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Category: YA Literature

Take Me Away!

So, I’ve been trying to write this blog since Saturday; how ironic that I’m extremely chatty and terribly passionate about books, yet here I am with writer’s block.  I imagine this post to be like that “you’re trapped on an island what one book do you take” question. How, if I am only going to put one good book in someone’s hands to narrow my options?  Now that I have an answer to, I don’t, I cheat and give you the best I know, not matter how many titles that might be.

I give you my favorite sigh worthy novels you’ll read and pass on to friends; books with plots that you’ll want to escape into again and again.

Perfect Chemistry By Simone Elkeles

With the flavor of West Side Story and The Outsiders mixed together, Perfect Chemistry satisfies the need for drama while maintaining an air of reality that lends credence to the struggles of main characters Alejandro and Brittany.  Imagine a tough Latino boy who secretly desires a stable life, possibly as a teacher, who meets flawless Caucasian rich girl Brittany who seems to have it all together but inside she’s falling apart from the chaos in her household; now what if they each fulfill in each other their suppressed desire to be seen as they truly are and loved for that?

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

A great and noble experiment had gone horribly wrong. The outside world believes the prison of Incarceron can rehabilitate its inmates but Finn, trapped on the inside must rely on Claudia, the warden’s daughter who is trapped in her father’s castle.   So many questions impede both characters happiness.  Can Finn ever escape a jail that devours souls?  Can Claudia escape an arranged marriage that will steal her freedom?  Finn and Claudia hold keys both real and imagined that can unlock prisons of metal and lies.  A sequel, Sapphique, was just published in December.

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In Which Our Author Tips Her Cog-Bedecked Top Hat to Steampunk


The Invention of YESphoto © 2010 Tim Schapker | more info (via: Wylio)

Lately steampunk YA fiction – and steampunk in general – have emerged boldly into the literary scene. I’ve even heard it called one of the top ten trends in teen fiction. Yay! Go steampunk! “But, wait,” you say, “what is steampunk, anyway? And why should I care?” Sadly, the word ‘steampunk’ is often tossed around in vain these days. Case in point…this. Any intrepid soul searching for ‘steampunk’ these days is likely to turn up an exuberant plethora of work, including graphic novels and – egad! – steampunk romance.  So what is the original, clockwork heart of steampunk? Fear not, gentle reader! The Hub is here to guide through the gear and sprocket-filled futuristic past.

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Halo List

This is a list of 13 books and a movie about the Halo universe and its characters. For novels, start with Halo: The Fall of…

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Authentic Voice

In a recent blog post on the Booklist website, author Daniel Kraus listed many grievances against YA literature. Among these grievances was his annoyance with…

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The Many Genres of Manga

I’m guessing that at least a few of you readers are fans of manga. For those of you not in the know, “manga” is the Japanese term for comics, so manga is…comics…from Japan.

Okay, that explanation didn’t take as long as I thought. I’d better talk a little about what makes manga different from the comics we get in America. For starters, they read backwards; you go right-to-left instead of left-to-right. For another, they’re much more quickly produced: the usual schedule for American comics is 22-24 pages every month, but manga artists might draw twice as many pages, or even more. (Generally, though, manga pages are simpler than American comics pages, and manga artists have a staff of several assistants helping them.)

But the biggest, and probably most important difference, is that manga has a lot more genres. (If you weren’t paying attention in English class, “genre” is what kind of story it is: romance, sci-fi, comedy, tragedy, etc.) Walk into any comic store in the United States and you’re going to see one genre above all others: superheroes. You know, the guys in ridiculous tights (and the women in more ridiculous tights) fighting for truth, justice, and all that stuff. But in manga, you can find all sorts of genres. You want romance? Easy. You want fantasy? Also easy. You want action-drama-comedy with giant robots exploding out of a dude’s forehead and a space alien on a flying scooter? No problem. There’s all kinds of stories in all kinds of genres in manga.

Like I said, manga with genres like romance and fantasy are easy to find. So in this post, I’m going to look at three lesser-known genres and the manga within them that you might enjoy.

The human-demon political-relationship action-comedy genre

Suzuhito Yasuda’s series Yozakura Quartet takes place in the town of Sakurashin, where humans and demons (“yokai”) live side by side, thanks to the Seven Pillars that exist in both the human world and the yokai world and can act as a conduit between them. Four teenagers, each with special powers (some of them from their yokai heritage, some of them from other sources), one of whom is also the mayor, help protect the city and keep human-yokai relationships from deteriorating.

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Zombies: The New Vamps?

I love zombies & I’m proud to be an Undeadhead.  Some of my favorite films are Night of the Living Dead (1968), 28 Days Later and Zombieland.  Why are zombies to popular right now?

Maybe it’s a backlash against vamps. I’m a fan of vampires too but zombies are more accessible somehow.  Ordinary people can be extras as zombies in movies, but professional actors always get the vampire roles. Many great characters from comics and graphic novels have been adapted for films and TV and zombies are no exception. Robert Kirkman’s excellent zombie comic series The Walking Dead has been developed into a fantastic series on AMC.  I’m psyched that the series has been so good and gotten such good ratings. I’m only sorry that the series was only 6 episodes and now that they’re over I have to wait until next year for season two.   Entertainment Weekly (12.3.10) said The Walking Dead is the Best New Show on TV. I agree.  EW (12.3.10) quotes Frank Darabont, the filmmaker who developed the series, saying, “We’re not in a rush for the Walking Dead to die anytime soon” and I’m not either.
If you’re a teen’s who’s watched and liked the series and want something to read to tide you over until it’s on again, there are quite a few good zombie books out right now.  

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