YABooksPodcast's podcast

I interview Young Adult, YA, authors about their books. YA novels may be Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure, Action, Horror, or General Fiction. We talk about the author's lives, locations, work, careers, training, education, inspiration, writing methods and routines.
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Now displaying: Category: ya - contemporary


Jan 25, 2018

This is episode number 99. I'd already purchased a book for the big one hundred, but I've decided to call it quits, again, with this one.
I hate to say goodbye. I love podcasting, meeting fascinating authors and introducing people to the first chapters of great books. But, I'm not getting the feedback to keep going. It got harder and harder to get authors to interview. I'm not sure why that was, if it was their fear of being interviewed, or my self doubts about whether they would really want to be on the podcast. Maybe I should have been more assertive. In addition, subscriptions and downloads have decreased steadily over the last two months. With the podcast taking up half of the creative time I have each week, I think I should focus on getting some of my novels edited and published.
If you're interested in finding out what I'm working on, you can find me at, on facebook at Philip Carroll Author, or you can contact me directly at

This weeks episode is:

Turtles all the way down by John Green, author of "The Fault in Our Stars" and other very popular novels.
I chose this one because it was chosen as the number 2 Reader's choice on Goodreads for Young Adult Fiction. It was 7,000 votes behind number one (The Hate U Give) with at 52K and a whole 30,000 ahead of number 3 "One of Us is Lying" which I reviewed a few months ago.

It has 4.5 star average on 695 reviews on Amazon.
It was published on Oct 10, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#2 in Books > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Coming of Age
#2 in Books > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Social & Family Issues > Depression & Mental Illness
#2 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Mental Health > Anxiety Disorders

Here's the blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

The Amazon preview has the first chapter and a bit of the second. I'm going to read you all that is included:


John Green creates an intricate voice in the thoughts of Aza. I can see why he is so popular. He's created Aza to be witty, thoughtful and self reflective, just as teenagers would like to picture themselves. Probably more witty and self reflective than any actual teenager, but it makes for a fascinating character in a book.

Aza really worries about her microflora and feels outnumbered. If she was truly thoughtful and maybe a little more analytical, she would realize she's only outnumbered by count, not by volume. By volume, the aliens are way outnumbered. But, that's not the point. The point is her anxiety. Her anxiety appears entertaining. Maybe Green is using it as a gimmick, maybe he is truly concerned about teens and their anxieties. My teenage daughter has crushing anxiety that shuts her down in class, but she doesn't bounce out of it with witting interchanges with classmates.

These first two chapters barely introduce us to the story and if it wasn't for the blurb, this little bit that I read would hardly motivate you to read on. But add the blurb to the author's immaculate writing and immersive style and you're pretty much guaranteed a good read in, "Turtles All the Way Down".

Thanks for listening, and I'll miss hanging out with you next week.

Jan 11, 2018

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
4.8 on 1242 reviews

Published Feb 27, 2017
675 in the paid Kindle store
Voted #1 for Young Adult Fiction in the Goodreads Readers Choice awards for 2017
(Next week I'm going to review number 2. The the following week #1 in Young Adult Fantasy.)


Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books.


What I like about this chapter.
The characters are realistic and natural. They're ethnic but not over the top.
Starr is a great protagonist. She's torn between two lives. The suburban prep school, her friends, and life there. And the urban reality of her home and those she's grown up with.

I wish that the preview had been longer so that I could have shared more of the plot with you, but I give this a five star recomendation to go and read further. It's not for the faint of heart or those who are offended by profanity.

Thanks for listening. Come back next week for more from the Goodreads readers choice awards.

Oct 12, 2017

I was born in Palmer, Alaska, but lived in every time zone of the lower 48 (and Taiwan) before I went to college. I studied at Brigham Young University and in East Asia (China, Japan), which proved amazing exploration territory.

Ten plus years later my exploration has turned inward, and "Hurricane Coltrane" reflects the difference. My people settled that lonely stretch of southern Utah desert. Some would call it barren earth, but I have discovered it fertile beyond anything I initially imagined...creatively. Welcome to the first fruits of my prosperous literary garden!

I now live in Bountiful, Utah with my story-adoring husband and daughter.

