Meagan Spooner
Absolutely brilliant. This is the sci fi I’ve been waiting for! Action, romance, twists and turns–this book has it all!

Beth Revis, New York Times best-selling author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

2017-11-06T11:42:38-05:00

Beth Revis, New York Times best-selling author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Absolutely brilliant. This is the sci fi I’ve been waiting for! Action, romance, twists and turns–this book has it all!
"A literally breathtaking archaeological expedition. Spooner and Kaufman prove once again that no one does high-stakes adventure shenanigans like they do."

E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

2017-11-06T11:44:34-05:00

E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

"A literally breathtaking archaeological expedition. Spooner and Kaufman prove once again that no one does high-stakes adventure shenanigans like they do."
One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Kaufman and Spooner will break your heart with skilled aplomb, and you’ll thank them for it. Absolutely incredible! If I have to, I will come to your house and shove this book into your hands!

Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

2017-11-06T11:48:19-05:00

Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Kaufman and Spooner will break your heart with skilled aplomb, and you’ll thank them for it. Absolutely incredible! If I have to, I will come to your house and shove this book into your hands!
With rich, complex characters and a dynamic—and dangerous—new world, THESE BROKEN STARS completely transported me.

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series

2017-11-06T12:09:41-05:00

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series

With rich, complex characters and a dynamic—and dangerous—new world, THESE BROKEN STARS completely transported me.
Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don’t want to miss.

Veronica Rossi, author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY

2017-11-06T12:13:28-05:00

Veronica Rossi, author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don’t want to miss.
Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world.

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones

2017-11-27T09:17:02-05:00

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones

Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world.
With its blend of dystopian, steampunk, and generally fantastical elements, Spooner's follow up is even stronger and more gripping as the debut and is sure to ensnare further loyal readers.

Booklist (Starred Review)

2017-11-27T10:01:57-05:00

Booklist (Starred Review)

With its blend of dystopian, steampunk, and generally fantastical elements, Spooner's follow up is even stronger and more gripping as the debut and is sure to ensnare further loyal readers.
This intriguing dystopian adventure's depiction of the stand this strong female protagonist takes against the horrors of her world is fast-paced, compelling, and un-put-downable.

VOYA

2017-11-27T10:05:07-05:00

VOYA

This intriguing dystopian adventure's depiction of the stand this strong female protagonist takes against the horrors of her world is fast-paced, compelling, and un-put-downable.
Once again, the worldbuilding is superb, the characters fully fleshed out and intriguing, the battles riveting, and the edge-of-the seat suspense compelling. Teens looking for a well-written dystopian adventure with steampunk elements in the magical machines created by the Architects will enjoy spending time with Lark and her companions.

VOYA Magazine, starred review

2017-11-27T10:27:43-05:00

VOYA Magazine, starred review

Once again, the worldbuilding is superb, the characters fully fleshed out and intriguing, the battles riveting, and the edge-of-the seat suspense compelling. Teens looking for a well-written dystopian adventure with steampunk elements in the magical machines created by the Architects will enjoy spending time with Lark and her companions.
An extremely entertaining tale of past, present and future leaving the question: where does humanity stand when the best laid plans backfire?

Children's Literature

2017-11-27T10:29:04-05:00

Children's Literature

An extremely entertaining tale of past, present and future leaving the question: where does humanity stand when the best laid plans backfire?
A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.


Marie Lu

2017-11-27T15:17:04-05:00

Marie Lu

A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.
Amazing. That one word describes the whole book.

VOYA

2017-11-27T15:18:24-05:00

VOYA

Amazing. That one word describes the whole book.

Why YA?

Sometimes when I have the “What do you do/I’m a writer/Oh, what do you write/Books for kids” conversation with new people, I get a Look that I’ve come to recognize.  It’s the “Oh.  For kids. So not real books” look.  (It’s similar to the “Oh, fantasy” look, but that’s another blog post.)  I always find it amusing–and a little sad–because it makes me realize that these people have forgotten what it was like to read books when they were a kid.

