New book list: Recent YA high fantasy

Mostly because I was curious how much of it was out there in the last couple years with paranormal and dystopian being so popular, I made a list of high fantasy for young adults published in the last couple of years. I went as far back as 2010, and it’s still not that large a list. Feel free to suggest in the comments books I might have missed, but remember–only books from 2010 to the present. If you’re looking at a paperback, be sure the original version of the book was that recent. (ETA: For those who missed it, the picture is a *link* to the list, not the list itself. The full list is over on Pinterest.)

How a book gets a cover, the prequel

Over on the Lee & Low blog this week and next, the designer of Vodnik—Isaac Stewart*—and I are discussing the design process of the book. What you see over there is very similar to the process I have with most designers. The designer reads the book and provides some concepts based on the things I’ve said I’d like to see, and what I tell him or her takes into account the author’s suggestions as well.

What I didn’t get into over there is what I do before that process begins, to think about what *I* want. Sometimes I have a very clear idea of what I’d like to see on a cover, or the author has such good suggestions that I just tell the designer, “Let’s try something like that!” And when the designer comes back with concepts (which we’re going to cover next week), often what they come up with is so much better than I could have thought up on my own that it sparks ideas that meld into something entirely new (again, see what we’ll be talking about next week for more on that part of the process).

But when I don’t have a clear idea of what I want, I tend to do something similar to what I hear writers do as they brainstorm: stare into space and appear as if I’m not working. I also take trips to the bookstore and collect covers I find intriguing for one reason or another in a Pinterest board (which isn’t very big yet, as I’ve just started doing this). The books on the board may or may not end up being used as inspiration when I talk to a designer eventually, but just thinking about type, images, and what stands out to me on a shelf and how these covers interact with each other helps me to think about what I’d like to see when we apply those ideas to the particular book I’m working on.

Then I come back to the office and I start rifling through my own bookshelves.













I pull out a bunch of books whose covers are interesting (some interesting in better ways than others, but this is all part of my process, thinking about what’s popular, what stands out, what is overdone, what I still love after several years, etc.). Then I sit and stare at them some more.

And eventually I come up with a few covers that I think will help the designer if I say, “Here are some key concepts I’m looking for, and here are some covers that I think stand out.” Then the designer will usually come back with something that takes those thoughts into consideration yet still completely blows me away. And that’s the most interesting part of the process, so stay tuned for next week’s post on the Lee & Low blog.


*Fun fact: Isaac is also Aprilynne Pike’s brother-in-law.

Get yer k-dramas here!

I’ve been meaning to post Korean TV (K-drama) recommendations for a while, but I haven’t quite gotten around to it. Recently, my new-ish Korean friends here in New York moved upstate and made some new friends who were looking for k-drama recommendations. My friends don’t watch much TV themselves, so I had the chance to finally make a list of some of my favorites, which of course makes a great seed for a blog post!

But I’m going to do something different. Instead of making yet another list with links, I’m going to make a Pinterest board, so I can keep adding to it when I find a new show to recommend. I’ve also started collecting some of my booklists tag into Pinterest lists, in case it’s easier for you to follow those there. Here’s my main Pinterest profile, and from there you can follow what interests you.

I watch K-dramas at both and I prefer to give you links to DramaFever, because it’s free there (some can only be seen on Hulu if you pay for Hulu Plus; I do because then I can watch them on my phone and Xbox). But Hulu is easier to pin—there is no easy image to grab on the show’s main page on DramaFever, for some reason. So, the dilemma is: pin DramaFever without an easy-t0-grab image, pin Hulu with the image but a link that not everyone can watch at, or both? I think both, for now.

The premium membership at DramaFever can be a good deal, by the way, because they are commercial-free—which Hulu isn’t, which makes no sense; if you’re paying for it, you ought to be able to watch commercial-free. Though DramaFever did just raise their rates, which means that it’s not quite such a good deal. (Last year it was only something like $49 a year, which breaks down to less than $5 per month. I think it doubled this year, but still, if you watch a lot of K-dramas, it’s worth it to be able to watch commercial free.)

At any rate, follow the links over on Pinterest for more K-dramas! And if Pinterest is not your thing, don’t worry–you don’t have to be a member to use the lists as a resource.