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About Heidi Broadhead

Heidi Broadhead and Paul Hughes are in the second year of raising their first child, Silas, amidst piles of well-loved books. Silas is displaying early tendencies toward bookishness--pulling paperbacks out of the family's old-style library spinner, flipping through board books (usually upside-down), or pointing at Where the Wild Things Are and shouting "dot!." Heidi and Paul persist in their constant reading of novels, short stories, poetry, chapter books, graphic novels, plays, books about farming (Heidi), books about politics (Paul), online comics, blogs, blogs, and more blogs…(in fact, Heidi is set on demolishing the cliché that new parents don't have time to read. Don't blame it on the kid, man.)

Posts by Heidi

YA Wednesday: The Treasure Map

We're melting here in Seattle. Today we hit a record high of 102 degrees! Guess I'd better run over to Nordstrom and pick up one of these cool summer tees--but which team to choose? Instyle-300x400

(via The Puget Sound Business Journal)

The return of E. Lockhart!
Treasuremap In The Treasure Map of Boys, E. Lockhart's first book since National Book Award-Nominated, Tournament of Books contender The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, the author returns to another unforgettable heroine, Ruby "Roo" Oliver, who we've seen before in The Boyfriend List (2005) and The Boy Book (2006). Ruby is a girl with the most common of girl troubles--which boy should she choose? Which girls are really her friends? Why does she have to wear this coat her mom bought her with anchors on it? Ruby cracked me up with her "state of Noboyfriend" and "roly-poly," her footnotes about David Lee Roth and llamas, and her coup to overthrow the nasty marshmellow snowmen sold every year by the CHuBS (Charity Holiday Bake Sale). Throughout all the slapstick, misflirts, and moments of sadness, Ruby maintains her sense of humor and sense of herself. A truly fun read.

For a representative excerpt of ex-boyfriend encounter hilarity, go here.

Quick links...
July23LiarJUMP This week's controversy: Justine Larbalestier responds to the complaints about the race of the girl on the cover of her upcoming novel, Liar, which does not match the race of the protagonist. Any chance this will slow the trend of YA covers depicting pretty, thin, white models? One can only hope.

Publisher's Weekly reports on the controversy.

Trisha of the YA YA YAs follows up with an analysis of Asian-Americans on YA fiction covers.

(Almost every YA blogger commented on this, actually, so fish around the blogs if you want to see more.)

Dear Author interviews Natashya Wilson, editor for Harlequin Teen, which officially launched yesterday with My Soul to Take.

TemptedVoila! The cover for Tempted, due out in October, is up on the House of Night website. Preview of chapter one coming soon. (via YA Booknerd.)

Finding Wonderland tells you how to design your own debut YA novel cover. Here is theirs:


(This game appears to have started at 100 scope notes. Many examples here.) My debut YA novel is Cinch by Danette G. McClure. I'll pass on using a photo. Happy reading.--Heidi

YA Wednesday: It Came From the Sea (or a Pond)

Two Omni bloggers already posted about this book today, but I couldn't resist kicking off with this Quirk-y book trailer:

(via John Green's Twitter)

As BTP mentioned in today's Omni Daily News, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters emerges from the deep September 15.

Quick links...
Jacket Whys highlights the efficacy of crime tape on YA book covers.

Harlequin Teen is open for business. First up: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent. Shelf Awareness dedicated a special issue today to Harlequin Teen, with a preview of the romance to come in 2010.

Lizzie Skurnick reminds faithful Fine Lines readers that Shelf Discovery, her book based on the column, will be out July 21.

Happy reading.--Heidi

YA Wednesday: Eric Luper Takes Us to the Track


Over the last couple of weeks, YA author Eric Luper has been hosting a contest for readers to come up with a quip to characterize this equine predicament.

Some of our favorite entries:


Oh, man, stuck in a tree . . . I hope no one takes a picture of this.
Poker night with the Keebler Elves was not nearly as much fun as Horace thought it would be...
Bill Atherton:
This is the last time I go to Squirrel's for tea!
BugboyThe picture makes more sense when you know that his upcoming book, Bug Boy, is all about horse racing. To decide the winners, Luper's using the horse races at Belmont, lining up each entry with a horse. And he's providing tidbits of racing jargon and triva as he goes. The final race is tomorrow.

Quick links...
The Guardian reports on parental concerns about Tender Morsels, which just came out in the U.K.

Guys Lit Wire reports that 600 books have been sent to boys in the L.A. County juvenile justice system through their Book Fair for Boys.

Meg Cabot meets a barracuda.

YABooknerd recommends bios for teens, especially DK's Amelia Earhart.

