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Field Trip Friday: The Big News of 2013

Take a scroll down memory lane and check out some of this year's biggest stories
(or take a trip further back to 2012, 2011, or 2010!)


- John and Hank Green brought down the house at Carnegie Hall, while The Daily Mail coined the phrase "sick lit."

- Operation Awesome ran an online New Year's Revisions Conference.

In YA Highway news: We co-hosted the Great YA Blogger Meetup with Stacked at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, launched our Mixtape feature, and celebrated the release of Kristin Halbrook's debut novel, Nobody But Us, as well as Debra Driza's short story, Origins!


- The much-anticipated website Bookish finally launched.

- In the news: The Pope resigned; a suicide bomber hit the US embassy in Turkey; Winter Storm Nemo hit the northeast US and Canada; and it rained spiders in Brazil.

In YA Highway news: Stephanie Kuehn hosted our Black History Month series, and we celebrated the sale of Kody Keplinger's debut middle grade novel, now titled The Swift Boys and Me!


- The International Astronomical Union named a Mercury crater after Madeleine L'Engle.

- In the news: The US government sequester went into effect; Hugo Chavez died; The Onion crossed the line with a crude tweet about 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis.

Sarah, Kristin Otts, Kristin Halbrook, Phoebe, Sumayyah,
Kate, Kirsten, Amy, Veronica, and Kody
- In YA Highway news: Ten of us gathered for a week-long retreat in the Washington woods and had our very first author event ever. Debra Driza celebrated the release of her debut novel, Mila 2.0, by sharing the spotlight with another debut: Poison, a novel by author Bridget Zinn, whose life was cut short by cancer. We celebrated the sale of Stephanie Kuehn's second novel, Complicit, and the paperback release of Kirsten Hubbard's Wanderlove!


- New Adult became an official Publishers Marketplace category.

- A.S. King's Ask the Passengers won the LA Times Book Award for YA; John Green's The Fault In Our Stars won the 2013 Indies Choice Book Awards.

- Laurie Halse Anderson did a stellar job of raising awareness during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, including pieces at NPR and The Atlantic.

- Georgia students had to fight to integrate their prom. Yes, this was 2013.

- In the news: Mid-April was awful. After the Boston Marathon was bombed, internet sleuths wrongly accused several people, making life hell for some of them, while another turned up dead; then a massive manhunt shut the city down. Letters containing ricin were sent to the White House, and an explosion in West, Texas killed 12 and injured 200 others -- and that's just in the USThe Onion pretty much summed it up.

In YA Highway news: We celebrated Sarah Enni's signing with agent Sarah Burnes, got our first look at the film version of  Veronica Roth's Divergent and found out the title for book 3!


- Amazon announced "Kindle Worlds," a new platform allowing writers to publish authorized fanfiction.

- Maureen Johnson's "coverflip" experiment went viral.

- Author Gilbert King got notice that his book had been remaindered... and then found out he'd won the Pulitzer.

- Goodreads introduced its YA newsletter and Beth Revis started a YA subforum on Reddit.

- Lee and Low Publishers showed that the number of multicultural books in kidlit hasn't changed in 18 years.

- After John Green's post and follow up regarding the success of The Fault In Our Stars, Jennifer Lynn Barnes flexed some serious smarts examining causality, logic, and the many factors that determine success.

Kate, Veronica, Debra, and Erin Bambrilla
- Still love this post from E.M. Kokie on the ridiculous lack of terminology we're allowed to use for the female body.

- Kate Messner organized an auction to benefit victims of the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma.

In YA Highway news: While we were sad to say goodbye to Phoebe North, Kody Keplinger, and Kristin Otts, we welcomed new contributor Debra Driza and the return of Emilia Plater. We were also super psyched to see Veronica Roth's Allegiant cover reveal on the Today Show! Several of us also got together at the Romantic Times convention in Kansas City. Deb did the worm in the hallway, naturally.


- Gender and sexism were in the spotlight: Problems with misogyny in the SFWA reached a breaking point (see here for a timeline of its issues and here for a collection of posts about the controversy); Slate ran an article suggesting that motherhood is a threat to creativity, Rachel Skukert's "How to Write a Feminist YA Novel" met a less-than-enthusiastic response from  her colleagues, these ridiculous children's books were on display at BEA, Lindy West got rape threats for daring to talk about rape threats... yeah. It was a long damn month. Thank goodness for another amazing post by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, using science to examine the ways gender matters in publishing.

- Judy Blume finally got a movie with the premiere of Tiger Eyes, while Tim Burton signed on to direct the film version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

-  Benjamin Alire Saenz, author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children's/Young Adult Fiction.

