Saturday Sunday! Today we have Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone here to talk about YA books that left her a long-lasting impression. Stephanie’s book, Ballads of Suburbia, left me a long-lasting impression. It was really incredible.
There are a lot of YA books that have left long-lasting impressions on me. Today I’ve decided to talk about the first book on that list and the most recent addition.
I didn’t read much YA as a teen. I skipped straight from Judy Blume to Irvine Welsh. Why? Because I didn’t see what I was going through reflected in early nineties YA literature for the most part. I wasn’t interested in fluff. I wanted gritty and real. I was struggling with depression, had friends who were addicted to drugs and dealing with other serious “adult” problems. And I didn’t fit in. I had a wacky sense of style and got made fun of a lot. I wanted to read about characters who were different like me and who made me feel like I could deal with the ugly issues in my life. Enter WEETZIE BAT by Francesca Lia Block. Weetzie was like the happier, sparklier version of me in high school. She was different and she didn’t care. She also dealt with some very real issues, but the book was written with such lush language and imagery that it still felt like an escape. That was true for all of Francesca Lia Block’s books, most of which dealt with even more real, grittier issues. Those are the books that had the biggest impact on me as a teen and still are my biggest inspiration as a YA writer.
But just a few months ago I added another book to my long-lasting impression/big-time inspiration list: HARMONIC FEEDBACK by Tara Kelly. I feel like a tease talking about it because it doesn’t come out until May, but my hope is that you will pre-order it ASAP because I bet it will affect you as profoundly as it did me. I was psyched to read HARMONIC FEEDBACK because I knew it had a plot steeped in music, about a girl forming a band. I love those kinds of books, I *write* those kinds of books. And music-lovers will definitely appreciate HARMONIC FEEDBACK for that aspect of the story, but the reason it resonated with me so strongly was because of the main character Drea’s outlook on life. Drea has Asperger’s Syndrome. Because of this she’s been taught that she doesn’t view the world in a “normal” way. I don’t have Asperger’s, but I felt like an outcast very much like Drea. I asked myself the same questions about human interaction when I was a teen as Drea does. This book really causes you to think about why we treat people the way we do or react in certain ways. It also just makes you think about how you can be a better human being. The characters stick with you long after the story ends. They get so deep into your head that you question your own actions and what “normal” means. So check it out, be sure to pick it up in May because you won’t regret it!
In the meantime since I was such a tease, telling you about a great book that you can’t get your hands on for weeks, I’ll give out a copy of my book BALLADS OF SUBURBIA to one lucky winner. I can only hope it will have the kind of impression on you that WEETZIE BAT and HARMONIC FEEDBACK had on me.
Yay! Stephanie’s post has got me all excited for Harmonic Feedback!
Come back at the end of next week for a chance to win a signed copy of Ballads of Suburbia together with many other awesome books! 😀 Comments on blogoversary posts count as extra contest entries. And existing followers get extra entries!
You can read my review of Ballads of Suburbia here.