Quote of the Day

Valentine’s Day got a little away from me, so this is a day late, but no less swoon-y. When I was in middle school, one of my very favorite books was Cyrano de Bergerac. Poetry, fencing, unrequited love–what more could a shy middle schooler want? I must have read it a dozen times. It’s also the source of one of my favorite romantic quotes:

A kiss, when all is said,—what is it?
An oath that’s ratified,—a sealed promise,
A heart’s avowal claiming confirmation,—
A rose-dot on the ‘i’ of ‘adoration,’—
A secret that to mouth, not ear, is whispered,—
Brush of a bee’s wing, that makes time eternal,—
Communion perfumed like the spring’s wild flowers,—
The heart’s relieving in the heart’s outbreathing,
When to the lips the soul’s flood rises, brimming!

If you haven’t seen/read Cyrano yet, I’d recommend checking it out. Share your favorite romantic quotes in the comments!

SCBWI Summer Conference and That Lovin’ Feeling

The 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference is fast approaching. If you’re headed to LA and want to get pumped, or staying at home (like I am) and want to feel that conference-y goodness, check out these pre-conference interviews from the SCBWI conference blog. In Martha Brockenbrough’s interview with agent Jill Corcoran, Jill talks about what she’s looking for in YA romance and why that’s hard to find:

“Maybe it is difficult to recapture the innocence and wonder of first or even second love. Of crushes and unrequited love. Of waiting for that kiss, that touch, that moment when you no longer think straight and lose a part of yourself–for the good and the bad–to the person you ‘think’ you love. Of discerning between love and lust towards another person, and towards you. Of truth and lies. Of wanting to believe and not trusting your gut…it is about characters–soul-searching, groin-yearning, heart thumping, heart breaking, fast paced, laugh out loud, cry out loud, make me want to be your character ROMANCE!”

It’s easy to look down on romance, but it’s so hard to do well. I think Jill’s statement above touches on a lot of the very real, understandable feelings we’ve all experienced or wanted to experience. One of my YA favorites, Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty, handles romance beautifully. Elizabeth experiences the pains of rejection and the hope of adorable first love. As Jill mentions, it captures that innocence and wonder of first/second love. (Plus it’s a hilarious and awesome book.) I’m definitely keeping Jill’s advice in mind for my romantically-inclined characters.
Make sure to check out the SCBWI blog for all the interview and more pre-conference info. Have fun in LA, conference-goers!

Love-ly Reading

The Horn Book has some fantastic suggestions for YA novels to get you in the Valentine’s Day mood. They’re not “romance” novels, but they all deal with love or heartbreak. A few suggestions of my own:

Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
When I was in high school, Weetzie Bat had one of my favorite descriptions of a kiss: “A kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat. A kiss about chocolate, when you haven’t eaten chocolate in a year. A kiss about palm trees speeding by, trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne. A kiss about spotlights fanning the sky and the swollen sea spilling like tears all over your legs.” Swoon! The whole series is fantastic, too, especially in how it looks at love.

Searching for Dragons by Patricia Wrede
The whole Enchanted Forest Chronicles series is fantastic, but this one is a compelling take on the Prince (ahem, King) meets Princess (ahem, (Chief Cook and Librarian to the King of the Dragons) story.

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
Mostly a book about friendships, but Moriarty also handles budding romance and heartbreak really well. Elizabeth Clarry gets letters from imaginary organizations like the Young Romance Association telling her she needs to stop being such an embarrassment and get a boyfriend already. Probably one of the most hilarious and relatable novels for teens without a lot of relationship experience.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Technically not a YA novel, but it’s about teens at a kind of boarding school, so I think it counts. A great example of a love triangle, with a creepy dystopian backdrop and gorgeous writing.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Also technically not a YA novel, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to put it on a teen reading list. It’s got a dashing pirate, a beautiful princess, a giant, a fencing expert, miracles, an evil prince, an evil-er count, and Rodents of Unusual Size. What more could you want than true love and high adventure?

What are your favorite novels about love?