Friday, 19 April 2013


This week, The Edge Writers are delighted to introduce YA book blogger Vivienne from Serendipity Reviews blog.
Hi everyone. Thank you Savita for inviting me onto The Edge. I have enjoyed featuring many of you on my own blog, so it is lovely to be able to return the favour.
1.      Viv, why do you READ and WRITE about teen/YA books?
That's an easy one. I read and write about  teen books because I simply love them. From the moment I read Twilight, I fell in love with YA. The books are normally fast paced and you are completely engulfed in the story by the end of the first chapter. YA books are about telling a damn good story, not trying to write the fanciest sentences. I don't want to spend hours trying to work out what the author is getting at - I want to embrace the main characters and delve into their lives.
2.      What are the most ORIGINAL YA books that you have read?
Oh crikey that is a hard one. I had to search back through hundreds of books and came back to a recent book I read that bowled me over. Ferryman by Claire McFall is definitely one of kind. I don't think I have ever read an after life story that has touched me so much. The idea of a Ferryman taking you to Heaven I know is an old idea, but the way Claire wrote it just took my breath away. Her writing alone, shows an originality in her voice, to the point, I feel I could spot her writing without her name attached to it.
3.      What is a TURN OFF in YA fiction?
Instant love. I imagine a lot of people have said this but it really is annoying and can easily turn me off a book. I know teenagers fall in and out of love a lot easier than adults, but they don't fall within seconds of meeting each other. In the last year or so, there has definitely been a move away from this type of story. The characters  falling in love lately have known each other most of their lives which makes it so much more believable.
4.      What makes for a great YA book?
Strong, identifiable characters. Fast paced plot. A first chapter with so many hooks I am practically trembling with excitement by the end of it. Lack of adults.
5.      Which YA characters would you most like to take OUT TO DINNER and why?
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines. In particular Beau! I fell in love with him from the first chapter. But then Abbi writes the most awesome male characters. He would be the eye candy for the dinner party.
Caelena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. She is one of the strongest female characters I have ever come across and I know I could learn a lot about self defence from her.
Mary Shelley Black from In The Shadow of the Blackbirds by Cat Winters as she is one of the most interesting and quirky characters I have ever met. I just know we would be best friends.
The four horsemen of the Apocalypse from Barry Hutchison's hilarious book The 13th Horseman. They are so funny, I'm sure they would have great stories to tell around the dinner table. Their quick witted banter would keep the rest of the table entertained.
6.      Who is your ideal YA HERO/HEROINE and why?
Caelena from the Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. As I said above, she is the strongest female character I have ever met, stronger than Katniss from The Hunger Games. She is only young yet she can fight better than Lara Croft and has survived torture.

7.      What is your dream YA ROMANTIC PAIRING and why?
Lila and Alex from Sarah Alderson's Hunting Lila. I loved the chemistry between these two, they just set the book alight. I loved how feisty Lia was and the way Alex was so determined to protect her.
8.      What makes you uncomfortable or question the BOUNDARIES OF YA fiction?
I struggle with YA books that deal with child abuse. I think that comes from being a mum; any stories involving any sexual or violent abuse upset me and I find them really uncomfortable. I also struggle with incest. I still haven't been able to read Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma and ended up writing a post about it. That definitely stems from being a mum, as in my younger years I fell in love with Flowers In The Attic by Virginia Andrews.
9.      What would you LIKE to see happening in YA over the next five years?
I would like to see books have longer shelf lives. Within YA, there are so many books out there that it feels like many get lost in the stampede of new books and never get the attention they deserve. I want to walk into a book shop and see older YA still available not just the latest books out that month.
I would also like to see more UKYA, perhaps set in smaller towns and villages around the UK. We have some amazing and historical places of interest that deserve to have their stories told through YA, creating such interest that teens would actually want to visit them.
10.   What do you think will ACTUALLY be the next big thing in YA ficton?
That's an interesting question because at the moment, New Adult contemporary books are taking over the internet, but I'm not sure they have filtered down to the general public. I think book bloggers and tweeters see trends erupting long before they reach the book buyers. So New Adult is definitely about to storm the country. Followed closely by New Adult fantasy books which is practically non existent at the moment. I know NA is not YA, but I can guarantee a lot of teenagers will be reading them.
There is definitely a move away from paranormal books. I think angels and vampires have had their time in the spotlight for awhile and contemporary thrillers are stealing the limelight.
Give us your top FIVE TEEN/YA books please, Viv.
This is really hard. So I am going to go with my Top five out of the books I have read this year. I have to do it on a yearly basis because there are just too many amazing books.
From What I Remember by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Ferryman by Claire McFall
The Quietness by Alison Rattle
In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran
And finally, Viv, if you read ONE book this year, read THIS...
Undone by Cat Clarke. It will destroy you. *passes hankies* Cat is an amazing storyteller and can write such emotional and realistic scenes.

Viv, thanks so much for submitting to the EDGE INTERROGATION!
Thanks for the torture! These were the hardest questions I have ever had to answer.

If you’d like to read more of Viv’s reviews, you can find her here:

And you can follow her on twitter @Serendipity_Viv


  1. Great answers, Viv, and lots of food for thought here too. I completely agree about the shelf life of teen/YA books in bookshops - much of that depends on the publisher and the marketing budget for those books and the deal they have with the bookshop. Sadly some teen/YA fiction, though traditionally published, doesn't even make it into the bookshops.
    I'm looking forward to checking out your book recommendations too - more for my must-read pile! Thanks for undergoing the interrogation, Viv.

    1. Thanks for inviting me. I really enjoyed taking part. Even though the questions were probably the hardest ones I have ever answered.

  2. This was fascinating. You're such an insightful reader and critic, Vivienne. Great questions, too.

    1. *blushes* I just take my reading very seriously. LOL

  3. So great to see you here on The Edge Viv after all the wonderful reviews and coverage you have given us. Really interesting answers and thanks for the book list - more reasons to go book shopping - hooray!!

  4. Thanks for joining us,Vivienne! Really interesting responses. You've given me a lot to ponder and more books to buy and read.

  5. Great interview, Viv and Savita - loads of food for thought, and I can't wait to read the books you recommended - they sound fab!

  6. Hi Viv, Thanks so much for being interrogated! Great answers and I love your thoughts about more UKYA using historical towns/villages as settings. I'm a fan of using a location like another character in a story.