Trial by Fire: guest post + giveaway

September 1, 2014 2014, 4.5 star books, giveaway, paranormal, Wendy, witches 84 ★★★★½

Trial by Fire: guest post + giveawayTrial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on September 2, 2014
Genres: paranormal
Pages: 384 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

I love paranormal romances, but it’s rare to find one that hits all the right spots in combining fantastic magic-wielding, fun action scenes, nuanced characters with agency, and swoony romance. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini arrowed right into the bulls-eye, however, and Lily Proctor’s development from an allergy-ridden, insecure klutz into a young woman who embraces incredible power in an alternate universe is handled with just the right touch. Lily is so painfully awkward in the beginning–and so obviously in love with a guy who doesn’t appreciate her–that I was nervous about whether the transition would feel right, but I loved the way she comes into her own.

This book also hit on two of my GoodReads shelves that don’t see nearly enough action: the hilarious books shelf and the crush-worthy boys shelf! That’s right, a guy you wanna make out with AND a story that keeps you laughing. I was so tickled by the snappy dialogue and humor in this book that I asked whether the author would be interested in talking about why it is that humor seems to be such a rarity in YA, especially in paranormal romances. Why don’t we see more Lish McBrides or Kirsty McKays or Kendare Blakes? Do publishers really “tend to avoid funny YA like the plague,” as Justine Larbalestier once commented?

trial by fire blog tour

Today, we’re pleased to be kicking off the official Trial by Fire Blog Tour with a guest post from Josephine Angelini that provides an answer to that question. If you’ve ever yearned for more humor in your YA books, there’s lots of food for thought here.

vine-divider-finalDying’s Easy, Getting Comedy into YA? Impossible.
by Josephine Angelini

I was introduced to A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at a young age and I devoured every book in that series, laughing the whole way. As a result, I still have awkward moments when I’m ordering at a steak house. I imagine the cow trotting out and selling me her tasty bits a la The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Needless to say I start to giggle for no apparent reason and usually offend my server and dinner companions.

I also tend to laugh in airports, due to my exposure to another uproarious author. I see people dragging their luggage behind them, and can’t help but imagine The Luggage from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. The Luggage is probably one of my favorite characters ever written, and don’t even get me started on Discworld’s witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat. I could re-read Wyrd Sisters until my gaze rubs all the ink off the page and I’d still probably laugh.

Comedy is well established in both Science Fiction and Fantasy, so why doesn’t supernatural YA have any humor in it? Why is YA in general so serious all the time? Well, in my experience I can tell you that I’ve tried to write funny parts into my books and had nearly all of them edited out.

I’m not a comedian, but occasionally I come up with some clever turns of phrase that can at least inspire a few yucks. Yet every time I write something even moderately funny, it gets edited out in the re-writing process. Oh, they let me put in a witty barb every now and again in my dialogue, but even that usually gets the red pen at some point as we go through rounds of drafts.

At first I kept my head down about it, assuming that I probably wasn’t as funny as I thought I was. It’s embarrassing to see red lines running through something you thought was hilarious—it makes you feel like you told a joke at a party and no one laughed. Yikes. That feeling is enough to make anyone back away from the jokes next time around.

One day I decided to stand up for a joke that I thought was not only hilarious, but that really built on the relationship between two main characters. The answer I got from my editor was straightforward—humor releases the tension in a scene, lowering the stakes. If you want to write something that keeps people on the edge of their seats, it can’t be funny. And in all genres of YA, the stakes have to be life or death.

Sure, editors will allow the occasional bit of clever chitchat between characters, but not much of it. Not so much that it borders on snark, and here’s why.

Snark doesn’t sell wide in supernatural romance because it diffuses the tension between the characters—and what the majority of YA readers want are tense scene, because that’s how love feels when you’re young.

Think about it. When you’re sixteen or seventeen, every second spent with someone you’re crushing on feels like a giddy walk on a tightrope. Later on, when you’re older and dated dozens of people, humor becomes desperately important because that giddy feeling wanes—as it should. People are supposed to grow up, gain confidence, and not blush at everything a cute guy says or how would we ever get anything done?

That’s not to say that some supernatural romance writers don’t buck this trend and write funny or snarky dialogue every now and again, but they are few and far between. And they usually have more adult readers than young adult readers, even if they technically write YA. For those of us who have more teen fans, the mandate is clear. Keep it serious, or it won’t ring true for them. Love and heartbreak still feel like life or death to a teenager, and that’s part of what makes writing about it so beautiful.

vine-divider-final

josephine angeliniAbout the Author

Josephine Angelini is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband and three shelter cats. Her debut series, Starcrossed, Dreamless, and Goddess, are all international bestsellers and have garnered the praise of various major publications, including the LA Times, and have twice won the Reader’s Choice Awards in Germany. Her next series, Trial by Fire, Book One of the WorldWalker Trilogy, will be out in the US on September 2nd.

Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads to keep up with all her latest news.

vine-divider-finalWin a copy of Trial by Fire!

Thanks to our friends at Macmillan, we have a Trial by Fire hardcover to give away to one of our readers. All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you’re specifically excited about reading this book, or your thoughts on humor in YA!

Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. Good luck!

Review and giveaway copies were provided by the publisher, and photos are courtesy of the author and publisher. Our thanks to Josephine Angelini for stopping by the blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

vine-divider-finalAre you a fan of humor in YA? What do you think of Josephine Angelini’s take on why we don’t see more of it?

Do be sure to check out Trial by Fire when it hits stores tomorrow, too! I’m a big fan of this one.

Wendy signature teal

 

 

 

 

84 Responses to “Trial by Fire: guest post + giveaway”

  1. Megan Quinn

    I’ll be the first to admit the premise of this book through me for a loop. It’s not something I’ve read yet, but we’ve all at some point come across an alternate dimension. In my case, everyone good became evil and vice versa. Simple. This book is not that. It looks like so much more. The main conflict is laid out for us in the summary, but I’m having a difficult time imagining the direction of the book-and I love that. I love when I can’t read a book by its cover so to speak. Any well-done humor is absolutely welcomed. I think it’s a reflection of how we cope with difficult things, by cracking some jokes to lighten the mood or to remember everything can’t possibly be as terrible as it seems. Who knows how that will play into Trial by Fire, but I look forward to it nonetheless.

  2. Jehphg

    I’m so glad that you’ve read this book, because i only read it after your review, and i loved loved loved it!

  3. Chenise J.

    I absolutely LOVE humor in books. Witty, snarky, sarcastic characters who know how to drop the perfect line to make me laugh out loud are golden in my eyes. It’s probably why I love characters like Leigh Bardugo’s Nikolai and Marissa Meyer’s Thorne. Just a tiny sample but they’re the epitome of funny characters.

  4. Molly Mortensen

    There SO needs to be more humor in YA books! When I’m reading reviews one of the first thing I look for is funny or witty lines. I’m sorry to hear that they get edited out of your books. Maybe you should write a fantasy or sci-fi comedy and just go for it! That would rock! I’m glad I’m not the only one who envisions the luggage at airports. It’s one of my favorite characters too!
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Awards, Awards, Awards

  5. Shyanne

    I read the synopsis on Goodreads and I’ve been interested in reading the book ever since. I love humor in books! I don’t always want to read a serious book.

  6. Katie F

    I love the idea of an alternate universe so this sounds pretty exciting. Loved the post as well about humor in YA.

  7. Summer

    I love a bit of humor in books, even in the otherwise super serious ones, to me it’s more lifelike, humor’s a big coping mechanism for many people, you try to laugh off the tough stuff until it gets too tough to laugh anymore.

