Karen Avivi’s Contemporary YA Suggested Summer Reading List

I’m not going to name names (mainly because I can’t find where I bookmarked the pages), but people have written articles on the internet claiming they can’t find contemporary YA to read. Too bad they don’t live near me, because I could lend them a pile from the selection on my bookshelf.

YA books on Karen Avivi's bookshelf

YA books on Karen Avivi’s bookshelf

So here’s a list. It’s not comprehensive but it will get you started.
In the words of Sadie from Awkward, “You’re Welcome.”

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. Although her YA novel Speak is the one most people talk about, I really really liked Twisted. It’s less of an issue book, and more about the slow-building pressure of reality that finally explodes. Bonus: male point of view.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X Stork. This book is freaking amazing.  You have to trust me and just read it and then go read his novel The Last Summer of the Death Warriors.

Right Behind You by Gail Giles. You’ll want to hate this protagonist, but it gets harder as you keep reading.

If you’re thinking, Hey Karen Avivi – you’re not telling me what these books are about. What’s up with that?  Here’s what I’d say: “If you need a synopsis, you can look it up. But you should really just try them.” Back to the list:

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. This one can be confusing at first. Keep going. It’s worth it.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. I can’t tell you what makes this book so amazing without ruining part of it, so again… trust me.

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. This one will tear your guts out. Actually everything by Chris Crutcher will. If you haven’t discovered this author yet, now is the time!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart. The description for this one is odd so ignore it and just start reading. Then read all the Ruby Oliver books starting with The Boyfriend List.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This was one of the YA books that converted me to a card-carrying YA fan.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. This one sparked my interest in dystopias.

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. Another excellent dystopia.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This one made me run around the house checking our end-of-the-world preparedness status. What about water? How much food do we have? How would we stay warm? Turns out, we’re pretty well prepared. Excellent book.

This is getting long so I have to skip a bunch like John Green, Sara Zarr, Sarah Dessen, A.S. King, Jaclyn Moriarty, Rachel Cohn, Suzanne Supplee, and Alex Flinn, but you should find and read their books! And there are many, many more. There are a TON of fantastic contemporary YA books out there. Don’t even think about writing an article claiming you can’t find any.

Finally, Shredded by Karen Avivi. I HAVE to recommend my book, don’t I? Even if you’d never try to do a flip on your bike, it’s still fun to read about girls who will : )



I know I skipped a bunch, but if you have suggestions to add to the list, let me know!

The Next Big Thing

next big thingThe Next Big Thing is a global blog tour that started in Australia to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. Each author on the tour answers ten questions about his or her next book, then tags the next author. Rachel Eugster tracked down the origins and posted about it on her  suspended sentences blog.

I was tagged by Kate Jaimet, whose next big thing is Break Point, about a teenager who struggles to make his way in competitive tennis against a wealthy rival, while uncovering the mysterious vandals who seek to destroy his tennis club.

Here’s my next big thing:

1) What is the working title of your next book?

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was a reporter on the web team covering an adventure race one weekend in ’99  – we were posting content using an old dial-up modem. The competition was fun to follow, but the behind-the-scenes stories fascinated me. Ideas and what-if’s from that experience have been running through my head ever since and they fit well into my girl in a fringe sport niche.

3) In what genre does your book fall?
Fiction / Teen or  New Adult / Contemporary / Sports
I’m still playing with the amount of romance. It’s definitely not a romance first, but there will be romantic elements. Now that “New Adult” is a thing, and my protagonist is 18 and out of high school, I may be stepping into new adult territory.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’d go for unknowns. I always have trouble picturing an actor or actress in a new role.

Raid Pulse IMG_6385
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A teen manipulates social media to lie to her parents about going to college while she spends the tuition money chasing opportunities in the world of high-risk adventure sports.

6) Who is publishing your book?
Karen Avivi Enterprises

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I fast-drafted a rough outline in 3 weeks, but I wouldn’t call it a manuscript draft. I’m still working on the first draft.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Derby Girl/Whip It, Dairy Queen, Shredded

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My favorite adventure racer.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The story explores risk-taking on a physical, emotional, and personal level.

Curious about more Next Big Things? I’m tagging (we actually ask for volunteers) Melanie Robertson-King. She’ll post her Next Big Thing on May 16th on her blog, Celtic Connections.

Got Swag!

Poster & bookmarks

Poster & bookmarks

Shredded posters, bookmarks, postcards and chocolate are packed and ready for RT! My suitcase weighs in at just under 50 lb so I’m good to go. If anyone who won’t be in Kansas City this week wants swag, let me know : )

Poster, postcards, and chocolate

Poster, postcards, and chocolate