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Author Spotlight

Welcome to the We Are YA Podcast!

YA books are longer than 280 characters. Conversations about YA should be too. Welcome to the We Are YA podcast! Over 7 episodes, host Anna Borges will be talking all all things YA with the amazing authors that make up the modern YA community. Here is where you can find additional information and links to each episode!



Episode 8: Living Multiple Identities with Namrata Tripathi


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What Namrata is reading: 

  1. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  2. Usagi Yojimbo graphic novel series by Stan Sakai

Who Namrata likes to follow:

  1. @SFdirewolf on Twitter
  2. ContraPoints  (YouTube: )


Episode 7: Good Sex in YA with Laurie Halse Anderson


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What Laurie’s reading:

  1. The Vagina Bible by Dr. Jen Gunter, M.D., who is one of Laurie’s favorite Twitter people!
  2. Working by Robert A. Caro
  3. Daisy Jones & The Six (audiobook) by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Who Laurie likes to follow:

Laurie likes following journalists from other cultures, as well as historians. If you’re looking for specific recommendations, Laurie is on Twitter over at @halseanderson, and her lists are public and can be viewed here!


EPISODE 6: Is YA Losing its Edge? with Amanda Joy

WeAreYA_Joy_Twitter (1)

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What Amanda’s Reading:

  1. Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  2. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
  3. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  4. She loves anything written by Kristin Cashore!

People to follow: 

  1. She recommends you follow @bookhoarders on instagram!


EPISODE 5: Who Owns #OwnVoices with Kat Cho


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What Kat’s Reading:

  1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee,
  2. The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
  3. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
  4. On the Come Up by Angie Thoma

People to follow: 

  1. Claribel Ortega (@Claribel_Ortega on Twitter)

EPISODE 4: Taking the Guilt Out of Guilty Pleasures with Renée Ahdieh


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Episode resource list:

What Renée’s Reading:

  1. Brazen and the Beast by Sarah Maclean
  2. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

  3. Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

People to follow:

  1. Renée loves to follow @celine fashion!


EPISODE 3: The YA Mental Health Crisis with Nina LaCour


This episode of We Are YA with Nina LaCour contains discussion around mental health and suicide. Remember that you can always get support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or through the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

Listen here

Episode resource list:

Reads Nina recommends:

  1. There There by Tommy Orange
  2. The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

People to follow:

  1. Nina recommends you follow @sitting_pretty on instagram!


EPISODE 2: Is Social Media Bad? with Akilah Hughes


Listen now!

About Akilah Hughes

Akilah Hughes is a writer, comedian, and YouTuber residing in Brooklyn, NY. She’s been a digital correspondent for MTV, Fusion, Comedy Central, Crooked Media, and more. A Sundance Labs Fellow, Akilah most recently appeared on the HBO series special Pod Save America. Her comedic YouTube channel, “It’s Akilah, Obviously!” has amassed more than 150,000 subscribers. Find her on Twitter @AkilahObviously or on Instagram @akilahh.


Episode resource list:

What Akilah is reading right now:

  1. Calypso by David Sedaris
  2. Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
  3. We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

People to follow:

  1. @Lessons from the Screenplay and @Hot Ones (on YouTube)
  2. @jaboukie and @party_harderson (on Twitter)



EPISODE 1: Finding Joy with Gabby Rivera


Listen now on Spotify

About Gabby Rivera

Rivera’s critically acclaimed debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath was called “f*cking outstanding” by Roxane Gay, published in hardcover for the first time in 2019 by Penguin Young Readers. Gabby has also written in the Lumberjanes universe for Boom! Studios. Her latest short story O.1 can be found in Victor LaValle’s recent anthology A People’s Future of the United States. Gabby is currently working on her next novel. Gabby Rivera is also the author of AMERICA, the debut solo series for America Chavez, Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero.

When not writing, Gabby speaks on her experiences as a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx, an LGBTQ youth advocate, and the importance of centering joy in narratives as Latinx people and people of color at events across the country.


Episode resource list:

Books that Gabby loved growing up!

  1. Entries from a Hot Pink Notebook by Todd Brown
  2. Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing by Erika Lopez
  3. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. Roald Dahl’s books!
  5. The Babysitters’ Club series
  6. Christopher Pike books!

Books Gabby is reading right now:

  1. Alien Nation graphic novels
  2. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
  3. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown

People to follow:

Gabby recommends you follow National Geographic, @bad_dominica, and @sapphicmemes!



See you next week for a new episode of We Are YA!

Penguin Teen