When I was a kid I used to fly out alone to Kansas every summer to visit my grandmother, because she is an awesome (read: awe-some) lady and there’s nothing like a good Kansas thunderstorm in the summer afternoons.  One year I was waiting at the airport gate to board, passing the time (as always) by reading a book.  Eventually I resurfaced long enough to wonder, Are they ever going to call my flight?

So I went up to the counter to ask, and they just LOOKED at me and very quietly said, “Are you Meagan Spooner?”

And I blinked and said “Yes?  How do you know my name?”

Apparently, they’d been paging me for ten minutes straight.  Not only had my flight been called, but I missed it–and the repetition of my own name over a loudspeaker–by a good fifteen minutes.

Man, was THAT ever a difficult phone call to my mother, who had to help me get a ticket for the next plane out.  How do you justify missing a FLIGHT by saying “Sorry, the book was just getting good!”  As it turned out, my mother was barely even surprised.  This was not a new occurrence.

Click for Image SourceNow, I remember reading like that with a nostalgia that’s almost painful.  It’s not that I don’t get lost in a good book anymore, but the way I read has definitely changed as I’ve grown up.  When I was little I’d stay up until 4 AM with a flashlight under my covers, reading, because I thought my parents didn’t know (hah).  I’d read as I walked down the hallways in school, ricocheting off walls and other students.  I’d put my shin guards and cleats on at home so that I could read at practice while the rest of my soccer team was donning their gear.

I just don’t do that anymore.  I still read voraciously–I read on commutes and before I sleep, and on rainy afternoons, and if I have a good book on offer I still stay up late reading (let’s not mention how late I was up finishing The Hunger Games). But that frenzied need for more and more words and worlds and stories and characters has faded a little in the face of things like rent payments and degrees and tax forms and feeding the pets and doing the dishes.  And now I read like a writer, so that even in the middle of the most absorbing and amazing book, I’ll end up pausing to ask myself, “Okay, so how did she make this work, when nothing happens for the first 20 pages?  How is this character so fully realized?  What makes that sentence burn itself into my mind?”

But this is why I love writing for children and teens.  There’s just nothing to compare to the way a child reads a book, so absorbed that calling their name over a loudspeaker doesn’t even penetrate the haze of wonder and excitement surrounding them.  There isn’t an audience on the planet more rewarding and devoted than a child.  There are a million reasons I like writing for kids, but this has to be one of the most important to me.

Books were such an important part of my childhood that I can’t even define it.  How can I not want to give that back, in turn?  By writing for kids I remind myself of that absolutely pure joy in books, unpolluted by adult concerns or preoccupations.  When I write for kids, it’s like I’m eight years old again, hiding under my covers with a flashlight.  I can taste that utter absorption.  And the writing isn’t always fun and it definitely isn’t always easy, but when it’s working, when it’s REALLY working, I’m as lost in it as I ever was.  I write and write and write and sometimes, when someone calls my name from the next room, I don’t even hear them.

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36 Responses to “Why YA?”

  1. Janice says:

    I love your passion! I’m so happy the world has writer’s like you. 🙂 There is no better place to be lost than inside a book.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Iiiii remember doing that. And when I would finish a book I would feel absolutely worn out. Going from that total absorption to NOTHING – no more pages – the end. It’s the same kind of feeling I used to get after a show’s performances had wrapped and the set had been struck. You’re life it suddenly over. Out of nowhere. I always had to take a break after finishing a really good (or really engaging) book – usually a day or two – to recuperate from the experience. I get that sometimes now, but now I rarely feel like I can justify reading books purely as entertainment. There has to be some other motive – it has to explore certaine themes, it has to be important from a historical standpoint, it has to challenge the genre, etc. I no longer choose books solely on the basis of “is the word ‘dragon’ in the title?”, I choose them because they depict Dickens, an unreliable narrator, and Lovecraftian gothic horror or summarize the history of Western philosophy.

    Life is complicated! I need to reread The Enchanted Forest Chronicles.

