Posts Tagged ‘Young Adult’


Want a set of six(!)
exclusive quote cards? Pre-order MARKED from any retailer, e-mail proof & (US only) mailing address to 

These are limited edition, 3×5 glossy beauties. Each quote is one of my very favorites, from a favorite, crucial MARKED scene. Consider it a sneak peek of the book that stole my heart and made me cry way too hard.   

Order MARKED from Amazon:

Order from Indiebound (❤️), B&N, etc:

Pre-order campaign ends May 16th. Thanks, dearest ones! 

I have news! The University of Texas at Arlington contacted me about developing/teaching a few courses for writers. This spring, I’m teaching Writing Young Adult Books. You do NOT have to be a UTA student. Anyone can enroll.

The class will run for five sessions, Monday Evenings from 7-9 p.m. CST.

Session one: April 30th
Session two: May 7th
Session three: May 14th
Session four: May 21st
Session five: June 4th (No class on May 28th for Memorial Day).

Basically, during the class, I’m sharing every secret I’ve ever learned about writing, querying, revising, landing an agent. And here’s the thing…You won’t just be learning from me and from the other students in the class…You’ll be learning from some amazing industry pros!

GWEN HAYES lives in the Pacific Northwest with her real life hero, their children, and the pets that own them. She writes stories for teen and adult readers about love, angst, and saving the world. Gwen’s first novel, Falling Under, was released in March of 2011 by NAL/Penguin and followed up by the sequel, Dreaming Awake, in January of 2012. She is represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. You can find her at

Gwen will be sharing her expertise in creating chemistry between characters!

Jeff Hirsch is originally from the suburbs just south of Richmond, VA. Growing up, he always knew he wanted to do something artistic but it wasn’t until he started writing poetry and short stories in Junior High that something really stuck. Jeff  graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with an MFA in Dramatic Writing and is the author of The Eleventh Plague and Magisterium (Scholastic).  He lives in Beacon, New York, with his wife. Visit him online at

Jeff will wow us with his expert skills in writing taut action with emotional intensity!

Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her family. Her fantasy novel The Siren was self-published in 2009, and The Selection is her young adult debut. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes. You can keep up with her at

Kiera will be Skyping into class to answer all your burning questions about the writers’ journey! (Did you know CW snapped up The Selection, and a pilot is in the works?! You might want to ask her about it.)

Rosemary Clement-Moore is the author of award-winning supernatural mystery novels for young (and not so young) adults, including Texas GothicThe Splendor Falls, and the Maggie Quinn: Girl versus Evil series. Her books have been included on the YALSA list of best books for teens, the New York Public Library’s Books For the Teen Age and Kirkus Reviews best teen books of 2011 and received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. A recovering thespian with a master’s degree in communication, she now puts her drama queen skills to use writing novels and posting on Twitter. She loves coffee, dogs, history, Jane Austen, archeology, fantasy novels, comic books, Gilbert and Sullivan, BBC America, Star Wars, books with kissing and movies with lots of explosions. You can visit her webpage at
Rosemary will appear (in person!) to teach us all about making magic on the page–creating rich narratives that sing with romance and  crackle with adventure.

Sara Crowe  is an agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc. where she represents adult fiction and nonfiction and children’s fiction. Her clients include NYT Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, Nina LaCour, Michael Northrop, Lisa Schroeder, Kristen Tracy, and Dan Wells. Her authors have been nominated for Edgars and the Morris Award and have been on the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults list and in the Top Ten. She is consistently ranked among the top three YA agents in Publishers Marketplace. You can check out her submission guidelines at

Lucky for me, Sara is my own (WONDERFUL!) agent.  She’ll be chiming in to offer advice and answer all your burning questions about agents and the industry in general.

In case I hadn’t mentioned it yet, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS CLASS!

To celebrate finishing my YA/Sci Fi project (and turning it over to my wonderful agent!), I treated myself to a reading binge over Thanksgiving break. That delicious read-a-thon inspired me to compile a list of great books, just in time for the holidays.

I give you my list!

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Six Second Summary: Emerson’s visions aren’t hallucinations. She isn’t seeing ghosts, either.  Does the mysterious Hourglass organization have all the answers? Michael and Kaleb need her help to untangle the past, present, and future.

I loved it because: McEntire gives Em a voice full of humor, heartbreak and longing. Hourglass is a bittersweet, twisty tale that’s sure to enchant Young Adult readers and anyone craving swoon-worthy(!) romance.

Shelve it between: Falling Under by Gwen Hayes and Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, two equally engaging YA paranormals.

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Six Second Summary: Anya Balanchine, the daughter of a dead mafia boss, is out of options. In a bleak future where resources are running out and chocolate and coffee are banned, she’s torn between loyalty to her family and her heart, which just happens to belong to the assistant DA’s son.

