Authorology: 12 authors share the best quotes in YA


Welcome to Authorology, where authors talk about their favorite parts of YA books.

We all love quotes. They cover our notebooks, our tote bags, our computers, our tote bags, our buttons, and our tote bags. (I don’t know about you, but I own a lot of tote bags.) So what are some of these author’s favorite quotes?

i'll give you the sun jandy nelsonIn one split second.

Um…can I just quote all of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun? Is that cheating? If so, I suppose I’ll just give one of the million I underlined. “In one split second I saw everything I could be, everything I want to be. And all that I’m not.” This book…I mean, I just…it’s too beautiful to even have me writing words about it.

– Joy N. Hensley, author of Rites of Passage

Sophisticated youth vernacular.

In a letter to his beloved Angela who is sent to home after her father’s abuse, 17 year old Buddy writes:
his-own-where-june-jordanYesterday I make this table.  Be like the Japanese. The table seem like a triangle. One point be for the food, the other points be for you and me. It stands fifteen inches high from off the floor. Like I said, you can call me Slim. I hope you slim the same. Otherwise, it be uncomfortable. Stain it what they call a rosewood coloring. i got this thing for roses and for you. When the table be finish, I put it next to the big floor pillows where you can lie down and listen to the phonograph, and which I still ain’t finish put together, but I have in mind because of you.
Every page of June Jordan’s His Own Where brims with poetic passages, but this excerpt is testimonial to just how sophisticated youth vernacular can be. In addition to holding all the elements of good craft – voice, characterization, subtext, it conveys an understanding of what it means to truly love someone. As 17 year old Buddy builds a home for Angela with his own two hands, he is mindful to not only create a place for them to share but a space that Angela an call her own.  He expresses his lasting love for her, and his fear that she may change. And still Buddy builds and plans. The entirety of His Own Where is a powerful exhibit of how some of the finest writing is in the YA genre. I mean, Nicholas Spark could never…
Sofia Quintero, author of Show and Prove

harry potter and the deathly hallows j k rowlingHappening inside your head.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because it sums up exactly how I feel about stories and storytelling.

Marieke Nijkamp, author of This Is Where It Ends

The same story.

i'll give you the sun jandy nelsonI knew I had to pick something from Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun. She creates gorgeous, layered prose that is, nonetheless, always true to the specificity of her characters. That was the easy part; it took ages to narrow the quotations down from there. In the end, I went with “Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” I didn’t chose it because I believe the line, exactly. I’m not sure Nelson’s characters believe that people are meant to be much of anything, but I believe the feeling behind it, the one that makes a magical coincidence feel like fate. I like the doubt in the “maybe” and that artistry of reading an author who can make life feel like an accidental miracle.

Rachel Davidson Leigh, author of Hold

the dream thieves maggie stiefvaterStars and candles.

“If you never saw the stars, candles were enough.”  — The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Every word in a Maggie Stiefvater novel is poetry and I savor them like small precious drops of magic elixir.

Lisa Amowitz, author of Until Beth


“You think something might have happened to her, sir?”
“No, I think she might have happened to someone, man!”

from The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. I aim to be the person someone says that about — to be the person who happens to people, rather than the person things happen to.

Shanna Swendson, author of Rebel Mechanics

Obi-Wan and drawing.

draw the line laurent linn“Thank Obi-Wan, Bubbas don’t take French”. This is from Laurent Linn’s debut novel Draw The Line. (Full disclosure, Laurent is my art director at Simon and Schuster, but who knew he would turn out to such a great writer?!)

The book itself has received worthy praise everywhere. I like this line because it shows how well Laurent captures the world of LGBTQ kids in small town Texas, and the pop saturated world that all teens live in. In a world where morals are so aligned with power (Adrian witnesses a crime, but the kid who commits it is a cop’s kid) Obi-Wan is a better moral center than the God everyone else seems to quote all the time. And, guess what 2016? You’re not as enlightened as we might hope. Hate persists (reference D. Trump), and it’s not a hell of a lot better to be “out” now than it was when I was a kid.

Kevin Sylvester, author of MINRS

A 2017 debut for your wishlist.

allegedly tiffany d jackson“I’m not lying when I say I have no clue what happened that night.”  Tiffany D. Jackson’s 2017 YA debut Allegedly hinges on whether we believe Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Jackson expertly plays with the reader’s assumptions throughout this rollicking, fast-paced thriller – a book you will not be able to put down.

– Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl in Pieces

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