One of the things I love about being a member of Book Blogs Ning is I get to meet amazing authors. I boldly introduced myself to Amy about a week ago and I immediately asked if she would grace Reads, Reviews, Recommends with her radiance. She has obliged with a Guest Post. The title speaks for itself. But before we get into the nitty, I would like to give you some background information on Amy. Here's her profile on Blogspot:
I am a 1993 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education. I have seventeen years of experience in education and currently teach Dance and Theater Arts to high school students in southeastern North Carolina. Dancing, acting and writing are all forms of communication. Each form requires exceptional creativity and passion to inspire and impress an audience. I have enjoyed a passion for reading, writing, and the arts since I was a child. As an adult I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to share my passion for the arts with children. It only seems appropriate that delving into the world of teen fiction would be the next logical step in my life.
Now that we're all better acquainted, I present to you Amy's Guest Post...
The Dynamics of Writing Young Adult Fantasy Fiction
By Amy Jones, author of Soul Quest
Recently, I designated a portion of my blog to highlighting books I most enjoy. As I set out to make my personal recommendations, I realized it was necessary to categorize the suggested repertoire. The Young Adult Fantasy Fiction genre is a very broad spectrum, encompassing many different fictional elements and personal tastes. There was much to consider. How should they be categorized? What makes them similar? What makes them different? You get the drift…
I began by perusing my list and mentally noting brief descriptions like: zombies suck people’s brains out, vampire seduces young girl, and tween’ slays mythological creatures. I continued in this fashion only to discover that my list of reading recommendations became even more difficult to categorize. I quickly shifted gears. Clearly, characterization as a method for categorization was out. I had to simplify my efforts. I returned to my list and asked myself, who wants to read this book? What kind of reader would like this book and why?
The first book I focused on was Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Shiver is about werewolves, but not in the traditional sense. The wolves are real people who have been infected with a virus. This is the science fiction element of the book, but the story itself is about two young lovers struggling to be together. Immediately, I recognized another book in my list that I would categorize similarly: Wings by Aprilynne Pike. The fantasy element in Wings is a journey into an enchanted world of fairies and trolls, but the storyline is the same. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and before you know it, their stuck in the same conundrum as Romeo and Juliet. I affectionately named this group of books the Twilight category, named for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga series.
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series is another one of my favorite reads. In this series, Shadowhunters police Downworlders in an effort to maintain the balance between good and evil. Shadowhunters are humans with angel blood ancestry. Downworlders are vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fairies. In this series, there are some elements of romance, but they are not overly mushy gushy. The main attraction is the action and mayhem that ensues. Cassandra Clare can really paint a vivid picture of combat with her words. Another book series I really love in this category is The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games Trilogy takes place in the future, in a dystopian society. The hierarchy exploits the lower class districts for entertainment while playing it off as discipline and an attempt to keep order. The main characters are supposed to kill each other but end up allying themselves as a tactic to stay alive. Along the journey, they gain a great deal of affection for each other. The action and violence in this series is unending. You will literally be sitting on the edge of your seat, devouring your fingernails with this read. I’ve designated this group of books as the Vampire Academy category, named after Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series.
Last, but not least, I can not forget Rick Riordan. First, let’s talk about his Percy Jackson and Olympians series. Percy Jackson learns that Greek Mythology is not mythical. He lives in a world where Greek Gods still rule and one of them is his dad. There is some romantic tone to this series, mostly your average tween/teen crushing. Likewise, in Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid, Carter and Sadie must face the awakening of the Gods of Ancient Egypt. Both book series set out to present the main character with a challenge or obstacle to overcome. Mr. Riordan’s books are suitable and enjoyable for middle grade readers as well. I’ve designated this group of books as the Harry Potter category, named for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
In summary, Twilight category books are romance novels with paranormal elements. Vampire Academy category books are violent action and suspense novels, which may or may not have romantic tones. Harry Potter category books are action and adventure quest driven books which may or may not have mild romantic tones. These books are entirely appropriate for middle graders. So, where does Soul Quest fall in this process of categorization? Soul Quest is a Vampire Academy category book. Hala, the Great Spirit, empowers four human children with charms and gifts in an effort to defeat the Daevas and Aengels. Daevas are fallen spirits and Aengels are their mutant progeny. There is some romantic interaction among the main characters but overall the action takes the main stage.
Soul Quest by Amy Jones
Available for purchase at Smashwords
Liv Glyn is torn between two worlds, Earth, her home and Arcadia, a world unknown to Liv. Never the less, duty calls for Liv and her companions of Spirit, Laith, Brayan and Meena, to take action. What ensues is a supernatural showdown at Forest Hills High, corpses mysteriously surface in the Hudson and a Valentine's Day Dance turns into a murder investigation. A quest for humanity begins.