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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blog Tour: The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams, Guest Post + CONTEST!

Hello again!
Post 2 of 2 for today, here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers as we play host to a recently released Chronicle Books title, The Space Between Trees.  But wait...a book is just a book, or rather words on a page quite unorganized, without an author to dream up the idea in the first place and so please welcome the author of this book herself, Katie Williams!  Take it away....


Author Guest Post
Katie Williams

Hello there, insatiable readers!

There’s someone new wearing the apron today! Your delightful web-chef has let me, author Katie Williams, knock around in her kitchen today, as long as I promise to wash all the dishes and put her spice rack back in alphabetical order. Since Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers is so admirably inclusive with its reviews—adult, YA, science fiction, fantasy, everyone is welcome—I thought it might be fun to cook up a few thoughts about the young adult novel, more specifically, what moral responsibility YA writers have to their readers.

Up until quite recently, my writing background was in fiction for adults, but then my first novel, The Space Between Trees, sold as a YA novel, and I had to think about what these classifications meant—children’s books versus young adult, young adult versus adult.

Protagonist age and reading difficulty seemed to be the obvious differences, and there’s certainly something to be said for the ease of finding the right shelf in the bookstore. Beyond that, though, I eventually decided that a good story was just a good story.

Then a writer friend asked me if a YA novel had to have some sort of moral at its end. “No, no.” I waved the idea away. “Maybe children’s books do, but not YA.”

But the question stuck with me. It echoed whenever someone remarked that Bella Swann was not a good role model for teenage girls or that Katniss Everdeen was. I heard it in the approval for YA books that “taught an important lesson” and in the panicked claims that Harry Potter glorifies witchcraft. And I began to worry a bit about my own novel, which includes teenage girls behaving pretty horrifically and ends with no moral whatsoever except, perhaps, that being an adult is messier and scarier than you expect it to be when you’re a child. So was I doing harm to my teenage readers? Had I forsaken my role as a moral guide?

I’ve thought about this a good bit. I’ve thought about the books I read as a teenager, both adult and YA, and what these books gave me.

Here’s where I’ve ended up:
The story is the lesson. Reading allows us to step into someone else’s skin and walk around for a bit. Through stories, we experience situations different from our own and people different from those around us in the most intimate way, sitting inside characters’ heads or hovering just over their shoulders. Ultimately, a story gives the reader empathy. And isn’t that the greatest lesson of all, no matter one’s age?

I’d love to hear what you think. Does a YA novel bear moral responsibility that an adult novel doesn’t?


Now that IS a good question...what do you think readers?  Is there a greater calling for socially acceptable morals and values to be displayed in the YA genre versus your everyday Fiction?  I'm curious to see what you think as well.  The comments are throw your two cents in!

Now, one last thing before I stop inundating you with posts of greatness today, and believe me, you'll forgive me for dragging on when you here this.  Thanks to the generous folks over at Chronicle Books (thanks, Lara!) and the wonderful author, I have the privilege of offering YOU the chance to win a SIGNED copy of the book for your own reading pleasure!  (Got ahead, take a moment to do a happy one's looking....*peek*)  Here's the scoop....

The prize:
(1) SIGNED copy of The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

How to enter:
Fill out the FORM.

The rules:
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 through Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Monday, August 2nd, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, a new winner will be chosen.
*Winners name and address will be forward to Lara at Chronicle Books for prize send out only and then discarded.

After you enter, don't forget to check out the other stops along this tour including...

July 15th ... YA Librarian Tales
July 16th... Carrie's YA Bookshelf
July 18th... Bookalicious Blog
July 19th... WORD for Teens
July 20th... Oh Hey What's Up Blog
July 21st... HERE

...and still more!


Good luck to everyone!
Until next time....happy reading!


Pamela Keener said...

I think as long as it's a great story hidden in there is always morals. I don't think you have to hit someone over the head with it.
Bella might not be a good role model but it opens discussion for what is right and wrong. If I was a parent, which I am not, I would want to be aware of my child's reading, music choices and have that be a chance to talk about things. I also would love that they are enjoying reading books.
Love & Hugs,

Malbebe said...

In my opinion all books are equal. The only difference in novels is the age of the characters. Of course when you are younger people want you to learn more morals, when you are an adult its not really there because you are older and should have known by now. I hope I understand the question and answered it clearly. :)

Kaitlyn (Kaitlyn in Bookland) said...

