September Reads for the Road

Awwwww yeeeaaahhhh autumn is upon us! I'm just going to go drown in this pot of soup and curl up in Amy's snuggie with a good book. Got any recs for us? Here are the books we read and loved this past month:



Kristin H. adored THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton for its impeccable writing, interesting characters and gorgeous magical realism. Plus, it's set in Seattle and we all know Kristin loves her hometown.






Sarah finished THE BITTER KINGDOM, the final book in Rae Carson's
fantasy trilogy, and hot damn, she has not enjoyed a trilogy that much in quite some time. The arc for her characters was brilliant in all three books, and the series as a whole, and the underlying message of empowerment made Sarah fist-pump.






Kate is a reading machine and recs two books this month: Nova Ren Suma's THE WALLS AROUND US - Nova takes her always-gorgeous prose to the next level of ambitious story telling - and Cece Bell's EL DEAFO - The MC deals with her disability throughout the book, but the real story is her search for a true friend.




Cliffhangers in YA and TV: Joy, Agony, or Both?

Who was glued to their TV screens last week, eagerly picking up where their favorite series left off? 
 
*raises hand* Two words: The Blacklist. Cheesy lines and improbable scenarios abound, but I’m in it for James Spader and the mysteries. Like many TV series, each episode tends to complete one smaller story arc, only to end on a cliffhanger, which makes me frantic for the next episode. And in typical dramatic TV fashion, the season one finale of Blacklist ended on a giant WHAAA….??
 
Cliffhangers. I can’t seem to escape them.*
 
 
 
Last week, I hunkered down to finish what I thought was the THRONE OF GLASS trilogy by Sarah Maas. I re-read book one, sucked down CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and raced through HEIR OF FIRE. At the 93% mark in book three, I experienced my first twinge of doubt. How was the author going to tie up the entire story in such a short time?  I dismissed the twinge and read on, but at the 99% mark, the truth proved inescapable. THRONE OF GLASS wasn’t a trilogy like I’d thought, but a five book series. And book three ended on, you guessed it—a cliffhanger.
 
The. AGONY.
 
I wanted to both curse and call the author, demanding to know HOW COULD SHE DO THIS TO ME? (Thankfully for Sarah, I didn’t have her number handy. My hounds’ ears weren't so lucky).  Several minutes later though, a strange thing happened. My initial horror morphed into glee. I might not have a resolution to the series yet, but I still had more bliss-filled hours of reading to anticipate! More Celaena and more Rowan; more Prince Dorian and more wyverns.  Suddenly, the open-ending was full of win.
 
I’m far from the first reader or TV watcher to have a visceral reaction a cliffhanger. Why?  I can only speak for myself.  I know that when a cliffhanger is used in lieu of resolving a story arc, I tend to feel incredibly frustrated and manipulated. All that reading, for nothing! But mine's not a one-size-fits-all reaction. I think successful cliffhangers abound. For me, they’re found in books where at least some of the existing loose ends are satisfactorily tied up by the end of the story, and the cliffhanger merely serves as a way to introduce suspense for the next installment of the over-reaching series arc. (I think the THRONE OF GLASS series does this very well).
 
Beyond that, I wonder how much of my knee-jerk howl at the end of a cliffhanger is due to impatience?  I’m a product of a society that prizes instant gratification: I want things, and I want them now. It’s challenging to realize that I’ve invested time and emotion into something, only to be put on hold for the ultimate pay-off. In that sense, maybe cliffhangers are good for me—a lesson in the lost art of patience and positive anticipation.
 

How do you feel about cliffhangers, and which series are you howling to see continued?
 
*(The author, Debra Driza, realizes she is surrounded by cliffhangers partly because her last book ended on one. The. AGONY.)




Field Trip Friday: September 26, 2014



THE BIG NEWS THIS WEEK

Wow. Another great and crappy week to be a woman on the internet.

Edward Champion, a book blogger with a less than stellar reputation for harassing female writers, got his Twitter account suspended last night after threatening a woman who deleted one of his Facebook comments. The Daily Dot has a summary, as does The Daily Beast.

