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Telling it Slant: Different Ways to Tell a Story

2014 August 26
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There’s a famous poem by Emily Dickinson about telling the truth:addisonstonecover

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —”
I love this poem and the idea that the truth can be “slanted,” that someone’s telling of a story – if it’s the truth to them – is important. The poem is quoted in Adele Griffin’s The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone. The book is told in a series of interviews of people who knew the titular Addison Stone who dies under mysterious circumstances at the beginning of the book: her parents, friends, boyfriends, art dealer, hangers on, etc. Interspersed in the interviews are pictures of her art, pictures of her, and articles about her.
The catch? Addison Stone is not real, but with the way the book is written, you could let yourself be convinced otherwise. read more…

Page to Screen: If I Stay

2014 August 26
by Katie Shanahan Yu
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if i stay posterThe film based on Gayle Forman’s novel If I Stay starring Chloe Grace Moretz came out this past weekend. It topped the Friday box office with a $6.8 million dollar opening and became the #3 movie of the weekend.

We YA lovers really do love a good opening weekend for the hotly anticipated and heavily marketed films based on our beloved books. If I Stay was named on the 2010 Best Books for Young Adults and Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults lists, and has legions of devoted readers. So how did director, RJ Cutler et al, do with adapting Forman’s novel? I have some mixed feelings about this one, so riffing on Jessica Lind’s post from last week’s The Hub about required reading, read on for the good, the bad and the ugly of this particular film adaptation.

read more…

What Would They Read?: That ’70s Show

2014 August 25
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That_'70s_Show_logoIt’s time once again to consider what books our favorite TV characters would read.  While reading isn’t boring, it’s not that exciting to watch.  So the question remains, what books would they read?  This month I decided to bring the past to the present.  Our six beloved teens from the 1970s probably read the classics like The Hardy Boys and books by Judy Blume.  It definitely makes me wonder what books would the gang from That 70s Show read if they were teens today.

EWilliam Shakespeare’s Star Wars Verily, A New Hoperic Forman – Let’s start with the unofficial leader of the group.  When Eric is not obsessing over his on-again, off-again girlfriend or battling with his hard ass father, Eric has one other fixation, Star Wars.  We know he went to see the original several times and has even had fantasies in which he is Luke Skywalker.  I know he would plow through all of the different amalgamations of Star Wars graphic novels, from the first episode to the Clone Wars and beyond.  I would also like to give him something I stumbled upon a few months ago that is just fantastic.  Ian Doescher has blended together two things that have never combined before: Star Wars and William Shakespeare.  I would give him Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (2014 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults).  Just the image of Jabba the Hut in Shakespearean dress is enough to make this title a favorite.

Jackie Burkhart – We know that Jackie is a reader.  On several occasions Jackie mentions reading Nancy lulu dark can see through wallsDrew mysteries.  I’d like to bring Jackie to the new millennium with a few options that are a bit more modern, but still with the Nancy Drew core.  First, I’d give Jackie Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison.  Unlike Nancy Drew, Lulu isn’t that excited to beginning investigating a mystery, but when her designer purse is stolen, she takes the case.  Instead of ending every mystery with a hot fudge sundae like Nancy Drew would do, I’d bet Lulu would celebrate every mystery with a latte.  I’m sure millennial Jackie would approve.  read more…

The Monday Poll: Your Preferred Mode of Transportation from YA Lit

2014 August 25
by Allison Tran
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photo by flickr user t-mizo

photo by flickr user t-mizo

Good morning, Hub readers!

Last week, in celebration of The Giver movie hitting theaters everywhere, we wanted to know what YA classic you’d like to see on the big screen. The top pick was Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, with 27% of the vote, followed by Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat, with 21%. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, with Labor Day just around the corner, we’re thinking about travel. Are you going on one last summer getaway? What would your preferred mode of transportation be, if you were in a YA novel? Vote in the poll below, or add your choice in the comments.

What's your preferred mode of summer travel?

  • A dirigible (Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger) (28%, 20 Votes)
  • Panem train (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) (27%, 19 Votes)
  • The Pig (Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater) (15%, 11 Votes)
  • Leviathan (Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld) (13%, 9 Votes)
  • Maddie’s Lysander (Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein) (10%, 7 Votes)
  • Space elevator (Dangerous by Shannon Hale) (7%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 71

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Required Reading: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2014 August 22
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required_readingA few weeks ago, The Hub posted a poll asking for your favorite assigned summer reading in high school. With 49% of the 134 votes, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was the top selection. This got me thinking about how required reading has impacted us as YA readers.

It’s a safe assumption that we’re all readers over here on The Hub. The results of the poll show that there were some fantastic experiences, but does it mean that all of our past reading experiences were great? I turned to some of our bloggers to get the scoop on required reading: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Read on to hear how assigned readings have made our bloggers stronger feminists, wish fatal illnesses on heroines, and really, really love bacon.

The Good

Jessica Lind: “When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I had an English teacher who really challenged us with reading. During her class, I fell in love with Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and 1984. I was transitioning out of the books of my childhood and these classics helped to keep me reading.”

The JungleGretchen Kolderup: “My 10th grade US History class was combined into a two-period class with our English class. We learned history and we learned English, but it was all through the lens of social movements in America. The books that we were assigned were really thoughtful choices that illuminated social issues and that weren’t what you’d typically have as required reading — Power by Linda Hogan, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller are the ones I remember. I loved that what we were reading was actually put into context so I could understand it — I would have missed so much of the meaning in the books if I hadn’t known what was happening in the world at the time they were published.”

