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YA Authors on Teenreads.com's 20th Anniversary

Teenreads.com 20th Anniversary

YA Authors on Teenreads.com's 20th Anniversary

For 20 years, Teenreads has brought young adult authors and book lovers together through reviews, interviews, special features and so much more. Throughout the years we've heard from reluctant readers turned bookworms and teachers and librarians who have used our site to inspire hundreds of young readers. But some of the best messages we've received are from young adult authors who say that our site inspired and encouraged them to kick off their careers. In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we asked some of these authors to share a few words about how they used Teenreads and what it means to them.


"Happy twentieth to Teenreads! Your reviews are always smart and insightful, and I love what a great source you are for all things bookish. Here’s to the next twenty years of book love, and onward." --- Jodi Lynn Anderson, author of MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC, TIGER LILY and PEACHES.

"Ironically, I read YA because when I was a teen, issues that either impacted me or frightened me weren't given a lot of page space. I didn't have access to books about peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse, divorcing parents, sick siblings, reckless driving or bullying. Those issues were ABC After School Specials (Yep, I'm that old.) I write about these issues because books have always been my escape. Inside books, I found kids my own age, facing things that gave me nightmares, scared me sick, and --- and this is cucial --- survived. Yes, I knew these characters weren't real, but the point is, I was inspired by them. When I was 11-years-old, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, curvature of the spine. My doctor was talking about surgery and clunky braces I might have to wear for years. My mother was inconsolable but me? I wasn't worried. I'd read Judy Blume's DEENIE, in which the main character is diagnosed with the same disorder. It's been about 40 years since I've read this book but I can still remember Deenie plotting to wear her cute party outfit and hide her brace after she gets to her friend Janet's house. I listened closely to my doctor and didn't panic, because I knew even if I had to endure all of his worst-case predictions, Deenie had already shown me I'd be okay. That sense of companionship, of identification has never left me. In fact, it's increased as I've gotten older and now drives my own determination to write the kind of novels that matter to teens, and the kind of characters from whom they (hopefully!) will find inspiration. Now, with Teenreads, I use the blogs, reading lists and reviews (and especially the Teen Board). Teenreads helps books like mine find homes with readers who need them the most. Don't change a thing! Happy birthday, Teenreads. You may be twenty, but you're still a teen at heart --- as am I." --- Patty Blount, author of THE WAY IT HURTS

"As a kid growing up in the Philippines, where very few local books had teen representation, I'd often found myself turning to American literature. And while I enjoyed Nancy Drew and Judy Blume and the Sweet Valley series, I've always felt like I was viewing their stories through the lens of an outsider. Teen issues are universal issues, but I knew their experiences were never completely my own --- or at least, not in the way I've experienced them. It was only when I was older and found Teenreads that I realized that America wasn't the homogenous culture that the books I'd read seemed to imply. 

I'm glad that there are sites like Teenreads that showcase all the diverse representation in books, so that readers like me from the Philippines and everywhere else have the opportunity to see more people like themselves in the books that they read and the characters they grow to love! Thank you for that!" --- Rin Chupeco, author of THE BONE WITCH

"Happy birthday Teenreads! I discovered Teenreads as an adult, when I was still an aspiring YA author. I turned to this great site to see what readers were saying about books I'd discovered and fallen in love with, (INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher comes to mind,) and recommendations for books that eventually became true favorites (such as LEGEND by Marie Lu.) I found it to be a fantastic resource, and I still do! Thanks for providing a one-stop site for teens to find everything they need to be in the know about books!" --- Julie Eshbaugh, author of IVORY AND BONE and OBISIDAN AND STONE

"Congratulations on the big 2-0 Teenreads --- you have one of the most exciting sites out there for people who love books. From regular features like "Books on Screen" (my personal favorite) and "Adult Books You Want to Read" --- there's something for everyone on your site. Keep the enjoyable, informative reviews coming :) " --- Laurie Forest, author of THE BLACK WITCH and WANDFASTED

"I remember using Teenreads as a kid --- I was obsessed with Artemis Fowl, and I used to come to the site looking for updates on new books! It was one of the first sites that was around for that kind of news." --- Lauren James, author of THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE and the Next Together series

"Teenreads.com was a tremendous resource to me throughout my years working as a young adult librarian. It helped me find so many books that my readers were hungry for. I kept it bookmarked at the reference desks I worked and made sure others who helped teens knew about it, too.
 
I didn’t do a lot of book-related internetting growing up but it’s been awesome to pass along teenreads.com as a resource for readers young and not-so-young during my adult years. Twenty years makes the site a pioneer in the book world and I have no doubt that the site will spend another 20+ years of being an outstanding resource for readers and those of us who love to get books into their hands." --- Kelly Jensen, editor of HERE WE ARE: Feminism for the Real World and editor for BookRiot.com

"As a YA author, a school librarian and a YA-loving adult, I cannot overemphasize how important Teenreads is. Well, I suppose I could overemphasize it. I mean, if I said 'Teenreads saved the world from an android uprising', I guess that would be going overboard. I'm off on a tangent.