Articles at SLJ and the NYT spurred some great reaction pieces.  "While I suspect that rumors of the decline in influence of the straight white male have been greatly exaggerated, I personally cannot imagine any subject less interesting for a work of art," says Sarah McCarry, and Anne Ursu knocks it out of the park with her essay "On Poisoned Apples, the 'Great YA Debate,' and the Death of the Patriarchy." Damien Walter at the Guardian says, "Young adult fiction is loved because it speaks to us all – unlike adult stories." Kate Messner reaffirms that there are many ways to tell a story, and Kurtis Scaletta encourages us to abandon terms like "spunky" and "feisty," in favor of "just let[ting] these girls exist in their stories and accept them on their own terms."

Not in reaction, but thematically related: Karen Abbott and Alexis Coe look at the ways white male reviewers often fail novels written by women, Linda Holmes explains the importance of "little stories" about beauty, and Robin Wasserman reviews two novels that "remind us that judgment and expectation are slyly effective ways to discipline and punish — that we don’t need locked doors and chains to coax girls into silence."

Meanwhile PW's annual survey reveals that women are still making way less than men in publishing, despite accounting for 74% of the workforce, and 39% of publishing denies or is ambivalent about the industry's diversity issues. So that's ... great. (If you need cheering up, I recommend Sarah Marshall's "How to Tell You're in a MFA Workshop Story" or the "Guy In Your MFA" twitter feed.)


THIS WEEK IN WRITING

- ABA shares A. S. King's lovely speech about writing, independent booksellers, and community.

- Nicole Baart discusses the importance of learning to take a compliment well.

- Everybody has their lofty goals, but Mark Manson says the questions "What pain do you want in your life?" and "What are you willing to struggle for?" are more important. (via Tess Jordan)

- ZoĆ« Marriott examines the ways films fail their female characters.

- Claire Kirch profiles the close-knit community of YA authors in Utah. (via Sara Zarr)

- A study says serif fonts make your writing more persuasive.

- Amtrack announced the winners of its Writers Residency contest.

- "I think we’re better served by telling true stories of women and trusting men and women to see the humanity in them than to write stories about Wonder Woman or to pedestal-ize or romanticize the female condition." Dessa Darling on storytelling and strong women.


THIS WEEK IN READING

- It's Banned Books Week once again. The Fault In Our Stars has been removed from a California school district; John is pretty broken up about his lost opportunity to crush dreams. Kelly Jensen argues against the idea of "celebrating" the week, pointing out that "[T]here’s a fine line between celebrating banned books week and marketing books because they’ve been censored," and this shouldn't be "a week about profits or how to sell these banned books." Meanwhile Julia Pugachevsky wonders what banned books would look like if they were made "appropriate" (complete with cool cover slidey action) and the HuffPo maps which states see the most book challenges. (via Sarah Harian)

- Research says your e-reader brain and your paper-reader brain are not the same. (via Vicki Lame)

- Teen Librarian Toolbox looks at consent, coercion, and when yes doesn't really mean yes in YA.

- "The first gay person I ever met was a character in a book," says I. W. Gregorio in her PEN piece about the need for diverse LGBTQI books.

- Nicole Brinkley puts together a master list of YA book blogs on Tumblr.

- "10 Lessons From Real-Life Revolutions That Fictional Dystopias Ignore," from Esther Inglis-Arkell.

- BookLust hosts #Diversiverse, a "linkstravaganza" of diverse book reviews.

- Valerie Strauss says Common Core's recommended books are failing children of color.

- Elizabeth Bluemle rounds up "The Stars So Far," listing which books have received at least one starred review from a major outlet. (I spy our girl Steph Kuehn!)

- Lyn Miller-Lachmann explains the Cybils Awards and how you can get involved.

- Random House suggests seven literary Halloween costumes.

- Who said it, Katniss or Hermione? Also, is this Christian Harry Potter fanfic for real?


THIS WEEK IN PUBLISHING

- Universal and Penguin Random House sign a two-year first look agreement. (via Bridget Smith)

- YA sales are up another 30% this year. (via Annie Stone)

- Nathan W. Pyle dissects how his Reddit post became a NYT bestseller. (via Amy Rosenbaum)

- Great insights into marketing and social media for writers in Rachel Fershleiser's First Draft podcast interview with Sarah Enni.

