Veronica Roth

I Get By With A Little Help

by sarahenni on March 31, 2014

It’s been a bit of a stressful time lately, with life and with writing. I’ve been trying to get some momentum behind drafting a new book (well… a new version of an old book, if you want to get particular), and the best way to do that is to spend some time with fellow writers. Thankfully a few confluent events brought a bunch of YA Highway ladies together in SoCal.

Our lovely San Diego host Kirsten Hubbard, and the delightfully pale Kate Hart

First thing? The Divergent movie, of course!

Debra Driza, Amy Lukavics, Stephanie Kuehn, Kate Hart, Yours Truly, Kirsten Hubbard, Sumayyah Daud at the movie theater’s bar avoiding actual teenagers until showtime.

I think it’s okay to admit now that I was super nervous for the movie. There was a lot of (well-deserved) hype! But I can honestly say the movie did right by my girl Veronica — and Insurgent already got the green light!

The settings were amazing, and Shailene rocked (the scene with her mom at the end? Tears). And, Theo James? Mmmm Hmmm. There was just a *teensy* bit of pressure on the guy (realizing a fandom’s perfect Four? Good luck!), but he completely nailed it. Also, his face.

Bye bye Pamuk, hellooooo Four.

Did you catch Veronica’s cameo in the movie? Neck tats! In a theater full of girls gasping and sighing over Theo (I managed to keep my fangirling [mostly] internal on that count), our row screamed in unison when she burst onto the screen. Such a badass!! So freaking proud of Veronica this weekend it hurts.

After loving the movie and toasting to Divergent’s success, we navigated north to L.A. to see the always gorgeous Tahereh Mafi, who was celebrating her recent marriage to fellow YA all-star Ransom Riggs!


Me, Kate, beautiful bride Tahereh, and Sumayyah!

I don’t think anyone needs me to tell them that Tahereh sweats style and breathes grace, so of course an event planned by she and Ransom was completely gorgeous, with personal touches that made the night totally unforgettable. And okay, I totally embarrassed myself with how hard I was crying, but all I have to say is: Two NYT best-selling writers crafting their own wedding vows? If you didn’t cry, you were basically the Terminator. I stand by my creys of joy. By the end of the night, everyone in the place was ready to marry either or both of those crazy cute kids.

Wedding Gif 4

Also, there was cake.

We stuck around the city of angels for another night to see The National perform at the Shrine Auditorium — an incredible venue to see a band that is ever-present in my writing playlists. Added bonus: they were debuting a documentary about the band, “Mistaken for Strangers,”  which was totally fantastic. The band managed to make a 5,000+ capacity theater feel intimate, and also, lasers.


Bloodbuzz Ohio

Live music is one of those things that never fails to energize me. Musicians get to connect to their audience in a one-on-one way that authors can only dream of, but being swept up in a 5,000-person singalong to “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” is the kind of transcendent moment that keeps me writing.

In fact, it’s a good thing I’m not a musician, because I’d just cry my way through that, too. Turns out I’m a big softie.

Anyway, the point is: There is just nothing that recharges the creative batteries like seeing fellow writers and kindred spirits, and remembering collectively what human experiences keep us plugging away at our laptops. It was a kind of alternative writing retreat; not a single word was written, but progress was made nonetheless.

What about you?? Have you been hanging with other writers lately? Seen or done something that reminds you why you keep writing? I wanna know!


RTW: I Love You but I’ve Chosen Erudite

by sarahenni on May 23, 2012

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out their post for links to other Highwayers’ answers!

This week’s topic is:

What Faction from Veronica Roth’s Divergent & Insurgent would you be?

Art by C-resta. Click for link

Can’t stop, won’t stop! As a devoted member of Ravenclaw, I knew from the first description of Erudite that they were my peeps. So, even though it turns out Erudite is headed up by [SPOILER!] some ethically twisted psychos, I’m holding out for redemption.

Erudite’s chosen path as a faction reminds me of the Patton Oswalt joke: “We’re science: we’re all about coulda, not shoulda.” When left alone with the pure possibility of what information can mean, people can be dangerous. That’s why factions like Erudite only work well in concert with others, those who can provide a more practical perspective.

But I’m hopeful that in the third and final Divergent book, Erudite will get their chance to use all those beautiful brains for good!

What about you? What faction would you be? Do you think Erudite is going to get the chance to redeem us unrepentant brainiacs??


Most Anticipated of 2012

by sarahenni on December 30, 2011

Just so we don’t spend the ENTIRE week getting too weepy about leaving 2011 behind, today we’re all going to discuss what books we can’t wait for in 2012! Hold onto your spectacles, because 2012 is going to be JAM PACKED with books I am salivating over.

Veronica Roth’s Insurgent

May 28

I find Tris Prior to be one of the most refreshing YA characters I’ve ever read. How she struggles with fighting for what she wants versus feeling guilty for wanting it reflects a truly painful human conflict we all battle, regardless of age. Tris suffers from an inability to bullshit the world about who she is, and people don’t always take kindly to teens (and in particular young women) who live that way. The people in Tris’ world REALLY don’t take kindly to it, and I’m so eager to see where Roth takes Tris, both in the geographic world of the Divergent series and in her emotional journey.

Erin Jade Lange Butter

Date TBA

I remember reading the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement about this book, and the concept really struck me: “A boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make Scottsdale High history. He’s going to eat himself to death live on the Internet – and everyone will watch. He announces his deadly plan to an army of peers and expects pity, insults or even indifference. Instead, he finds morbid encouragement.” And a funny thing happened with this idea. It stuck around. I kept thinking about it when there was a rash of horrible teen suicides last year. When the Hunger Games movie started discussions about teens interacting with the world through “reality” shows. I love this concept, and most of all I’m so eager to read how Lange handled these issues in her book, and see what kind of discussions it sparks.

Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue

May 1

I’ve struggled over the last two years with some YA heroines who are physically, butt-kicking strong, but who lack a nuanced emotional vulnerability. Kristin Cashore’s fantasy books feature leading ladies who assert themselves physically, and lead rich and complicated inner lives. Cashore brings each character such depth that their struggles with innate superpowers or neon monsters seem totally relatable. I can’t WAIT to see what Bitterblue has in store for us!

Stephanie Perkins Isla and the Happily Ever After

Fall 2012

With Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, Perkins has crafted two stories that are some of the best contemporary YA I’ve ever read, and I’d argue the most natural, fresh voice in that genre right now. What’s drawn me to her work, along with the perfect pacing and general quirky spirit, are the boys. These are boys. By that I mean, dudes. Guys. People that I’ve met, that I’ve known, that I’ve loved. They’re imperfect, they’re not drop-dead gorgeous, they’re awkward, they’re scared to death of the women they’re attracted to. Etienne, Cricket, and Josh are the most swoon-worthy boys in YA that I’ve ever met, and quite frankly I married one of them. It’s an absolute joy to see Perkins translate the thrills of falling in love with someone so real.

(GPOAB* included in lieu of not-released book art because he/Seth Cohen typify the type of guy that Perkins writes, and also, I think she’d approve.)

Justin Cronin’s The Twelve

August 28

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! There is no conceivable way I can wait another eight months for this book, the sequel to Cronin’s 2010 novel The Passage (pictured above because artwork for The Twelve is being shrouded in mystery and impending terror, no doubt). I loved The Passage more than I have loved a book in a very long time, because though it clocks in at an astounding 800 pages, not a scene is unnecessary, not a word misplaced. The action is tense, the characters are vibrant, the world is, in a word, angsdngfksd. Everyone called this a vampire book, but it was really more like a vampire-zombie post apocalyptic mash-up of Mad Max and 28 Days Later. I will be pre-ordering this to my Kindle and staying awake to begin reading the minute it downloads.

 Check out what everyone else had to say!

Erin Bowman

Kaitlin Ward

Kate Hart

Kathleen Peacock

Kirsten Hubbard

Kristen Halbrook

Kristin Otts

Lindsey Roth Culli

Phoebe North

Stephanie Keuhn

Sumayyah Doud

Veronica Roth

* Gratuitous Picture of Adam Brody


5 Favorite YA Characters

by sarahenni on December 27, 2011

Today we’re sharing some of our favorite characters from 2011. I love pointing out characters that have left an impression on me, because—though every great book needs great characters—not all great characters come from our favorite overall stories. It’s a different way to think about all the books I read, and I’m happy to say that the characters I listed (split into five girls and five boys, in no particular order) have stuck with me like good friends.

The Girls

Karou from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Lola Nolan from Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door

Marya Morevna from Catherynne M. Valente’s Deathless

Tris from Veronica Roth’s Divergent

Fire from Kristin Cashore’s Fire

I think Molly Quinn could pull off Fire's mix of strength and vulnerability

The Guys

Tiny Cooper from John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson Will Grayson

Dr. Pellinore Warthrop from Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist

Quentin from Lev Grossman’s The Magician King

Adam from Gayle Forman’s Where She Went

Warner from Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me

Aaron Johnson has the perfect self-satisfied smirk to play Warner

 Check out what everyone else had to say!

Corrine Jackson

Erin Bowman

Kaitlin Ward

Kate Hart

Kathleen Peacock

Kirsten Hubbard

Kristin Otts

Lindsey Roth Culli

Phoebe North

Stephanie Keuhn

Sumayyah Doud

Veronica Roth