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history of ya highway

YA Highway was born in 2009, when five aspiring writers -- Kirsten Hubbard, Kristin Halbrook, Michelle Schusterman, Kaitlin Ward, and Amanda Hannah -- met on the forums at Absolute Write and decided to start a group blog chronicling their publishing journeys. The site's first post appeared on May 26, 2009, with a book review that was followed by posts about publishing trends, writing tips, inspiration, and more.

New members were added occasionally, eventually totaling 18 contributors: Leila Austin, Lee Bross, Kristin Otts, and Kody Keplinger joined in 2009, followed by Kate Hart and Emilia Plater in 2010, Stephanie Kuehn, Sarah Enni, Amy Lukavics, Somaiya Daud, Veronica Roth, and Phoebe North in 2011, and Debra Driza in 2013. 

The site's focus changed over the years, abandoning book reviews altogether and embracing a role as a writing community resource. Recurring features like Road Trip Wednesday and the Spooky Series helped connect aspiring writers (and gave agents a chance to scout new talent), while Field Trip Friday let readers catch up on the week's book-related news, teen contributors provided reader perspective, and interviews, guest posts, and cover reveals helped new authors boost their visibility. Members also co-hosted live writer/blogger meetups during ALA conventions with the staff of Stacked Books, and the creation of the Publishing Road Map offered a master view of the publishing process.

In YA Highway's eight years of action, its members published 50+ books, garnering multiple New York Times bestsellers, movie deals, and awards. The site itself reached a height of 327,000 page views per day, and overall averaged 44,000 views per month. YA Highway was chosen as a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and mentioned as exemplary by, School Library Journal, and others. 

However, YA Highway has always been maintained as an unpaid labor of love. As contributors' career continued to grow, the time commitments of running the site forced most to step back from its duties. As of March 2017, the site is no longer creating new content, and aside from signal boosting on its social media channels, YA Highway is largely now a public archive of resources and memories. We're so grateful for all the years of support, friendship, and fun, and thank all our readers for making YA Highway such a success.

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New York: THE DUFF release party
amy lukavics and kody keplinger during THE DUFF release party THE DUFF release party: Kody Keplinger, Leila Austin, Emilia Plater
THE DUFF release party: Amy Lukavics, Emilia Plater, Leila Austin THE DUFF release party: Kody Keplinger and Emilia Plater

Los Angeles: SCBWI



New York: BEA

New Orleans: ALA Annual


Denver, CO: Writing retreat

Anaheim, CA: ALA Annual

New York


Seattle: Kristin's wedding

 California: Not Your Mother's Book Club and SCBWI

Seattle, WA: Writing retreat and book signing
2012: Sarah, Kristin Otts, Kristin Halbrook, Phoebe North, Somaiya, Kate, Kirsten, Amy Lukavics, Veronica Roth, and Kody Keplinger at a signing and retreat in Washington state 

Kansas City, MO: Romantic Times

New York: BEA

Chicago: ALA and Washington DC: book signing

San Diego: ComicCon and Kepler's signing

Los Angeles: SCBWI

Seattle: ALA

San Diego: Divergent watch party
  2013: Debra Driza, Kate, Somaiya, Kirsten, Stephanie Kuehn, and Sarah exploring San Diego Debra, Amy, Stephanie, Kate, Sarah, Kirsten and Somaiya celebrating the release of the Divergent movie in San Diego 2013 

Los Angeles

San Diego: Book signing

Assorted get-togethers

San Diego: ComicCon

Northwest Arkansas: Writing retreat


Los Angeles: YALLWEST and LA Times Festival of Books

Los Angeles: The DUFF premiere

Assorted get-togethers


Breckenridge, CO: Madcap Retreats


Los Angeles: AWP and YALLWEST


Assorted get-togethers

Pigeon Forge, TN: Madcap Retreats Aspiring Author Workshop

 Charleston, SC: YALLFEST


Carve The Mark tour

Irving, TX: North Texas Teen Book Fair

 various get-togethers


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Item Reviewed: history of ya highway Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart