Mira Grant Recommends YA + Parasite giveaway!

October 29, 2013 2013, giveaway, guest post, mira grant, Wendy 70

Mira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire, is one of the few authors that I would probably run away from crying if I saw her at an event. Her Newsflesh books mean so much to me, and just last week as I was telling Christina about the series, I started to tear up just thinking about the powerful gut punch that it delivers.

One of the things I appreciate about both Newsflesh and her newest book Parasite is that although they’re adult fiction, the voice is very youthful and humorous, and there’s both an energetic quality to the plots and an immediacy of emotion that make them perfect crossover titles for YA readers. 

So after an excitable Twitter conversation, I thought it’d be fun to ask Mira if she’d write a guest post for us on YA books she loves. Her books are so intelligent and well-plotted that I was curious about the books she found entertaining, and I was surprised at some of her recs and pleased by others (I totally recommended one to Mira fans in a review)! I think you’ll enjoy adding these to your TBR list–I know I did.

~ Wendy


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YA Recommendations from Mira Grant

Guest posts are hard. You’re writing for an audience that doesn’t necessarily know you, and doesn’t know how to follow the verbal shorthand that every one of us develops, those little ways of saying “you know, like crunch without crunchberry” that means a hundred different little things. So you sit and you flail and eventually, if you’re me, you slam your head into the desk and few times and then go hide under the bed. You know, whatever works. But while I was under the bed I thought, wait. I just had my thirty-fifth birthday. Surely I can do something with that. So here, then, are my favorite YA books, from ages 5 through 35.

Age 5

The very best book in the whole world, had you asked me when I was five, would have had to be Escape to Witch Mountain, by Alexander Key. I had enjoyed the Disney movie, and my mother thought the book was a junior novelization and bought it for me. It was actually quite different from the movie, but I was a very determined kid, and I worried my way through it. I’m pretty sure my passion for telepathic characters began with Tia.

Age 10

When I was ten, I stumbled across a copy of Diane Duane’s amazing So You Want to Be a Wizard, and proceeded to spend the next year reciting the Wizard’s Oath in hopes that this would be the time when I got it right and the Light was listening. Diane Duane is currently updating these books to make them more accessible for a modern audience, and while I cling jealously to my originals, anachronisms and all, I’m also utterly delighted, because these are stories worth remembering.

Age 15

Nancy Garden’s incredible lesbian love story, Annie On My Mind, probably holds the award for “non Stephen King book re-read with the most frequency during the year that I was fifteen.” This is another of those books that’s older now, but honestly holds up so well that it deserves to be reprinted and reread and remembered for as long as people need help loving the people they were meant to love. It’s beautifully written, and I have three copies, so that I can loan it out safely.

Age 20

I was twenty in 1998, before the proper start of the modern YA Renaissance, but there were still books on the shelves, and some of them were amazing. Clive Barker’s Thief of Always frequently manages to get less credit than it deserves, being written by a horror author best known for ultra-violence and serious gore, but it’s really a sweet, YA coming-of-age story about Harvey Swick learning that he should enjoy what he has. Plus it has one of the best opening lines in history.

Age 25

I went through a huge Diane Wynne Jones phase when I was twenty-five, acquiring and devouring everything she’d written, but I have to say that for sensitivity, consideration, and timelessness, nothing really trumps Fire and Hemlock, a gorgeous modern reworking of themes from many old English and Scottish ballads, including two of my favorites, “Tam Lin” and “Thomas the Rhymer.” It’s one of those books that reads better the second time, because you can think, rather than just being constantly surprised.

Age 30
I am a sap. I am a sucker. I still have all my Princess Diaries books. And five years ago, Princess Mia brought it all home. I have no regrets.

Age 35

So here I am today: I have grown up on young adult literature, and I find that it remains sensitive, thoughtful, and complicated. I don’t know yet what my favorite book of this year will be, but my recent favorites have been The Girl Who Traveled Under Fairyland and Led the Revels There, by Catherynne Valente, Partials, by Dan Wells, and Croak, by Gina Damico, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry, and Birthmarked and Promised by Caragh M. O’Brien. And there’s so much more to come!

Here are some pictures of my bookshelves below, to give you an idea of what you can accomplish when you never stop bringing books home. For one thing, I’ve accomplished more than a few avalanches, over the years…


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Win an ARC of Parasite!  

Thanks to our friends Orbit, one of our lucky readers will win a copy of Mira’s latest book.  

