Young Adult Fiction and Writing the Book You Would Have Wanted to Read, featuring Lilliam Rivera

Mar 18, 2019

Lilliam Rivera

In today’s episode, Brooke and Grant speak with YA author Lilliam Rivera about writing contemporary YA, the power of finding your own experience in literature, and why you might be drawn to writing the stories you wish had been available to you when you were young. YA as a genre is exploding, and Rivera discusses why she doesn’t hold back when it comes to what she’s willing to explore in fiction—race, family dynamics, violence, and more. Rivera’s drive and passion will inspire any writer who’s felt drawn to write to share a worldview that’s been historically underrepresented.


Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams and The Education of Margot Sanchez. The Education of Margot Sanchez was nominated for a 2019 Rhode Island Teen Book Award, a 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adult Fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and has been featured on NPR, New York Times Book Review, New York magazine,, and Teen Vogue, among others.

Writing Action: Read Something Outside Your Go-To Genre or Type of Author

Reading makes you a better writer—and stretching yourself outside of your own experience and genre can be life-changing, and life-affirming. Based on today’s episode, consider something that falls outside of your lived experience. We’ve talked about race, gender, age as a few, but maybe there’s something else. The action then is to buy a book that addresses one of these categories of experience and read it. If you’re feeling really bold, review it online via social media. Let other people know what you’re reading.

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