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Category: Trends

Staking the Vampire

Smile! Your days are numbered!

It’s the beginning of the end, folks–for the Twilight series that is. As any Twi-fan knows, Breaking Dawn, Part 1 premiered last weekend, and it’s only a matter of time until “Part 2” wraps up the series in a happy little bow. Whether they like the Twilight saga or not, astute commentators must agree that those books changed the shape of teen literature, propelling paranormal romance, and vampires, to the top of the charts.

But have the blood-drinking sophisticates started to overstay their welcome? November 14th’s Hub poll determined that of all the trends in teen literature, “Vampires” was the one most Hub readers wanted to see go. So The Hub is here to ask the question “What next?” Towards which creature should we direct our adulation–or mockery? Who will put the stake in the vampire trend? Let’s examine the options.

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Could Self-Published Ebooks Be The Next Big Thing?

In just a few weeks we will all celebrate the publication of the last book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. This series has been a long time in the making and has taken more than a little elbow grease from the author, who wrote the first draft of Eragon at the ambitious age of fifteen. What some may not remember about the illustrious history of this series is that it began as a small homegrown project from a family publishing house.

Image courtesy of thekellyscope on Flickr

Paolini took several years to plan and write what would finally become Eragon with the support of his parents. When most people would be finishing high school, Paolini was finishing his final draft, which his parents read and agreed to publish through their small family press, Paolini International. After 135 visits to schools, libraries and bookstores around the county with little success, Eragon came to the attention of Carl Hiaasen who, in turn, introduced it to the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. After another round of editing and new cover, Eragon was rereleased in 2003 to quickly move onto the New York Times Children’s Books Best Sellers list and stay there for 121 weeks!

A decade later, readers are drawn to another self-published author, Amanda Hocking.

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Dystopian vs. Post-apocalyptic Teen Books

The Hunger Games series has spawned a slew of new dystopian and post-apocalyptic teen books. I can’t always distinguish between the two types of books because sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. I looked up their definitions and found a great blog post on Bibliotropic on July 5 that really has a great explanation of the differences between the two.

The blog states that “Dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian.” Of course! Lois Lowry’s The Giver or Feed by  M. T. Anderson. (Not to mention Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World but I’m only going to focus on current or soon to be published YA books).

Post-apocalyptic is defined as “set in a world or civilization after a disaster such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, impact event, etc.”  These types of books are the ones where the characters are struggling to survive against some kind of cataclysmic event – man vs. nature. These are the types of books that I love reading because they make me feel that as bad as my life might be at times, it’s not nearly as bad as it is in these  novels.

Another clue is that many of the new post-apocalyptic novels seem to have the word “Ash” or “Ashes” in the title. Ilsa Bick’s Ashes (due out in Sept.) is an exciting story of how a teen with a fatal disease & and troubled young army veteran struggle to survive after a massive electromagnetic pulse destroys all electronic devices, kills billions of people, and in the process, creates zombie -like creatures.

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Teens on eBooks

One day recently I was home and realized I had run out; not out of toilet paper or milk but something much more important; I had run out of books to read.  The horror! Then I remembered that the library was closed on Sundays over the summer and stuck with the double whammy of no books and no way to check more out I was really in a funk. That is until I got on my local library’s website and decided to download some digital eBooks to keep me quiet and happy.  After downloading some software, a program to read the eBooks on and a program that acts as a sort of library for my downloaded titles, I chose two books: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (A 2011 Teens Top Ten Nomination ) and Kerosene by Chris Wooding (author of Malice, 2001 Top Ten Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults). Some people are fussy eaters, but I am a fussy reader.  I adjusted the page size, the text resolutions, two page view or one page view; I tweaked my eBook more than I read it.  I thought maybe the books I chose were not holding my attention, but browsing is hard when you aren’t sure what you are looking for.  I still think I like paper books.

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