Sara Zarr and Nina LaCour in Conversation on Their Latest Books

I cannot say enough what a pleasure it was listening to Sara Zarr and Nina LaCour in conversation last night. They are both such kind and intelligent women, who write fiction that feels so authentic and real when you read it. The depth of emotion in all of their books is overwhelming, powerful, and just wonderful.


Clearly, I’m a HUGE fan, so getting to listen to them discuss their books, how they felt about each other’s books, and the important social and emotional issues that they’ve included in their writing was just so inspiring.


We’ve all taken english classes where we were assigned to find symbolism within books. Here Sara discusses reading some of these reader interpretations of her own boos that though she didn’t consciously put into the book, are still very valid examples of symbolism. For me, this idea goes back to books belonging to their readers. Part of the beauty in literature is how it can mean so many different things to different people, and I think this is a great example of that.

We see a lot of examples of competitive female relationships, not just in YA, but in all types of fiction. Here Nina discusses the importance of close female relationships in her life and why she includes them in her fiction.

Abandonment is another very common theme in YA and children’s literature. Oftentimes, this is due to the fact that that is a necessary component in order for the plot of the story to force the main characters to have to solve the problem, fight the bad guy, or reach their happy ever after. Here Nina discusses that trope.

Sister relationships are an incredibly important part of the plot in Sara’s latest book, Gem & Dixie. Here Sara discusses sibling relationship dynamics.

In both We are Okay and Gem & Dixie the young adult characters do accept help from adult characters in order to overcome some of the problems they’re facing. Here Nina LaCour discusses that.

I think it’s human nature to sometimes idealize our pasts or to live in denial about our present situations in order to maintain our perception of our lives. Sara Zarr addresses those ideas here.


What an incredible conversation, right?! The members of our book club that attended had such a great time and really enjoyed getting to gain a little more insight into the thought processes that went into these wonderful books. I hope you enjoy these videos as well!


First of all, who has read Gem & Dixie and We are Okay, and what did you think of them? Second, this is a MUCH different format than what I’ve used for book events in the past, so I’m asking for some feedback from you all! Do you enjoy seeing the videos? Do you prefer a quick summary with pics? Or would you prefer that I edited this up to be one video instead of multiple short ones? I truly appreciate any and all feedback!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I read a sample of Gem & Dixie in Buzz Books, but I didn’t care for it, so that’s one book I probably won’t be picking up. I do currently have We Are Okay out from the library, though, and I’m liking the weirdly silent atmosphere so far. The main character, all alone on her college campus. I have no idea why this was allowed yet, or what’s going on with her friend coming to visit, but I look forward to finding out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think Gem & Dixie is for a very specific type of reader. I love it, but it’s definitely got that very real, everyday life vibe to it. I LOVED We Are Okay, which has a pretty similar vibe to me really. That’s probably why having the two of them in conversation together was so fascinating to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Krysti! I love the videos. But, I will admit, it took me a long time to get to them. I often check blogs between meetings at work, and it was challenging to find a place/time where I could watch them and listen simultaneously. Perhaps future posts could contain a video or two, but also a summary with some photos?

    I haven’t read either book, but I’ve heard so much about We Are Okay. I know I need to read that. I must ask, though, were these questions from the audience, or did the event/authors/whoever coordinate the questions beforehand? I’ve never experienced an event where such thoughtful questions were discussed! (I’ve also only been to three… So, my data points are few)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Jackie. I’m really trying to figure out the best way to share these events with people, so I appreciate it. These videos were questions the authors were asking each other. There were some great questions from the audience as well that I didn’t capture, but I think these two authors tend to draw a more literary audience, so you see more of the deep, thought-provoking questions being asked. At least that’s been the case with the Sara Zarr events I’ve attended.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that you point it out, and I’m paying closer visual attention, I totally see that. Again, I was trying to watch these videos in more of a distracted environment. O_o Mistakes were made.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha. No mistakes! I SO appreciate you taking the time to watch them and give feedback, Jackie. You’re the best!

        Liked by 1 person

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