FARMINGTON – Shana Youngdahl, University of Maine at Farmington assistant professor of English, feels both amazed and humbled at the news that her first young adult novel, As Many Nows As I Can Get (Dial Books, 2019) has been recognized by the New York Public Library as a Best Book of 2019 for Teens.
It has also been selected by Kirkus as a starred review – awarded to books of exceptional merit, and chosen by both Kirkus and Seventeen magazine as one of the Best YA Books of 2019.
“This novel is a first for me,” said Youngdahl. “Before this, I’d always written and published poetry, but I wanted to tell this story in a different genre.”
Her first-person narrative tells the story of a graduating high school senior who grows up in a small town. Smart, ambitious and reeling from a spontaneous summer love, she goes on to a fictional Maine college to encounter grief, guilt and reconciling who you think you need to be with the person you’ve been all along.
Youngdahl is a poet and author who teaches writing at the University of Maine at Farmington, directs the UMF Longfellow Young Writers’ Workshop and also teaches a “Coming of Age” seminar to first-year students. One of her greatest joys is helping people embrace the stories they need to tell.
“Interacting with first-year students, you quickly realize all the first-time experiences and challenges they face as they enter adulthood,” said Youngdahl. “It was important to me with this first book to try to capture that sense of change and loss they face in a way that would speak to them.”
“Aside from the positive reviews the book has received, I have been shocked at the wonderful responses from my readers. They generally reach out to me on social media and let me know how much the book means to them. For me, it becomes about the story you want to tell and who it’s for.”
In addition to occasional author signings, Youngdahl has scheduled a reading at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington where she will talk about her book, the process and take questions from the students. Her upcoming appearances include signings at the Webster Library in Kingfield at 2 p.m. on Jan. 26 and at the Portland Public Library at noon on Feb. 20, 2020. She is currently working on her next young adult novel.