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Field Trip Friday: The Big News of 2011


2011 has been another amazing year, and once again, we have you wonderful readers to thank for it. Last year, I mentioned we were excited to go from 100 followers to 1500; this year, we're on track to double that number! From deal announcements and book debuts, to blog awards and the continued success of Road Trip Wednesday, we are so glad to have you all along for the ride on this publishing journey.

Now let's take a look at 2011, Year Of The Hashtag!

*quick explanation about these links: Some lead directly to original sources, but when the Field Trip gathered several links about one topic, I've linked to it instead. You may have to scroll down, and CTRL+F will help you locate the topic in long posts. As in all FTF posts, images are linked to their source. Unless I forgot or made it myself.


- A new edition of Huckleberry Finn cut all uses of the "n-word."

- The first of several "can authors be reviewers" debates sprang up after an agent's comment during #querychat.

- A contest from First One Publishing caused a ruckus as well.

- Kody Keplinger's The DUFF was chosen for the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Top Ten!


bitch please - Bitch Media's "100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader" listed, then removed, several titles, which led to a firestorm of criticism in the comments and on the #bitchplease hashtag.

- Borders filed for bankruptcy.

- Guest poster Nicola Richardson generated great conversation about race in YA.

- Author Martin Amis claimed only a brain injury could make him write for children. Lots of other people pointed out that he can be a total tool.

- Sugar at The Rumpus wrote many incredible articles this year, but her beautiful list of advice in February just might trump them all.

- The YA community lost critically-acclaimed author L. K. Madigan (Lisa Wolfson) to pancreatic cancer. Several tributes are rounded up here.


like mandarin or else - In which we examined the bizarre case of the YA Mafia.

- Several publishing efforts raised money to support victims of the horrible earthquake in Japan.

- Self-publishing icon Amanda Hocking signed a reportedly $2 million deal with St. Martin's Press

- Fans questioned "The Hunger Games" casting decisions, and many accused the studio of whitewashing.

- We celebrated the release of Kirsten Hubbard's debut novel, Like Mandarin!


flesh which is not flesh - Author Jessica Verday was the first of many authors to withdraw from an anthology because the editor asked her to straighten a gay romance. Cleolinda Jones did a great job keeping up with the ins and outs of the controversy.

- Publishing came home to report from the Bologna Book Fair.

- All sorts of weird stuff happened on April Fool's Day.

- Guest poster Sarah Heacox wrote one of our most popular posts, "Great Characters with Disabilities in YA and MG."

- Someone leaked stills from "Breaking Dawn Part 1." All retinal damage attendant to their viewing appears to have been temporary.


BEA - Highwayers Sumayyah Daud, Kaitlin Ward, Kirsten Hubbard, Sarah Enni, Phoebe North, and Kody Keplinger (not pictured) got to attend Book Expo America. Kirsten and Kody were also chosen to be part of the Teen Author Carnival!

- We got our first look at Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss

- Osama Bin Laden was killed under the dubious codename "Geronimo."

- Help Right Now raised over $20,000 in auction bids to support victims of the storms that swept across the country in late April. I want to take this opportunity to again thank every single one of you who donated, bid, spread the word, or helped organize the event.


ya saves shirt - An article in the Wall Street Journal claimed YA is "rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity." And lo, the YA community did respond, spawning a million posts plus the #YASaves hashtag.

- A mysterious new website called "Pottermore" appeared, and speculation about its use ran wild.

on Bourbon Street with Kiki Hamilton, Courtney Moulton,
Leah Clifford, Shannon Messenger, Lisa Desrochers,
Julie Cross, Kari Olson, Kate Hart, Veronica Roth,
Kirsten Hubbard, Carolina Valdez Miller,
Sarah Enni, and Lindsey Roth Culli.
- Kirsten Hubbard, Sarah Enni, Veronica Roth and I had a great time at the summer ALA conference in New Orleans, where we got to co-host a blogger meetup with the ladies from Stacked!

