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Between Two Lockers With Amanda R.

FYA’s superhero sage talks about her love of Magic Mike XXL, the importance of fancy mac and cheese, and how the YA genre has something for everyone.

Between Two Lockers With Amanda R.

In case you missed the announcement, over the next few months, we’ll be running a Between Two Lockers special series featuring your fave FYA writers and contributors.


What’s your name?

Amanda R.

Where are you from/located?

Wilmington, DE/Oakland, CA

What do you do when you’re not writing for FYA?

When I'm not reading or being the Captain of Making It Happen for FYA Oakland, I can be found playing strategy/Euro-style boardgames, snuggling with my cats, cooking up some tastyass food, watching Magic Mike XXL, or adding/removing lipsticks to my virtual Sephora shopping cart. I'm also taking some undergrad classes to prepare to apply to grad school for a MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) even though I still dream of once again working in a bookstore.

What do you look like?

Where can you be found on social media?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads


How long have you been writing for FYA, and how did you start writing for the site?

I'm an OG from FYA Austin, and when we had to leave Austin in August 2012, one of the ways I stayed connected with my FYA book group girls was by offering to write for the site. I started out with book reviews and taking over recapping The Vampire Diaries from Jenny [Bird] (which I still do), and now I run the helm of Superhero Sundays along with Mandy C. and Kelly! Oh, and I also started the FYA chapter here in Oakland.

How did you come to read YA as an adult?

Does Harry Potter count? Actually, to be totally honest it was probably Twilight! I was living in the UK at the time, and YA hadn't caught like wildfire yet there like it did here. I could barely get through New Moon, and read about a new fantasy YA book called Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I DEVOURED it, and the rest was history!

Why do you think YA is an important genre, for both actual Ys and those of us who are more A?

What I love about YA is that it pushes the boundaries of established genres of fiction. I love that it's a community of authors who are trying to make sure that everyone can see themselves in a book; Latino kids, Black kids, gay kids, trans kids, fat kids, poor kids: current and former, we all deserve to see ourselves in stories. It helps validate our life experiences.

I heard Patrick Ness say that YA is about characters finding their boundaries, while adult contemporary fiction is about pushing through boundaries. I couldn't agree more with this statement, and it's part of what makes YA so incredibly vital and thrilling.

What are five of your favorite YA books?

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Do you have a favorite YA character or couple? If so, who are they, and why are they The Best?

Raisa ana'Marianna and Han Alister from The Seven Realms series. They are The Best because they take their time getting to one another and the build-up is INTENSE. Han is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks and Raisa is going to be QUEEN of the Fells. It ticks so many boxes for me; secret identities, star-crossed lovers, people with powers, the fate of the world vs. their love—it's FABULOUS.


If your real life adolescence was a YA book ... What would you, the main character, be like?

The fat, funny one who's at the center of her group of friends. The one who's terrified of boys and desperate for a boyfriend at the same time. A girl obsessed with music, pushing the envelope and getting the hell out of Delaware.

Who is your secret crush?

The preppy soccer player who is everything I claim to despise.

What is your number #1 source of angst?

See above.

At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?

When I climb on stage at the Beastie Boys concert and grab the mic from Ad-Rock.

And who would play you in the film adaptation?

Nikki Blonsky


What is your #1 favorite food?

Thin-crust pizza. I could eat it every day.

Tell me about your area of expertise.

I know a lot about baking and cooking. I'm always getting texts from my bestie asking for tips/advice in the kitchen.

If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick?


Spike from Buffy, Kate Bishop/Hawkeye from Marvel, Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones, Rocket & Groot, Dean Winchester from Supernatural, Darryl from The Walking Dead, and Felicity Smoak from Arrow.

What is your best karaoke song?

Paul Revere by The Beastie Boys. I don't even need the screen.

Tell me something scandalous!

I had sex with my husband on our first date. WHAT. (Ok, we talked/texted/emailed for a month before we met so it's not THAT scandalous.)

What is your favorite adult beverage?

I'm very partial to a good Bloody Mary. Extra spicy with lots of pickled veggies.

What is the most crucial snack food and/or movie/or anything you'd bring to an FYA slumber party?

Mac and cheese! (No really, we had a slumber party recently for my friend's birthday at my place and we had fancy mac and cheese. It was AWESOME.)

What book have you read the most number of times?

I don't re-read books that often, so it's probably either Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird.

YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?

WOW. I love them all so much, but my charm will probably go to Libba Bray IF SHE'LL HAVE ME. smile

Out of all of the characters you’ve read, which one do you most wish you could be?

Hermione Granger. ALWAYS. But I don't think I'd marry Ron. (Sorry, Ron.)


Amanda made three picks for each category, and I added a fourth. The magic number (chosen by a random number generator) was 5.



Neville Longbottom
Jonah Griggs
Etienne St. Clair

Josh Mitchell


District 13

Big Sur





YA bookseller
Family therapist

Events organizer
YA book blogger


Paid in wishes
Paid in books
Paid in cheese

Paid in boardgames


San Francisco
Colby, North Carolina
Portland, Oregon



A falcon
A raccoon
A magical talking cat

An owl


A hot pink VW bug
Cruella DeVille's roadster
The Impala from Supernatural
The Pig from The Raven Cycle

Do you have additional questions for Amanda? Or maybe just want to comment on something particularly awesome that she said? Head to the comments!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.