Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt.There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PINK TEAM–but there are also RED, BLUE, GOLD, & PURPLE teams giving away different sets of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


  • Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the pink team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
  • Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
  • Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 9th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting Kathryn Holmes on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Kathryn Holmes grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was an avid reader and an aspiring writer from an early age. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and piles upon piles of books. A graduate of The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing program, Kathryn works as a freelance dance journalist, among other writing gigs. She is the author of The Distance Between Lost and Found and How It Feels to Fly. 


By Kathryn Holmes

A struggle with body dysmorphia forces one girl to decide if letting go of her insecurity also means turning her back on her dreams.

Sam has always known she’d be a professional dancer—but that was before her body betrayed her, developing unmanageable curves in all the wrong places. Lately, the girl staring back at Sam in the mirror is unrecognizable. Dieting doesn’t work, ignoring the whispers is pointless, and her overbearing mother just makes it worse.

Following a series of crippling anxiety attacks, Sam is sent to a treatment camp for teens struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. Forced to open up to complete strangers, Sam must get through the program if she wants to attend a crucial ballet intensive later in the summer. It seems hopeless until she starts confiding in a camp counselor who sparks a confidence she was sure she’d never feel again. But when she’s faced with disappointing setbacks, will Sam succumb to the insecurity that imprisons her?


Hello, YA scavenger hunters!

My second book, HOW IT FEELS TO FLY, is about a 16-year-old ballet dancer with body image and anxiety issues who gets sent to a therapy camp for elite teen artists and athletes after she starts having panic attacks. I’ve written before about the ways in which this book draws on my own history as a dancer—check out this post on Epic Reads and this post on the blog It Starts at Midnight—but I have yet to share any actual writing from when my struggle with my body image was at its peak. Luckily for you, I’ve recently rediscovered a lot of my childhood and teen writings. (Thanks to my parents for cleaning out the house where I grew up!)

For this YASH, I’m excited to share two poems about ballet, both from my writing youth. The first is from 8th grade—before the body image issues hit too hard. The second, I wrote around age 19, when my relationship with my body and with the dance world had changed pretty dramatically.

So without further ado…

“The Big Night” (1996)

I’ve known my part for weeks and weeks.
I know I cannot fail.
But somewhere deep inside of me,
my doubts start to prevail.
Will I fall? Will I get hurt?
I simply do not know.
But all my nervousness is lost
backstage before the show.
Then I step out onto the stage,
with intense concentration.
I jump, I turn, I twist, I leap,
my mind fills with elation.
For I’m not nervous anymore,
no time to think right now.
I stop, the world still spinning,
and take a single bow.

“Swan” (2002)

The company didn’t send anything bigger
than a medium, and so we’re sent downstairs
without our feathers, leotard-clad fledglings
with broken wings and bleeding feet.

Odette follows us to the dressing room, watches
as we cover ourselves, trying to slip back into
street clothes without exposing bare skin.
“You know,” she says, smiling, “it’s a good lesson.
Look at a swan: graceful, elegant, light.
That’s what you must be—weightless.”  

We apologize, faces hot with sweat and shame.
It’s our fault. We don’t look like the rest.
There’s a reason we’re at the back of the flock.
(love for it can only go so far…) 

Listening, I’m grounded, pinned to the earth
by a few extra pounds and a “normal” waistline.
She keeps talking about how easy it is to fly.

The second poem is about an incident that really happened, when my high school ballet company performed an excerpt from Swan Lake. A version of that story made it into HOW IT FEELS TO FLY, as one of main character Samantha’s most humiliating memories. And yes—there’s a good chance the last line in this poem inspired the title of the book, although I didn’t make the connection until after HOW IT FEELS TO FLY was already on shelves… J

Enjoy the rest of the scavenger hunt!

~Kathryn Holmes


And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Kathryn Holmes, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 27. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the pink team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


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About Abigail

Abigail Johnson was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snowstorms for year-round summers and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip in a purple spiral-bound notebook that she still has, and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high-school production of Cinderella, and riding roller coasters every chance she gets. She is the author of several young adult novels including If I Fix You and Every Other Weekend. She is represented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary Agency.

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  1. Caroline B April 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Reawakened and Recreated by Colleen Houck!

  2. Kim F April 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Wow! I have lots of YA books that I love! How do I pick one?!! I’ll just go with the last one I read in our Book Club … “Legendary”. It was amazing!!!

  3. Kendra April 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    The last YA book I loved was Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen!

  4. Leah Heath April 4, 2017 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    The last YA book that I read and loved was this manga series called Noragami. It’s really good! It’s about a god who kind of just claims himself as a god, and a girl that can leave her body for the spirit world. The god fights bad spirits, but there is someone that is creating more bad spirits and possessing them. They just don’t know who it is yet. It’s really good! I highly recommend if your looking for a good manga series or want to get into manga.

  5. Angie April 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Anything by Casey L Bond. Her Frenzy series and the Harvest Saga

  6. thebookpandas April 4, 2017 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    I really loved Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz!