Veronica, Kody, Phoebe, Sarah, and Sumayyah
- In the news: The Supreme Court struck down DOMA and upheld California's Prop 8, while gutting the Voting Rights Act, and Wendy Davis made an epic filibuster -- all in the same week. Government surveillance tactics also made headlines.

-  In YA Highway news: Several of us gathered at BEA, where Veronica Roth slam-dunked her keynote speech. We also celebrated the release of Stephanie Kuehn's debut novel, Charm and Strange!


- J.K. Rowling was outed as the real author of adult crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling. The book became an instant hit, with sales jumping 158,000%.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch resigned.

- Random Penguin actually happened. Okay fine, Penguin Random House. Spoilsports.

- Disability in KidLit kicked off with a month of great content.

Deb and Vee
- Kelly Jensen's BookRiot post "What are Grown-Ups Afraid Of In YA Books?" gathered the comment thread from hell.

- In the news: Russia's anti-gay laws went from bad to draconian, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin, and The Lone Ranger was a racist trainwreck. But Pennsylvania teen Temar Boggs saved an abducted 5-year-old girl, and California lawmakers passed a K-12 Transgender Rights Bill.

Steph and Lydia Kang
In YA Highway news: We hosted another Great YA Blogger Meetup with Stacked and Chicagoland KidLit at ALA Annual, where Stephanie Kuehn and Debra Driza were on a panel moderated by Veronica Roth. We also got to reveal the cover of Lee (writing as Lanie) Bross's upcoming debut, Fates, cheered for Vee during her appearance at ComicCon, and celebrated the debut of Phoebe North's Starglass as well as the arrival of Kristin Halbrook's baby boy!


- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hit the big screen, and Ally Carter pointed out that if you want YA books to become movies, you have to support those movies when they're released.

- The retail head of Barnes and Noble sold 2/3 of his own stock, and GalleyCat reported that children's and YA sales are down nearly 27%.

- Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster finally reached an agreement.

- Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post.

- E.L. James took over the top spot on Forbes's Top Earning Authors of 2013 list. Suzanne Collins, Jeff Kinney, Rick Riordan, and JK Rowling also made the top 15.

- Beth Revis's post about the pros and cons of working with a small press turned into a minor Twitter-storm, while Goodreads drama reached a new extreme, garnering coverage on Slate.

WriteOnCon put together another successful web conference!

- The Lizzie Bennet Diaries won an Interactive Media Emmy.

- In the news: A former Montana teacher got a whopping 30 days in jail for statutory rape, from a judge who has since apologized for the ridiculous comments he made about the victim during sentencing. Emily McCombs at xoJane explained why the judge is so wrong in "The Myth of the Teenage Temptress."

Deb and Kirsten
We thought nothing could garner more internet ire than Ben Affleck's casting as Batman, but then Miley Cyrus performed on the VMAs. (It is now December and we're still hearing about it, so pretty sure mission accomplished.) Meanwhile hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen created a lot of important conversation, and NPR's Scott Simon used Twitter to chronicle his mother's last days.

In YA Highway news: A few of us met up for SCBWI's annual conference, where Debra Driza, once again, did the worm. Kristin Halbrook announced that Nobody But Us is in film development with Haven Entertainment. We also had a collective freak out about the release of the Divergent trailer!


Click for entire workout
- New! Harry!! Potter!!! MOVIE!!!!!!!!!

- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books had to create "the plagiarism workout."

- School started and so did the book banning.

- Goodreads changed its review policy. Chaos ensued.

- Roxane Gay took a look at representation in literary criticism again this year, and didn't find much progress.

- Brenna Clarke Gray wrote an amazing rebuttal that included the sentence, "Gilmour teaches penis-waving literature, to the exclusion of all other literature. And only, for some reason, white penises. No other penises need apply."

- Malindo Lo took a cultural anthropology approach to answering why adults read YA.

- New blog Latin@s in Kid Lit launched.

- Vermont College of Fine Arts and Barry Goldblatt Literary announced the creation of The Angela Johnson Scholarship, a talent-based grant for writers of color attending the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Master of Fine Arts program.

- Franzen and Weiner continued to feud.

- The real person behind @Horse_Ebooks was revealed.

In the news: The US prepared for (and averted) possible strikes against Syria. A Utah football coach suspended the entire team to teach a lesson in moral character and pride; a federal court protected Facebooks "likes" as free speech; Reuters published a heartbreaking series on the "private re-homing" of adopted children in the US; Adrienne Keene shredded arguments for race-based mascots; and Nina Davuluri became the first Indian-American to be named Miss America.


- Kelly Jensen's series on gender and the New York Times bestseller list provoked extended discussions between prominent YA authors.