  8. HollyB

    I am so, so, SO excited to read this book!! It sounds spectacular, and I have been drooling over it from the moment I first heard about it months ago – not to mention once I saw the amazing cover. I am actually a fan of humor – in life and in books – and I love reading books that incorporate humor into even a serious plot. Because that’s how life is, right?! Just because we’re going through something serious, that doesn’t mean we are not allowed to laugh. It’s actually a very healthy thing :) One of the authors who I think does humor very well is Jennifer Armentrout. I am new to the JLA bandwagon, but I have jumped on with both feet because I just adore her easy style of writing, her gripping plots, her ability to write amazing sexual chemistry and tension and hawt makeout sessions, AND her incredible sense of humor. Reading her books is always such a treat for me because I know I’ll probably run the gamut of emotions. I applaud Josephine and say, Here’s to more use of humor in YA!!

  9. Wendy

    totally interesting to know about the humor leaves durning the editing. and I trust your judgement on the swoon worthy boys! so sounds like something totally up my alley.

  10. Mara

    I think humor is easier to find in contemporary, whereas if its a fantasy or sci-fi epic, the humor is mostly just sarcastic snarks and it comes from either the protagonist or supporting character, who is there for comic relief if nothing else.

  11. Ari

    I only read the part when she was still ‘here’, but it didn’t pick my interest so far. I do hope it really gets better, because I’d like to enjoy it as much as you did :)
    Ari recently posted…10 Little Pieces of Me

  12. Adelynne

    I read an excerpt of this online and it had me hooked from the first chapter. I love books with parallel worlds but they’re usually not written and constructed very well. I’m really excited to read this (even though I didn’t really like her other books all that much) but Trial by Fire’s been getting great reviews so far so I really want to read it.

    I LOVE humor in YA! I don’t know why YA authors don’t try use it more. I’ve read a few books that have made me laugh out loud, but finding humor that well-written in YA books seems to be pretty rare.

  13. Liv_The Absent Historian

    This sounds like a really good book and I love the fact that it has humour in. Since I can still classify myself as a teen, even if it’s my last year as one (silent sob), I definitely have to say I’d prefer more humour every time to loads of tense/angsty romances that are all about living in the moment. I definitely think publishers need to start taking more risks and letting out a little bit of something different/individual of what the author is publishing rather than trying to tailor to what is going to sell and what everyone expects. We have to step into the unknown, after all, that’s why I read for the adventure/excitement/unknown. Great post and I look forward to getting my hands on this book!
    Liv_The Absent Historian recently posted…Flashback Friday #1

  14. Lori Hopkins

    I love the author’s explanation of the lack of humor in YA. It makes sense, but that doesn’t mean that we still don’t want it! Anyhoo, this book seems to have all of the elements that I want in a book: some snark, magic, and romance!

  15. Diamond Nazaneen

    This is one of my most anticipated reads for the year. I LOVED her Starcrossed series to death… And have been waiting for her to begin another series!
    I love humor in ya, and found this post to be super interesting! I had no idea that was why editors crossed out humorous scenes..,it kinda makes sense. BUT, I Gotta disagree. I love humor in YA, and am glad this book was humorous Wendy :) also glad you liked this one N it was crush-inducing haha. That’s always a plus in my opinion.
    Great review! Great post! Can’t wait to read this!
    Diamond Nazaneen recently posted…Book Review: The Dark Shore (The Atlanteans #2) by Kevin Emerson

  16. Alex

    I’ve been eyeing this book for ages and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! The cover is absolutely gorgeous. :D

  17. Michelle Lee

    Humor in YA novels are definitely a thumbs up. There are some novels that are comical and some are not. However, whenever I read a book with humor in it, it’s nice to have a good laugh. I think that’s what makes the story more interesting to read. There might be a seen in the book where the main character does something embarrassing or awkward. Another case might of been a funny scenario and I would be laughing out of nowhere and the people that are near me would give me this ‘what is this girl laughing at?’ face hahah so I think humor is a big advantage point and I think it attracts the readers.
    Thank you for this amazing giveaway! :)