I don't think YA books should be made to raise children. I have this same issue with celebrities being good role models or bad role models--essentially, it should be the parent's job to help their children learn right from wrong. I believe that the parents should be reading what their kids are, as well, so they can have open discussions about the topics and events in the book. It should not all fall on authors/characters/celebrities though.

fredamans said...

Awesome contest! Thank you for offering it! The books sounds really, really awesome!

jenna said...

I think YA novels are to be enjoyed just like adult novels. Most books have some kind of lesson to be learned and I don't think there should be any more emphasis on morals in YA novels just because of the age group.

I've loved following this book tour so far!


Ekta said...

I think all books are different so people who read them get different messages. One person may find a moral in a story and someone else wouldn't find one in the same exact story. It's all just how we perceive the book. Great post and thanks for the giveaway :D

Jules@OneBookShy said...

I agree with having morals embedded in a story and not being blatant about it. I've also found that there are people you could beat over the head with something and they still won't get it. Their minds just aren't open.

Thanks for the giveaway!

onebookshy (at) yahoo dot com

GMR said...

Great conversation guys! Definitely interesting to see what you all of luck in the contest!

Jessy said...

No, I don't think there needs to be a moral to every YA story. Sometimes at the end of a story I roll my eyes if the author is trying to spew out a lesson. I even think by the time you are a late teen, you should know right from wrong.

Christie (The Fiction Enthusiast) said...

I think a subtle moral lesson is nice, but not required. I think it might be good for YA books to show not so great behavior as long as there are consequences for the character’s actions. Let’s face it life rarely works out as smoothly as it does in fiction. Sometimes a nice dose of reality does us good :)

Okapi said...

Very interesting post! I never really thought about morals, but I think that whether the book has a moral or not, the reader will always learn something from it.

bkobsessed17 said...

I think in YA novels that adults focus more on the lessons and teens more on the feelings and relating to the characters. I don't think YA would be popular to young adults, otherwise.

A Musing Mother said...

I want to enter this but I can't! Help! I am a follower!

Shishito said...

I don't think YA novels should bear any moral responsibility. That is why it is called "Fiction." Great storytelling where imagination flys freely in order to make the story interesting to the target audience. Plus most kids who read don't read the book and say that was a good moral. They like the dystopian setting and the paranormal abilities, and the magic, etc, all of which I don't think will negatively influence children in any way.

Mary Elizabeth said...

What a fabulous giveaway and interview! Thank you!1

GMR said...

Great responses there guys! Keep 'em coming...

A Musing Mother: What trouble are you having? Just checked the form, seems in working order...send me an email if you're still having troubl. ^_^

KIKA said...

Thanks for the awesome contest! I've heard a lot about this one, loved the interview too!

dor said...

Thanks for posting this giveaway. I am very interested in this book now. It is on my list ...but...hopefully I'll win it. Hugs.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Chantel said...

Great giveaway, thanks so much for hosting it. I've got my fingers crossed!

JHS. said...

I'm in! This sounds like a book I would really enjoy!

Thanks and don't forget to check out my giveaways, as well.


jhsmail at comcast dot net

Misusedinnocence said...

This sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. :)

Colleen Turner said...

This sounds so good, I hope I win :)

lag123 said...

I think that each person finds their own moral in each story. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Books and Bane said...

I agree with lag123!!
nedsped at gmail dot com

MannaB said...

Thanks for the great contest!

Julie said...

The book sounds really good. Thanks for the contest.


Vampires and Tofu said...

No, I don't think it's imperative for there to be a lesson. I think above all, books should just be GOOD and help instill a love and passion for reading. If it comes across as too preachy, that might get lost. Besides, I think we bring our own values to the stories we read...

Bingo said...

I am just thankful to have found your for my opinion, I love all kids of books and if a book makes you a lifelong lover of books and reading, then I can't fault it.

Bingo said...

sorry I forgot my email ..duh!

kdhaney at gmail dot com

Linda Henderson said...

I think as long as a YA books doesn't show totally bad morals it's okay. Even if they do, if they show the outcome of such behavior I think it's acceptable.

seriousreader at live dot com

Meredith said...

I don't think every YA book has the responsibility to teach a lesson. Why can't teens just read for entertainment? If every books ends in a happy, feel good lesson, how can we expect to keep them reading and interested?

Bethie said...

I think that morals can have a place in any story, YA or adult. I don't know if YA books have more stories with morals or not, but that is what is seems.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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