Lamar Giles writes novels and short stories for teens and adults. He is the author of the 2015 Edgar® Award Nominee FAKE ID, a second YA thriller ENDANGERED and the forthcoming YA novel OVERTURNED (March 28, 2017). Lamar is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books (weneeddiversebooks.org), a non-profit dedicated to changing the face of publishing.
I love good stories and the quality of any story is really independent of the audience it's marketed to. With YA in particular, I find the books are often refreshers on the thoughts and emotions I had as a teen. Aside from there being a multitude of incredible YA books, so there's an endless reading supply, in some ways it's like reading journal entries from people who were very much like I was at a given age. It's exploring and reminiscing all in one.
THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas (who isn't reading that book right now?) It's fantastic! The YA book before that was THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon. Fantastic as well.
Mostly in bed. But I also listen to audiobooks in the car, or read on my phone in the grocery line, or...or...or...I read anywhere I can. Lately there have been a lot of planes and trains in the mix. But, I usually have several books available at any given time.
What draws you to a book?
Mostly word of mouth. Honestly almost everything I read is because some friend or colleague has talked it up.
Do you ever reread books?
Not often. If I do, it's probably one of my all time favorites that I've read a hundred times, or something I'm analyzing either for myself or for a class I need to teach. Otherwise, I have a To Be Read pile to get to, and it's taller than I am (Not difficult because I'm short! Lol!)
Which YA book has had the most impact on your writing?
UNWIND by Neal Shusterman. That book made me realize that there are really no topics that are off limits, even if your intended reader is young. And his world building is something to be marveled at. I've yet to attempt a speculative story on his level, but it's something I aspire to.
Which books do you find yourself recommending over and over again?
It's easier for me to recommend authors instead of individual books because all of these writers churn out engrossing reads over and over. Anything written by Nicola Yoon. Anything by Meg Medina. Jason Reynolds' books...take your pick there. Cindy Pon's novels. Ellen Oh's. Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton's bad girl ballerina novels. Daniel José Older's SHADOWSHAPER. Kwame Alexander's THE CROSSOVER. Matt de la Peña's THE LIVING. I could probably keep going...and when you want to read all of them, that can be a problem. But I think you could classify that as a good problem, and that's okay!