Happy reading.--Heidi

Comics in Translation: A Conversation with Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics Books

LowmoonNorwegian-born Jason has written comics and graphic novels for years in both his native Norwegian and in French. Fantagraphics first published his graphic novella Hey, Wait... in 2001, and he's been building a steady base of U.S. fans ever since.

His latest collection, Low Moon (including the chess-battle Western "Low Moon" serialized in the New York Times Magazine in 2008), has filmic moments and comic pathos that have set a new standard for me for short fiction.

None of us would ever get to enjoy the wry dialogue of Low Moon or I Killed Adolf Hitler or The Left Bank Gang without the efforts of Fantagraphics' co-publisher and translator, Kim Thompson. Jason is just one of many cartoonists that Thompson has translated for Fantagraphics Books. In fact, he says that translations represent about 10 to 15 percent of what they publish every year.

Thompson graciously agreed to answer my translation and Jason questions: How did you first encounter Jason's work, and how did Fantagraphics decide to publish it?

Kim Thompson: To be honest, I'm not sure if his Norwegian publisher sent me copies or I saw the French edition of Hey, Wait..., but I do know that the minute I laid eyes on it I knew we wanted to publish it. Love at first sight! Was he the first comic artist you translated? What others do you translate now?

KT: No, no, not by a wide margin. I was translating Freddy Milton (Danish), Franquin and Hermann (French) and others way back in the 1980s, twenty years ago.

I translate pretty much every European foreign-language cartoonist we publish except for Matti Hagelberg who is Finnish (Finnish is well outside of my area of expertise) and a couple who do their own translations, such as Max Andersson. A more or less complete list of cartoonists whose comics I've worked on in the last couple years would be Nikoline Werdelin (Danish); Joost Swarte (Dutch); David B., Emile Bravo, Killoffer, Jacques Tardi, and Lewis Trondheim (French); Nicolas Mahler (German); Gabriella Giandelli, Igort, Leila Marzocchi, and Sergio Ponchione (Italian); Jason (Norwegian or French); Max (Spanish); and Martin Kellerman (Swedish). I also translated a bunch of captions from many of those languages in our upcoming book of ANTI-WAR CARTOONS.

In case you're wondering, I don't actually SPEAK all of those languages, but I can read them, more or less in some cases. My mother is Danish so Danish is my native language. Swedish and Norwegian are so close to Danish (they're basically almost dialects of one another -- in fact Norwegian and Danish were the same language not too long ago) that with a little work any Dane can read them pretty well, as I do. I learned Spanish in high school and kept up with it. I lived for six years in Germany and also studied German in high school, so that stuck with me too. I lived for three years in Holland. Italian is my weakest language, I sort of plow my way through that thanks to French and Spanish and use of a dictionary -- but all my Italian translations I always check with the authors anyway. Translation is such an immersive experience, even more than editing, and I wonder, do you feel differently attached or connected to the works you translate than to other works you publish?

KT: Yes, at times I feel almost like a co-creator. Which is arrogantly excessive, and the feeling fades soon enough! But I'm also more invested in these books because I work so hard on them, and in many cases, of course, such as Tardi, I'm literally fulfilling a childhood dream by translating them.

Continue reading "Comics in Translation: A Conversation with Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics Books" »

YA on Thursday: Cut-outs and "Other Matters Odd and Magical"

Maggie Stiefvater, who you may know from last year's Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (a YA Wednesday favorite!) shows off her many talents in this book trailer for her upcoming novel, Shiver. The multi-talented Stiefvater not only made the cut-outs, she collaborated on the music:

For more details about the trailer and its related contest, see her blog.

(Thanks, The Book Girl Reviews!)

Favorite summer reads... Sideshow
SideshowThis week, thankfully, I was handed a copy of Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, a book of short stories for young adults that had weirdly been off my radar. It's everything that a YA book should be--funny, heartbreaking, attuned to the plight of the outsider. Each of these stories features a different aspect of the old-time circus sideshow, and that gives the authors a chance to play around with isolation, fear, and identity in interesting ways. Plus, it's a scary amazing line-up of fiction writers and graphic novelists. Aimee Bender's "The Bearded Girl" and Shawn Cheng's graphic story of a tricky shadow puppet troupe were stand-out favorites for me.

Quick links...
Blackman_deadgorgeous Finding Wonderland discusses Brit author Malorie Blackman, providing a nice intro to her work, especially Dead Gorgeous.

School Library Journal interviews Rebecca Stead, author of another stellar summer book, When You Reach Me, a comedy/SciFi/tween drama that defies the standard YA/middle grade formulas.

Siobhan Dowd posthumously wins the Carnegie Medal for Bog Child.