- YA Highway added six fabulous new contributors, not to mention an adorable meesling. Meanwhile, Emilia Plater graduated from high school and headed to college, where she promptly joined the Quidditch team because she's awesome like that.


neville is hot - We bid a bittersweet farewell to Harry Potter with the release of "Deathly Hallows Part 2.

- Borders closed its doors forever.

- Google+  made its debut.

- Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak survived the Scroggins challenge in Missouri, but Twenty Boy Summer and Slaughterhouse Five did not-- despite the fact that some of the voters didn't even read the books.

- Michelle Schusterman had to exit the Highway this year (*sob*), but her post about metafiction continues to get more traffic than any other article in our history.

- Controversy over agents-as-publishers continued.

- Phoebe North's post about honoring your process struck a nerve with many writers.

- An author who announced she had signed with Jodi Reamer of Writers House and sold her novel for six figures within days quickly discovered she had been the victim of a hoax.

- Kristin Halbrook's Nobody But Us sold to Harper Children's!


how girly are YA covers - The New York Times claimed boys don't read YA because of girls. (Okay, it was a little more nuanced than that, but not much.)

- Publish America offered to show your book to J.K. Rowling for the low, low price of just $49! Or, you know. Not.

- WriteOnCon was a big success, and you can still access most of the resources they provided.

- Lee Bross announced she will be writing Fates for Delacorte under the pen name Lanie Bross!


malinda lo's chart - The #YesGayYA controversy garnered a little attention for an important subject, but mostly devolved into a mess.

- Read For Relief rallied the publishing community to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Irene.

- Agents argued about no-response policies.

- The blogosphere celebrated Banned Books Week in style.

- Kody Keplinger's sophomore novel, Shut Out, made its way into the world!

- YA Highway was named "Best Publishing Industry Blog" of the year!! (I hope my overuse of exclamation points here doesn't retroactively disqualify us.) 


libba bray is my queen - The National Book Award erroneously nominated Lauren Myracle's Shine for their Young People's Literature category... then asked her to recuse herself from the running "to maintain the integrity of the award." As you might imagine, everyone had something to say on this topic, but none stronger than Libba Bray.

- The National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" list included a YA author for the first time ever!

- Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56.

- The NYT talked a lot about Amazon. It got a little tedious.

- Our readers submitted some fabulous YA-inspired jack o'lanterns!


she gets pregnant with a demon baby - YA movies made lots of news: "Breaking Dawn Part 1" premiered to mixed reviews, and the first "Hunger Games" trailer made us all sit up and take notice.

- NaNoWriMo rolled around again, with the requisite inspirational and/or critical posts.

- The #FridayReads hashtag raised questions about paid ads and authentic recommendations.

- Sara Zarr wrote a fantastic post about being inspired by failure.

- Amazon debuted a new Kindle lending program that included books from publishers who had specifically declined to participate.


divergent all the awards - Veronica Roth's Divergent won pretty much all the awards this year (not to mention she participated in a panel at Comic-Con)!

- Amazon again rocked the publishing boat when they announced the acquisition of Marshall Cavendish during the launch week of their price comparison app. Then some guy at Slate wrote some troll-bait hating on indie bookstores, which went over about as well as you'd expect.

- Author P.C. Cast angered readers by not just ignoring their opposition to "the r-word," but then mocking their complaints in her newest book.

- Diablo Cody revealed that her "Young Adult" movie stemmed from experiences writing Sweet Valley High books and wondering if she is "some kind of stunted woman-child that’s living vicariously through her characters." She goes on to describe YA as a "guilty pleasure." Yay. Thanks for the solidarity there, D.

- Phoebe North's YA sci-fi Starglass sold to Simon and Schuster!

year in publishing 2011
Inspired by this

Want to compare with last year? Check out our 2010 round up!