- PW looks at the borderline genius meta-marketing for (and within) Rebecca Serle's new series.

THIS WEEK IN OTHER STUFF

- This week in continued "wow isn't it great to be female":

- Feminism's future is not up to white women, says Salon's Brittney Cooper.

- An unarmed 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a Louisiana deputy this week; the Feds plan to investigate the killing of John Crawford III after a grand jury's decision not to indict the officers involved, and things are heating up again in Ferguson -- Alderman Antonio French's feed is a good place to start.

- Big week for #ChangeTheName proponents: The Daily Show's piece about Washington fans and Native activists aired Thursday, after a delay caused by the pro-team guests (covered... oddly, at best, by the press, though Ryan RedCorn of the 1491s did get a nice write up in the Kansan about using humor to change minds.) Law professor John Banzhaf III is taking a new approach by appealing straight to the FCC, and the WaPo spoke out in defense of Neshaminy High School students who have been punished for refusing to use the R-word. Meanwhile Elissa Washuta wrote a killer essay at Buzzfeed, reminding everyone that "Just because you’re curious about my ancestry, my beliefs, and my experiences doesn’t mean I owe you answers."

- A mother reflects on a stolen video of her daughter going viral. (via Kate Spencer)

- The Booklist Reader is hosting the 31 horror films in 31 days challenge.

- io9 has a guide to getting more diversity in your pop culture.

- What is Ello and should you even bother? Gizmodo has answers. (And several Highwayers have invites, if you feel the need.)


THIS WEEK IN AWESOME TEENAGERS

- Denver area students staged walkouts in protest of a school board proposal requiring history curricula to "present positive aspects of the nation and its heritage."

- Brazilian shoolboys wore skirts in protest after a trans girl was fined for wearing a female uniform.

- An Indian teen invented a device that can convert breath to speech. (via Alec)

- Texas football player Apollos Hester makes the motivational speech of the year.


THIS WEEK IN THE RANDOM

This "Review in Doodle" for Nova Ren Suma's upcoming The Walls Around Us is amazing. (See also her review of Harry Potter.)




Josh Funk celebrates Band Books Week. Wait...







Guest Post: Take the Silvern character quiz!

Today we are pleased to welcome Christina Farley, author of the Gilded Series. The second book in the series, SILVERN, was released this past Tuesday. To celebrate, Christine has created a character quiz that will tell you which character in the series you most resemble. Have fun! Illustrations by Nicole Kim.





About SILVERN 

Jae Hwa Lee is ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Until Kud, god of darkness, sends an assassin to kill her. 

Jae escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins forces with a legendary organization, the Guardians of Shinshi, to find the orb before Kud can steal it and discover what it’s capable of. Jae knows she’ll need her friends for this fight, but they have problems of their own: her best friend Michelle doesn’t yet fully understand the dangers of the Spirit World; boyfriend Marc is spending more and more time away from her, training to become a Guardian of Shinshi; and Marc hates the fellow trainee assigned to help them: the oddly riveting— and absurdly handsome—Kang-dae. They set out together on a harrowing journey that will take Jae into the darkest corners of the Spirit World and the real world.
But Kud is a stronger and more devious god than Jae ever imagined. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.



 


The opinions expressed in guest posts are the views of the designated authors and do not necessarily reflect those of YA Highway members.

If you would like to write a guest post for us, submit a proposal here!




Writing Horror: Scary Writing Prompt Game #20

Happy Saturday, Spookies!

Welcome to another round of the scary writing prompt game. Again, here's how it works: I'll announce the prompt, then you guys post your response in the comment section. At the beginning of each round, I'll share my favorite bits from the previous month's entries before announcing the next prompt. At the end of the year there will be a spooky prize drawing for two lucky winners.

*All* participants are automatically entered to win! Only four rounds left until the contest closes!

