Young Adult Literature

What YA Talking About?: November 2015 in YA News

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Welcome to the monthly round-up of all things relating to young adult news. Here’s a look back at the big stories of November. You can read previous installments by clicking here

It’s been a slower news month in YA land, though it hasn’t been without its big talks.

Perhaps the biggest news this month came in the form of a major book deal for a formerly self-published title. The six-figure announcement came with criticism from many (self included) because it highlights the very issues with the YA world as a whole: it privileges white men and it especially privileges white men who tell girls’ stories. The article where the announcement was made was itself a problem, as Bergstrom, the author, and many others cited, talked about YA as a category of fiction that had no moral complexity and this would change everything. Nice shade thrown at The Hunger Games, too, a YA franchise written by and starring a female, not to mention a blockbuster film series.

Springing from the discussion about this deal were great pieces from Victoria Aveyard, about the role race plays into promotion and privilege in YA by Adrianne Russell, as well as the launch of the Twitter hashtag #MorallyComplicatedYA by Kayla Whaley. Here are a few of the tweets, though the entire stream is worth reading:



The “best of” lists have started rolling out. Catch up with the young adult books that Publishers Weekly called the best, as well as the titles that School Library Journal cited as being the best. A solid array of titles on both.  In more awards news, too, Neal Shusterman took home the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature with his YA book Challenger Deep.

Speaking of School Library Journal, Senior Editor Shelley Diaz wrote a fabulous piece about young adult fiction, its history, and asks “what about teens?” This is thought-provoking and includes insights from so many wonderful parts of the book world.

For readers still working on the Read Harder challenge here at Book Riot or are fascinated by authors who’ve published when they’re very young, this is a nice look at a handful of authors who saw success as teenagers. They’re not all YA authors, but in the spirit of YA and teenagers, it seems appropriate to share that.

I had the honor of serving on this year’s Sheehan Book Prize committee, which selects a manuscript to be published by Elephant Rock Books. The last winner of this prize, Jessie Foley, saw her book The Carnival at Bray earn major honors and accolades. This year’s winner is Kristin Lenz, and you can learn a little more about the book here. Put it on your TBR list for next fall, too — it’s fabulous and absolutely deserves the honor.

Finally, here’s a look at some of the adaptation news from November:

  • Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was acquired by Fox 2000.
  • BBC One will be creating a series from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
  • Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses was acquired for film.
  • Brad Pitt and Warner Brothers acquired rights to Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae.
  • There’s now a teaser trailer for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: