Friday, 14 June 2013


This week we’re delighted to welcome Laura from Sister Spooky blog as our guest. 

Thanks for asking me to take part.  I usually just stick to ASKING questions on my blog in between reviews not answering them and these questions were surprisingly hard but easy at the same time!

Why do you READ and WRITE about teen/YA books?

I always found reading a big challenge as a teen and because I have dyslexia it meant that as much as I enjoyed reading and writing it was an uphill battle at times.  I rekindled my passion for reading through YA in my 20s and once I began reading other book blogs I decided to start my own as a small place for me to talk about books and hopefully where I could inspire some people to read something outside of their comfort zone.

What are the most ORIGINAL YA books that you have read?

At the time when I first encountered it in my early teens, The Secret Life of Adrian Mole aged 13 and 3/4 was a major revelation for me because it was a book from a boy's point of view that wasn't all about action packed adventures.  Compared to current books it's not an original really but when it first came out it was amazing.  More recent original YA I've read are Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne, Undone by Cat Clarke, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David LevithaN.  I better stop now before this list goes on and on.

What is a TURN OFF in YA fiction?

I'm not sure what the actual term is but I just refer to it as the "easy out".  When things are written off with magic or just something happening at the right moment but for no real reason other than it would be helpful to the plot.  I don't want the love interest to suddenly get they are in love with the MC just at that vital moment or that the one tool the MC needs to get out of a pickle is in their pocket.  If it's believable then YES but otherwise it just gets my back up.

What makes for a great YA book?

Characters with a voice.  If I'm reading about a MC or group of characters that have clear and honest voices and personalities then you can throw whatever you like at them and I'll love it just to see how they deal with it.

Which YA characters would you most like to take OUT TO DINNER and why?

Skarper from Goblins by Philip Reeve. He'd be a real rascal and funny to talk with. Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare's TMI and TID series because no dinner parties are complete without Magnus. Oscar from Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton because geek boys own my heart and Jody from Rockoholic by C.J.Skuse because we'd gab about music for hours.

Who is your ideal YA HERO/HEROINE and why?

Hester from The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve because she's such a broken person which such strength and weakness that I can't fault her even with all her flaws.

What is your dream YA ROMANTIC PAIRING and why?

Anna and Abel in The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis. I can't even begin to tell you how fantastic this book is. Totally blew my socks off and a surprise treat.

What makes you uncomfortable or question the BOUNDARIES OF YA fiction?

If I'm honest it's New Adult. I don't mind there being sex in YA and in fact I think there should be more when it's believable and honest to reality rather than overly sickly and romantic because it's not always like that. It's important for YA to embrace sex because teenagers have so it's not a shock to them. New Adult is fine but I think the uncomfortable level for me is when it's a blurry line in terms of how it's being pitched to YA markets. I think NA and YA is hard to separate at the moment to the point that even authors don't know if they are technically going into NA grounds. I once heard about a 50 Shades of Grey type book aimed at YA audience. I mean….seriously?

NA is great for a NA audience because there is a big difference to sex in YA and sex in NA.

What would you LIKE to see happening in YA over the next five years?

MORE FUNNY!  I love to laugh and the funny books I've found over the last year or two are stunning reads but often are few and fair between.  I would LOVE to see more UKYA authors getting audiences in the USA where there is a big market for it.  Plus I think that it seems like USYA authors when being "sold" to bloggers etc they get a lot of energy and cash thrown at them and UK ones get much less.  Might be just my own personal opinion but the playing field is no where near equal in that respect.

What do you think will ACTUALLY be the next big thing in YA fiction?

There seems to be the taste for fairytales of late but I'm not sure how long that will really last.  I think there will be a lot more contemporary books about big issues like alcoholism, drugs and mental illness because when they are done well they are hugely moving as well as amazing to read.

Give us your top FIVE TEEN/YA books please.
You guys are so strict!!

OK, in no special order
Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Bryne
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

If you read ONE book this year, read THIS...
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb.  I go on and on about this one but I found it so funny and clever and had wonderful messages about dealing with divorce, teen existence, girls, geeks, friends and family.  Even made me shed a tear or two when a few moments hit home with me.  Plus it's UKYA!

Thanks so much for submitting to the interrogation, Laura.

Check out Laura’s book blog here:
Or follow her on Twitter: @sisterspooky

Next Friday Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies undergoes the Edge Interrogation!


  1. I would definitely invite Magnus Bane to a dinner party too! Geekhood is on my TBR pile and I'll try and get to it sooner now. It would be great if more UKYA crossed the ocean - they're missing out on some great YA fiction. Great answers to some difficult answers, Laura. Thank you.

  2. Loved this interview Spooky - all your thoughts and suggestions for novels are really good and clearly from a serious reader and reviewer. I will have to update my bedside table reading pile now. Many thanks for blogging on The edge.

  3. Thanks for your insightful answers, Laura. Your passion for good stories is clear. I'll have to check out some of your recommendations.

  4. Hey Laura, thanks for stopping by the EDGE. I really enjoyed "Will Grayson Will Grayson" too – I thought the two voices worked really well together and I loved Tiny Cooper.
    Really pleased to see you'd like more FUNNY! I agree that these books often don't seem to get the attention they deserve – I thought Geekhood was brilliant too – managing to deal with some serious issues while being laugh out loud funny at the same time.
    Also interesting to get your perspective as a blogger on the way USYA books are getting much more of a push. That's certainly how it feels from this side too. There is some superb UKYA being written that just isn't finding its way to readers. But the work bloggers like your good self do, means that the word is slowly spreading. So thank you!