Prizes: Both winners will receive a Night of Horror care package from yours truly, containing everything you need for a spooky night in--a scary DVD, creeptastic snacks, something to keep you cozy while you cower in fear of ghosts and/or serial killers, and a few other horror-related knick-knacks that won't disappoint. Maybe I'll even throw in a bottle of True Blood.

Reminder: Now accepting entries via Tumblr! Reblog with your entry attached, then tag your post with the hashtag #scarywritingpromptgame and spread the horror love on your dash! (Even if you only do a Tumblr entry and never comment on the actual post, I will still enter it for the grand prizes at the end of the year.)

***

The scary writing prompt game took a break for August, so allow me to show you some of the radical snippets entered in July's round, which left us and our main character Julia wondering why her mother was taking so damn long to feed the horses! You didn't disappoint, Spookies. From werewolves to Night Hunters to a surprise ghost, this round garnered such creative responses! Bravo:

The horse was dead and blood pooled next to its head and neck. As soon as she saw the horse, the other horses became restless. Julia felt a presence. Someone was watching her.

Julia whipped around to shine a light on a hairy, human form with claws and the head of a wolf. It had blood on its mouth and fur. Werewolf, Julia thought.

She dropped her flashlight and made a run for the house. She had to run clear around the stable because she couldn't run through it. Julia could hear the growling and panting behind her. It sounded close and it was only getting closer. ---honorary Spooky b.song, via site comments

*

A look of horror crossed her face. “The purple candle.” She yelled as the wind lifted her off the ground. “Use the wax.” She disappeared into the barn.

I jumped into the truck locking the doors behind me and frantically begin to look for the candle. There it was in the glove box. I lit it but had no idea what to do next. The wind violently shook the truck as I lit the candle. The truck rolled on its side cracking the windows and sending wax onto my skin. Suddenly I knew what to do I could hear my mother’s voice in my head instructing me. I held the candle over my back and let the wax drip onto the marked skin as the truck lifted in the air and crashed down.

Everything went black. ---honorary Spooky Samantha Branca, via site comments

*

The blonde woman said, “I’m sorry to be blunt… but I just want to say that I admire you. I really do, and I know you don’t want to hear that from me. But I can’t even imagine it. You’re doing so well. Surviving. It’s unimaginable.”

Julia frowned, straining to hear what they were saying. She knew she must have missed something.

“There are people who have it worse,” Julia’s mother said. The women behind the fence murmured in admiration.

The brunette rambled, “It is something though, that she was riding when it happened… you know, we always heard about how much you and your daughter loved the horses.”

“I still love the horses. They’re not the one that died… She was careless though. Everyone knows they can panic—

The blonde tried to intervene, saying, “It was just a mistake. You needn’t blame yourself or—

“I never said I did. I have to go now.” ---honorary Spooky My Black Sea Dress, via Tumblr entry

*
This Month's Prompt:

They didn't know what to believe.

Photo by Scabeater
Tara and Jeff had been stargazing out the barn loft, talking about college plans and how neither of them planned on attending prom, when they heard a piercing shriek echo up from the empty stalls below them. Jeff nearly jumped out of his skin, but Tara recognized the sound of her best friend instantly.

"What happened, Lexi?" Tara called into the dark space below them.

"You guys have got to get out of here!" Lexi cried, her voice rising as she climbed up the ladder into the barn loft. "I just ran into Drew Pearson and those guys, and they said that there were...were..."

"Were what?" Jeff asked. "Take a deep breath Lexi, you know how Drew and those guys can be..."

"They said there were zombies," Lexi finally got out. Beads of sweat shined on her forehead in the moonlight, and she was still panting from the ladder climb. "They said that they'd just been at the gas station and saw Big Lou get killed by some lady that stumbled out of the cemetery across the street! They weren't joking, you guys, they were serious, I ran here on my way home to make sure you guys heard on time! You've gotta go home, you've gotta get your families and leave, hide..."

Tara giggled. "Lexi..." she started, feeling kind of bad at the look of intense anguish on her best friend's face. "Zombies?"

"I don't care if you jerks believe me or not," Lexi burst, her voice high-pitched and shrill. She crawled quickly back toward the opening in the floor where the ladder came up. "I'm getting out of here! I love you, Tara, but I can't risk my life, I've got to get to my mom, my baby sister..."