Good Morning America plugs "Hot Summer Reads", including Fragile Eternity, Along for the Ride, Surface Tension, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, and The Girls' Guide to Rocking.

AskanswerLittle Willow suggests So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother, and Paul (that's our Paul) reviews The Ask and the Answer, the much-awaited sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Happy reading.--Heidi

YA Wednesday: Not Just for Teens

Jezebel helps me kick it off this week, with Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass) as Lord Byron. (Original image from GQ):


More YA books challenged...
AbsolutelyIn Illinois, parents tried to get Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian pulled from the required summer reading list at Antioch Community High School. From a parent: "If there were just swear words, I could deal with that. But sections of this book are just vulgar." (Daily Herald)

But they failed. One of the parents, like other grown-ups involved with recent Gossip Girl controversies, suggested warning labels. Bookshelves of doom responds:

Would Lord of the Flies and Hamlet and American Psycho and The Hunger Games get slapped with one that reads VIOLENCE INSIDE? For that matter, would American Psycho get the SEX sticker, too? Jeepers. Some books would be so plastered with stickers that we wouldn't be able to see the cover art anymore. Who would decide how much 'offensive' content was enough to warrant a label? ETC. [Moments later: Actually, I may have to reconsider my previous opinion. Because a CAUTION: DOG DEATH sticker would come in way handy in some cases. Or maybe something a little more broad, like DANGER: MAY CAUSE UNCONTROLLABLE SOBBING.]

Who's really reading YA?
Joanne at Tomorrow Museum speculates that YA books sales are up because teens enjoy the immersive and solitary experience of reading.

Paul at Futurismic redirects:

This is a mantra we heard over and over again during the massive YA genre fiction circle-jerk last year, and it’s always backed with the unvoiced assumption that only Young Adults read YA. I’ve worked in a library, and I can assure you that’s an observable falsehood; most genuinely popular YA is successful precisely because so many adult readers with an expendable income enjoy the same titles.
(via Read Roger)

Quick links...
OldcatcherThe New York Times reports on the growing disconnect between teenagers and Holden Caulfield:

Teachers say young readers just don’t like Holden as much as they used to. What once seemed like courageous truth-telling now strikes many of them as “weird,” “whiny” and “immature.”
John Green responds: "It's not Holden's fault if people read him poorly."

Melissa Marr closes her "first adult deal," by which we mean non-YA book deal. Graveminder is described as "Six Feet Under laced with ancient Irish evil and a dash of Faulkner." (Publisher's Weekly).

Susan Beth Pfeffer announces that This World We Live In, her third post-moon-crash apocalypse book following the fabulous Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone is coming out April 1, 2010.

Happy reading.--Heidi

Translated!: Unai Elorriaga's Plants Don't Drink Coffee

PlantsdontdrinkArchipelago Books keeps bringing the world to my house, and I love them for it. What I didn't expect to find was Faulkner.

Their latest translation is Unai Elorriaga's third novel, Plants Don't Drink Coffee, which gives us a look at a small Basque village through the eyes of Tomas, a young boy. Tomas' thoughts loop around and around as he repeats what he's been told by adults and older cousins--or overheard:

Plants don't drink coffee. They don't like coffee, and neither do flowers or trees. Birds don't like it either. My aunt told me. I do. Sometimes I don't breathe while I drink my café con leche. One whole mug. It's a big mug. I down the whole mug every morning, without taking a breath. That's a record of mine. Maybe I'm the only one in the world who holds that record.
The story builds along with Tomas' thoughts, and the characters around him make up the other three stories of the book: Uncle Simon, who covertly builds a rugby field at night on the local golf course; Tomas' cousin Mateo, who's investigating the real story about his grandfather, who reputedly won a contest for "the best builder in Europe"; and Piedad--an 82-year-old woman who carries around the recently published letters of her long-dead lover, Samuel Mud, a famous architect:

               Today PIEDAD is green
Many women come to the sewing room, all of them old. Carmen, Mila and Dolores come. But Piedad comes most often. Piedad is always at Aunt Rosa's, in the sewing room. And today Piedad was happy, she was green when she came. Aunt Rosa told her, "You look very elegant today, Piedad," because she was wearing a green dress. And I realized I had never seen a woman like her wear a green dress like that, because they are always in gray or black or brown, never in green. Piedad is very small and has a very small head, and she's old, and she has brought a book along to Aunt Rosa's today. That's why she's happy.

Faulkner's influence is apparent from the first line, in shifting, vaguely stream of consciousness points of view and humorous situations that reveal their poignancy as you go along. (Apparently, the novel's original title, Vredamen, was a play on Vradamen, from As I Lay Dying. The author chose the new title for the English translation, because the original was confusing to people.)