  18. Darith L.

    Oooh, this one sounds so good! Witches is one of my favorite supernatural beings to read about! Josephine’s thoughts on humor in YA novels is also intriguing. But I like the occasional jokes, if you must, because why be serious all the time? :D

  19. Alena Saukova

    I’ve heard a lot about this book from some booktubers and am really excited to check it out! As for the humor in YA, I love it! As long as it’s done right… Sometimes I’m so tired of all this drama and angst in YA books, that I really need something easy and funny to read.

  20. Kristin

    Humor is absolutely a selling point to me – I have much less patience for books that take themselves so seriously that everything is SO DRAMATIC. I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I’ve added this one to my list now!

  21. Amy

    The cover for Trial by Fire is gorgeous! I love humorous books and this post has made me think about how few I’ve read.

  22. Jocelyne

    I would love to see more humour in supernatural YA! Although it may lessen the tension, I believe that a breather is needed every once in awhile between the action and the drama. WHICH makes me very excited to read Trial by Fire :D and personally, I would choose a book that would make me laugh over a book would make me cry.

  23. Monica M

    I have been excited about this book for so long now! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a YA book with so many glowing reviews; in fact I don’t think I’ve read even one negative review of this novel yet. I love humor in a YA novel, and the last book I read (Cracked by Eliza Crewe) had a ton of humor in an otherwise dark story. It was a good story, but the humor was what really made it great. So now that I know Trial by Fire is humorous as well… now I really really need to read it!
    Monica M recently posted…Review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

  24. Liat

    I really want to read this book, ever since reading the synopsis. I never read anything by the author, but now that I read about her love for the discworld witches, I have a feeling that I will like her writing. I think I probably agree with her. I don’t have that much experience with the YA she probably refers to, but from reading reviews I guess she’s probably right. It’s not only the humor that’s lacking, it’s also the self-consciousness (Buffy style?) that adds humor to a situation. But most of the authors/editors are probably dedicated to the life-or-death-threat-stakes-are-so-high-no-time-to-lose-the-fate-of-all-mankind-on-our-shoulders to bother with characters (especially in the normal teenager in a strange situation sort of plot) being aware of the absurdity of situations. Although, I don’t know, I recently read several YA books that are not laugh-out-loud funny, but are witty and with a good sense of humor, for example-Sorcery&Cecilia, The Thief, The False Prince, Goose Girl, Dealing with Dragons and of course, Pratchett’s Tiffany books.

  25. Emma A

    She sounds like such a great author who would have a very fun and unique story to tell! This makes me really want to read Trial by Fire because it would be a light and entertaining read compared to some other very serious and heart-clenching reads.

    I love humor in YA books. It has to be a good balance between humor and story though. One example I can think of off the top of my head is, Richelle Mead’s books. She definitely gets me laughing during her books, which is dangerous, because I don’t want to wake my parents up at two a.m. because I was laughing too hard at a book that I am staying up too late reading. I would love to see more cute, fun quirks in books that I think some lack in order to make it even more successful.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    • Wendy Darling

      It actually is a serious story in some parts, Emma, particularly later on when Lily starts to learn how to control her powers. But it’s also extremely humorous throughout, which I really appreciated. Such a nice change from all the doom and gloom of most dystopians, or deadly serious PNR.

      And yessssss to Richelle Mead! She’s a perfect example of an author who balances a more serious story (I know they’re vampires, but you know what I mean–the tone of the books is mostly serious) along with extremely funny, deadpan sarcasm. Such smart/witty dialogue! And all done at appropriate moments.

      Sounds like you’re really going to love this one. :) I know I did!