    • Meagan says:

      OMG The Enchanted Forest Chronicles! YES. I actually own them somewhere–when I get back to the U.S. I will totally loan them to you.

      But yeah, that’s exactly right–that feeling of having your strings cut when you shut the book. And sometimes you actually do have to go through a mini-mourning process before you’re ready for the next one.

      Luckily, I can “justify” reading just about anything to myself, on the basis of it being for my writing. HAH. (But yes, I know what you mean. You feel compelled to read something Important. Not necessarily something fun.)

  3. I think all kidlit writers used to read under the covers at night. And my daughter thinks we don’t know about it either! Writing for kids and teens is the best!

    • Meagan says:

      I love it! I mean, really… when the worst “illicit” thing your kid does is read past her bedtime? You’re probably doing okay. 😛

  4. Okay I absolutely am in love with this post. I want to raise my hand and say “me too! I get that absorbed” That story about you missing the plane? I guess you should have known then you would be a writer. 😀

    • Meagan says:

      Ooh yay, I’m so glad you liked the post! It really is lovely hearing from other writers because it’s like meeting utterly kindred spirits! <3

  5. This was beautiful. It’s easy to get caught up in pleasing the adults in the publishing world–agents, editors, librarians, teachers, and those (seemingly all-powerful) chain bookstore buyers, but what really matters is making that connection with the reader. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Meagan says:

      Aww, thank you so much–I’m glad it spoke to you! I know what you mean… once you start really working toward publication it can definitely be hard to keep sight of WHY we’re doing it. I always have to stop and remind myself, often by rereading the books that inspired me when I was young!

  6. Lisa says:

    I love this story of you as a child and how you honor those memories by writing books for children. I know a young girl who is at this moment reading by flashlight under her covers, and she does this almost every single night. It’s precious. And so are you! Great post!

    • Meagan says:

      Aww–it makes me so SO happy to hear about kids who still do this. It makes me feel so connected to them, to know they’re doing exactly what I did when I was their age. If we can keep kids reading so enthusiastically, then I think we’re doing okay. 😀

  7. Carol Riggs says:

    Lovely post! Enjoyed your airport story. ;o) I SO know what you mean by “that” conversation. I usually say I write for teens instead of kids, but I still get That Look. LOL

    Have a great weekend!

    • Meagan says:

      Oh man, I could write a whole book just on That Look! But really, I think the best way to deal with it is just to know how much they’re missing out on by not realizing how AWESOME kidlit (or fantasy, or whatever your chosen genre) is. 😛

  8. What a great story – to be so lost in a book. Books for MG and YA audiences capture me (still, as an adult) ever so much more than most adult lit does. And I, like you, can be so lost now in writing that everything else fades.

    • Meagan says:

      Same here! We all have such different experiences and ways of existing in the world when we’re grown up, but there’s something very universal about being a child, or a teen. And I don’t think that ever really goes away… at least, I hope it doesn’t! 🙂

  9. Jess Lawson says:

    I know it probably didn’t feel sweet and the time, but that airport story is precious! I think anyone who dismisses children’s/YA books probably wasn’t a huge reader in their youth. You’re right–it was a different feeling of getting lost in a novel back then, and each story was like a journey I went on independently. I feel nostalgia for those times and for all the books I didn’t have time to get to back then 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      Aww, thanks! You’re right, it was pretty horrendously embarrassing at the time–the funny thing is, though, my mother doesn’t even remember that happening. It seriously wasn’t that out of the ordinary for me!

      But in seriousness–yes. Exactly. EXACTLY. That’s why I love writing for kids now. You know there’s no one who will get lost in your work more. You can share in that single-minded joy of adventure!

  10. Amie Kaufman says:

    Man, I’d say I still nearly miss my station now and again when I get lost in a book. I end up scrambling over other passengers to lunge for the door.

    • Meagan says:

      Yeah, I’ve missed my train station a couple of times. At least that doesn’t involve someone calling your name over a speaker though. It’s pretty tough to explain that one away. XD

  11. Diyana Wan says:

    This post spoke to me on so many levels!

