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The Twitter Chat Review: Diversity in Legend by Marie Lu, cohosted by author David James

So, I read (actually I listened to) Legend by Marie Lu for last night’s Diversity chat hosted by author David James.  You always hear great things about this series, but I had not yet read it.  To be honest: It was amazing. 

The Goodreads synopsis of Legend states: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Legend is a superb example of storytelling where the details slowly unfold and you are stunned time and time again by the reveal.  In addition, the world that Lu creates seems not only possible, but a likely outcome if we continue on our current trajectory.  She takes class warfare to new, extreme levels and terrifies with this all too possible vision of what some people will do for power.  And in the midst of it all, she creates strong, rich characters full of complexity and emotion.  Definitely chech this one out.

Below are some of the Tweets from last night’s Twitter chat.

There was one area in which there was some disagreement, diversity about character sexuality.

More on Diversity at TLT:
Racial Stereotyping in YA Literature
Race Reflections, Take II
Building Bridges to Literacy for African American Male Youth Summit recap, part 1
Friday Reflections: Talking with Hispanic/Latino Teens about YA Lit

Why YA? David James talks The Year of Ice

Author David James will be hosting our #TLTDiversity Twitter chat on Wednesday. Today, he is telling us “Why YA?”

I can be fearful of things in the way we all can be when the words “what” and “if” are squeezed together to create uncertainty. When separate, those two little words are harmless; together, they may be reason enough to make the world shake. What if I can’t? What if I’m wrong? What if this doesn’t work? Pushed together, those two little words can be scary, but they are why I love to read YA. You see, to me YA isn’t about following reason. Like Brian Malloy’s The Year of Ice, most YA literature is about following your heart. Instead of living through reason or fear, YA is about living through love and hope.
St. Martin’s 2002 ISBN 9780312313692
The Year of Ice is a dance between who one boy thinks he should be and who he wants to be. Kevin Doyle is lost. His mother is gone, and his father might as well be. Stuck in a world where everyone knows him but where he doesn’t know himself, Kevin’s life is filled with self-discovery, secrets, and sexuality. Family and divorce and prejudice. Young loves and old loves. But like those two little words we can sometimes fear, when everything in Brian Malloy’s symphony builds and comes crashing together, The Year of Ice is about much more than the uncertain fears of one boy. This is a story about life, love, and loss. A story about finding possibility in a place where it’s not usually found. About living when life is difficult. And here, this quote from The Year of Ice, is one of the reasons why I read YA so often: “I won’t regret what I didn’t do. That’s important too. Not second-guessing yourself. Because you can make up this whole life based on what you didn’t do. And it’s always a wonderful life, better than the one you have.”  
I’ve lived for twenty six years and like Kevin Doyle, I still don’t know exactly who I should be. I know who I am, who I want to be. But as for who I shouldbe, I’m not really sure. I’m not sure anyone ever truly is. Still, I try not to second guess myself. I try to live without regrets. I try to follow my heart, use love instead of strict reason. Because sometimes in life there is no reason. Just love. Or maybe it’s hope. Maybe it’s hope that makes us tick, and love that makes us breathe. In the end, maybe loving is living. And maybe, just maybe, when we place “what” and “if” side by side, we are creating possibility instead of fear. Hope instead of uncertainty.
So, why do I read YA? Because we are all still a little unsure. We all could use some reminding of the romanticism of youth and the wonderful hope it brings to our jaded realities. We all live lives filled with questions, some quiet and some loud. We all have secrets, curiosities as to who we are and who we will become. We all wonder what will happen when “what” and “if” collide. And most importantly, I read YA because we all still fall in love, and because sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s okay to follow our hearts.
Bio: David James writes books about stars and kisses and curses. He is the author of the YA novel, LIGHT OF THE MOON, the first book in the Legend of the Dreamer series. A novella for the series, THE WARRIOR’S CODE, as well as the sequel, SHADOW OF THE SUN, will be released in 2013. Living in Michigan, he is addicted to coffee, gummy things, and sarcastic comments. He enjoys bad movies and shivery nights, but doesn’t really like writing bios about himself in the third person. Be sure to visit David’s facebook and twitter to learn more about his various addictions and novels.