"Lexi, wait!" Tara said, not smiling anymore. "Wait a second, come back up, what do you mean they saw someone kill--"

"I mean it exactly how it sounds!" came Lexi's voice from the darkness of the barn below them. "Get the hell out of here as fast as you can, you guys!" And then she was gone.

"What in the world?" Jeff said after the barn door slammed shut behind her. "How did Drew Pearson manage to convince her of that story?"

"I don't know," Tara said. "Obviously zombies aren't real. But they could have been playing a trick on her, or us, all of them together."

"You think Lexi would do that?" Jeff asked. "Get real."

"It's a better explanation than freaking zombies," Tara cried, starting to get a little shrill herself.

They sat in a new, uncomfortable sort of silence. The night air around them was calm, but they were out pretty far from any houses. Certainly nothing could be going wrong in their tiny town...right?

*

Unleash the Hellhounds!



photo credit: Scabeater via photopin cc




Field Trip Friday: September 19, 2014



THIS WEEK IN WRITING

- "I want to offer at least one teenage girl a vocabulary for her desires, or the idea that there is one." Very rarely do I read a "Why I Write YA" piece and think "WHY DIDN'T I WRITE THIS," but lucky me, Carrie Mesrobian shared this post by Zan Romanoff.

- Annie Cardi makes the case for putting aside "likable and relatable" to focus on what's human and pressing.

- Beautiful post from Sarah McCarry about practicing for what scares you.

- Nova Ren Suma reflects on changing professional challenges over the span of a writing career.

- "What do you say to a casual friend who has become one of the most successful writers in the world, a writer so successful Maya Angelou had to die in order to slip ahead of him in the Amazon rankings for even a single day?" IDK, apparently you say, "Hey John, I wrote an article in Salon about my jealousy of you -- thanks for the hits." (via Tessa Gratton)

- Janice Hardy suggests the mini-arc method for authors who fall in the middle of the planner/pantser spectrum.

- Having recently converted to a ... shall we say, improvised version of a standing desk, I found their comparison with treadmill desks in the WaPo very interesting. (via Paolo Bacigalupi)

- Can switching genres hurt your "author brand"? Erin Bowman weighs in.

- The Center for Fiction sent us this link to Patrick Ryan's upcoming YA workshop in New York.


THIS WEEK IN READING

- Malinda Lo's analysis shows that "diverse books are disproportionately targeted for book challenges and censorship,"

- If you pirate e-books, your Amazon account can be hacked. (via Dear Author)

- Lincoln Michel looks at the biggest predicted innovations -- and flops -- in book technology, and makes a few predictions of his own.

- Steve Sheinkin's "Walking and Talking" comic series of interviews with authors is super cute.

- Cara Delevingne will play Margo in the screen version of Paper Towns.

- Booklikes has opened an affiliate program for bloggers, giving them commissions on sales resulting from their reviews. (via a Twitter convo I've since lost, sorry source!)

- Princeton's Cotsen Children's Library examines Harry Potter and the Mystery of the Author's Name(via Cheryl Klein)


THIS WEEK IN BOOK LISTS

- Adam Silvera highlights 5 books with fantastic gay characters, and After Ellen rounds up every YA novel with lesbians ever, in chronological order (via emily m. danforth).

- CNN put together a list of 40 highly anticipated fall YA titles, and Kirkus listed their top 14.

- Debbie Reese points out how white everyone's "10 books" lists on FB have been and offers up her own 10 Native books everyone should read.

- Valerie Tajeda asks 7 Hispanic YA authors why they think we need diverse books.

- Longlists were announced for this year's National Book Award -- congrats to the Young People's Literature nominees!


THIS WEEK IN PUBLISHING

- Amazon Germany leaked a sneak peek at the Kindle's next model, Voyage.

- HarperCollins will help indie publishers with express shipping during the holidays.

- "I don’t want to have to curb my enthusiasm when I rave about something but my tweets are not advertisements." Agent Michael Bourret, editor Andrew Karre, and author Gayle Forman discuss the blurb game and a recent trend of using social media quotes without express permission.