  26. Lily

    Ahh I absolutely can’t wait for this one so much (partly because the MC’s name is Lily!..how awesome is that?)
    What the author here is saying in this guest posts is so true! i don’t think i’ve ever stopped to actively think about it but YA is typically very tense! Sure, there are a few jokes here and there and some books but now that I think about it I need more funny books. You know, the kind that make you think you’re getting a six pack just from laughing so hard! YA needs more of those.
    Lily recently posted…Our Next Read {7}

    • Wendy Darling

      Lily is such a lovely name! And speaking of names, I’m wondering if she used “Proctor” for Lily’s last name as a nod to John Proctor? Most famously the first man accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Oh, now I want to go back and reread this to see if there were any hints that I missed.

      And hah, yes–I think a lot of PNR young adult lit takes itself too seriously sometimes. I love tension, but I love that tension occasionally being broken with humor, too. As someone commented below, there’s a feeling of relief when that happens–like yeah, this sucks, but life goes on and everything WILL be okay. Or at least we’ll be able to laugh at it afterwards.

  27. Jenn G

    I’m really excited about this one! I was stoked to read the author’s take on humor in YA – YA *does* need more humor, but it needs to be done properly. Kind of like heckling at a baseball game. When it’s done right, everyone enjoys it, but when it’s done wrong, everyone starts to get a little uncomfortable/angry.

    This really hits home for me – I used to compete in drama competitions in college (forensics or oratory, for those in the know) and I remember I had an AWESOME piece – it was composed of all sorts of versions of Cinderella and went through the story in all these different voices/different cultures…MAN. It was amazing. And I would get into finals with it, but then I’d never win – and my judging sheets came back with comments like, “needs to be more serious” and “a little light-hearted for a finals round.”

    Okay, okay, time to take off my angry eyes. I’d love to win the book!

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, I’ve been uncomfortable/angry at some dumb humor in YA books, mostly at snarky boys who think they’re being charming but they’re just being asses. :P

      Your background is interesting, Jenn–apparently the author also majored in theater, so you have that in common! I’m fascinated by the idea of battening down on humor, though. Maybe because I respond so strongly to it? My husband is really funny, so are most of my good friends, and most of my crush-worthy boys/men in fiction have a way with words. But it’s true that humor can also be very clumsy or feel completely out of place/inappropriate when it’s not done well.

      After hearing about your judging sheets, you definitely need to read this one. I don’t often literally laugh out loud, but I did a few times with this book.

  28. geoffrey

    this book sounds soo godd i keep seeing and hearing that its fun to read

  29. Hilary

    You don’t find prank-funny humour in YA because it is true that it’s often serious and deals with themes that concern some vital part of human nature. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it doesn’t have any humour at all though. It’s more of a dry, sarcastic humour with witty barbs edged in. It is important, however, to include humour in a tense scene because geez, who wants to date a high-strung person?
    Hilary recently posted…Shatter the Winner’s Curse

    • Wendy Darling

      I don’t think anyone’s saying YA doesn’t have any humor at all, but that it’s not all that common. I guess humor’s a broad description, though–I wasn’t thinking of “prank” humor at all in the conversations I’ve had with authors about this topic, as I think of that more for middle grade or children’s books. The majority of the humor I come across in YA tends to be sarcastic/snarky humor (contrary to the author’s experience in her post), which often isn’t all that funny to me. Or at least it’s more obvious types of humor, rather than stuff that really makes me laugh. TRIAL BY FIRE definitely had me chuckling, though.

        • Wendy Darling

          Mileage definitely varies depending on what you find funny–and humor is such a subjective thing anyway that it’s got to be hard to predict what will work for readers. Different strokes and all that!

    • Wendy Darling

      III know. Teenagers do feel things intensely (all those fucking hormones, man), but they ARE also laughing about things. The smart, interesting ones, anyway. It’s just unnatural for dialogue or situations to so often feel so humorless and stiff, imo.

      I’m sure some industry people reading this would pooh pooh this as our opinions as adult readers of YA, but it’s not like I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager, or a teenaged reader, for that matter. And as a high school teacher, you’d certainly know.