But the influence is not overwhelming. Written initially in Basque, Plants Don't Drink Coffee does for this fictional village what Faulkner did for Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, yet Elorriaga's prose feels distinctly of another place.

All of these "ordinary" characters--young and old--are looking for something extraordinary in their lives, some way to distinguish themselves. They desperately--yet quietly, humbly--want us to recognize their greatness. And through Elorriaga's gracefully constructed narrative and Amaia Gabantxo's elegant translation, we do.

Read more about Elorriaga:
Basque Literature Portal
Archipelago Books


YA Wednesday: WACs, Trauma Porns, and Blue Hair

Wacposterstar Mares war

Yesterday was the official launch of the YA book I'm most into right now: Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis.

It's about two teen girls who find out--while they're all on a cross-country road trip together--that their "weird" grandma was actually a World War II WAC. If you're a sucker for historical fiction, tough female characters, and grandmas, this one's for you.

"The road of YA lit is littered with car crashes"
The big buzz in YA-dom this week is this Wall Street Journal article defending the recent spate of YA bestsellers about suicide, anorexia, disfiguring car crashes--you know, the stormy side of YA:

Until recently, the young-adult fiction section at your local bookstore was a sea of nubile midriffs set against pink and turquoise backgrounds. Today’s landscape features haunted girls staring out from dark or washed-out covers. ...Somewhere along the line our teenagers have become connoisseurs of disaster.

EW's PopWatch agrees:

After all, it wasn't so long ago that I was a teen myself, and I can tell you that most people my age deliberately avoided all depressing literature in the late 1990s.
Then Meg Cabot reminds us that this trend is nothing new:
There’s even a name for this kind of fiction in the “industry”--it’s called “trauma porn.”

Hey, don’t blame me! I didn’t make up the name. I agree, the name “trauma porn” is a bit rude.

But so is the name “chick lit,” the genre in which I write (and “dick lit,” in which Nick Hornby et al write…although I understand that’s been changed to “lad lit” because “dick lit” is way too rude).

(FYI, the queen of trauma porn is Lurlene McDaniel. Love her.)

But guess what? Trauma porn isn’t new. Certain teenagers have always been drawn to books about kids who have bigger problems than they do.

I didn’t want to read trauma porn when I was a teen, but in my hometown library, that’s all they had in the YA section (or at least, if they had anything else, it was always checked out).

And The Horn Book's Roger Sutton takes this reminder a bit further:
It seems that Roiphe has missed the fairly essential point that YA was at first defined by its darkness; without any apparent irony she writes that "it may be no coincidence that the dominant ambiance of young-adult literature should be that of the car crash about to happen." The road of YA lit is littered with car crashes, a signal event of just about every problem novel published in the 1970s.

Quick links...
Tera Lynn Childs kicks off the release of her new book Goddess Boot Camp by remembering basketball camp at Books, Boys, Buzz.

Ally Carter is celebrating the long awaited release of Gallagher Girls #3, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover. (Welcome to Seattle, Ally! Enjoy the sun.)

Maureen Johnson is planning a Gathering in London on June 27. RSVP on Facebook (thanks to John Green's twitter for the heads up.)

Here's a clip from the Readergirlz chat with Melissa Walker about her new book, Lovestruck Summer:

Melissawalker chat

YA Wednesday will return on June 24 (taking a short break). In the meantime, let me know your favorite summer reads so far. Happy reading.--Heidi

YA Wednesday: All the World's a Stage

Webcomic xkcd on what can happen to you if you dare take over the Twilight boards:

Meyer comic clip

(This is panel two. Click the link above to see the rest.)

Summer Shakespeare
Shakespearean themes are nothing new to YA; Romeo and Juliet-inspired tales (Twilight again!) abound. But weirdly, a string of books with actual Shakespeare plays--or based on Shakespeare plays--have been showing up at my house lately:

CastrationcelebrationCastration Celebration is the most raucous of the bunch. Max, an actor who likes women, has a crush on Olivia, a playwright who hates men (or at least distrusts them, after walking in on her dad cheating with one of his grad students). Olivia channels her energy into writing "Castration Celebration," a musical with two teenagers, Amber and Dick, who fall in love after playing Benedick and Beatrice from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. It's a play within a musical--with songs like "I Saw My Parents Having Sex" and "Horny"--within a novel.

HereshowThen, there's Here's How I See It--Here's How It Is. It's a middle-grade novel, but any reader who loves theater (and especially anyone who's put in time as a stage manager) should have a good time with Junebug's summer antics--and trials--back stage at the Blue Moon theater. She's running props and costumes around and banging her fists on a hunk of aluminum as "the thunder" for The Tempest. Meantime, her older sister, Stella, plays Miranda to her dad's Prospero. So unfair!