THIS WEEK IN GIVEAWAYS

- Stacked is giving away 3 copies of Courtney Summers's upcoming All the Rage!



THIS WEEK IN OTHER STUFF

- I bailed far earlier than she did, but still greatly enjoyed Whitney Fletcher's "Blazers of Glory: On Leaving Academia." (via Dahlia Adler)

- This year's MacArthur Foundation Genius Grants went to some great recipients, including cartoonist Alison Bechdel and Native activist Sarah Deer.

- Zoe Quinn shares 5 things she learned as the internet's most hated person.

- A black cosplayer was killed by police because he was carrying a sword.

- MTV's Faking It will feature an intersex character, with consulting from AIC. (via I.W. Gregorio)

- Victoria Turk examines several ways that technology isn't made to fit women -- particularly medical devices. (Comments are a cesspool, JSYK.) Meanwhile two teenager girls invented an amazing video game called "Tampon Run." (via Cleolinda Jones)

- Joseph Vogel argues Janet Jackson was the most culturally significant female artist of the 1980s.

- How do teenage crowds end up with names like "goths," "heads," and the like? Michael Erand investigates. (Note that slurs are included.) (via Blair Thornburgh)


THIS WEEK IN THE RANDOM

New Mockingjay trailer!













Guest Post: Cover Evolution With Cristin Terrill and ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

You YA Highway readers are an informed bunch, so you probably already know what usually goes into the designing of a book cover. As an author, mostly you just wait for the day when you get an email with an attachment, have a heart attack waiting for the attachment to open, see the cover that's been chosen for you, and (hopefully) love it.

That was not my experience with my debut novel ALL OUR YESTERDAYS.

Here's the story of the good, bad, the ugly, and ultimately the pretty of my cover.

The first time I met my editor, Emily Meehan of Disney-Hyperion, was just a few weeks after she'd bought ALL OUR YESTERDAYS and she was already thinking of cover ideas. But it wasn't for another six months or so -- about a year before the book was due to come out -- that I received my first cover comp. When I finally managed to make myself look at the screen (I was really nervous!), what I saw was this:
Not gonna lie, I was confused. There were elements I loved (like the vertical title text and the mirroring concept), but I didn't realize that this was merely a mock-up of the general concept Disney-Hyperion was intending to pursue. I thought it was what they had in mind for the actual cover, and I had CONCERNS. Those models look nothing like my characters! What's that weird tree thingy? What's with the tattoos on this lady's face?

My misunderstanding was quickly straightened out, and I was both relieved and excited with the direction for the cover. Disney-Hyperion, unlike the cautionary tales debut authors are often told about publishers, was always interested in and responsive to my input. For instance, when the time came to choose models for the cover shoot they let me pick the model to represent my main character, Marina.
I went with girl on the bottom right, Charlotte, primarily because I thought she had the most "girl next door" look. A photo shoot with Charlotte took place, and I waited patiently (and sometimes not-so-patiently) for the final cover.

Three months later, I got another email, but to my surprise it did NOT contain the final cover I'd been expecting. Instead, I was looking at a set of totally new and different cover comps.
It wasn't until I was putting together this post that I saw the results of the photo shoot, which is below. I think it turned out pretty well, but my editor Emily says everyone at Disney-Hyperion felt it "lacked the shine" they had been hoping for.
So they were going in a new direction, ergo all the new comps. And the focus was obviously now on the title as opposed to the face (sorry, Charlotte!).

I liked the concept of the first new comp the best. The "many faces" made a lot of sense thematically for ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, which is a novel about time travel that revolves around both present and future versions of the three main characters. But we all thought there were too many faces and we preferred the title treatments of #2 and #3, so the designer made some revisions with those things in mind. We went through several rounds of removing more and more faces, moving the faces around, and changing fonts until we ended up with the cover you would have seen if you received an ARC of the book.
After almost six months of work, this still wasn't the final final cover. Disney-Hyperion was going to reshoot a cover based on this design with models we chose who would look more like the characters (and less like each other--yes, that's both a boy and a girl on there). But we were getting close!

Until.

