This week, we’re delighted to introduce Jess from Jess Hearts Books blog
Hi guys, thanks for having me! I’m Jess - a twenty something, British Nerdfighter with a love for all things Disney. I’ve been blogging on my book blog Jess Hearts Books for three years now. I mainly blog about YA but there is some Chick-Lit and New Adult on there too for good measure! It’s bizarre to be interviewed; usually I’m the one interviewing the authors!
Why do you READ and WRITE about teen/YA books?
I love to read YA books as I think it’s the most diverse and interesting genre around. One minute you can be reading a book set in the future with robots and aliens and the next be reading a love story about an ordinary girl crushing on her best friend! I blog because I love discussing books with other readers. Nothing makes me happier than receiving a message from one of my readers saying they’ve enjoyed a book I’ve recommended or reviewed. I like to blog about YA because I think it’s important to get teens reading. At this age with plenty of required reading for school I know it can make or break a teen’s relationship with books. I like to highlight the amazing books out there that they can relate to with characters going through the same, or similar, struggles as them. It’s very easy to feel alone and isolated as a teenager and reading can not only provide a great escape but can also provide role models to take inspiration from and look up to.
What are the most ORIGINAL YA books that you have read?
I think the most original series I’ve ever read is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer it’s about fairytale creatures, cyborgs, people who live on the moon, an evil queen…it’s bizarre but utterly fantastic and unique. Ultraviolet by R J Anderson is a book that I wouldn’t even know what genre it fits into it’s that different! I guess the best way to describe it would be a YA Psychological Thriller - with a twist! Cat Patricks books also have some unusual and undiscovered concepts.
What is a TURN OFF in YA fiction?
A pet peeve of mine with any book would be poor editing. It just comes across as very careless, sloppy, and half-hearted and in my opinion can ruin what could be a brilliant book. Series that are ridiculously long with eight or more books I usually just end up giving up on. I’m also not a fan of most love triangles unless they are done really well and have purpose to the story.
What makes for a great YA book?
My favourite YA books are books that are strong in Plot, Characterisation and Prose. I think you can write about pretty much anything and if the writing is engaging, the plot well explored and paced out, and there are characters that feel real and relatable then any story on any subject has the potential to be a great one.
Which YA characters would you most like to take OUT TO DINNER and why?
I’d love to have Will and Jace from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments - although they are from the same world they are alive in different time periods and I’d love to get them together to see how they get on! I’d also like to invite Kat from Heist Society - I think we’d get on really well and it’d be pretty awesome to pick the brains of a teen criminal mastermind!
Who is your ideal YA HERO/HEROINE and why?
I like heroes and heroines who are strong - not necessarily physically but mentally. I like characters that are intelligent, brave and compassionate. A side of nerdy and witty is also very much appreciated! Simon from The Mortal Instruments I feel has all of these traits and even though he’s not the main hero in the story he’s my hero. One of my favourite heroines of all time is Rose from Vampire Academy she’s intelligent, funny, a loyal friend, and is strong in every way possible.
What is your dream YA ROMANTIC PAIRING and why?
Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy are my all-time favourite YA couple. They have this amazing chemistry that sizzles off the pages and they respect one another hugely. They make an incredible team.
What makes you uncomfortable or question the BOUNDARIES OF YA fiction?
I’m all for the controversial reads that put hard, or even taboo, subjects under the microscope. No matter how uncomfortable a topic is you can bet that there is a teenager somewhere going through it and I think these books are important for teens and parents to read and discuss together. I’ve found time and time again that books that are banned or controversial or make for uncomfortable reading are the books that provide the biggest lifeline to teenagers who are experiencing similar things.
What would you LIKE to see happening in YA over the next five years?
I’d honestly like to see more standalone novels! It seems like everything is part of a series these days and it’s hard to keep up with them all! I’d also really like love triangles to become a thing of the past and perhaps see some stories that have no love story at all. I enjoy romance as much as the next person but I find it unrealistic and unnecessary that every single story and situation requires one.
What do you think will ACTUALLY be the next big thing in YA fiction?
I’ve been seeing a few books based on Japanese Mythology this year and Parallel Worlds. These seem to be the hot new topics in YA.
Give us your top FIVE TEEN/YA books please, Jess
I’ve just took a peep at my favourites shelf and these books jumped out at me! There’s some Fantasy, Contemporary and Historical Fiction in there but despite genre I’d recommend these to anyone who simply loves good YA!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
And finally, Jess, if you read ONE book this year, read THIS...
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is my favourite book of 2013 so far and is something I’d recommend to anyone! The characters are fantastic, the plot is mind blowing, there are so many twists and turns and the writing is so incredibly powerful. I think it has all the ingredients that make a great book (as mentioned above!) - I couldn’t put it down!
Jess, thanks so much for submitting to the EDGE INTERROGATION!
Phew! *Wipes sweat off brow* I think I’m going to go have a little lie down with a book now after that!
If you’d like to read more of Jess’ reviews, you can find her here: http://jessheartsbooks.blogspot.co.uk/
And you can follow her on twitter @JessHeartsBooks