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us why you’re excited to read Parasite (or what you love best about Mira’s books) and fill out the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget you can earn additional entries by tweeting about the contest daily, or sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See complete rules on the entry form. Good luck! 

Giveaway copy courtesy of the publisher (and thanks to my friend Karen for sending me an early ARC of the book as well!), and photographs are courtesy of the author.
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About the Author

Seanan McGuire lives in a crumbling farmhouse on the West Coast, which she shares with a lot of books, horror movies, and creepy dolls, as well as her three improbably large blue cats (they’re secretly bonsai yeti that she pretends are Maine Coons and classic Siamese).  When not reading too much and watching endless hours of television, she somehow manages to write and publish at least three books per year, which is a great argument for her actually being the advance scout for an invading race of alien plant people who will eventually eat us all.  She does believe in product placement as a natural part of daily life, as evidenced by her omnipresent bottles of Diet Dr Pepper.

In 2013, Seanan released the second InCryptid novel, Midnight Blue-Light Special; the seventh October Daye novel, Chimes at Midnight; the second Velveteen collection, Velveteen vs. The Multiverse; and the first in her new series as Mira Grant, Parasite.  She hopes to eventually publish a YA novel, just as soon as she gets a chance to breathe and talk her agent into it.  There’s also a lot of short fiction floating around.  You can keep track of Seanan‘s projects at www.seananmcguire.com.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same. 

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Our thanks to Mira Grant for sharing her YA recs with us! If you’re familiar with her books, do you have any YA suggestions for HER?

We think it’d be fantastic if she writes a young adult book someday, too. And by “fantastic” we mean we’ll be screaming–SCREAMING!–with excitement when this project is announced.

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70 Responses to “Mira Grant Recommends YA + Parasite giveaway!”

  1. Steph F.

    I am a huge fan of her October books and have been very anxious to read this one. She is an amazingly talented writer. Great recommendations, I’ve read a few but some are new to me I’ll have to look them up.

  2. William Dunlop

    I love parasites, so I’m looking forward to reading this book! Not the sissy parasites, the ones that really hijack their hosts.

  3. Jessica Noreault

    Why…WHY?! So many books I now need to add to my list of wants. I blame you! BLAME YOU! Some of them I have of course, read. But anyway, I really do want a bunch of them. Parasite sounds fantastic too.

  4. becca fowler

    ever since i heard the synopsis for this book, i was hooked. just the thought of a parasite like that gives me the creeps. cant wait to read it.

    • Wendy Darling

      IIII know, I have been panting after this one for months! I rather miss the original title for the series (Symbiogenesis), but Parasitology is still pretty cool.

  5. Chenise Jones

    I haven’t finished Mira’s News Flesh trilogy but there’s no doubt I’m in love with it, She has such a way with words and that series has me constantly tense and on edge!

    And I really really love the cover! Simple and unique!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh my stars, finish Newsflesh ASAP! What are you still even doing here? :-O

      I love the cover, too–the colors and photography are extremely eye-catching.

  6. Ashley D.

    Anything with a zombie-like premise usually has me on board. :P And I like the cover too. It seems representative of the story inside, and I usually prefer that over random people on the cover.

    • Wendy Darling

      Same here–and you know, it was reading the Newsflesh trilogy that turned me into a zombie lover! I never cared much one way or another about them before, aside from Shaun of the Dead, of course.

      The cover is AWESOME. The ARC has a fun warning on it in a yellow banner that says “Side effects may include insomnia, horror, and fainting,” hah. It was difficult to decide to give it up for this giveaway because of that!

      Agreed on this vs random people, too. I prefer to picture everyone the way I imagine them anyway.

  7. Cyn

    The rec’s by Grant are pretty awesome. I read a couple of them. I excited for Parasite b/c I’m such a science geek for stories based on “real possibilities” haha.

    • Wendy Darling

      Aren’t they?! I need to read more of the older ones, I loved Witch Mountain as the Disney movie, for example, but I never read the Key novel.

      And if you’re a science geek, you’ll love this, I think. Her stories are always exceptionally well-researched and informational.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh my, are you a friend who’s been deemed an asset when the zombpocalypse comes? :D I am quite sure Seanan is extremely cool, judging by her online persona and through her emails. I just fear I’ll start trying to talk to her about Shaun and George and I will start bawling.