HamletLater in the summer, look for Australian writer John Marsden's YA novel adaptation of Hamlet. I was skeptical, but a novel with teenage boys is a pretty apt format for this moody tale. Marsden doesn't attempt a strained adaptation of Elizabethan speech--or create a convoluted Hamlet-inspired coming of age story--he just makes Hamlet a teen and tells the story, which is surprisingly effective.

Quick links...
Boston Globe--Horn Book Awards were announced yesterday. YA nods included Nation, winner for Fiction and Poetry, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II: The Kingdom of the Waves, honor book in the same category.

Dear Author haiku-reviews City of Glass.

Jen Robinson finds Catching Fire on her doorstep.

She is Too Fond of Books rounds up the Book Bloggers panel at BEA.

NPR features "Real Men Read (and Love) Twilight." (Educating Alice)

The Book Bench reports on Twilight's MTV Movie Award sweep. And they have this cool illustration...

Twilightappleillustration Happy reading.--Heidi

YA Wednesday: BEA and the Trouble With Mary Sue

Are you going to BookExpo America (the notorious BEA)? I am not, but Amy Krouse Rosenthal is, and she'll be at the Children's Book and Author Breakfast on Friday, May 29, at 8 a.m., along with Meg Cabot, Tomie de Paola, and Julie Andrews (yes, that Julie Andrews). Here's a funny preview, with tangerines:

Other potentially exciting YA/kids-related events:

Friday, 2 p.m., BEA Young Adult Editor's Buzz, with editors from Arthur A. Levine books, Disney/Hyperion, Delacorte, First Second Books, Feiwel & Friends, and Harper Collins Children's Books.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m., Cassie Clare (The Mortal Instruments series) and Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan)

Refreshrefresh Themazerunner Lipstouch Saturday, 2 p.m., YA Authors of YA Editor's buzz, which looks like it may include Laini Taylor (Lips Touch), Sarwat Chadda (The Devil's Kiss), James Dashner (The Maze Runner), Danica Novgorodoff (illustrator of Refresh, Refresh), Jill S. Alexander (The Sweatheart of Prosper County), and Adriana Trigiani (Viola in Reel Life).

For a full schedule of YA author and blogger events, visit the BEA website or see Shelf Talker's list of kids' book events.

What's a Mary Sue?
Crossover, a newish blog by Kelly Herold (Big A, Little a), kicked off with the most obvious crossover hit, Twilight. A ton of YA authors and bloggers joined in the discussion of why the series appeals to grown-ups, and children's author Kelly Fineman sparked further talk with her "Mary Sue" remark:

"What makes [the Twilight novels] work is the very Mary Sue main character, Bella Swan, who is the reader's proxy in the books. She's clumsy and awkward and whiny, yet still manages to charm all the boys, including Edward Cullen. And once she vamps out midway through Book 4, she vampires better than anyone else. She's living the dream - ordinary girl who attracts extraordinary things, and ends up being the Very Best Vampire Ever with Extra-Special Powers."
Gail Gauthier, who is not a fan of Mary Sue, responds on her blog with "How Do I Avoid Writing Mary Sue?":
If I stay away from romance, will Mary Sue characters stay away from me? If I don't write about anyone over the age of thirteen will I be safe? What if I use male main characters? Will that work?

Author Tanita Davis (Mare's War) comments:

...when I know I'm protecting a character by making her a mixture of Clark Kent and Captain Americana, I know I'm Mary Sue-ing, and I have to draw up those mental divorce papers all over again.
Blogger Liz B. (from Tea Cozy) adds:
When does my Mary Sue radar go off? When the character is "too perfect" and idealized. It doesn't mean they are perfect--just that everyone in the story sees them as so. When all the boys fall in love for no apparent reason. When there are characteristics that don't add up to a character (for example, Bella's clumsiness to make her 'normal'). When there is a "tragic backstory" that has little or nothing to do with the plot or character except to have other characters/reader learn about it, feel sorry for the person, and somehow that sorry translated into liking the person.

Quick links...
The Guardian announces their Children's Fiction Prize longlist, including Terry Pratchett's Nation and, one of the books I'm most looking forward to this year, Siobhan Dowd's Solace of the Road, which comes out in the U.S. this October. The short list will be announced in September, and the winner on October 8.

John Green goes to Australia.

Shifty author Lynn E. Hazen posts two videos on how to make a Shifty card:

Happy watching/card-making/panel-attending/reading.--Heidi

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