Hurricane Coltrane (April 2015)
Merrill Hinton is a lightning rod in a town named for bad weather. He’s an ace in math, but not smart enough to put together the pieces of his puzzling life, especially where finding his unknown father is concerned.

Musical genius Robbie Stubbs was born in nearby polygamist compound Colorado City. He has the chops to become another John Coltrane, but that will take running away from home, and into a firestorm of controversy–the kind his friend Merrill knows best.

Merrill sets Robbie onto a course that could rocket them both onto center stage, but being the focus of wide public attention will create serious issues. Robbie’s mother is not well, and the shock of her son breaking the family rules like this may put her over the edge.

And Merrill Hinton? His precarious future would be compromised in ways he doesn’t yet realize.

Oct 5, 2017

Thedore FIcklestein is a writer of various poetry books and young adult and humor novels. He takes great influence from Shel Silverstein, JD Salinger and George Carlin. His novel A Day in the Life follows college student Nicholas Cripp. Through the eyes of a young yearning for meaning in a meaningless world, Nick learns that in life, the joke is on you.

Book Synopsis:
A Day In The Life is Theodore Ficklestein’s debut novel about Nickolas Cripp, a college student finding his way in the world. Although Nick won’t admit it, he is the main focus to a young adult book that follows him from his home to college to the city, where he wants to attend an open mic.

Along his path, he encounters a teacher who asks about the apocalypse, a drunk on the train and two friends who feel writing isn’t Nick’s strong point, among others. Nick soon finds out that the funniest things in life aren’t that funny at all, and the greatest comedians never go up on stage.

As he goes through his day, one oddball character at a time, Nick starts to question if the comedy club he dreams of being in, is really for him. Should he be who he wants to be? Or who the world thinks he should be? Neither of which, he is entirely sure about.

A personal journey of self-discovery through the eyes of a youth yearning for meaning in a meaningless world; Nick learns that in life, the joke is on you.

Official Website:

Jun 22, 2017

a novel

14-year-old Feather Tucker has the best mom in the world—funny, clever, loving, movie-star beautiful…and the fact that she weighs 500 pounds and never leaves the house? Feather can’t imagine life any other way.

But when she comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother in a life-threatening diabetic coma, she’s determined to nurse her mother back to health—and fast. Yet, as she desperately attempts to get through to her mother and enabling father, Feather realizes there might be more to her mother’s overeating than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, Feather’s crushing hard on the new boy in town, training for the swimming championships, and navigating her life-long friendship with lovable Jake…all while attempting to keep her pet goat Houdini from running away—again.

As friends old and new join Feather’s journey to save her mother, Feather begins to learn that we all bear the weight of our pasts in different ways.

VIRGINIA MACGREGOR is currently Head of Creative Writing at Wellington College. She is the author of What Milo Saw and The Return of Norah Wells. She has taught at boarding schools in the UK and the US and currently lives in Concord, NH.

Virginia Macgregor was brought up in Germany, France and England by a mother who never stopped telling stories. From the moment she was old enough to hold a pen, Virginia set about writing her own, often late into the night - or behind her Maths textbook at school. Virginia was named after two great women, Virginia Wade and Virginia Woolf, in the hope she would be a writer and a tennis star. Her early years were those of a scribbling, rain-loving child who prayed for lightning to strike her tennis coach. After studying at Oxford, Virginia started writing regularly while working as an English Teacher and Housemistress. Virginia lives in Berkshire with her husband, Hugh.

Jun 1, 2017

"I can’t trust my own mind, or my memory, so I’m writing all of this down… There’s been a
murder in this town and I’m determined to get to the bottom of it."
Aaron Grayling hates summer. It’s a time of heat and humidity in the dreary town of Meriville.
It’s also the time when the bad dreams come, which have been intensifying since the death of his
father. He hardly seems to find the space to breathe…
Until the fateful day he finds a diary in the woods. Penned by the mysterious X, it hints at a
shadowy world of murder that seems too true for the boy to ignore.
Torn between school and a murder investigation, Aaron finds himself an unlikely companion in
X. Can they stop the crimewave from hitting Meriville before it's too late? And will it help Aaron
understand the turbulent goings-on in his head?
Hidden Lives is a powerful novel of friendship and loss, and staying true to who you
are against the odds.

Kestral Gaian is an award-winning broadcaster, scriptwriter, musician, and performer. Best
known for their work presenting regular radio series The Geekly Chronicles and for their often performed
choral compositions, they have also published two poetry collections - Silent Poet and
Counterweights - before breaking into longform writing with their debut novel Hidden Lives.
Having trained as an animator and worked in software before moving to writing and the arts,
Kestral's view on the world is eclectic and thoughtful. Their unique views on how technology
impacts human nature, their charity work, and tireless campaigning for equality has led to them
being invited to guest lecture at a number of top institutions across the world, including Eton
College, Cambridge, and Université de Bordeaux.
Outside of work, Kestral is a keen cook and even more keen consumer of food. They can be found
on Twitter and more of their work is available at their website

Apr 13, 2017

Kaki Olsen is always on the brink of another adventure. If she couldn’t be a writer, she’d be a full-time musician or travel guide and she would take her lunch breaks at Fenway Park. Until that happens, she speaks both Spanish and English at her every-day office job, but she has vacationed enthusiastically in such places as Istanbul and Ireland. She has lived in five states, but will always refer to Boston as home.
She regularly contributes academic papers on zombies or wizards to Life, the Universe and Everything, a sci-fi/fantasy symposium originated at her alma mater, Brigham Young University. Her published works have appeared in such magazines as Voices and AuthorsPublish. Her debut novel, Swan and Shadow, was published by Sweetwater Books in 2016.
She is a doting aunt and librarian of two bulging bookshelves. This site allows her to share her literary obsessions.

Aislin’s curse is the standard fare: swan by day, college student by night, true love as the only cure. But does true love even exist outside of fairy tales? After having to cover for Aislin during her swan hours, Aislin’s twin, Maeve, is willing to resort to anything from matchmaking to magic to see her sister live happily (and human) ever after. Will either of them get their wish?

Mar 30, 2017

Nicole Schubert is a first-time novelist and award-winning screenwriter with a soft spot for comedy and romance. She also dabbles in other behind-the-scenes activities, like producing the monthly Improv Diary Show at Santa Monica’s Westside Comedy Theater. She’s produced a music awards TV show and European-wide photo exhibition out of Brussels and enjoyed another side of storytelling working in the editing rooms of numerous Hollywood feature films. Nicole lives with her family—including The Kid and pirate kitty Biddy—in Los Angeles, by way of Brussels and New Orleans, where she was born during a hurricane.

The second Francie met Chet, her poetic memory danced.
This beloved debut novel from Nicole Schubert brings you an honest and painfully relatable coming of age story about first love, loss, music, sports, alcoholism, family and friendship that will have you cheering, crying and singing with the quirky, pensive Francie Mills. Compassionate, heartbreaking and hopeful, this novel for teen readers is a favorite of adults of all ages as well! If you like Sherman Alexie, John Green, JD Salinger or books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower or movies like Loves of a Blonde or anything John Hughes, this might just be your cup of tea.

Meet Francie Mills. She’s 16. Lives in the boring burbs of L.A. Is super determined and hopeful. And wants one thing: to be an amazing tennis player. Because if something exponentially, brilliantly wonderful like that happened, like winning the U.S. Open or even getting to nationals, everything would be okay. Her life. Her family. Her. She would matter. Be part of something important. And wouldn’t have to feel so unbearably sad and alone every time her dad gets drunk, again.

But the likelihood of amazingness starts to seem impossible when Francie injures her knee…that is, until she meets Chet Jones, lead singer of the band Blues Harp Jones, in Austin, on location for her dad’s movie job. Francie instantly falls for Chet, in his weird blazer and “God Save the Queen” t-shirt, sexy, genuine, funny. And she’s sure something wonderful is finally happening, especially when Chet miraculously falls for her too. But the closer Francie gets to Chet back in L.A. and the more her dad’s drinking tears her apart, the more she realizes the best kind of something wonderful isn’t at all what she expected.

Screen plays. How is writing them different than writing a novel?
producing the monthly Improv Diary Show
When did you decide to write a book?
Tell me about your book
The second Francie met Chet, her poetic memory danced.
Were any of the social issues address in your book what motivated you to write it?
Why Blues Harp Green?
Feb 4, 2017
4.6 stars 6 reviews
How's it doing?
How is your balancing act? Are you planning on writing another? Also in this genre?
What is the best way for people to get a hold of you?