      I get what the editors are saying, too. But I disagree strongly that it’s always the right choice.

  30. Natalie

    This is a great topic to cover. But quite honestly, I find tons of humor in YA, and maybe that’s because I’m really quick to laugh, but I don’t think there’s a shortage of it. Granted, most YA books these days, at least the contemporary ones I’ve been reading, seem to have loads of really serious, sometimes tear inducing moments that outweigh the amount of laughs it causes. For me, humor from YA does come through the witty dialogue between characters. I recently saw a review someone did a book that said they didn’t like it much, one reason being because there wasn’t any meaningful quotes. A book doesn’t always have to have wisdom and insightful prose, sometimes it can just be a lighthearted novel that makes you laugh and grin.

    • Wendy Darling

      Do you really? That’s awesome! I guess different things are funny to different people, too (maybe part of the reason why humor’s hard to include in YA in general), or maybe I’m just not finding the right books.

      Witty dialogue is great (it keeps everybody on their toes), and I agree that’s the easiest place to include it in a story. That’s funny re: the meaningful quotes complaint, too–I’ve only ever wished for more of that once in a very specific book, because I’d come to expect it from the author/series. But that’s an unusual thing to pull out as a flaw in general. I love humorous books, and I agree that just finding one that makes you laugh is enough sometimes. For example, I’m fuzzy on the details as far the world-building and magic and plot details fora lot of Rachel Hawkins’ books, but I love love love them because they’re so darned funny. Humor and good characterization go a long way with me.

  31. Pili

    This is a fantastic post! I adore Josephine Angelini now even more since she made me giggle like mad with her Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett references, oh how I adore DNA’s trilogy in four parts and the Discworld series!! I love that kind of humour and it’s true that it tends to be missing from many YA books and that’s why the adult books I love reading are usually full of humour and snark (Discworld, UF like the Fever series and Chicagoland Vampires and Charley Davidson series…)

    As an adult reader of YA I’d love to bits having more humour in the books and I really loved all the instances of funny banter that was in Trial of Fire! I do hope editors won’t get too red-pen happy with the next installment, cause I’d love for that humour to still be present, even if the stakes are really high!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Linked by Imogen Howson!!

    • Wendy Darling

      I haven’t read Pratchett, but I am a big Douglas Adams fan, so I thought it was so fun that she included that in her post as well! And yesss, Chicagoland is a good example of humor that’s well-incorporated into an adult UF series.

      It’s kind of interesting that editors are saying this re: humor in YA. Um…they know a lot of adults are reading it too, right? ;) And there had BETTER still be funny stuff in the rest of this trilogy! I loved that, and would sorely miss it if it were gone.

      • Pili

        Oooh, Wendy!! You need to read some Discworld books! The Witches books, Death’s books and The Night Watch are all amazing!
        They can be read out of order, but they have a chronology to help a bit with continuining the stories and not miss references when reading some of the books! Let me know if you ever want to start and I’ll recommend book and link you to the chronology!
        Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Linked by Imogen Howson!!

        • Wendy Darling

          I guess I should check out the Discworld books sometime–I know Kate is a big fan. Good to know they can be read out of order, too! That’s always helpful when you’re staring down starting a new series. Thanks Pili!