I loved it because: Zevin captivates with splashes of noir and honest, unforgettable characters. Anya is one of my favorite new heroines and All These Things I’ve Done is anything but your typical dystopian.

Shelve it between: Ship Breaker by  Paolo Bacigalupi and Black Cat by Holly Black, alternate worlds with dark, sparkling heroes and villains.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Six Second Summary: When Ty, a handsome yet troubled young man, kidnaps Gemma, the wildlands of Australia become her home and her prison. After stalking Gemma for years, Ty is determined to capture her heart, but his obsession threatens to destroy them both.

I loved it because: This book nearly destroyed me. I repeat, DESTROYED ME. The stellar writing, the terrifying arc, the devastating yet inexorable conclusion gripped me like a brain boiling fever. Stockholm Syndrome, thy name is Stolen. Bravo, Lucy Christopher.

Shelve it next to: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and You by Charles Benoit, two more books that absolutely shattered me.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Six Second Summary: More than anyone else, Princess Celie understands Castle Glower. Something mysterious and magic holds the key to its shifting rooms and disappearing passageways. When Celie’s parents vanish after an attack, she and her siblings must rely on the castle to help them put things to right.

I loved it because: Celie’s story pushed back the years and whisked me back to a place where wardrobes lead to other lands and knights become friends with reluctant dragons. Tuesdays at the Castle is destined to be a classic, not only for middle grader readers, but for magic bean buyers of all ages.

Shelve it between: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones and Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Five Second Summary: Strangers gasp at the creatures sketched in Karou’s notebook. They smile at her beautiful lies. Turns out there are secrets beyond even her own spellbinding reach. Brimstone never told her the truth about herself–about war torn Elsewhere, magic wishes or dangerous angels.

I loved it because: Smoke and Bone hooked me with an amazing premise, and kept me furiously turning pages with elegant prose and complex, expertly woven twists. And the romance! The star-crossed loves of Smoke and Bone are divinely wrought, as surely as Romeo and Juliet.

Shelve it between: Stardust by Neil Gaiman and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, two more of my all time favorite reads.

Hungry for more? Try this recipe for Creamy, Dreamy No Fail Fudge. Another sure bet for this season!


Dear  Ms. Mafi,

Did you know that SHATTER ME was one of my *most* anticipated YA books of the year? Did you know that your blog posts are so funny and wise that I simply couldn’t wait to cheer the release of your debut? Did you know you are exactly the humble/endearing/charming kind of author we readers/writers/librarians root for in earnest?

Really? You had no idea?

Then I’m positive you didn’t know how secretly worried I’ve been. I was one of the lucky mortals who scored an early ARC last spring at TLA, and let me tell you, once the book was in my hot little hands, I was terribly anxious. I feared I’d somehow be disappointed. How could the book possibly live up to my expectations? How could a book be THAT GOOD?

My anxiety melted away once I started reading. Yes, SHATTER *is* that good. Actually, it’s so lovely and heart-wrenching and adrenaline spiked and fearsome in all the right ways. Its hyperbolic spirit echoes the essence of adolescence. Its prose aptly crystallizes moments, making my heart flutter with excitement and yearning.

In short, SHATTER ME made me fall in love with Juliette’s story. May I beg a favor? Please make haste and write more books. (I just bought and downloaded the enhanced e-version and I’m not sure how long the extra content will tide me over! GASP!) I need to know much more about Warner, Juliette and Adam. Even more importantly, I simply must unlock the secret of the ‘white bird with streaks of gold like a crown atop its head.’

Most Sincerely,

Your Constant Reader and Applauding Mafi-keteer

 P.S. Hungry for more, blog readers? Try this version of my grandmother’s Caramel Pie, a decadent treat worth devouring SHATTER ME style.
Although Entwined is a retelling of the twelve dancing princesses, it stands on its own as an enchanting story, a fairy tale romance with unique elements of magic and suspense. Dixon’s story threads are at first golden and whisper light, but as the novel unwinds, the author weaves in darker tones. When Azalea and her royal sisters discover a magicked passageway, they all become entangled in a moonlit snare. Night after night, they return to Keeper’s Pavillion to dance. But Keeper, their mysteriously handsome host, is not all he appears to be. For Azalea, a touch of silver reveals the frightening truth about blood oaths and curses–her castle, her kingdom, and her life are all in danger.
Dixon has a special knack for subtle characterization and gorgeous detail. Azalea is no cookie cutter Princess Royale–she’s resourceful and delightfully headstrong, the caring eldest sibling to her motherless sisters. Along with protagonist, many of the other principal players evolve as Azalea’s perceptions change. Page by page, the reader comes to love Lord Bradford (the Princess Royale’s swoonworthy suitor) Mr. Pudding (an elderly servant), Lord Teddie (a surprising and silly visitor) and even grim Fairweller (the handsome, but sober minded Prime Minister). The dynamics between all players change as the plot thickens–the relationship between Azalea and her estranged royal father is especially poignant. The texture of these relationships makes the novel feel all the more satisfying and complete.
I reccommend ENTWINED for anyone with a weakness for rich, well drawn fairy tales. This one’s an absolutely lovely debut.
Hungry for more? Like Azalea’s mother, I enjoy a rich, moist white cake. This recipe is delicious, the same one I use for basic layer and strawberry shortcakes.