Apr 28, 2016

In this episode I talk with Mia Siegert and we talk about Olympic Horse Jumping, MFA's, Adjunct Professors, professional hockey, internet hook ups, and other things.

Jerk Bait
Even though they're identical, Tristan isn't close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself. Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other's lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can't escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie's future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer. As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as "Jimmy2416." Between keeping Robbie's secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?

Mia Siegert received her MFA from Goddard College and her BA from Montclair State University where she won Honorable Mention in the 2009 English Department Awards for fiction. Her debut JERKBAIT will be released May 2016 by Jolly Fish Press. Siegert has been published in Clapboard House, Word Riot, The Limn Literary & Arts Journal, as well as a few other small presses.

Siegert currently works as an adjunct professor and a costume designer. She enjoys riding horses and watching hockey.

Mar 3, 2016

In this episode I talk with Janette Rallison about Arizona, raising teenage girls and using their experiences in her stories. About writing books for boys under the pseudonym CJ Hill. We talk about publishing with small publishers, back in the day of paper submissions and the advantages which come with having the internet.
Janette talks about her inspiration from "The Phantom Tollbooth", other authors, and from the artist, Minerva Teichert.

(From Janette's web page)

Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

Book Report Questions

So you’ve decided to do a book report on me or one of my books. Congratulations! You are obviously a person with impeccable literary taste.
I’ll try to address some of the common questions I get from book reporters (generally the night before the assignment is due).

When were you born?
A long, long time ago. 1966 to be exact.

Where did you grow up?
A wonderful small town called Pullman, Washington, which is why most of my books are set in small towns. I love them. (Bonus trivia point to impress your teacher: All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School; Revenge of The Cheerleaders; and Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards are all set in Pullman.)

How do you chose the locations for your books?
I set Playing the Field in Gilbert, Arizona, because that’s where I lived at the time. It’s easy to write about places you know well. But since I couldn’t set every story in Gilbert, I branched out to other warm climates. Most of my stories take place in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Texas.

I try to stay in warm climates because quite frankly I’ve lived in Arizona for so long I’ve forgotten what the cold is like. When I first wrote about Washington I almost had a scene where people mowed the lawn in December. Oops.

Where do you get your ideas from?
I have a teenage daughter, which is sort of like living in your own reality show, but with fewer commercials. I borrow from her life a lot. In fact while I was writing It’s A Mall World After All I once lifted dialogue for a scene right off the text message log in my daughter’s cell phone.

Has any of the stuff you’ve written about ever happened to you?
Unfortunately yes, but generally only the parts where characters are making fools of themselves. I did that a lot as a teenager. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an easy or graceful adolescence. It’s all about embarrassing yourself.

Will any of your books ever be turned into movies?
Authors have very little say over that sort of thing. (Ditto for the book covers.) But if I hear anything, I’ll let you know.

Is it true that when you were thirteen you had a massive crush on Apollo from the original series of Battlestar Galactica?
Oh, yes.

P.S. If your teacher asks you to identify symbolism in my books you have my permission to tell him/her that I didn’t put any in.
If your teacher asks about theme, tell her/him that the book is about forgiviness. Unintentionally, most of my books are. I didn’t even realize this until the last book. My husband asked me what the book was about (I think he asks these questions so he doesn’t have to actually read my books.) I told him, “On a basic level it’s about realizing when you’re wrong, and about forgiveness.”
He said, “Wasn’t that what your last book was about too?”
“Um, yeah.”

Jan 28, 2016

In this episode I interview Shanned Crane Camp. We talk about video games new and old, being a girl gamer, her many book series', and her writing process.

