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Author Panel - ROMANCE, LOVE & LUST: Is it all the same in YA Lit?

  • Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse 1010 Foothill Boulevard La Cañada Flintridge, CA, 91011 United States (map)

Cat Jordan, moderator (EIGHT DAYS ON PLANET EARTH) in conversation with: Brandy Colbert (LITTLE & LION), Lauren Miller (ALL THINGS NEW), Iva-Marie Palmer (ROMEO & JULIET & JIM)

In keeping with February’s theme of love, Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse presents the panel ROMANCE, LOVE & LUST: Is it all the same in YA Lit? Moderator Cat Jordan brings together three other authors to examine the one constant in young adult literature: romantic relationships. Jordan (Eight Days on Planet Earth) and panelists Brandy Colbert (Little & Lion), Lauren Miller (All Things New) and Iva-Marie Palmer (Romeo, Juliet & Jim) discuss reader expectations, staying in touch with your teen self while writing, and ask if love triangles will ever go away.

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How long does it take to travel twenty light years to Earth? How long does it take to fall in love? To the universe, eight days is a mere blip, but to Matty Jones, Cat Jordan’s protagonist in Eight Days on Planet Earth, it may be just enough time to change his life. On the day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for her spaceship to pick her up and return her to her home planet. Of course she is. As Matty unravels the mystery of this girl, he learns to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens…love…and that maybe the impossible is possible, after all.

Review: “A wonderfully readable, ultimately hopeful, and life-affirming story that will be enjoyed by fans of Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star and Gae Polisner’s The Memory of Things.” -- School Library Journal

When Cat Jordan started writing as a teenager, her favorite part of the process was “envisioning a world and populating it with all kinds of people and dogs. Gotta have a dog.” Her enthusiasm for crafting new literary worlds continues to this day, with stories now based on her travels in the US, Europe, Mexico and Canada, and on the people she has met and loved and admired and feared. And dogs. The author currently lives in Los Angeles. With her dog.

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Brandy Colbert’s most recent book Little & Lion is the story of a brother and sister who must reevaluate their relationship when Suzette returns from a year away at school. While she is struggling with defining her sexual identity, her brother, Lionel, is learning to live with his recently diagnosed bipolar disorder. Though they share their fears and secrets with each other, their bond is further tested when they end up falling for the same girl.

Review: "Colbert sensitively confronts misconceptions about mental illness, bisexuality, and intersectional identity... Readers will empathize with Suzette as she explores both her sexuality and the tricky line between honesty and betrayal."-- Kirkus Books starred review

Brandy Colbert is also the author of Pointe and the forthcoming Finding Yvonne. Little & Lion was named a Junior Library Guild and a Book of the Month Club selection, as well as a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Vulture, Seventeen magazine, Bustle, and others. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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In Lauren Miller’s third novel All Things New, Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside; after a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, she can no longer pretend that she's okay.  This love story celebrates the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.

Review: "…an enthralling and vital YA read--boldly tackling issues of mental and relational health within a compelling narrative."-- Young Adult Book Central

Lauren Miller's debut was the critically acclaimed novel Parallel, which Seventeen called "crazy addictive."  Her second novel, Free to Fall, appeared on YALSA's 2015 Best Fiction list for Young Adults. Born in New York City and raised in Atlanta, Lauren now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three kids.


The Romeo and Juliet in Iva-Marie Palmer’s Romeo, Juliet & Jim seem to have it all. They are heirs to the two greatest fashion houses Paris has ever seen, the rival houses of Montague and Capulet. They live in stunning mansions, attend glamorous parties, and count celebrities among their closest friends. Yet the one thing they want most they can’t have―each other. Juliet is tired of a clandestine relationship. She wants to run off together and escape. Enter Jim, a mysterious American who swoops in and befriends the young lovers. But who is Jim, really?

Review: ". . . Crackles with intrigue, subterfuge, clever plot moves, and, mostly, the angst of young lovers’ intense emotions. Readers will enjoy the parallels made to the original Romeo and Juliet in this contemporary spin, with its own tragedy and dramatic moments, and fashionistas will love the details of Juliet’s wardrobe choices."--Booklist Online

Iva-Marie Palmer is the author of several young adult novels, including The End of the World As We Know It (being adapted as a CW pilot), and the middle grade book series Gabby Garcia's Ultimate Playbook. A former journalist who oversubscribes to periodicals, she loves books, running, cooking and eating elaborate meals, indulging her curiosity, and overextending herself. She lives with her husband and two sons in Burbank, California.



Earlier Event: February 18
Moonday Poetry Series
Later Event: February 28
Writing Critique Group