Good Question, YA Novel

Not sure what it was about yesterday, but I ticked three, count them three books off my Goodreads challenge backlog. Okay, two of them, I had started earlier, and one of them was a forty minute audiobook prequel to a new series, but it still counts. Two of the books were historical romance, one paranormal, one not, and the other one was a YA romance, the latest installment in my favorite YA Christmas romance series. I will admit that is a pretty much niche market, but stay with me here, I’m going somewhere.

Disclaimer: I highly, highly, highly recommend the Dash and Lily series, but do not start with Mind the Gap. Get in on the ground floor, with Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares. There’s a smart, grumpy YA hero, Dash, who is full of the bah humbug, and Lily, our spunky YA heroine, lives for Christmas and dogs and family ties. There’s a red Moleskine notebook, a clandestine correspondence, an underground Jewish rave, a madcap tour of NYC, all the holiday feels, and every bookworm’s fantasy of being locked in a bookstore overnight. Oh, and true love. Also, the cover looks like this:

When I first met Dash and Lily, their first book was a standalone, and I didn’t think it needed any more installments. (I stan standalones, but that’s another post) but Twelve Days of Dash and Lily won me over, when Christmas-loving Lily loses the joy of the season, and it’s up to Dash to bring back her sparkle.

Okay, so the question. First, a little backstory. I am not going to retell any of the books, because read them, read them, read them, read them, read them. I will, however, say that if there is one city that rivals a perfect location for Christmas magic than NYC, it’s London. Congratulations to Ms. Cohn and Mr. Levithan for knowing the one thing that would entice me. (The only city that could top that would be Jerusalem, but this isn’t that kind of book.) Dash is at the wrong university, Lily is finding that maybe she doesn’t want her gap year to close, and they aren’t kids anymore, but young adults (new adults?) so questions of The Future are now coming into play, and mommy and daddy can’t help them now.

There are older relatives, of course, and one of them actually does ask one really good question of both Dash and Lily, which applies to them both as individuals finding their own ways, and as a couple. What is the question? It’s an easy and profound one:

Don’t think about it, the relative urges Dash and Lily. Just answer. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Lily comes up right away with “dogs,” and for Dash, it’s “books.” For Anna (no, there is no Anna in this book. Okay, there is one, but she’s been super dead for a super long time, and she is only mentioned once. It’s me. I am the Anna. I will be surprised if you did not get that already.) there was similarly no hesitation. Romance novels. I love romance novels. I have ever since I stole my very first historical romance novel from my mother’s nightstand when I was a very precocious eleven. I knew then and there that I had found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and usually, I follow that with “so far, so good,” but, eh, 2020.

To recap for the new followers (hi, and thanks for following. We are thrilled to have you. “We” is me and Storm kitty. Plus my imaginary friends, um, I mean characters.) 2020 was full of anxiety, depression, homelessness, and assorted other non-delights. I told Real Life Romance Hero that I am staying up on New Year’s Eve because I want to watch 2020 die.

Things are better now. We have a gorgeous, cozy apartment that gives me historical romance cred because it started out life as part of a carriage house in the nineteenth century. It has the pink fifties bathroom of my dreams, updated exactly enough to straddle retro and timeless modern classiness. I have an awesome calico kitty who is my mews and purr-sonal asisstant, I am married to the love of my life, and our best friend is our housemate. All of this provides a really good foundation to transition out of survival mode and into who I want to be now.

Which brings us to Dash and Lily’s question. What do I love? Romance novels. I love the happily ever afters, I love the history (even my co-written contemporaries have historical touches here and there.) I love the character journeys, and the whole complicated dance from strangers to you and no other-ness. :happy sigh: I love reading these books and I love writing these books and I love talking about these books. I love the authors and the covers and the readers and the history of romance fiction and the swag and the community and…yeah. If I ever got locked in a bookstore overnight, I would like it to be The Ripped Bodice, the first big time all-romance bookstore because trust me, I would not mind one iota. Second choice is a good old fashioned UBS (used book store) that is romance friendly, with a substantial stock of pre-1996 titles.

Even though I have read voraciously in above niche, I still haven’t read exhaustively, so there are still many adventures ahead. As well, of course, as all of the fabulous new books coming out literally every month, people. Every. Month. Plus my own stories, historical and contemporary and who knows what else? One thing I can tell you, though: they’ll be romance.

Hi. I’m Anna. I write romance novels and about romance novels. I also love stationery. Come to my place, that’s what you get. Welcome. Now sit right next to me and tell me all your favorites.

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