  32. Larissa

    I really didn’t enjoy the Starcrossed series unfortunately due to the romance and main character :c However this one seems like such an improvement and the synopsis seems super promising. I love witch books so much but seem to be on a bad streak when it comes on finding ones that I love. The fact this book made your crush worthy boys and humor shelves is making me definitely want to give Trial by Fire a chance. ….I may or may not have raided you shelf of crush worthy boys a few times and read almost all of the books in there [;

    Hmmm Josephine’s view on humor in YA is quite interesting to me. Personally I do actually enjoy snappy dialogue and humor in any sort of writing. I suppose that timing would be key though, having one liners during a particularly dangerous scene wouldn’t really wouldn’t mesh with that high stakes feeling. However sometimes in YA I feel like some of these tense scenes can become too much and dramatic to a ridiculous point. Sometimes humor to diffuse a situation works and if it results in me laughing??? Even better. Also, as a 17 year old girl’s experiences in “love” and such I can say that I don’t feel those life or death stakes. More so I feel that awkwardness that I wish that there would be some humor to diffuse some tension. I personally think humor is important and somehow there should be some sort of element in most books. Laughter is the best medicine after all (:

    Thanks for the giveaway <33
    Larissa recently posted…Review: Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh good, I was hoping you and Rashika and our other teen blogger friends would come by, Larissa! I get what the publishers are saying re: life or death situations–it isn’t always appropriate to crack a joke in the middle of a tense situation, but SOMETIMES it is. And there are plenty of other situations in a book/in life where you could be funny, too. Actually, another good example of an author who does this well and still develops really elaborate paranormal worlds is Cassandra Clare. Jace Wayland and Will Herondale are two of the wittiest characters in YA, and the other characters all have their moments of humor, too. But the life and death situations still feel tense and urgent and emotional. I think it’s hard to find an author who has the right touch, and it’s likely hard to edit as well, but it’s not impossible. And I dearly wish we saw more of it.

      Totally agree on the awkwardness thing, too. I know I’m an adult reading YA, but even as a teenager reading YA, I was never into characters that behaved melodramatically or had zero sense of humor. I guess humor is so subjective, too–the snarky comments that a lot of readers find attractive in some YA boys, I just find annoying. But love me some Will Herondale or Adrian Ivashkov or Archer Cross or…okay, I’ll stop, hee hee.

      And yessssss, I’m excited that my crush-worthy boys shelf has been helpful! You may come visit all of them on my pretty YA-boy island. :D

      Definitely read TBF, though. Humor and witch-powers CAN be combined successfully.

  33. Tammy

    I love humor in YA. Nothing better than when a book makes me smile or giggle out loud.

    • Wendy Darling

      III know. It’s so refreshing to find a story/characters that don’t take themselves so deadly seriously, and it puts me in such a good mood. Even if the book isn’t specifically a humorous book, I think lightening up occasional dialogue can really help our enjoyment of a story.

  34. Kathy L.

    I just finished reading Josephine’s Starcrossed last night and it was amazing! I’m just about to start Dreamless and I’m really hope it is just as good! Also I would LOVE to see more humor in YA and I think as long as it’s written or timed right it won’t take away from the tension.

    • Wendy Darling

      Agreed that timing is very important–but that’s true for all humor, I think. Takes a deft hand in writing for sure. I hope you enjoy the humor in TRIAL BY FIRE as much as I did, Kathy!

  35. Sara

    This sounds awesome! I love the idea of parallel worlds, and that what makes you weak in one is what makes you mighty in another. This sounds right up my alley, and I can’t wait to read it!

    • Wendy Darling

      YES. This was such an interesting dynamic, and it was explored really well. It’s fascinating to see Lily become more confident and powerful (while staying true to herself), her character arc is really well developed.

  36. Taylor Sue Atkinson

    I am so pumped for this book. I read Josephine’s Goddess Triology so as soon as I found out she was writing again, it was immediately on my to-read. I’m so excited it is funny because I feel like YA needs more humor.

    • Wendy Darling

      I actually didn’t realize the STARCROSSED books were so popular until I was formatting this post and read up on the big contract and how well the books sold. If they’re anything like TRIAL BY FIRE, I can see why!

      I agree, YA does need more humor, regardless of what those editors are saying.

