Monday, January 3, 2011

The Golden Boys of 2010

Happy New Year!

Did everyone enjoy the last couple of weeks?  Perhaps gained a few pounds? (I did--eek!) 

Well, with all the celebrating and vacation-taking, I had a chance to look back on the past year and think about all the things that changed in my writerly life.  A lot changed, my dear readers.  A lot.

For one, I read my first YA book in over 18 years.  I know.  Pretty pathetic.  But I fell in love.  TWILIGHT quite literally changed my career.  I'd been plugging away for years on rough drafts thinking I HAD to write for adults.  There simply was no other option.  I was an adult and no one read anything but adult books anyway.

I actually had a reason for this train of thought.  I was ten when I stopped reading YA or MG.  My only YA experience was SWEET VALLEY HIGH.  And as cute as I thought that series was at the time, I knew I didn't want to write anything like it.  I grew up on the classics, and I wanted to write a classic.

But one day my friends, my husband, and I decided to go see a movie.  Any movie.  We picked Twilight.  I thought it was great.  Like knocked-my-socks-off great.  But everyone in the online writing community I belonged to scoffed daily at the book.  Garbage, they said.  Well, I needed to find out for myself.  


I finished the series in two weeks.  And read it again.  And again.  And again.  I lost track of how many times I read it.

But somewhere while reading the series I had some serious writerly soul-searching going on.  I knew, KNEW, that not only did I HAVE to write YA, but I'd been doing it all along.  It wasn't perfect, no.  You can't NOT know you're writing something and have it turn out a work of genius.  There were major flaws in my then current WIP I needed to address.  For one, it was YA trying to be adult.  I rewrote the whole thing in first person and found my voice--that elusive creature I'd hated up until that point.

I found some AMAZING betas along the way and started querying.  

Now, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with the title of the post.  Well, I didn't stop at TWILIGHT.  When I started paying attention to all the recommendations from bloggers I'd been following for a while, I realized there were other YA books out there!  I read everything I could find and ended the year with about 50 YA novels under my belt.  (Yes, I read very quickly)

So, today I'm going to highlight some of my favorite male characters from all the books I've read this year. (I'll do the girls tomorrow) 

Edward Cullen
Say what you will of his creepy stalking nature, I thought he epitomized sexy and the white knight persona.  And besides, what girl hasn't dreamed of her ultimate crush showing up outside her bedroom window to spend the night?  This boy fulfilled the kind of fantasy few girls are willing to say out loud.

Patch Cipriano
Bad boy extraordinaire.  He's everything every girl who ever wanted to find someone to fix could hope for.  He's sexy, he pretends his car is broken down so he can take a girl to a sleazy motel, he MIGHT be trying to kill said girl, but he also MIGHT be trying to save her.  Who doesn't love such a twisted, complex guy?

Oh sweet, kind-hearted, MAZE RUNNER Thomas.  The poor guy just wants to help his friends live through probably the most grueling science experiment in history, but he's forced to not only watch them die right in front of him, he loses the ones who actually stay alive, too.  You can't help but feel sorry for the poor lad, all while positive everything MUST work out in the end (though it hasn't yet).

Mackie Doyle
Who wouldn't grow up with a complex when you know you're a "mythological" being who replaced your parents' real child and you have a pretty severe allergy to iron?  In a world where people hang knives and scissors above cribs to protect their children from the kind of thing Mackie happens to be, he actually handles it fairly well.  Up until he's forced to enter his natural world and try to save another child from the most gruesome death you can imagine.  He's dark, twisted, and a refreshing MC to read if you're feeling a slight estrogen-overload.

These are, by far, not all of them, but they top my list.  Any favorites you want to share?


  1. I pretty much love every hero I read about. It's hard not to fall in love with a fiction character. ;-)

    Oh, and I still totally have your grab bag gift sitting on my kitchen table, ready to be mailed out. I have forgotten about you! I will send it out this week. I promise!!!


  2. I love Patch in Hush Hush, but even more so in Crescendo.

    Twilight wasn't one of the first YA novels I read. I had resisted it for a long time since I wasn't into vampires. I eventually gave in and bought the second two soon after. Had to wait 8 months for Breaking Dawn.

  3. Yay for Golden Boys! I have some catching up to do in the Young Adult world considering I just picked up reading it this year!

    I'm with you though. I had to read Twilight for myself to gain my own perspective. I loved it. Adored it, whisked away by Edwards old school nature. They can call it creepy, stalkerish, whatever they want but he captivated me and sweeped me off my feet!

    I'm blessed to have been able to read them all in a row. Now I'm ready for Breaking Dawn the movies!

  4. I want to read Maze Runner so bad!

  5. I have The Replacement and The Maze Runner out of the library right now, and after all I've read, I REALLY want to read them!

  6. I have The Maze Runner on my list...WOW, you read a lot of books in 2010! I'm impressed. I've never actually read Twilight, true confessions. I tried once, but it was checked outta the library. My daughter loved the series, though.

    Ok, I have to say I loved Julian in LJ Smith's Forbidden Game trilogy (The Hunter, The Chase, The Kill). GOTTA read that if you haven't!! It's like Jumanji for YA, meaning a dose of evil romance tied to a board game. ;o)

  7. I liked Jasper the best out of the twilight series.

  8. Chris--My husband does, too. :) I do have to admit that Jasper is pretty awesome.

  9. I couldn't stomach Twilight, but I do enjoy YA. I read quite a bit of Tamora Pierce and other authors who get mixed up in my head of whether they are YA or MG. They aren't from YA books, but two YA aged boys I love to read about are Mags and Skif from the Valdemar series. Mags was a slave boy from a mine, and Skif was a pickpocket in the capital city. Well, Briar was a pretty cool street kid, too, from the Circle of Magic books by Pierce.

  10. I feel terrible because I still haven't read Twilight yet, but agree with you that YA is a such a wonderful genre. I'm glad I've discovered it. One of my favorite heroes this year is Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES. He's the kind of guy I would've fallen for. :)

  11. yay! i'm so glad you included mackie! the replacement is so awesome! i really want to read the maze runner too!


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