    I especially can relate to that whole painful nostalgic feeling. Just the other day, on the way to a client’s place, I saw schoolchildren piling into their buses home — and got irrationally jealous of them. Because they could go home and read books, while I…well, I had to work. Lol!

    And I miss losing myself in books…not because the books have gotten any less stellar, but I’d be distracted by thoughts like: laundry, work, dangit I have to cook or I’ll starve!

    In any case, I hope my future children will read your books and get so lost in it they’ll continue reading till the wee hours of the morning 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      I get jealous of kids all the time! While there are definitely aspects of growing up that I would not want to do over again at ALL, there’s definitely a magic about being a kid that’s hard to recapture as an adult (except when you’re writing for kids!)

      Oof. Cooking or starving. I have to admit, that is a conundrum I have faced often. And not always come down on the wiser side of it. >_>

  12. Beth says:

    I don’t read the same way now either, and I miss those moments of being completely wrapped up and oblivious to the world. Aren’t we lucky that we get to write for such amazing readers?

  13. Yep, I know that Look too because I write for YA and I write fantasy. I was recently talking to someone who read literary fiction and when she asked what I wrote I almost felt like apologising to her. Sigh.

    • Meagan says:

      OMG, I could just hug you. I know how you feel–NEVER feel you have to apologize for what you write! Be proud of the fact that you write fantasy, and that you write for teens. If people don’t get why you do it, it’s seriously because they are missing out! They’ve forgotten what it’s like to lose themselves in an amazing book–or worse, they never knew. 😛 Never apologize. Just smile–they’ll wonder what’s so funny. 😉

  14. Alaina says:

    I know exactly what you mean by the “oh, young adult…” look. You explained it so well!

    • Meagan says:

      Hee, yeah. It’s definitely something we all stumble across now and then. Not everyone’s going to like or even approve of our chosen genres. Sometimes it makes me absolutely FURIOUS… but most of the time I just remind myself that I just need to write the best books I can, and maybe someday those people will change their minds. 😛

  15. Alison Smith says:

    What a great post Meagan! I swear I almost had goosebumps- I remember EXACTLY that absorption you are talking about, and I hadn’t thought about it in years, and oh do I MISS it! You are right- that need drifts away a little as you get older, and as a writer you definitely are far more critical of what you are reading- even when you are sucked in, you pause to wonder how it is you got there.
    Great post. I am so glad you stumbled onto my blog and commented, as now I am here!
    Have a great day – you’ve just put some euphoria into mine 🙂
    -ali x

    • Meagan says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you liked the post, Ali! And doubly glad you came to visit me here. I so love meeting other writers!

      There’s a lot to miss about childhood but the reading is definitely my biggest. It’s definitely why I love writing for kids. You can’t ever truly lose that wonder that way!

  16. Ha! love it! Love the feeling of being lost in a book – can’t say I’ve missed a plane tho…
    Great post.

  17. Mary Mary says:

    Boy, do I hear you on reading TONS as a kid! I was the same way, only I shared a room with two other sisters so I couldn’t get away with the under the covers bit. I think it’s great you have such a strong reasoning behind why you write for children. Everyone needs to understand the root of their passion and where it stems from.

    Thanks for dropping by the Sisterhood!

    • Meagan says:

      I definitely agree about understanding the reasons for passion–when I was younger I just knew I wanted to write but the urge was really undefined. Having thought about it for years makes it a much more focused desire–and much harder to ignore. 😛

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for stopping by!

  18. love this website and this post! your entusiasm for writing shines through in every post
    glad to get to know you like this and congrats on your book deal. it’s awesome news!
    Susan, a fellow odfellow

    • Meagan says:

      Aww, thanks, Susan! I feel like I know you and the other regulars on the Odyssey mailing list, because I do read all the posts… I’m just always too shy to post there myself! So hopefully I can get to know you guys a bit better and try to speak up now and then. 😛

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