  7. Elisa April 5, 2017 at 12:14 am - Reply

    I just finished reading the Lunar Chronicles and I loved how Marissa Meyer was able to freshen up these old tales into a very fantasy/sci-fi world.

  8. Thais Pampado April 5, 2017 at 3:19 am - Reply

    The last YA book I loved was Gemina (the whole Illuminae Files series is amazing actually!)

  9. Sue @ Crushingcinders April 5, 2017 at 6:22 am - Reply

    The last two (can’t pick just one!) YA books I loved are – Unnatural Deeds
    by Cyn Balog and The Last Thing You Said
    by Sara Biren

  10. Anna Tarkowska April 5, 2017 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Last book i read and loved was Darker Shade of Magic

  11. mikara08 April 5, 2017 at 6:49 am - Reply

    Rebel of the Sands was the most recent one I loved. Fantastic female character, exciting plot, and a sub-genre I’m not used to reading (Western mixed with middle eastern mythology).

  12. cleemckenzie April 5, 2017 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Lots of great stories on the Pink Team!

  13. Cassy Klisch (@CassyKlisch) April 5, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Haven’t finished yet, but currently reading The Darkest Minds and loving it!

  14. L Lesko April 5, 2017 at 8:47 am - Reply

    The last book I loved was Black Moon, or any of the LUX series… =]

  15. bhavneetkaurbhatoa April 5, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

    It’s surprisingly hard to think of the *last* ~YA~ book I loved, because I’ve been reading a lot more adult fiction…

    I know there are some there but I think the one that I loved the most was likely the Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck.

  16. Stephanie Wang April 5, 2017 at 11:02 am - Reply


  17. theresajs April 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    The Diabolic, Girl in Pieces and The Female of the Species
    thanks for participating in YASH!

  18. Melissa Paschal April 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    I can’t pick just one. There are so many I love and so many more I have yet to read! Thanks for being a part of the hunt!

  19. Caitlin Kling April 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    I just reviewed Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia for Booklist and recommended it for a star I loved it so much!

  20. Belinda Clemons April 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    The last one that I loved was I just finished Digging in the Stars and loved it a lot.

  21. Lily M.. April 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed Me Before You, very sad

  22. Written Melodies April 6, 2017 at 3:52 am - Reply

    The last YA book read that I loved was Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

  23. Melanie B April 6, 2017 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Eternal by Gillian Shields; it’s the third book in a ya paranormal romance series, I love it!

  24. Mary April 6, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Geekerella by Ashley Poston. It’s nerdy & adorable!

  25. MegCopp07 April 6, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

    The last book I read that I loved is Living in the Shallows by Tani Hanes.

  26. Ashfa April 6, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Windwitch by Susan Dennard

  27. Ashley Nicole Poteet April 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Slumber by J.L Weil

  28. Katherine Paschal (@krlga00) April 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Renegade Red by Lauren Bird Horowitz. Thanks for participating in the hunt!

  29. Ayanami Faerudo April 7, 2017 at 5:29 am - Reply

    That would be Cheating Death by April White.

  30. Alyssa C April 7, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

    This is such a hard question!!! Last amazing YA book I read is Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennet. But so many books i love!!!!

  31. Erika April 7, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Not AFter Everything by Michelle Levy

  32. Penny Olson April 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Excellent.

  33. Ariana Salinas April 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    That would be In the time of the butterflies by Julia Alvarez

  34. ineffabletwaddler April 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    I just finished “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell and I really loved it!

  35. Chelsea Hunter April 7, 2017 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    The last YA book that I loved was To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

  36. Stacey Kym April 7, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    And I Darken by Kiersten White :)

  37. bn100 April 7, 2017 at 10:27 pm - Reply


  38. Vickie April 8, 2017 at 12:17 am - Reply

    A Court of Mist and Fury! Omg it was so good! :D

  39. Trisarey April 8, 2017 at 3:05 am - Reply

    A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

  40. Veronica Franklin April 8, 2017 at 3:24 am - Reply

    The last YA book I loved was Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

  41. Rhianona April 8, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Red Death by Jeff Altabef

  42. Destiny April 8, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I loved Incarnate by Jodi Meadows!

  43. Carie April 8, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

    The last YA book I loved was Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

  44. TeacherofYA April 8, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    The last YA that I loved was called Winter Falls by Jacque Stevens and it was a Snow Queen retelling. It was fabulous and she’s a great indie writer!

  45. Hannah Mac April 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    I loved the Wrath and the Dawn

  46. Bethany Fetzer April 8, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    I recently finished Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things, i got an arc.

  47. Ells April 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Everything, everything – amzing novel. :)

  48. Brianna C April 8, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I just finished reading The Iron Daughter the other day and it was so good! The Iron Fey series has been awesome so far!

  49. Katherine April 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanssen!

  50. Natalie April 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    The last book I read and absolutely LOVED? A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray.

  51. Julie Wagner April 8, 2017 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    The Talented Series by Sophie Davis

  52. Kassie April 8, 2017 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I just love YA books!!! My Mom commented on this one as well…we did read Legendary as a book club and I loved it! Thanks for the chance to win! :)

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