To take a glimpse into the vast themes available in today’s YA literature, spend an afternoon with us as we join in discussion with authors Nicole Maggi, Demetra Brodsky, Emily Wibberley, and Austin Siegemund-Broka.
Nicole has been writing ever since she was six-years-old, filling pocket journals with poetry of unicorns and rainbows. Her first book, Beyond the Mississippi, was a seven-hundred and fifty-page historical fiction. As her writing progressed, Nicole found herself moving away from historical fiction and into contemporary YA. “And once I started writing YA, I felt like I had found my voice,” says the author on her website. Her latest novel, What They Don’t Know, is told through the journal entries of best friends Mellie and Lise. One girl must face the unspeakable horror of rape, teen pregnancy, and the decision of whether to keep or terminate, while the other chooses to fight for her friend while keeping a big secret of her own. Both gripping and heartfelt, What They Don’t Know is full of sensitive subject matter for teens and adults alike.
Demetra was already an award-winning graphic designer and art director before she decided to completely switch her creative endeavors to writing. Her debut novel, Dive Smack, has been described by fellow author Gretchen McNeil as a “tense psychological drama with a voice that pulls you in and a twist that you won’t see coming.” Main character Theo Mackey can’t remember much about the accidental fire that destroyed his home, killed his mother, and led his father on a path of self-destruction, save for that Theo himself was the one that lit the match. Now, with the fragmented memories of the accident behind him and the possibility of a college scholarship ahead, Theo is assigned a family history project that leads him to question everything he knows about his family, as well as the events of that fateful fire.
Authors Emily and Austin met in high school and soon fell in love, their website bio attributing this to a shared passion of Shakespeare. After a brief time apart while Austin studied English at Harvard and Emily studied adolescent psychology at Princeton, the two settled down in Los Angeles and wrote Always Never Yours together. Seventeen-year-old theater girl Megan is horrified when she finds out she is cast as Juliet in her school’s production of the famous Shakespeare play. Not all is lost, though, as Megan sets her sights on a sexy stagehand who she hopes to make her next love interest. She enlists the help of a fellow student and aspiring playwright, Owen, to get the stagehand’s attention, in exchange for her help with the play Owen is writing. As the two slowly grow closer, Megan begins to wonder if Owen is the Romeo she has been looking for.
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Three secrets. One decision. A friendship that will change everything.
Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice--a choice she must face alone.
Lise stands up--and speaks out--for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her...all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.
Told through Mellie and Lise's journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie's struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.
Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It's not a curse or anything, it's just the way things are. and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theater, and fulfilling her dream school's acting requirement in the smallest role possible. But her plans quickly crumble when she's cast as none other than Juliet--yes, that Juliet--in her high school's production. It's a nightmare. Megan's not an actress and she's certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script. Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen--thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn't a girl get to star in her own love story?