I was at my first conference as an author where my ARCs were being given out for the first time. About ten minutes before my first ever signing, I got an email. Barnes and Noble didn't like the cover. And when the largest brick and mortar bookstore chain doesn't like your cover, it gets changed.

The many-faces cover was dead, and we were back at square one.

We had about three months until the book had to go to print, and everyone was feeling the time crunch. Cover comps started flying fast and furious.

Here, I KID YOU NOT, is a modest sampling of the dozens we went through:
Some of these concepts I really liked and some I REALLY didn't, but I was so thankful for how hard Disney-Hyperion was working to find the perfect cover for my book. As you can see, they were casting a wide net and there were multiple designers contributing comps. At this point there was also a new urgency to the process since ALL OUR YESTERDAYS had been chosen for the YA Buzz Panel at BEA, which was only a few weeks away, and we all wanted to have a cover to show by then.

My favorite of the new crop of comps was this one:
I thought it was pretty and unique and eye-catching. I loved the feeling of movement created by the colored lines of light, the clock moving backwards in the "o" of "novel," and the gathering storm clouds. I thought it conveyed that the book was both a speculative story and a romance. Happily, my editor liked this concept best as well, so they decided to focus on refining this idea.

A couple of weeks later, I got an email from my editor entitled "COVER!!! OMG!!!" I was expecting a finessed, finalized version of the cloud cover. What I found instead was this:
I was completely thrown. It was so far from what I'd expected, so different from everything we'd been trying for the past nine months, and I already had so much built-up anxiety about this cover (and debuting in general) that I reacted... not well. I burst into tears.

My editor Emily explained to me that the cloud cover had received a very lukewarm reaction from almost everyone else at Disney-Hyperion. After further discussing it with some colleagues, she realized what the problem was. To her, and to me, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS was a love story at its core, and that was the message of the cloud cover. But the other members of the Disney-Hyperion team didn't see it as a love story. They saw it as a thriller. Strong characters and relationships are great, they said, but people pick up books like this because of the plot.

So they went back to the drawing board to try to show the book as a thriller, and when Emily unveiled the clock cover in an internal meeting, the whole room burst into spontaneous cheers and applause.

This story made me start coming around to the clock cover.

I had one major reservation left, though, which was also one my editor shared. I was afraid it looked too much like the DIVERGENT cover, between showing the skyline of a major American city and the round flaming thing in the center. There was less than a week left until BEA, where we'd announced that we would reveal the cover. So we quickly tried a variety of tweaks to make it look less DIVERGENT-y.
While I really liked the smoky clock, we eventually decided that the original version (with a few subtle refinements) was the best, regardless of any similarities to DIVERGENT.

So, uh, sorry Veronica!

In the end, I saw the final version of the ALL OUR YESTERDAYS cover about nine months after I saw the first comp and exactly fourteen hours before it was revealed to the public at BEA. I cannot stress enough how much Disney-Hyperion went above and beyond to make a cover they really believed in and believed readers would flock to, when at any point during the process they could have picked one that was 'good enough' and been done with it. I will always be grateful to them for their dedication.

And, believe it or not, they're not done yet. The evolution of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS continues!
The paperback version of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS sports a whole new look. If the hardcover was the thriller cover, this is the love story cover. As my editor explains:

"This was one of the hardest covers to nail. We wanted to show how epically romantic it is, but it is also a taut thriller. Not an easy task. We went through countless covers trying to get the balance right. We decided to redesign for the paperback because we were getting the feeling that the cover wasn't connecting to the audience somehow, which is a shame, because the book itself so riveting. We chose a picture for the new cover that we thought was provocative and romantic."

The most interesting part of this process for me has been seeing the wildly different ways that so many people see my book. Is it a thriller or a romance? Dark or bright? Gritty or glossy? Because the words inside have always been the same. Ultimately, I've been incredibly lucky that my book's pretty outside has enticed so many readers who've appreciated the story and characters on the inside, and I hope that continues to be the case, no matter what clothes ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is wearing.
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Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She holds a BA in Drama from Vassar College and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. She escaped the world of theatrical stage management to write. She teaches creative writing workshops for children and teens in the Washington, D.C. area. ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is her first novel.
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