Carla Land: “When I was in tenth grade I was in an honor’s English class and one of our required readings was The Great Gatsby. I absolutely hated it! My teacher was obsessed with the “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg” and spent weeks talking about how important they were. I swore off of F. Scott Fitzgerald forever after that class. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college when I took a Modern Literature course- taught by a professor who was a Hemingway and Fitzgerald scholar. He’d spent his whole career studying them and their words. When we got to The Great Gatsby I held my breath and waited for the inevitable week long lesson on T.J. Eckleberg and his eyes. My professor commented on them once and they weren’t even on the test. After listening to him talk about the book and the author I had to take his Hemmingway and Fitzgerald course the next semester. It’s now one of my favorite books!” read more…

Tweets of the Week: August 22nd

2014 August 22
by Jennifer Rummel
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It was  rough week in the news– lots of people were talking about Ferguson over the Twitterverse.  There are a couple blog posts about it in this week’s tweets.

A bit of exciting news: @Hypable  : Lionsgate ‘deep into conversations’ with theme parks for ‘Hunger Games’ attractions http://dlvr.it/6fKcx7 

 Book News:

read more…

National Senior Citizens Day

2014 August 21
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Romans_Dad

photo by Flickr user ritavida

In the summer of 1988, President Reagan proclaimed August 21 “National Senior Citizens Day.” With health care constantly improving, and people living longer, more active lives, it is a good thing to honor seniors, who can give younger folks the benefit of their experience.

Seniors and teens go together like peanut butter and jelly. Events like Senior Citizen Proms, and Teens Teach Tech, show how seniors and teens can benefit from spending time together. This is not to say that it is all smooth sailing from the start. People are people no matter their age, and there are ups and downs to any relationship. But everyone has something to share, and when you cross generations, the results can be so very positive.

This type of inter-generational relationship has been beautifully portrayed in YA literature. Here are six titles to explore…

Pop_coverPop by Gordon Korman
New to town, Marcus is desperate to join his new high school’s football team, so he spends his summer practicing in the local park. There he meets former NFL great Charlie Popovich, who takes Marcus under his wing. While this is great for Marcus’ football prospects, it puts him in direct conflict with Charlie’s grandson Troy, Marcus’ new school mate and rival for a spot on the team. Charlie and Marcus are antagonistic not just because of sports rivalries, but also because of Charlie’s illness, an illness Troy and the rest of the Popovich family want to keep secret.

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan SonnenblickNotes_from_Midnight_driver_cover
(2008 Best Book for Young Adults) Alex makes a really huge mistake involving vodka, a car, and a garden gnome statue. For this, he is sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Alex spends the time in a retirement home with Sol Lewis, the meanest old man on the planet. Alex would rather shirk all responsibility and Sol seems to hate the world. But Sol was a jazz guitarist and Alex is studying guitar, so perhaps they can find some way to connect…  read more…

Jukebooks: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

2014 August 20
by Diane Colson
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lies my girlfriend told meSwanee was a free spirit, which is part of the reason Alix loves her so much. But Swanee dies of cardiac arrest while out on a morning run, leaving Alix to mourn the love of her life. Her grief is soon mixed with betrayal when she discovers that Swanee was also in a serious relationship with another girl.

Swanee’s funeral reflects her flamboyant style. Alix observes that it has “…a carnival atmosphere about it.” In addition to balloon bouquets, a flowered arch, and teddy bears, Swanee’s parents have hired a mariachi band that is playing “Livin’ la Vida Loca.”

It’s been fifteen years since Ricky Martin released what would become his signature song. The title is a Spanglish invention that translates as “Livin’ the Crazy Life.” The instant success of this song fueled Latin pop music internationally, while swoon-worthy Martin’s dance moves inspired a revival of Latin dance.

Here is a 2001 live performance featuring Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

If You Like… Robin Williams Movies

2014 August 20
by Diane Colson
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Last Friday, Katie Shanahan Yu posted a tribute to Robin Williams that included wonderful video clips and a booklist of young adult novels that echo the joyful spirit of Williams’ work. This week, Jennifer Rummel and I extend the tribute with YA lit readalikes paired with some of Robin Williams’ most memorable movies (and one iconic television show.)

Hub Williams 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hub Williams 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  read more…

Coming of Age Online: Social Media in YA Literature

2014 August 20
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Teens today are coming of age in an environment saturated with social media, so it’s no surprise it’s featured prominently in the plots of many young adult novels. When I started noticing a trend of books that explore the impact that social media has on the lives of teens, I decided it would be interesting to compile a list showcasing the various ways that teens’ use of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other social media are depicted in young adult literature.

social media in ya lit the hub

Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls series is inventive in structure and form, but the story of girls chatting online and communicating in a virtual space is also groundbreaking in the way it examines the social lives of teens. TTYL was a 2005 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the fourth installment in the series, YOLO, is due out this year. Two other recent publications also explore internet culture. Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff explores the social aspects of online role-playing games, and the main character in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, is more at home in the online world of the fandom of her favorite book than in the real world where she’s freshman in college. These novels explore teen identity through the juxtaposition of online identity and “real life” personas. read more…