    • Wendy Darling

      Hm–it’s science fiction, but I don’t know that I’d specifically call it a dystopian book, Darith! But I hope you enjoy it still. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, it is pretty weird, but in the best way! I have always HATED the idea of tapeworms, too, but fortunately there’s nothing too gross with those….yet.

  8. Alisa Kepner

    Your recommendations are usually books that end up being my favorites. And genetically modified parasites? That sounds amazing.

    Mira’s recommendations are books on my TBR list, and I’ve found that authors that enjoyed books I want to read usually write really good books. Also, she sleeps with a machete under her bed. Therefore, she’s amazing.

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw! Yay, that makes me so happy! Thanks for the ego boost on this fine weekend, hah.

      I agree–I’m always curious what my favorite authors are reading, too. I have to say, a lot of them surprise me with how different their tastes are from mine (and you have to sort out cross-promotions and friend promotions, too), but every once in awhile you get an author with great taste that aligns with your own.

      And yeah. Mira is fantastic.

  9. Jae Lee

    Sweet grilled cheesus, but I loved the Newsflesh series. Like, forever and ever. I just discovered it this year, but I already want to go back and read it again. I am excited/creeped out by Parasite though. I will definitely be buying it, but it sounds like my worst nightmare (ugh, tapeworms, so gross). But it kind of makes me think of my favorite of the Murray kids/Wrinkle in Time crew when Charles Wallace gets sick because his mitochondria are rebelling against him. And I’m going to buy Unwind right now actually.

    • Wendy Darling

      You are my people, Jae! I’m so glad Newsflesh came into your life. It’s crazy how good that series is–I am rarely able to talk about it without tearing up. After THREE years! Sheesh.

      And hah, I hate the idea of tapeworms, too. For what it’s worth, we don’t get anything outright disgusting with them..yet.

      GOOD, I’m glad you’re buying UNWIND–I’m pretty sure most Mira fans will love it. And I love that you brought up A WRINKLE IN TIME! Last week somebody named “Charles O’Keefe” followed me on Twitter and for a second I mixed up Charles + Meg’s last name, and…well, let’s just say it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it was.

  10. Melanie

    BLERGH. What I meant to say was that I have only heard of the books Mira Grant read around the 35y/o mark. I must go check out the other ones because they all sound quite marvellous. Ah yes, Unwind is quite creeepy.

    Lovely list there! <33

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m happy she included some classic YAs in her list, so many authors don’t…but yeah, I’d mostly heard of the newer ones, too.

      Love UNWIND so much. I have been sort of dreading UNSOULED, especially since there’s now a fourth book, too. As much as I enjoy the series, I was kind of hoping to get everything wrapped up already.

  11. Shannelle C.

    I never knew that her books were adult! Well, but I have read Parasite, and despite the age, I was never bothered by it. I guess I totally agree with what you said. even though it’s adult, her books feel YA.

    It’s amazing how she made her post like this. Nice way to celebrate turning 35. I’m still surpirsed she can remember that. Because I can remember the books, but not the age.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes, they’re adult fiction! I’m glad you agree that YA readers would enjoy them, though. They’re an easy transition because the voice is just so funny and youthful, and of course you have parents figuring significantly in both series.

      I’ll tell you a secret–she wrote this a few months ago just after she turned 35 and we sat on this for awhile to time with her latest release. :) I thought it was a fun way to organize this post, too.

  12. Rachel

    Love that Mira enjoyed Unspoken as well. I already have a copy of this read so I wont’ be entering the givaway, but thanks, anyhow! :)

  13. Kerri

    The first time I read Feed I wanted to throw it across the room… But upon rereading and exploring the series as a whole, I love it. I love Georgia and Shaun and their relationship and the incredible, fucked up world that they live in. They make me think and make me feel. <3

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m so glad you grew to love it, Kerri–there are few series that make me cry as hard as that one. And the crazy thing was, you think you’ve experienced the biggest shocks you’re going to get, and then the books just kept upping the stakes more and more. I hope Parasitology ends up being the same way, even if I am a useless wreck afterwards.

  14. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    What an interesting and thoughtful post! I love that Grant recognized that a different book can have impact at various stages throughout our lives. It’s too hard to narrow down one favorite book ever, when different books can have huge impact, depending on age and circumstances.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s funny, because when I first started getting disposable income as a teenager and right out of college, one of the first things I did was to buy a lot of the books I read as a kid–I felt such an attachment to them that I even sought out the same editions, including library ones if that’s where I originally read them! I think I get even more out of most of those old favorites now as an adult than I did then. The ones you love stay with you. :)

  15. Denise Berube

    I read the review of Parasite by Kate when it arrived in my inbox and although I had heard it was a good read, I really didn’t get overly excited about it. Kate’s enthusiasm for this book though has really peaked my interest, if someone cannot stop talking about a book then I think it is a must read.

