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“All YA Need Is Love” panel

On the heels of Valentine’s Day, I attended an event sponsored by the Boston Teen Author Festival aptly called “All YA Need is Love.” The panel, which discussed all kinds of love in YA fiction, featured Kim Savage, author of After the Woods and Beautiful Broken Girls; Rebecca Maizel, author of Between Us and the Moon; and Sarah Fine, author of The Imposter Queen and its companion novel The Cursed Queen. Cofounder and director of the Boston Teen Author Festival (and former HB intern!) Renee Combs moderated.

savage_beautiful broken girlsThe three authors began by reading passages from each of their books that encapsulated a specific form of love. Savage talked about the love between Mira and Ben in Beautiful Broken Girls, and how the physical touches they shared lead Ben to discover what happened to Mira after her body is found in a quarry. She also discussed her previous book, After the Woods, in which platonic love between friends plays a major role: Julia sacrifices herself for Liv when they’re attacked by a kidnapper in the Middlesex Fells. When asked about which type of love she found most difficult to write, she explained that capturing familial love can be a daunting task — and the other panelists wholeheartedly agreed.

maizel_between us and the moonMaizel then spoke about Between Us and the Moon. Unbeknownst to Andrew, Sarah has lied about the age difference between them. This adds a complex element to their romance that requires Sarah to own up to her mistakes. Maizel also talked about Sarah’s love for astronomy and the ways it deepens both her character and her relationship with Andrew.

Fine focused on the love between The Cursed Queen‘s characters Ansa and Thyra, the only queer romance mentioned at the panel. While her portion didn’t specifically address the topic of LGB representation, it was good to hear about queer characters and their love as portrayed in a high fantasy book. Fine said that she lets the characters influence the course of their relationships, rather than imposing a set romantic trajectory upon them.

fine_cursed queenThe panel then competed to see which author could identify the most sources of famous quotes about romantic, platonic, and familial love. (The game quickly began to involve audience participation.) In addition to lines from well-known YA books such as Twilight and The Fault in Our Stars, there were quotes from the Pixar films Up and Finding Nemo, and more.

Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon at the Cambridge Public Library and an intriguing look at writing different forms of love. Thank you to Boston Teen Author Festival for orchestrating the event!


For more Boston-local book happenings, see our events calendar.





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