ya smackdown: team dystopia


Party like it’s 1984.

You may have heard a little about the YA Smackdown Event taking place TOMORROW in California.

You may have read Gayle Forman (Team Contemporary)’s blog post on the subject here.

Or Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl (Team Paranormal’s) post here.

And, after reading both their posts, I have come to several conclusions.*

First, we’ll begin with Team Contemporary, since Gayle was the first to issue the smackdown. Gayle called me out on, among other things, taking the easy way out by not setting my novel in Detroit and having my Society be too dreamy (food delivered right to the people, etc.). She also asked why I had to have the Society to keep Ky and Cassia apart–wouldn’t a case of bad acne suffice to create drama?

This, from the author of If I Stay and Where She Went, both of which starred a hot boy who did not have a single zit. And she did not hesitate to rip out our hearts and throw them against the wall and then, like her characters, she wove music throughout the entire experience (with her gorgeous, poetic writing) so that we came back for more in the second book. Really, Gayle? I could take your point about keeping it real but how real is Adam? (Never mind that nice guys are everywhere in the world; let’s pretend that’s not true). My challenge to you is: Write a Book Three that keeps it super real. Have Adam have crazy acne and also be a nose picker. Are you woman enough?

And Gayle and Margie, on their blog, accused me of not figuring out that paranormal is the place to be. Not only did they do this, they also said I did not go to BYU. Home of the Jimmer.

Jimmer is mad at you, Kami and Margie. Very, very mad. Please do not come back to this state unless you are indeed prepared to make restitution in the form of funeral potatoes.

Not only did I go to BYU, I am firmly from Utah, born and raised. (Except for those five years living in upstate NY, where I first became aware of Jimmer, and a brief stint in London, which was amazing but had very little basketball.) So there, Margie and Kami!

And how dare you challenge me, you who took a certain Utah small town and turned it into Gatlin? I know your roots. They are dangling all over the place. I am on to you–you take scenes and characters and make them so achingly real and lovable and hateable that we recognize them even when swirled in the drama of paranormal-ness. And you do it all with a magical spell of dark, beautiful writing pierced with shafts of light, like golden raisins in one of those carrot salads also served at funerals.

So, it is ON, ladies. I will see you tomorrow, Thursday, at Diesel Books in Brentwood, California. At high noon. Or, actually, 7 p.m.

*Conclusions not scientific, or really even relevant. It should also be noted that the smackdown is all firmly tongue-in-cheek, as I love contemporary and paranormal novels just as much as I love dystopian novels. Heck, I even wrote contemporary novels for years! Although, I did just use the word “heck,” so perhaps that is why my career doing so has come to a temporary halt.

+ comments (18)
  • Stacey
    April 27, 2011

    Ha ha! I would have a hard time picking, except I tend to not love Contemporary as much as others, just my personal preference. I want fantasy I guess! (Go figure since my first attempt at writing a novel was contemporary…)

    Have fun in CA! Say hi to the beautiful weather for me. I am insatiably jealous.

  • MundieMoms
    April 27, 2011

    LOL What I would give to be there tomorrow when the smack down goes live!! I love this.

  • Brodi Ashton
    April 27, 2011

    By default, I’m on Team Paranormal.

    It’s not that I set out to write paranormal. It’s just that every time I get stuck, my knee-jerk reaction is to insert an otherworldly person.

    I tried to write a contemporary about a girl who goes to music school. On her first day, I’m all, “What happens to her? I know! A ghost. A musical ghost!”

    And I’d write contemporary, but world building is, like, really really hard.

    You amaze me!

  • Marie Lu
    April 27, 2011

    Yeah, TEAM DYSTOPIA! I’m usually in Cali and wish I could come watch, but I’m going to be out of town. Still, I support you with all my dystopian spirit! We keep it real but not TOO real. Our governments can smack down any other genre’s governments. (Then again, our gov’ts are usually defeated by teenagers. Hmm….I need to rethink that argument.)

    All tongue-in-cheek of course, b/c I do love all the books involved in this epic event!

  • Keary Taylor
    April 27, 2011

    Team DYSTOPIA all the way!!

  • melissa @ 1lbr
    April 27, 2011

    Oh how I wish I could witness this smack-down in person! Go Fight Win Team Dystopian!

  • Amy
    April 27, 2011

    LOL!! I so wish I could be there for the smackdown. All three categories are very well represented, I’m not sure who will win.

  • Kayeleen Hamblin
    April 27, 2011

    I love that opening line, “Party likes it’s 1984.” Very clever. I’m all for a good contemporary smack down. I love dystopians. Best of luck taking them down a notch. 😉

  • Jessica Subject
    April 27, 2011

    I must say that I am Team DYSTOPIA!! YA and dystopian fiction is fairly new in my list of books read and to be read, but I have fallen in love and I don’t ever want to go back.

    I’m actually just finishing Matched now and couldn’t see it being written any other way.

  • Nicole Krell
    April 27, 2011

    I’ve dabbled in dystopian, but my current ms is comtemporary. That’s the one that got me my agent, so I guess by default I’m on Team Contemp. (However, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the other genres.)

  • Lisa
    April 27, 2011

    I am TEAM DYSTOPIAN. I never knew about this genre until about 7 monthes ago and now I can’t read anything else. The other genres don’t keep me interested and wanting to know whais going to happen next. Also dystopians have that feeling of defiance.

  • Ems
    April 27, 2011

    Can’t stop laughing! Hilarious!

    Although, to insinuate that you did not, in fact, attend BYU is tantamount to blasphemy, which may or may not be forgivable. :)

  • Eliza
    April 27, 2011

    Go Team Dystopia! One can only stand so many paranormal romances. I love the golden raisin metaphor and the Jimmer picture.

  • Sara C.
    April 27, 2011

    I can’t stop laughing about this post. The smackdown sounds like a lot of fun! I wish I could go! And The Jimmer picture is just perfect.

  • Melinda
    April 28, 2011

    This made me laugh so hard. As a writer, I’m mostly on Team Paranormal, but as a reader I’m on Team Good Story. I love all three. Maybe I’m a wimp for not joining in the smackdown, but I can’t pick.

  • Pica
    April 28, 2011

    Thanks for coming to LA! It was so much fun to hear you talk. Yay Team Dystopia!

  • Eliza
    April 29, 2011

    Okay, Ally. I’ve checked your website several times since the debate. Will you please tell us how it went now?

    • ally
      April 30, 2011

      Wow, it’s only been a couple of days! I just now got back into town an hour ago…patience! 😉 It went great. Gayle and Margie and Kami are all hilarious and it was so much fun!

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