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May 21, 2009

Introducing the New Teenreads.com Blog!

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I have a confession to make.

When I was a teenager, I NEVER read YA books.

There. I said it. It's a difficult fact to admit, since I am not only a self-professed book junkie, but am also an employee at Teenreads.com; but, it's true, and I thought it was about time I came clean.

I'm not sure who or what's to blame for this travesty --- perhaps my ambitious English teachers, my strict parents, or my own unusual combo of natural curiosity (read: nosiness) and sibling rivalry that prompted me to steal from my older sister's shelves instead of building up my own --- but it seemed like one day I was making my way through Roald Dahl's entire backlist and the next, I was all over Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, and J. D. Salinger... all at the tender age of 12. And in that time since, I never knew what I was missing.

Luckily, all that changed when I started working at Teenreads.com almost four years ago. One of my first assignments was to interview Laurie Halse Anderson, and reading her novel, SPEAK, single-handedly altered my already well-established reading habits, as well as my overall approach to children's and young adult literature. It prompted one of those "A-ha!" moments where I found myself asking, "Why weren't books like this around when I was younger?!" It was the instant I realized that there were, indeed, gems to be found outside the world of adult literary fiction.

Since then, not only have I caught up on all the "classics" I missed --- THE CHOCOLATE WAR, THE GIVER, THE OUTSIDERS, and FAHRENHEIT 451 to name a few --- but am also racking up quite a list of favorite contemporary YA authors, like Markus Zusak, John Green, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. Among these current obsessions are IF I STAY by Gayle Foreman, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan and THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, and I am practically-falling-out-of-my-chair excited for the release of its sequel, CATCHING FIRE, in September.

This discovery may be about 13 years late, but I'm finally coming around.

That said, I couldn't have been more thrilled when all of us here at Teenreads decided to launch this new blog, as a way to bring you --- our readers --- even more book and author news on a more frequent basis, in addition to our regular monthly updates. But, what makes this feature stand out is that we're asking authors to help bring this content to you directly. So, over the next several days and weeks, you'll hear from Tim Wynne-Jones about his new book UNINVITED, and Cynthia Leitich Smith on her own reading list for this summer, not to mention Deb Caletti, Jenny Han, Michael Spradlin, Susane Colasanti, and many more.

More importantly, we'd also like to hear from you. If you're interested in submitting a piece for this blog, please fill out this form. Tell us a little bit about yourself in the "Notes" section, and under "Submission," please include your piece (or a few sentences on what you'd like to write about) --- which can be on just about anything book-related, and maybe even a few things that aren't. We look forward to hearing from you!

Marisa Emralino
Editorial Coordinator for Teenreads.com