June Series
Sugar Coated Trilogy
Parrish Chronicles

Shannen Crane Camp was born and raised in Southern California, where she developed a love of reading, writing, and anything having to do with film. After high school, she moved to Utah to attend Brigham Young University, where she received a degree in Media Arts and found herself a husband in fellow California native Josh Camp. The two now live in Utah with their miniature schnauzer Hemingway. Shannen's true love is Young Adult Fiction though she often dabbles in New Adult, Paranormal, and Mystery. She takes any opportunity to include her love of film and video games in her writing and you might just find a nerdy Easter Egg or two hidden in her works.
Shannen loves to hear from readers, so feel free to contact her at or visit her website for more information:

Nov 19, 2015

In this episode I interview Doug Fowler
We talk about:
Nanowrimo, Law School, Family Law, Challenges facing youth, youth ministry, distopian novels, and baseball.
His Bio:
Doug Fowler was born in NE Ohio with vision & hearing handicaps, plus a dash of cerebral palsy & Dandy-Walker Syndrome. He has also used the skills God gave him to accomplish a lot. He got a B.A. in Communication Studies from the College of Wooster('91), a J.D. from Case Western Reserve('94), & a Masters in Ministry from Tennessee Temple University('08) via online courses and modules. He does wills and estates part time as an attorney, serves as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach, co-hosts a radio show for a local youth ministry, Greater Canton Youthquake, and does numerous other things for the Lord toward earning rewards in Heaven.

Doug loves family friendly fun as well as baseball, which he has followed since he was little. (His first favorite team was Charlie Brown's) He loves using his brain to develop what-ifs, such as the alternate histories in this list. he creates occasional comedy tapes for his nieces and nephews, one of which helped spawn the zany goings-on in "Vikings Sack San Marino."

Doug has a free blogged book at for young people or anyone who wants to be a spiritual leader but worries they can't.

Oct 22, 2015

Among other things, we talk about his debut novel release, "That Girl, Darcy", Jane Austin and her writing, Comic Books, and working in a library.


Learn more about him at

Here's a link to the book, now available on Amazon:

That Girl, Darcy


Book Description
A Pride and Prejudice Story. 

IT IS A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED that geeky guys never get to date the pretty girls with permanent scowls. 

To Elliott Bennett, life is simple. It’s all parties, skateboarding, and arguing over who would win in a fight between Hulk and Superman with his friends. It’s his senior year, and he wants nothing more than to soak up his final year of freedom before real life begins. 

That is, until Darcy Fitzwilliam and her best friend Bridget move in to the only mansion in the neighborhood. When Elliot meets Darcy at a party, he finds out that she isn’t into skateboarding (which he lives for), she hates science-fiction (which he loves), and she thinks his friends are a pack of morons (which, honestly, might be half true)—and yet, there’s something irritatingly intriguing about her. 

When Elliot’s cousin Jake starts to date Bridget, it complicates Elliot’s plans to ignore the scowling Darcy for the rest of the year. Why is Darcy so . . . ugh? Elliott doesn’t know, but for some reason, is determined to find out—even if she doesn’t know the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars. 
Author Bio
About the Author James Ramos is a native Minnesotan who has called Phoenix, Arizona his home for the past five years. He has been writing since the age of nine. He is a professional dork and lover of all things geeky. When he isn’t writing he can be found cosplaying as Spiderman or conversing with his extraordinarily brilliant cat. The eleventh Doctor is his favorite.

James Ramos

Oct 15, 2015

On this episode we talk about her currently available novel "Ideal High". We also discuss her next novel, "Purple Heart".

We talk about, Arizona, Texas, High School, Purple Hearts, Military service, Kids, Grand Kids and other things.

Valerie talks about her favorite authors, Jeanette Rallison, and Jenifer Shaw Wolf, who wrote,  "Breaking Beautiful" and  "Dead Girls Don't lie".

You can learn more about her on her blog at, on Twitter, @valerieipson,, or her website,, which may still be under construction.



Valerie Ipson loves her family...and reading, writing, family history, and Hershey Milk Chocolate Almond & Toffee Nuggets. She lives in Mesa, Arizona, and IDEAL HIGH is her debut novel.

She claims two hometowns: Richland, Washington, where she was born and lived until she was 10, and Amarillo, Texas, where she lived until leaving for college at 18. She thinks Richland is the best place to grow up, but wouldn't trade her growing experiences in Amarillo for anything.

Reading has always been a huge love in her life, but she never thought she'd be on the author side of a book. Valerie hopes she can give readers the same experience she has enjoyed through the years while being curled up with a good book!