Sadly, when Teenreads was born, I was already a college graduate and a teacher. But Teenreads was one of the first websites that...heck, in 1997, I guess it really was one of the first websites. But at the time, people didn't realize a basic fact: teens want to read good books. The YA books of the time were mostly sweetness and light, or extremely preachy. Teenreads was a wonderful resource for kids who want to hear about good books about deep subjects with interesting characters. Who knew?

Teenreads has been kind enough to promote my books over the years, without the usual business of the folded fifty in the ARC. I've always been impressed with Teenreads' great reviews, exhausting research and show-stopping musical numbers. Provide humanity survives the upcoming Great Old Ones cleansing, I look forward to following them for another two decades!" --- Brian Katcher, author of ALMOST PERFECT, and THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK, DEACON LOCKE WENT TO PROM

“Happy 20th Birthday to Teenreads! This fabulous site has so much to offer readers, from Reviews to the Ultimate Teen Reading List to Real Talk Publishing. My tween-aged daughter is a huge fan of the polls, as well as the “Find an Author” feature, complete with book lists, bios and interviews. The best part of all, though, was the day my daughter searched my name and found a page with my bio and most recent releases. A voracious reader who has had a book in her hand since birth, she’s intrigued by the Teen Board and hopes to join when she’s old enough. The site is a breeze to navigate, which is an obvious bonus with so much content to explore. In the future, I hope to see Teenreads continue the important work of connecting authors and readers, and offering a wide variety of suggestions for all types and levels of readers.” --- Kristina McBride, author of THE BAKERSVILLE DOZEN, A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT, ONE MOMENT and THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES

"I stumbled upon Teenreads purely by accident. It was 1998 or 1999, and I was a young high school English teacher trying not to drown in grading, lesson planning and all of the administrative stuff that teachers do. I had a student who was convinced that he hated to read. It was my mission in life to convince him otherwise. I found Teenreads and went through some of the early book reviews, reading him the brief descriptions of the book and waiting for a thumbs up or down. After at least a dozen thumbs down, I read a review for a Robert Cormier novel. I knew I had him hooked before I even got to the end. He loved that book and wound up reading all of the Cormier novels in our school library. When he finished with those, I brought him more. I don't know that he ever read the Shakespeare, Steinbeck or Hemingway that I assigned, but he did read in my class. I've never forgotten the look on his face as he sat in my room, in the second row from the back, feet stretched out in the aisle, totally captivated by those books. As I have moved from a teacher to a writer, I think of him often. I want my stories to be that compelling. I'm so grateful for sites like Teenreads that give readers access to a story that will speak to them, that prove the idea that everybody can love reading if they just find the right book!" --- Katie Nelson, author of THE DUKE OF BANNERMAN PREP

"Teenreads.com was my gateway drug to a full-blown literary addiction. I'm a published author today in part because their love for young adult literature became my own. Happy 20th, guys!" --- Victoria Scott, author of VIOLET GRENADE

"Dear Teenreads, Happy anniversary! I just wanted to say a great big thank you for all the many years you've worked to champion books and get them into the hands of readers. As someone who has discovered many favorites through your reviews, I'll always be grateful. And I'm looking forward to finding new ones in the years to come. So cheers to you --- and thanks for everything!" --- Jennifer E. Smith, author of THE STATISTICAL IMPROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT and WINDFALL

"Happy 20th Birthday, Teenreads! I remember browsing Teenreads in middle school, in search of my next great book. Teenreads introduced me to some of my favorite authors, like Sarah Dessen and E Lockhart. It would have taken my years to read two of the books that changed my life --- THIS LULLABY and THE BOYFRIEND LIST --- if I hadn’t discovered them on Teenreads. These books are part of the reason I wanted to become a writer, and specifically a young adult writer. So, thank you! I hope that generations of teens to come will use your site like I did, and not only discover great books, but something about themselves." --- Kara Thomas, author of THE DARKEST CORNERS and LITTLE MONSTERS

“I was a teen in pre-internet days, the time of shoulder pads and Madonna, aka the 80s. If someone told the 16-year-old me that 1) something called “the internet” was coming 2) there would be a website called Teenreads.com and it would be a paradise of information for readers, I think I’d call that some Jetsons-type-stuff. Thank you for existing, Teenreads.com, and congratulations on turning twenty!” --- K.M. Walton, author of CRACKED, EMPTY, ULTIMATUM, and editor for the forthcoming music-focused YA anthology BEHIND THE SONG

"I'd like to wish Teenreads a very, very happy 20th anniversary! Not only do I love writing YA but I've been a reader of YA since I was a YA! Teenreads was then and is now a go-to place for discovering my next read because they cover all genres and I devour everything from contemporary romance to sci-fi. It's a fun, interactive site for us teen fiction lovers and I wish them another amazing 20+ years of delivering great recommendations and book news to the world of YA!" --- Samantha Young, author of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US