The OG Queen of Faerie Fantasy on Romantasy, BookTok and the Rise of YA



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The OG Queen of Faerie Fantasy Weighs In

Holly Black has been writing romantasy since well before we had a name for it, so of course the publicity tour for her latest novel, The Prisoner’s Throne, includes a lot of conversation about the BookTok-driven trend. In a wide-ranging interview, Black reflects on how she stumbled into a career writing YA, why she doesn’t write spicier sex scenes, and how she thinks about human diversity and representation in faerie worlds. I was glad to see her call out the overwhelming whiteness of BookTok sensations—the platform’s racial bias has been well-documented—and I’m going to be thinking about her theory that Barnes & Noble’s decision to move YA out of the children’s section jumpstarted its rise. 

National Book Foundation Announces 5 Under 35 Honorees

Every year, five authors who have been previously honored by the National Book Foundation each select a debut fiction writer under the age of 35 whose work “promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape.” It’s a lovely pay-it-forward setup and a wonderful chance to discover new writers at the start of their careers. This year’s 5 Under 35 honorees span a variety of genres and themes, from family secrets to immigration to the nature of belief. I’ll admit these are all new to me, and I’m looking forward to exploring them. I think I’ll start with We Are a Haunting.

A Tricky Brain Teaser

There are 13 narrative nonfiction titles hidden in this word game, and whew! I’ve been staring at it for a while, and I can only find 11. How’d you fare?

Why Ban Books When You Can Ban Book Awards?

Illinois students in grades 4-8 vote each year to select the books that will win the Rebecca Caudill Awards. The Caudill Awards have been part of a statewide program since 1988, but this year, one district has withdrawn due to concerns (raised, of course, my people who haven’t even read the books) that the list is “left-leaning.” You’ll be shocked, I’m sure, that the book that kicked off the concern is Stamped:  (For Kids) Racism, Antiracism, and You.


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