They say the devil is in the details.

And as far as books go, I’d have to agree. World-building plot points. Convincing character quirks. White knuckle moments of tension. All those details matter. Combined, they define a story.

And in Holly Black’s WHITE CAT, those details come together in a truly amazing way.

In WHITE CAT, Cassel Sharpe is a pretender, an outsider. At school, he longs to fly under the radar, but stands out as a member of a family of curse workers. At home, he yearns to find his place, but he’s left in the dark by his older brothers. Cassel, like Phillip and Barron, is a talented con artist. But unfortunately, Cassel lacks the curse working gifts his mother and siblings possess.

And the fact that he most likely murdered Lila, his best friend and childhood crush? That doesn’t exactly help Cassel fit in, either.

In WHITE CAT, Cassel’s quest for answers becomes a nightmare trip. Through the fun-house mirror, he’s forced to re-examine everything he thought he knew. In a world where an un-gloved hand equals a life-changing curse, Cassel isn’t sure he can trust anyone. He discovers he has gifts of his own, talents he must use to survive.

The premise. The world. The twists. The double-crosses. It all adds up to something both DARK and WONDROUS.

I didn’t want to leave Cassel’s world. And you won’t want to, either.

Hungry for more? Then try this recipe for Chocolate Toffee Crack. It’s *almost* as addicting as Holly’s Prose.

Readers, what great books have you devoured lately? What do I need to add to my list of breathtaking reads?

I have a kid. A rough and tumble, Xbox playing, iTouch texting, nerf shooting tween boy.

And you know what? He loves books.

Year after year, they’re on his Christmas list, alongside the video games, Lego sets, and foam darts. Yes, you heard me right. A boy. Who reads. Want to know my secret? How I created such a budding bookavore?

I’m sneaky. I lurk. I watch and observe. I find out what games and movies he loves and then I fiendishly offer books which complement them. Why fight pop culture, when you can pair up interactive media and a good book like tender steak and a fine Cabernet?

This holiday, why not encourage your own XBox kids to enjoy one of the following picks?

For the tween/teen obsessed with HALO, pick up a copy of ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card (an amazing classic) or Brian Yansky’s riveting new adventure, ALIEN INVASION AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES. Both are guaranteed to please kids (and adults!)  into the whole rocket launching, would-be saviors of earth thing.

So your reluctant reader is more into zombies and ghosts, ala FALLOUT 3 or ALAN WAKE? No problem. Middle grade readers will enjoy Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, full of the supernatural adventures of a boy named Bod. Olders teens are sure to devour Jonathan Maberry’s smash PATIENT ZERO or his latest, ROT & RUIN.

**NOTE: Not that I’m biased or anything, but it should go without saying that any of A. Lee Martinez’ books (THE AUTOMATIC DETECTIVE, GIL’S ALL FRIGHT DINER)  are home run hits with the monsters vs. aliens crowd, too.**

For hardcore FINAL FANTASY or FABLE aficionados, I suggest Garth Nix’s SABRIEL or MISTER MONDAY. Both begin  fantastic, magical series. Arthur Slade’s steampunk-tastic THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS will satisfy a hunger for epic adventure as well.  Many other great fantasy titles can be found here.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear what terrific books do you recommend this Christmas for the Xbox crowd.

Hungry for more?

Try this recipe for Snarf Worthy Caramel Brownies, one of my fave holiday snacks.

You have to read YOU.

I know it’s not out yet, but you’ve got snag an ARC or pre-order this book. Now.

I’m not kidding or exaggerating. For real.

People will be talking about this book for years.

In YOU, you become the protagonist. Author Charles Benoit’s characterization of sophomore Kyle Chase is so deep and so real, the reader is pulled under his skin. We feel the tug of his vanishing  smile, the catch of his breath, and the burn of his broken heart.

The novel follows Kyle’s choices, his path as he hurtles toward the inevitable. His story will break your heart and heal it. Even as the helpless, hopeless feeling grips you, you’ll want to share Kyle’s journey with others. You’ll want to pass YOU along because Kyle is someone you know.

Kyle is YOU.