Monday, December 19, 2011

The YA Sisterhood

Hello Inhabitants of Marisa-land!

My name is Brittany, and I’m one of Marisa’s clients. I write YA fiction (we’re on submission now, so cross your fingers). I’m a teacher (Theatre) and I’m getting my MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

I love Young Adult literature. I do. When I was a teenager, I was focused on college and SAT’s. I read classic after classic because I read for accomplishment, rather than pleasure. When I surpassed my teenage years, I found myself clambering for that coming of age experience that I skipped over in my haste to grow up. I found it in YA lit. Since I don’t do anything by halves, my love for YA lit turned into an obsession (that I passed on to as many of my family and friends as possible). Last February, my older sister and I decided to start a book blog together called the YA Sisterhood. We already gave all our friends book recommendations, so why not open it up to the world wide web? We started out doing reviews and fun extras, and we started building our blog following slowly but surely.

In July, we were getting roughly 5,000 hits a month. We decided to shake things up and try something different. We had an idea for a March Madness-Style tournament pitting YA’s most crush-worthy boys against each other. The result was the YA Crush Tourney. Our hits jumped from 5,000 a month to at LEAST 5,000 a day. We logged on twitter and saw some of our favorite authors, editors, and agents talking about the tournament we created. Now, thanks to that Tournament, our blog has nearly 1500 followers, and 500,000 hits (and our blog is only 10 months old). We decided to turn the Crush Tourney into an annual summer tournament. We also decided to do a different tournament in the winter that would change yearly. We let our followers vote between a Villain Tourney and a Heroine Tourney, and our followers (like us)—agreed that YA lit needs to take some time to celebrate strong, inspiring female characters.

The YA Sisterhood Tournament of Heroines began December 1st. We let our followers nominate their favorite Heroines over the course of a week (and after 30,000 nominations) we narrowed it down to the top 32 Heroines. We’ve invited other bloggers to advocate each of these Heroines and created a bracket seeded according to which characters received the most nominations. The first round has already been completed, and we’re one to Round Two: The Superior Sixteen. Over the coming weeks, Heroines like Katniss from Hunger Games, Clary from Mortal Instruments, and Rose from Vampire Academy will continue to face off, and your votes will decide who continues on to become the Ultimate YA Heroine! The Blogger advocates wrote defenses for their character explaining what makes her the ultimate Heroine. For each match, we post both character defenses and a poll, so that you can vote for your favorite! Matches go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on our blog: You can check here to see the schedule and tournament bracket:

We hope you’ll join the frenzy and vote for your favorite heroines, spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, and show support for these authors that have created such memorable characters!


  1. The tournaments are awesome! I love the way they bring the YA community together and build relationships. Thanks so much for putting in the time and energy it takes to coordinate something like that. We love it!!


  2. Great article Brittany.

  3. Thanks Cyndi and Cathleen! It does take a lot of time and energy, but it's so worth it! We've met so many fabulous bloggers, authors, and editors through the tournaments! Plus we've had a hell of a lot of fun! :)

  4. My YA novel, EAGLEBAIT is out in reprint. Winner of national and international awards, it is listed as a resource on numerous anti-bullying websites such as I've launched a national web-search and contact campaign and have to admit I'm not getting much response. EAGLEBAIT is a wonderful teaching tool, especially for middle schoolers. My website contains a down-loadable study guide: Any ideas for a better way to get the word out?