Every list ever: Largehearted Boy aggregates all the "best of" books and music. You can also get a sortable Excel version of this year's book lists from Blogging For a Good Book, or find out
the top ten reasons to make a top ten list.


  - Best books of the year according to: YALSA, Goodreads, NPR (YA), Barnes and Noble, the New York Times, Kirkus (YA), Amazon, Publisher's Weekly (YA), Indigo Blog, Random Buzzers, Audible, MTV, and children's book award lists.

- You can still nominate your favorites of 2011 at TeenReads!

- The year in publishing according to The Telegraph, The Washington Post's book news timeline, Jane Friedman's must-read articles of 2011, GalleyCat's top storiesby the numbers, Writer's Relief, and Nielsen's Top Tens in Sales.

- The Guardian's 2011 book quiz

- What your favorite 2011 book says about you, at Flavorwire


- Best albums of the year according to Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Spinner, NPR, NPR listeners, MTV, Rolling Stone, and Rolling Stone's readers.

- The Village Voice's 10 best 2011 things to listen to while writing

- PopMatters' 20 worst albums of 2011

- Stereogum's 50+ most anticipated albums of 2012 (the XX! Grizzly Bear!) 

From Our Friends

- Sarah Enni hosted a week-long blog carnival with lists of music, characters, books and more.

- Some of our favorite people, Katy Upperman, Erin Bowman, Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller, hosted the "Class of 2011 Superlatives" blog carnival-- a cool twist on the usual "best of" lists.

- Forever Young Adult listed their Top Ten Swooniest Books of 2011 and Top Ten Favorite Reads.

- Jessica, Lisa, Rachel, Jaime, and Patricia hosted a huge Top 10 of 2011 event, including covers, book boyfriends and more.

- The Book Smugglers hosted several weeks of "Smugglivus 2011," with guest posts and lists of favorites from tons of YA authors. 

- Nomes at Inkcrush hosted the "Faves of TwentyEleven" awards.

- Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer is hosting a "Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop," and Reading Teen is hosting an enormous giveaway.

- Great lists of favorites from Jen, Kelly, and Kimberly at Stacked; Kari at A Good Addiction; Carey Farrell's books and music.

Did we miss yours? Link it in the comments!


The year... in photoshop fails, weird science, Legos, best websites, Native fashion appropriations, viral videos, movies, more movies, even more movies, tech surprises, video games, insignificant news, weird life formsstrange hotels, political scandals, and awesome Tumblrs..

... according to Twitter, GQ, The Hollywood Reporter, The Atlantic, Indian Country, and Fresh Air... pictures from the BBC, MSNBC, ABC, the NYT, Reddit, Flickr, Pitchfork, the United Nations, the Atlantic, Billboard, the Telegraph, Vanity Fair, Greenpeace, and Time...

and in memes. Of course.

scumbag brain party toddler 
horsemanning first world problems

From all of us here at YA Highway, have a safe and happy New Year!

Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

Posts by Kate

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  1. Love the YA edition pie chart! And while I *wish* I could take some credit for the Class of 2011 Superlatives blogfest, I am a mere participant. That event is all Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller. (Fabulous hosts, if I do say so myself.)

    Thanks for supplying me with links all year, YA Highway gals. Here's to a great 2012 :)

  2. So many links. I don't know which ones to check out first. Thanks so much for compiling them.

    Happy New Year!

  3. thanks for the links--and the pie chart! here's to 2012!

  4. Nitpicky, but I don't think Diablo Cody ever wrote any Sweet Valley High books...she IS working on a SVH screenplay, and I think that's what she's referring to the linked interview. I'm pretty sure she's too young to have worked on the series itself...

  5. Thanks for including FYA! We're always honored to be featured on the coolest highway in the universe.

  6. I always look forward to your pie charts. (I read the rest of the post, too. But the pie chart was my favorite.)

  7. It's 2012 in Japan! YAY! Happy New Year to you guys! Thanks for being fab. Looking forward to another year of greatness.


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: The Big News of 2011 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart