releases today. Happy reading!
–Kip Wilson, TWIYA Editor

News & Resources
First off, it’s banned books week, so please have a look at these Banned Books Week Events by PEN America, including some virtual events.   
On to the exciting news that 2022 NBA Longlist for Young People’s Literature Announced—what a fantastic group of titles!
More good news! Elizabeth Acevedo Is Young People’s Poet Laureate! Having seen Elizabeth speak in person and as a huge fan of her books, I’m so thrilled for all the young people who will have her as their ambassador of poetry.  
It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and Latinxs in Kid Lit recently shared a great list of 2022 Titles By/For/About Latinx.
I loved this guest post by author Misty Wilson on Teen Librarian Toolbox: The Importance of Seeing Ourselves in Stories.
Finally, Alison at Book Riot recently shared this list of The 25 Best YA Books of All Time. A lot of favorites on here!
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 YA author Michelle Mason, whose sophomore novel, My Second Impression of You is out today! Michelle is one of my critique partners, and so it’s an extra thrill for me to introduce you to her and her work. As a CP, I got to read this story when it was at a much earlier stage in the process, but I can’t wait to hold the finished version in my hands.
5 Questions Interview with Michelle Mason, YA author
Perfect for fans of Tweet Cute and Instant Karma, this YA romcom is a heartfelt story about a girl who thinks she knows everything about love—until she relives a day and discovers she had it all wrong.
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Scott is a little dramatic. Both in the over-the-top sense and in the involved-in-every-possible-performing-arts-activity sense. Life is just more fun when you’re always putting on a show! But apparently her boyfriend, Theo, disagrees, because he unexpectedly dumps her. She’s so distressed she breaks her foot, has to be rescued by the most obnoxious boy in school, Carson, and can no longer star in the school play.
Now everything is terrible and Maggie doesn’t understand where it all went wrong. So when she gets a mysterious text from an unknown number offering her a chance to relive the day when she and Theo met, Maggie can’t help clicking (even though she knows what they say about suspicious links and clicking). Suddenly, she finds herself transported from her worst day ever to her best day ever-but on second review, Maggie realizes there are some details she overlooked. Maybe she was so focused on starring in the Maggie show that she didn’t pay enough attention. Maybe Maggie doesn’t know the people around her as well as she thought-particularly Carson. And maybe her worst day ever isn’t quite as terrible as it seems.
In this funny and relatable YA romcom, Michelle I. Mason explores how there’s always another way of looking at the situations we find ourselves in … and sometimes the people we overlook end up being the best ones of all.
Michelle I. Mason is the author of Your Life Has Been Delayed and My Second Impression of You, both from Bloomsbury YA. Michelle spent ten years as a PR manager promoting everything from forklift rodeos to Hotel Olympics before deciding she’d rather focus on made-up stories. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, watching too much TV, cross-stitching, baking amazing brownies, or playing the violin. Michelle lives in St. Louis with her husband, two kids, and matching dog and cat.
1. Who: Who are your instabuy, go-to YA authors? And which new talent have you discovered recently?
Ooh, so many! I love anything by Kasie West, Ally Carter, Kara McDowell, Stephanie Garber, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Debbie Rigaud. Some others I discovered within the past year are Meredith Tate, Tirzah Price, Abigail Johnson, Kristy Boyce, Sarah Dass, and Margie Fuston. Several of those were debut authors in 2021, but a couple are authors who’ve had books out for a while and I just started reading them, so now I get to catch up on their backlist!
2. What: What was the most joyful moment in preparing to bring My Second Impression of You into the world?
This book has brought me a lot of joy, so that’s a tough question! I think I’ll go with seeing the rough sketches of the cover. As soon as I opened them in my email, it was like seeing my character Maggie come to life. The cover artist, Jacqueline Li, had captured her so well, even in a sketch. It just kept getting better as the cover was finalized. But I’ve also had other moments of joy—like doing copyedits. I’m that strange writer who loves geeking out over grammatical comments and how the copyeditor fact checked my locations and the character’s surgical procedure (she breaks her foot). I don’t know why that made me so happy, but it did!
3. Where: Where is the state of YA right now, from where you sit? Where do you hope to see it go next?
As a writer who grew up reading adult books because YA wasn’t really a category yet, I love seeing how many options there are for teen readers today. It’s pretty much a guarantee that whatever a teen wants to read, there’s someone out there writing it for them, and that is so amazing. The trick, then, is helping them find those books, and it’s not an easy task, particularly right now. It involves people within the publishing industry, the supply chain (bookstores and librarians), not to mention parents, teachers, and everyone else involved in access to books these days. So as for where I hope to see it go next: just let them read all the books! 
4. When: Looking ahead to next year (or beyond), what exciting things are next on the horizon for you?
I always have other projects in the works. In particular, there’s one story I started 10 years ago that just won’t let me go. I don’t know if it will become a book readers can buy, but I’m working on getting it there! And I have a few other ideas that are simmering into more solid outlines. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about those in the near future.
5. Why: Why YA? What draws you to writing for this age group?
It’s kind of a Goldilocks story. I tried adult first, because from age 11 on, I was reading adult books (mainly romance novels with some suspense thrown in). But when I started writing seriously, despite being an adult, I didn’t really sound like one. Next, I had an idea for a middle grade book, and I actually wrote a few MG stories, but I never quite got the voice right. Then an agent suggested I try young adult, and I just fell right into it. I started devouring as many young adult books as I could. I love how fast-paced they are, how YA books can mesh together multiple genres because that’s sort of what it’s like when you’re thirteen or fifteen or eighteen—you’re figuring out all the different things you like, and sometimes they all crash together. I love how YA readers are discovering who they are and making mistakes and reconciling what they learn from their families with who they want to be in the future or how they want to change the world. There are just so many possibilities and perspectives to explore. It’s real and magical all at once.
Writing Inspiration from Kip
Last night I had the opportunity to zoom with a class studying at Yokohama University (morning for them) to discuss my short story in verse, Car 393. It was great discussing the story and responding to their questions, but one of my favorite discussion points of all came up: inspiration. I love talking about this because for me, I really can’t get started on a project without a full dose of inspiration—one that sparks the need to spend a lot of time with the subject. Sometimes I’ll even have a general subject or era picked out that I want to further research (for instance, the Spanish Civil War), but until I get that spark that gives me an entry into an actual story, I probably won’t be feeling ready to dive in.
I’ve personally gotten inspiration from all sorts of sources—from a high school German textbook (White Rose) to a 1930 film (The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin) to a Google Doodle (One Last Shot). But I love that writers can get inspiration from anything. Michelle Mason definitely has a great inspiration story for an important piece My Second Impression of You. I really love how writers of contemporary YA are especially able to pull that inspiration from their own experiences and come up with something amazing. Hope this week provides you with whatever spark you might need.
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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