- Amazon Publishing's head returned to agenting.

- Simon and Schuster launched a new sci-fi imprint.

- Rebecca Stead won The Guardian's 2013 Children's Fiction Prize, and Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

- Cassandra Clare spoke at length about movies, author involvement, and feminism.

- In the news: Teachers in Massachusetts and Nevada were killed by students; 16-year-old Pakistani woman Malala Yousafzai was passed over for the Nobel Peace Prize, but still had the cojones to ask laureate Barack Obama to stop drone attacks in her country; the Kansas City Star broke a story about a Missouri town's retaliation against a 14-year-old rape survivor; and the government shutdown cost the US billions of dollars.

In YA Highway news: We celebrated the sale of Amy Lukavics's debut novel, Daughters Unto Devils, as well as the release of Veronica Roth's Allegiant (despite all the controversy). We also cheered Stephanie Kuehn's nomination for the Carnegie Medal, and Vee's inclusion on Amazon's "Best Of" list. Meanwhile, you guys submitted amazing entries for our Allegiant tattoo contest and our Halloween BOOk pumpkins!


- The release of Catching Fire caused the usual round of pearl-clutching articles, handily dismantled by Foz Meadows's YA linkbait bingo card. Maybe someone can talk sense into the people contemplating a Hunger Games-themed amusement park?

- Eliot Schrefer had a beautiful and astute piece in the NY Times on what YA literature is (and isn't).

- A U.S. District Court ruled that Google's book scanning falls under fair use.

- ALA developed a Code of Conference Conduct.

- Matt de la Peña shared his moving piece "Sometimes The 'Tough Teen' Is Quietly Writing Stories" on NPR:

- A 900 page adult literary fiction drew a 2-day, 10-publisher auction, finally selling for more than $1 million.

Vee and Tahereh Mafi
- In the news: Typhoon Haiyan created mass destruction in the Philippines, affecting over 10 million people. YouTube implemented a Google+ based commenting system that did not go well, and an Alabama high school created a spirit banner mocking the Trail of Tears.

In YA Highway news: Sarah Enni headed another fantastic round of Carpool Lane NaNo support emails. Veronica Roth shared keynote duties with Rae Carson at this year's YALLFest, and we got to reveal the cover for Stephanie Kuehn's upcoming novel, Complicit!


- Amazon announced plans to use delivery drones.

- Philip Pullman disagreed with the University of Kent's dichotomy between "real" literature and children's.

- The Daughter of Smoke and Bone movie got a producer and a director.

- The Guardian reported 62% of young adults prefer printed to e-books.

- In the news: A Dallas teen wass spared prison because he suffers from "affluenza;" the NYT profiled Dasani, a homeless 11-year-old; Jenny Kutner recounted having had an illicit affair with her 8th grade teacher in Texas Monthly; the superintendent and 3 other adults were indicted in the Steubenville case; 3 openly gay athletes were named to the US's Winter Olympics delegation.

- In YA Highway news: A few of us gathered at California's Sea Ranch for a short retreat. We got to announce the sale of Kirsten Hubbard's middle grade novel, Watch The Sky, and we were over the moon for Stephanie Kuehn, who was nominated for the 2014 William C. Morris Award, and for Veronica Roth, whose Allegiant was the Goodreads Choice for Best YA Fantasy!



My favorite posts from current and former YA Highway members this year:


YA/Children's Specific
*includes a current or former YA Highway author

Year End Blog Posts

General Book and Publishing Lists

And as always, Largehearted Boy has aggregated every single book or music-related "Best Of" list on the internet, and Chicken Spaghetti has separated out the children's-specific lists.

End of the Year Giveaways

The Year In...


- Ryan Lochte "is either a golden retriever under a curse to appear human, OR GW Bush's secret love child with a mermaid," according to the comments on this interview.

This guy talking to a turkey makes me cry with laughter every single time.

- Rachel Rostad's poem "To J.K. Rowling, From Cho Chang" went viral.

- Photoshopped scenes of Calvin and Hobbes in real scenery made everyone nostalgic.

- LOLCats were replaced with doge..

- The Harlem Shake was a thing (illustrated here by our own Debra Driza's book launch).

- Sharknado was not only a thing, it set Twitter records.

- A husband animated his drunken wife's ramblings about tortilla chips.

- How Animals Eat Their Food is still my favorite video of the year.

Thanks for another great 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.

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  1. Thanks for the epic summary of the year that was 2013 :D

  2. Thank you for another awesome year of YA Highway! I rarely comment, but I read it every week, and I'm always so grateful that you take the time to put this together :)


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: The Big News of 2013 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart