content by

Ardi Alspach

Riders and Seeker: Veronica Rossi’s Duology is YA for Everyone

I recently picked up Veronica Rossi’s newest duology, Riders and Seeker, and as I was reading these books, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a friend about marketing for young adult books. We were browsing in the YA section of a very large bookstore where the YA section is quite large. As we were talking about recent YA novels we’ve read and loved and which we recommend to each other, I noticed something about this section. It seemed heavily geared towards female readers. Young adult covers are often lovely, shiny jewel-like covers that I crave to showcase on my own shelves. But there’s a demographic that’s not as well represented—and that’s a certain kind of teen boy.

What are the 15, 16, 17 year old boys reading? And how are they finding out about those books? I bet it’s not by hanging out in the YA section of a bookstore. It’s not that these books are missing; I asked my friends familiar with the demographic I’m concerned about for recommendations and got an avalanche of responses. It’s that there’s a general impression that the YA category is too much about romance and teen angst, and this particular reader is looking for something that perhaps comics, graphic novels, and adult science fiction fulfill in a better way.

Boys are more often categorized as reluctant readers than girls. But if I wanted to attract the reluctant reader set to a YA section in a bookstore, I’d hand them Rossi’s Riders on a dare. I’d be willing to bet that after they’ve read it, they wouldn’t be so shy to seek out more like it. And I know they will find tons of things worth reading.

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Shades of London: Why You Should Be Reading V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic

With the recent announcement that Sony won a bidding war over movie rights to A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab is a name we’re going to hear a lot of in the near future. You may remember her name from back in 2013, when Ridley Scott’s production company acquired the rights to her YA novel, Vicious, or maybe you heard about her in July of 2016, when the film rights to This Savage Song were also acquired by Sony.

But I’m here to tell you that this is NOT the reason why you should be reading her Shades of Magic series. She’s more than just beautiful book covers and flashy movie deals. She’s a writer of real substance—one who is changing the game when it comes to fantasy with her unique take on magic systems, worldbuilding, and most importantly, with her ability to create three dimensional characters we really care about. You should be reading Victoria Schwab RIGHT NOW because she challenges us to examine the grey spaces that exist between traditional definitions of good and evil.

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