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, I’m not sure it’s always the sign of a good read, but I will say that a. when it’s Kate, that is a good sign and b. I can also vouch that the book is great, hah. Hope you enjoy it!

  16. Candace

    I’m going to have to check out Annie on My Mind, I don’t recognize the title, but I may just be forgetting. It sounds like one I would have reread at 15 as well.
    I have haven’t read any of her books yet, but I’ve heard AMAZING things! And I love the bookshelf pictures!

    • Wendy Darling

      I hadn’t heard of Annie either, but I’ve definitely added it to my TBR list as well.

      You’re a scifi fan, Candace–PARASITE is a good introduction to Mira Grant. :)

  17. Keertana

    I love the pictures! I think bookshelf porn is by far the best – better than even all those mouth-water food images! Anyway, I love the break-down of these recommendations by age and have to agree that I love thought-provoking YA. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, Wendy!(:

    • Wendy Darling

      I love bookshelf porn, too–it’s a toss-up whether it comes ahead of food porn, though! I liked the way she wrote her favorites, too, it made me think about what age I was when I read certain books. I’m so glad we’re having such a huge boom in YA right now, we never run out of reading material. Even though occasionally it feels that way, hah.

  18. Kritika

    I absolutely LOVED Parasite, and I’m planning on reading the newsflesh trilogy soon! And hooray for Unwind fans! It always makes me really happy when authors I really like appreciate each other’s books.

    • Wendy Darling

      Omg Kritika, Newsflesh is fantastic. The two series have a similar feel, so if you like that, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy that. Fair warning that FEED has a bit of a slow start for some readers, including me–but once it gets going, it is an insanely good reading experience.

      And I love it when authors get excited about books, too! I appreciate that so much.

  19. Sunny Duvall

    I absolutely love this post! I haven’t heard much about her, but I love that you got this kind of interaction with her AND such amazing suggestions. :)

  20. Tanja - Tanychy

    What an amazing guest post. Somehow YA grew together with me so to say. It’s really great to see her reading background and for being sap – let’s just say I still want to marry Peter Pan, so yeah there goes that. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I started reading YA later than Seanan did, but I never stopped once I started as a teenager! Although it wasn’t until the last few years that I started reading more YA that was more recently published, but I’m probably not alone in that.

      Peter Pan, huh? You know he’s a rascal, right? ;)

  21. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Love the diversity of your reading background! And you’re certainly not a sap — I still have my Nancy Drew collection and recently hunted down a childhood favorite, 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (the ORIGINAL, of course.).

    • Wendy Darling

      I have almost all the Nancy Drews. I had the notion I would reread them all sometime, but that is never going to happen, hah. In the meantime, they just look fun on my shelves. :P

      I’ve never read 101 Dalmatians, can you believe it? I’ve had a copy of that book forever!

    • Kate Bond

      I’m looking for the versions of Nancy Drew that I read as a kid. I’ve been buying up old Sweet Valley High books, too.

  22. Meg M

    Thank you for the recommendations! I’ve read enough of them to get the idea that this is an awesome list and I’ll check out the ones I haven’t read ASAP.

    As far as recs you go, have you read any Terry Pratchett, Melina Marchetta or Maggie Stiefvater? Aside from Mira Grant, those are my other favorite authors. Perhaps you will all love each other and my brain will explode from all the awesome.

    • Kate Bond

      There’s nothing more disappointing than finding out that an author you love doesn’t read Terry Pratchett.

    • Wendy Darling

      I haven’t read any Pratchett (don’t hit me, Meg & Kate!) but I’d be curious what Seanan thinks of Marchetta and Stiefvater, too. Two very different authors–and Maggie is one of the other few authors I would run away from. I actually DID leave the line for Raven Boys at ALA last year, because she was signing and I just couldn’t deal. Her books mean too much to me.

  23. Liviania

    Such great choices! (And it sounds like we read similar books as kids. Diane Duane’s stuff is amazing.)

    • Wendy Darling

      Aren’t they?! I was surprised at some of the more recently published YA recs. The fact that she loves Princess Diaries kind of blows my mind.

      I have never read Diane Duane, but clearly I need to.