  37. Samantha Wallace

    I would love to read this book because I am really interested in the book after I read the synopsis and it sounds like a really great read. Thanks for the giveaway!! :)

  38. Brittany T

    I love humor in YA since there is typically some evil entity trying to destroy someone, something, or humanity itself it is always refreshing to lighten the mood. I am a HUGE fan of Angelini’s Starcrossed series and know what to expect with her writing so the mixed reviews haven’t dissuaded me one bit.
    Brittany T recently posted…♡Feature & Follow Friday:FEATURING YOURS TRULY!♡

    • Wendy Darling

      YES! We need more mood-lightening, gawd.

      I hadn’t tried STARCROSSED yet because I’d seen mixed reviews for it, but TRIAL BY FIRE was so good that I’m definitely going to do it sometime. I hope you enjoy this one, too!

  39. A Canadian Girl

    Huh, I always notice when snarky characters are present because I end up loving them, yet I actually haven’t ever wondered why humour isn’t more common in YA. So, this post was pretty insightful but sad because publishers think that funny parts need to be edited out. I’ve always thought that less serious moments in books would sometimes help to highlight the more tense moments to show their importance.

    I wasn’t really too interested in this one originally, Wendy, but all the positive reviews for it have changed my mind. I’m looking forward to its release tomorrow and giving it a try soon!
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

    • Wendy Darling

      It is sad. I understand needing to be careful about how humor is used depending on the circumstances, but there are authors who balance humor/paranormal so well that I’m surprised that people aren’t seeing the appeal. I like the point you make about humor serving as a foil for more serious moments, too. I think it’s also just true to life–we get our screaming fits or our moments of terror, but it’s a pretty sad life if we can’t crack a joke about them.

      I REALLY liked this one, Z. I didn’t really expect to, in that paranormal’s really difficult to pull off well, but I thought this was a lot of fun. I’m glad you’re going to give it a chance!

    • Wendy Darling

      I haven’t had the chance to read STARCROSSED yet, but I definitely want to after enjoying this book so much! You read this, I’ll read that. :)

  40. Carina Olsen

    I love this post. <3 Thank you all so much for sharing :D And ack. I LOVED Trial by Fire. <3 This book was awesome :) I'm so glad you liked it too Wendy. <3 Thank you for sharing :) The guest post by Josephine is awesome. I'm just dying for book two. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #148

    • Wendy Darling

      Wasn’t it an awesome book? I’m so excited that this is the first book in a trilogy! Two more books to look forward to.

      Apparently there are deleted scenes on the series’ website as well, I have to check those out sometime soon.

  41. Rashika

    This post makes me sad because I love humor and I’ve never really sat down to think about why humor isn’t as common in YA. What Josephine says makes sense but at the same time, as a young adult, I feel like humor IS important. It’s true that there are going to be lots of tense moments in our lives but at the same time, I know I’ve spent a lot of time laughing at some of the stupid things I’ve done (and secretly banging my head on the wall for being so silly!). In fact, for me, it’s come to the point where I don’t actually enjoy reading tense scenes all that much. I even made a song to help me get through some of those awkward moments :P It’s why I ADORE it when it’s humor that diffuses those tense scenes because laughing is fun! :D

    Thanks for sharing this guest post with us, Wendy!!! :)
    Rashika recently posted…Random Things in Motion #9: Bad Boys

    • Wendy Darling

      I know! I think it’s really disappointing that authors are being told that humor isn’t a selling point, because it certainly is to me. You’re a teenager and you feel this way, and I know when I was in high school I liked funny books as well.

      I think the editors make good points in the sense that you do have to be careful not to take away from the tension in certain scenes, but I don’t know–as I was saying to Justine Larbalestier and Jennifer Hubbard on the Twitter convo I linked, I think there’s room for some levity even in non-specifically humorous books. Like you said, there is humor in life, even in the middle of dramatic circumstances, and it’s surprising not to find more humor in books, too.

      TRIAL BY FIRE is really hilarious, though. It made me giggle throughout most of the story, which is surprising because the witchy stuff with her powers is done really well.